Grow and Care Polka Dot Plant (FAQ Answered)

Polka Dot Plant is another popular plant in USA. Let us discuss how to plant, grow, and care Polka Dot Plant in your garden.

Polka Dot Plant

The Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is a small, showy plant with well-painted leaves that stand out from most other leaves. The most common spotted plant on the market has pink-colored leaves and green spots.

But there are several other varieties available that are spotted or spotted with purple, white, red and more. Creators have also developed plants with deeper colors and brighter contrasts, making the plants stand out even more.

Polka Dot Plant
Polka Dot Plant

Polka dot plants are not particularly difficult to grow, but because they are native only in warm climates, many gardeners treat them as annuals and replace them with new plants every year. They can also be grown in containers and as household plants.

They are best planted in the spring, they have a moderate growth rate and remain relatively small after they are ripe, especially when grown indoors.

How to grow Polka Dot plant

Polka dot plants are suitable for indoor use anywhere, but you can also grow them as annuals in hot temperate zones. Foliage is an attractive leaf for brightly colored evergreen flowers and produces an attractive bunch.

This lovely plant is well hidden in a vase with other foliage plants, as part of a color display with flowers or on the summer edges to add texture.

Polka dot plants are easy to propagate. The freckled plant gives small flowers and produces seeds in perfect condition. The seeds germinate in hot and humid soils, where temperatures vary from 21 to 27°C (70 to 75°F). However, the easiest method of growing a Polka dot plant is with seedlings.

Eliminate terminal growth in a node and remove the leaves closest to the end. Dip the seedling into the rooting hormone and place it in a soil-free growing medium, such as peat. Keep it evenly moist until the roots are cut and treat it like a mature plant.

The plant will give you the best color when you are in a low light situation, but this causes the stalks to become elongated and straddle as they seek the light. Bright indirect sunlight is the ideal place for this plant indoors. Provides temperatures of at least 60°F (16°C).

Growing a Polka dot plant outdoors requires well-drained, but moist soil with lots of organic matter. Outdoor plants need little extra food, but indoor plants should be fed once a month.

Hot temperatures and humidity are essential for growing polka dot. Expect to water regularly, unless it rains enough. They also need regular food during the growing season (from spring to fall). The Polka dot plant, also known as “freckled face”, is a short, beautiful and easy to maintain houseplant. They come in some varieties, with different color patterns and variety on the leaves.         

These plants tend to have long legs, so to promote a thicker growth habit, remove the top two leaves from each stem weekly. Long plants can also begin to produce purple flower tips. The flowers are not very attractive and the plant usually dies after completing the flowering cycle.

If you want your plant to continue growing, cut off the tips of the flowers before they have a chance to deplete the energy of the rest of the plant.

Varieties of Polka Dot plants

Within the main species, there are many varieties; all are created by the color of their leaves which are includes:

  • Camina: dark green leaves with red spots
  • Confetti: green leaves and white, pink, pink, red or burgundy spots
  • Pink Brocade: green leaves with mottled pink patches
  • Splash series: leaves in mixtures of greens with pink, red or white spots

How to propagate the Polka dot plant

Let us now check out how to propagate the Polka dot plant.

Tips for propagating Polka dot plants

Starting Polka dot plants is not difficult. In fact, these plants can be easily propagated by seeds or cuttings. Both methods can be done in the spring or summer. However, if you are starting with seeds or seedlings of polka dot plants, you will want to keep your new plants evenly moist in well-drained pot soil and provide them with medium light conditions (indirect sunlight).

These plants also prefer temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees F. (18 and 27 C.), along with high humidity. Keeping young Polka dot plants stuck will also produce thicker growth.

How to propagate a Polka dot plant by seed

When you are propagating polka dot plants by seed, if you don’t already have them on hand, allow the seed heads to dry on the plant and then remove them. After collecting the seeds and storing them until the moment of sowing, sow in a tray or pot full of moist and pearlite peat or in a well-drained potting mix.

This should be done before the last frost forecast in the spring or sometime in the summer. The seeds of the polka dot plant require hot temperatures to germinate (about 70-75F or 21-24C) and will do so within about two weeks if the right conditions are present.

