How To Grow and Care Polka Dot Plant [Easy Steps]

Polka dots are perfect for brightening up any home or garden, and they’re easy to grow and care for. If you’re interested in adding one to your home, you’re probably wondering how to do it.

Here’s how to grow and care for a polka dot plant:

  1. Choose an appropriate location.
  2. Place well-drained soil in a pot.
  3. Plant your polka dot and leave it in indirect sunlight.
  4. Provide water frequently.
  5. Prune regularly.
  6. Apply fertilizer frequently.
  7. Cut back any visible flowers.

The rest of this article will discuss these tips in greater detail. Keep reading if you want to grow a beautiful and healthy polka dot plant!

Jmbamboo - Fairy Garden Hypoestes Phyllostachya, Confetti, Polka Dot Plant

1. Choose an Appropriate Location

Before you plant your polka dot, you want to make sure you choose the best location. The first thing you need to consider is if you want to keep it indoors or outdoors. Generally, it’s better to keep it indoors because it’s easier to manage the temperature and keep a close eye on the plant.

However, you may want to leave it outside if the weather permits it. Here are some essential things to consider when choosing a location:


Polka dots like humidity and won’t survive very long without it. Some of the least humid states in the US include Nevada and Arizona. If you live in one of these places (or any other dry place), you’ll need to mist your plant regularly.

You won’t have to worry about misting if you live in a humid state, like Florida or Louisiana.


These plants like warm temperatures. So if you live somewhere that has a relatively cold spring and summer, you should keep your plant indoors. The ideal temperature for a polka dot is 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Celsius).

If you try to grow it in an area that’s too cold or too hot, it won’t thrive, and the growth will eventually stunt.

In addition to temperature, sunlight is also essential for these plants. But I’ll discuss this later on in the article.

Read Polka Dot Plant Leaves Turning Brown

2. Place Well-Drained Soil in a Pot

Polka dots thrive in well-drained soil rich in nutrients, so you’ll need to add this into a pot before going any further. For the best results, you should opt for a pot with drainage holes so that the water can drain freely without soaking into the soil.

If your soil is too wet and doesn’t drain well, your plant will experience problems, including:

  • Disease. If the soil is waterlogged, your polka may become diseased. This can occur due to too much rain, but it can also happen if the soil isn’t well-draining. Fungal diseases are common in plants when the soil is waterlogged.
  • Loss of nutrients. Waterlogged soil will lose nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Nitrogen is essential for the soil and plants, so your polka dot will suffer if you don’t use well-drained soil.
  • Drowning. Just like how humans drown in water, plants do, too. If the soil is too wet, there won’t be enough oxygen available for your polka dot. As a result, it will begin to drown and eventually die. You’ll notice wilting leaves if the plant has too much water.

Miracle-Gro Houseplant Potting Mix: Fertilized, Perlite Soil for Indoor Gardening, Designed to Be Less Prone to Gnats, 4 qt.

Read How To Propagate Polka Dot Plant

3. Plant Your Polka Dot and Leave It in Indirect Sunlight

Now that you know what conditions a polka dot plant needs to survive and thrive, you can plant it. But it’s important to understand that these plants like indirect sunlight, so you’ll need to find a spot that isn’t entirely out of the sun but that isn’t directly in the sunlight.

If planting it indoors, it’s good to keep it at a window where it can get some sunlight (but not too much). Here are some tips you should know:

Avoid Too Much Sunlight

Just like how humans burn when we get too much sun, the leaves of polka dot plants will burn if they’re constantly under direct sunlight. On top of that, the colors of the leaves will fade, which you certainly want to avoid!

Polka dot plants are known for their vibrant, spotty leaves, so the color fading is detrimental to the look and style of this plant. By keeping it out of direct sunlight, you’ll ensure it remains healthy and vibrant.

Read How Much Sun Does a Polka Dot Plant Need?

Avoid Complete Shade

If you keep your plant in the complete shade every day, it won’t be able to thrive. Although the leaves will fade if it gets too much sunlight, they’ll also fade if it gets too little sunlight. Generally, they will turn to a standard green shade, which is a dull color compared to their usual, bright color.

It will most likely die quickly if it’s not getting enough sunlight, so make sure you keep it at a sunny window throughout the day.

Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) Live Indoor Houseplant, 4 Inch Nursery Pot (Diameter)

4. Provide Water Frequently

While some plants can thrive without water, the polka dot isn’t one of them. You’ll need to ensure this plant always has enough water by checking the soil consistently. How often you should water your polka dot will depend on the size of the pot. If the pot is big, you won’t need to water it as frequently.

There’s no specific period when you should water your polka dot. The best way to do it is to check the soil to see how wet or dry it is. If the first inch or so is dry, you should apply water. If the first inch or so is still wet, you should wait.

You must prevent the soil from getting too dry in between waterings because this can cause the plant to become dehydrated. You should also avoid watering it too frequently because this can lead to waterlogging and your plant drowning, as you already know.