It is often useful to place a clear plastic lid over the pot or pan to keep it warm and moist. This should be placed in indirect sunlight. Once established and strong enough, they can be transplanted or planted outdoors in an area partially shaded with well-drained soil.

How to propagate a Polka dot plant by cutting

Cuttings can be harvested almost anytime; however, sometime between spring and summer it is preferable and generally the best results are obtained. The cuttings of the Polka dot plants can be removed from anywhere on the plant, but they must be at least 5 cm long.

After placing them in moist peat or potting mix, you should cover the cuts with clear plastic to keep them warm and moist, just as you would with seed propagation. Avoid direct sunlight and transplant or plant outdoors, once established.

How much sun does a Polka dot plant need

When grown outdoors, Polka dot plants prefer a place with some shade. In fact, a very light planting site can fade the colors of the foliage and decrease the ornamental value of the plant. Indirect bright light is ideal indoors, such as from a window facing east or south. Bright indirect sunlight is the ideal place for this plant indoors. Provides temperatures of at least 60°F (16°C).

Polka dot plants are resistant only in USDA cultivation zones 10 and 11, preferring temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted outdoors in the spring, after the threat of frost, and brought in if you plan to spend the winter long before the first autumn frost.

Varieties of Polka Dot plants

How do you care for a polka dot plant indoors

The Polka dot plants are kept relatively small, with a typical height and width of about 30 to 18 inches. They produce modest pale purple flowers, which most gardeners remove, and grow naturally in a low, round shape, but they can start to spread and taper if the flowers bloom.

“Polka dot plants are dormant and look dead when they bloom, so to prolong their life, it is best to prune them and not allow them to develop flowers.

Follow these steps to get the best Polka dot plant:

# Provides good lighting

Indirect bright light is ideal for pink polka dot plants. This will keep the colors vibrant in the plant and, at the same time, prevent the plant from becoming slender. If you grow the Polka dot plant in a place with low light, it will grow quickly and fade. A place with very strong light also darkens the foliage colors.

# Plant in rich, well-drained soil.

The polka dot plant requires uniform moisture to grow well. The best way to achieve this is to plant in rich but well-drained soil. An organic potting soil is ideal.

# Water regularly

Although they require uniform moisture, the Polka dot plant will easily succumb to root rot if conditions are too humid. Water when the top ¼ to ½ inch of soil is dry. Remember that the smaller the container, the faster the plant will dry out.

# Fertilize monthly

The Polka dot plant is a very heavy feeder. Fertilize once a month with a high quality organic fertilizer developed for indoor plants. 

# Provides high humidity and moderate temperature.

The polka dot plant requires moist air and temperatures of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit to grow well. Keep the plant in a warm place and increase the humidity. This can be done by creating a humidity tray, spraying it several times a day and grouping the plants together. Plants sweat and moisten.

# Pinch weekly

The Polka dot plant becomes leggy quickly. To prevent this from happening, tighten the plant weekly. Use your fingers to cut the first two leaves at the end of each stem. Regular pruning will make the Polka dot plant thicker.

How often do you water a polka dot plant

Polka dot plants like moist, airy soil. However, let the soil dry out between watering. These plants do not like having roots soaked for long periods. Letting the roots fill with water results in the growth of bacterial diseases and fungal infections that kill the plant.                  

However, do not allow the soil to dry completely between watering. The dry soil results in curly foliage that begins to turn brown at the tips and wilt.

Keep the soil moist and make sure not to over water. Fortunately, these plants are hardy and recover quickly from water abuse. However, be sure not to over-water, as root rot is a serious problem.

Polka dot plants grow well in environments that offer a minimum relative humidity of 50%. If you live in drier regions of the United States, create a microclimate for your polkas by placing the planter in a drip tray. Leave a layer of stones or pebbles at the bottom of the pan and balance the pot on top.

Add water to the drip tray, but make sure that the water level does not reach the base of the plant. As the water evaporates from the tray, it will provide the polka with the necessary moisture to develop its characteristic fleshy leaves. Grouping multiple Polka dot plants also helps to increase relative humidity, creating a microclimate for your polkas.

How long does a Polka Dot plant live

If polka dot grow indoor then it may can extend its limited life. But if you grow it outdoors, the Polka dot plant will complete its life cycle in one year. If you want this beautiful plant to enhance your garden throughout the year, you can try to grow new plants every year.

If the short service life is a disadvantage of the Polka dot plant, easy propagation is certainly its advantage. Fortunately, it spreads easily at any time of the year, but you must be patient, as they grow slowly.

The most common and easy method of propagation is by cuttings. Take a healthy seedling, remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem, dip the seedling into the rooting hormone and place it in the pot with a thick potting mix.

Keep the soil moist until the stake forms the root system. Protect your cut from dryness by covering the pot with a plastic bag. When the plant is strong enough, you can transplant it if you want.

If you are starting polka dot from seed, sow indoors in early spring. It provides them with adequate light and temperature for germination. Cut new plants when they reach 5-6 inches in height to stimulate growth.     

How do I keep my polka dot plant bushy

The Polka dot plant becomes leggy quickly. To prevent this from happening, tighten the plant weekly. Use your fingers to cut the first two leaves at the end of each stem. Regular pruning will make the Polka dot plant thicker.     

Keeping young Polka dot plants stuck will also produce bushier growth. Clamping plants is a form of pruning that stimulates the branching of the polka dot plant. This means that when you pinch a plant, you are removing the main stem, forcing the plant to grow two new stems at the leaf nodes below the clamp or cut.

At the back, it forces plant polka dot to grow twice on the stems, which results in a fuller plant. For plants like grasses, pinching back can help the plant produce more of its desirable leaves.

Are Polka dot plants poisonous?

No. The Polka dot plant is safe for cats, dogs and horses. The pink, red, and white dotted polka- color is so ornamental that you won’t have to worry about providing the perfect conditions to trigger the flowering that many houseplants need.

Although not toxic to dogs and cats, sensitive pets can have mild digestive problems if large amounts of the Polka dot plant are consumed.

Are Polka dot plants poisonous
Are Polka dot plants poisonous

Is a polka dot plant a Perennial?

The Polka dot plants are herbaceous perennial shrubs whose stems become woody as they age. In its native habitat, the plant can reach up to 3 feet (9 m) in height, but specimens grown in pots are generally smaller.

Foliage is the main reason for growing this plant. The leaves are dotted with darker green spots and a pink base. The breeders have developed many other varieties, some of which have speckled green spots, but others with other shades. There are leaves stained in purple, scarlet, lavender and white.

The Splash series comes in a variety of colors with a leaf base green and pink splashes of color, white, pink or red. There are also several suitable dotted dot confetti that are slightly more dispersed than those in the Splash series.

As a flower bed or houseplant, it usually grows as a perennial herbaceous plant 30 to 20 inches tall. The polka dot flowers are kept on tips up to 6” long and bloom sporadically in the summer.

Can a Polka dot plant live outside?

The Polka dot gained more popularity as an annual billboard, illuminating edges and adding potted plantations. They prefer a humid environment, so polka dot plant must be quite happy outdoors in the Mid-West in the summer, but they may need periodic indoor fogs during the winter. Although it is somewhat drought tolerant, it grows best with plenty of water.

However, it is well suited for indoor living and will provide a beautiful addition to any collection of indoor plants. Make sure to keep it out of excessive sunlight and don’t over water your polka dot plant. Growing a Polka dot plant outdoors requires well-drained but moist soil with plenty of organic matter.

Outdoor Polka dot plant need little supplementary feeding, but indoor plants should be fed once a month. When planted outside, a polka dot plant can grow to 30″. Indoors, this plant must be kept trimmed and small or it will be very long. A polka dot plant looks beautiful in dish gardens or small decorative containers.

Do Polka Dot plants die after flowering

Polka dot plant usually dies after completing the flowering cycle because the flowers are not very attractive. If you want your plant to continue growing, cut off the tips of the flowers before they have a chance to deplete the energy of the rest of the plant.

Polka Dot produces small, solitary, pink or purple flowers that look like honeysuckle, but are not showy in late summer.

The freckled face plant not only adds a lot of color with its vibrant mottled foliage, but the indoor and outdoor varieties also produce flowers. The attractive perennial flowers against the spotted foliage enhance the beauty of the plant. The flowers are small and tubular in shape. Small flowers are usually blue, pink or purple.

Usually, if your polka dot start to bloom, you need to pinch the flowers. Most of the time, plants with freckles or splashes start to die after flowering. Pinching some branches is also essential to prevent polka dot from getting long.

How to prune Polka dot plant 

If the Polka dot plant becomes too big, you can prune it at any time. A short haircut helps to keep the Polka dot plant like a small, thick plant. Follow these steps to prune your plant to look its best:

Look at the plant

Take a step back from your Polka dot plant and observe its structure and shape. Observe if it is getting thin, looks fuller on one side, or contains some diseased or dying foliage. Also, look for areas of potential new growth, known as “dormant buds”. Shoots usually appear where the leaf meets the plant’s stem.           

Determine your tools

If the polka dot branches are thick, use pruning shears. If they are thin, kitchen scissors can provide a cleaner cut.

Remove dead matter

Cut or attach dead leaves and stems. If the roots are rotten, pull them out and let the soil dry before the next watering of the plant. 

Deadhead of the plant

If you are working on a polka dot flowering stage, remove all spent flowers by pinching or trimming them as close to the main stem as possible.

Make your cuts

Make careful cuts to stimulate new growth of your polka dot plant. Just cut before a leaf node. Or when cutting larger rods, cut as close as possible to the main rod. However, do not remove more than 25 percent of the polka dot plant.

Polka dot plant watering

The polka dot plant requires moist soil, but not soaked. If it dries out too much, it will begin to wilt and fall apart. Rapid watering usually helps with recovery. Avoid letting your Polka dot plant settle in the water, as this can cause root rot.

Water well when the top ½ to 1 inch of soil dries. Also remember that smaller pots dry faster than larger ones. Water the plant at ground level and not from above, as the water in the foliage can cause water stains and damage young leaves and flowers.

However, do not allow the soil to dry completely between watering. The dry soil results in curly foliage that begins to turn brown at the tips and wilt. Keep the soil moist and make sure not to over water. Fortunately, these plants are hardy and recover quickly from water abuse. However, be sure not to over-water, as root rot is a serious problem.

Polka dot plant propagation

If you want some Polka dot plants in your home, then you have a few options when it comes to buying them. The nurseries sell adult and juvenile polka that require little maintenance, as they have established root systems.

It is also possible to grow Polka dot plants from seeds without much effort. The seeds germinate easily and are ready to plant in a few weeks.

If you are growing from seeds, select a small container and fill it with potting soil. Leave the seeds on the soil surface and spray with a water spray. Do not cover the seeds, as a layer of soil can suffocate them.

Your seeds will germinate in a few days and be ripe enough to be transplanted in 10-14 days. Prepare another pot with your soil mixture and transplant the seedling. Spray with your spray bottle and do not touch the plant for a few days. It takes a few months for the young seedling to establish a root system and then begins to take off.

The third method of growing Polka dot plants is to propagate existing polkas. The plants will begin to produce new shoots around the base from early spring to early summer. Harvest these seedlings and immerse them in the rooting hormone.

Plant the seedlings in the coil and new roots should start to form in a week. Once the seedlings have a robust root system, transplant to a larger container.

Can you propagate a Polka dot plant?

Yes. Your Polka dot plant spreads easily at any time of the year. The leaves of the polka dot plant are generously dotted with pink or white spots on a dark green background. To propagate additional plants, simply take spike cuttings about ten centimeters long and remove the leaves from the lower half of the stem. Insert the seedlings in thick pot soil, such as a cactus mix, and keep it moist.

The cuttings take root very easily, so no rooting hormones are needed. After four weeks, check carefully for roots and plant seedlings rooted in conventional potting soil, such as the African violet mixture. You can add one of the new polymers designed to reduce irrigation in the soil mix. Feed and water as needed and pull out young plants regularly to promote a dense, well-formed plant.

Can you propagate a Polka dot plant
Can you propagate a Polka dot plant

How do you grow Polka Dot from seed?

Sow seeds of polka dot plants indoors 4-6 weeks before the end of the frost season. Start planting indoors in February to use in shaded beds or outdoor containers. Or start at any time of the year for indoor plants that add color to a bright room.

I sow indoors in September, and on Thanksgiving Day, I have beautiful ten-centimeter plants that make great gifts for the holidays.

Sow the seeds on the surface of a peat-based seed mixture. Cover them with a light layer of sphagnum moss and moisten the moss with a fine mist. Place the floor on a tray with about half an inch of water and cover with clear plastic.

Seedlings should appear in a few days at room temperature. When good secondary leaves appear, transplant in individual pots or packs of six, handling by the leaves, not the stems. Fertilize weekly with a medium concentration liquid fertilizer. Switch to larger pots, approximately two months after planting.

Can you propagate Polka Dot plant in water?

Polka dot plants are very easy to propagate in water. All you need is water, a small container and scissors. While many plants take weeks or even months to take root from cuttings in the water, the Polka dot plant starts to take root in a few days.

  • To propagate your plant, start by cutting down at least two sets of leaves.
  • The area where the leaves grow is called a “knot” and this is where the roots begin.
  • Cut the lower leaves and dip the stem in the water, leaving the upper leaves above the water.
  • Place the container on a window sill or somewhere it can light, and you will have a new plant soon!
  • Make sure to replenish the water every few days to keep the plant healthy.
  • When the roots are long and full enough, you can transplant them into a container with soil.
  • You will soon have more Polka dot plants than you know what to do with!

Why is my Polka dot plant dying?

Excess water is probably the culprit. Too much water also leaves polka dot susceptible to powdery mildew and root rot. Finally, it also encourages pests, and there are several that, like the polka dot plant, act individually or collectively to cause the plant to die.

Very dry soil will cause the leaves to wilt and fall. You can quickly revive a withered plant with plenty of irrigation. Soaked soil will make the leaves turn yellow.

Polka dot plant brown tips

Polka dot plants develop brown tips if they dry out between watering. The tips can also wilt when watering does not end … that is, when the entire root of the Polka dot plant is not quite wet at the same time. If the plants are watered “in droplets and monotonous” or just “a lick and promise”, they can have brown tips because the outer roots near the edges of the pot dry up.

Burning fertilizers can also cause this: it happens when the fertilizer is applied in a very high concentration or when a dry and thirsty plant receives fertilizer without first watering the plant well. Always mix synthetic fertilizers according to the instructions.

With a Polka dot plant, two other conditions that can contribute to what you see are the plant being exposed to very strong sunlight or the tips of the leaves touching a cold window.

Finally, sometimes the symptoms we see in plants are also the combination of two or more conditions. So, check the list below and see if one or more of these could be the problem.

You may like the following gardening articles:

Conclusion

Did you get an idea on how to plant, grow and care Polka Dot Plant in your garden? It answers a few questions below:

  • How to grow Polka Dot plant
  • Varieties of Polka Dot plants
  • How to propagate the Polka dot plant
  • How to propagate a Polka dot plant by cutting
  • How much sun does a Polka dot plant need
  • How do you care for a polka dot plant indoors
  • How often do you water a polka dot plant
  • How long does a Polka Dot plant live
  • How do I keep my polka dot plant bushy
  • Are Polka dot plants poisonous?
  • Is a polka dot plant a Perennial?
  • Can a Polka dot plant live outside?
  • Do Polka Dot plants die after flowering
  • How to prune Polka dot plant
  • Polka dot plant watering
  • Polka dot plant propagation
  • Can you propagate a Polka dot plant?
  • How do you grow Polka Dot from seed?
  • Can you propagate Polka Dot plant in water?
  • Why is my Polka dot plant dying?
  • Polka dot plant brown tips