If you live in a state that receives lots of rainfall, such as Hawaii or Louisiana, you likely won’t need to water your plant as much as you would if you lived somewhere dry (if you’re keeping the plant outdoors). You should keep this in mind when thinking about how often you should water your polka dot plant.

However, if you fear there is too much water in your region while your polka dot is outdoors, you should find somewhere to shelter it, so it doesn’t get too wet and drown. Alternatively, you could keep it indoors next to a window that receives adequate sunlight.

Two Fairy Garden Hypoestes Confetti, Red Polka Dot Plant Only From Jm Bamboo

Read Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Flowering?

5. Prune Regularly

Unfortunately, polka dots can get leggy pretty quickly. When a plant gets leggy, its stems grow long, but the leaves remain scarce. This can give the plant a bare look and is certainly something you want to avoid. You can prune your polka dot regularly during the growing season to tackle this issue.

To prune your polka dot and remove unwanted legginess, you can use your hands to snap off the new stems growing in. You can also use scissors, but it’s not necessary. You might need to do this multiple times a week during spring and summer if you want to keep your plant under control.

Removing the new stems as they grow will promote fresh leaves to grow, ultimately giving your plant a fuller appearance. Because of this, pruning is often necessary.

Although you can prune during the colder months, it’s not the best idea because it will grow slowly, and you won’t begin to see actual results until spring and summer. Most plants are best pruned during the growing season, so the polka dot is no exception!

BUZZY Mini Basin Seed Grow Kit | Polka Dot Plant | Painted Garden Collection | Best Gardening Gifts, Favors, Weddings, Parties, Events, Modern, Trendy, Unique, and Fun | Growth Guaranteed

Read Polka Dot Plant Dying

6. Apply Fertilizer Frequently

You should fertilize your polka dot plant’s soil at least once a month during the growing period (spring and summer). Some people like to apply fertilizer to the soil once every one or two weeks, which is also acceptable.

Fertilizer is essential because polka dots need it to live and thrive. They are known as heavy feeders, and heavy feeders need lots of nutrients. Luckily, it’s easy to keep the soil in your pot fertilized.

Below are some plant fertilizers you can buy easily from

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food

This plant fertilizer is perfect if you keep your polka dot indoors and are looking for something easy and quick to use. You can apply it directly to the soil or mix it with water, and it’s safe to apply once a week. Plus, if you have any other indoor plants, you can also use this product for them!

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

This fertilizer features 11 essential nutrients, all excellent for the health and growth of your polka dot plant. Since it’s a slow-release fertilizer, you don’t need to apply it as frequently as the Miracle-Gro fertilizer. And it’s suitable for all potted plants, whether they’re indoors or outdoors.

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 2 lb.

J R Peters Fertilizer

This all-purpose fertilizer is perfect for polka dots and other plants and vegetables. So, if you have different plants around your home and garden, this will be good for all of them! It contains vital nutrients the soil needs to remain healthy, including nitrogen and phosphorus. It will also help keep your polka dot leaves looking vibrant and fresh.

J R Peters 52024 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer

7. Cut Back Any Visible Flowers

Although this may be a bad idea for most plants, it’s suitable for a polka dot. Flowering is generally a good thing. But when a polka dot begins to flower, it indicates that its life is coming to an end. Although there’s no way to prevent the death of your polka dot entirely, you can prolong its life by cutting away new flowers.

To do this, you should remove any new flowers as soon as they grow in. This ensures the plant uses all its energy to stay alive–if you allow the flowers to grow, the plant will need to use lots of its power for this. Of course, it’s not necessary to cut back any visible flowers if you’re okay with your plant dying naturally.

But if you want it to last a few extra weeks or months, this step is necessary. The flowers are generally a purplish color, and they’re nicely vibrant. However, many people believe they take away from the beautiful look of the spotty leaves, which is another reason why people like to cut off any flowers that grow.

If you cut off the flowers, it won’t prolong the polka dot’s life by much. At most, it’ll last a few extra months. It’s good to be aware of this so that you’re not disappointed when it eventually dies.

Thorsen's Greenhouse Pink Splash Plant, Live Indoor Plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya, Polka Dot Plant, 6 Inches, Biodegradable Pot (Natural)

How Long Do Polka Dot Plants Last?

Polka dot plants last 1 to 2 years in most cases. For the most part, they are considered annuals rather than perennials due to their short lifespans. However, they are more commonly referred to as perennials in Madagascar, where they can live for years without dying.

But since you’re most likely living in the US, you can expect your polka dot to last for two years at most. If you cut back the flowers as they grow, you can increase the plant’s lifespan (but not by much). Additionally, it will be easier for the polka dot to survive longer if it’s indoors because you can control the environment more easily.

You should also make sure that you are watering your plant consistently and giving it adequate sunlight so that it can last as long as possible.

Are Polka Dots Easy To Grow?

Polka dots are relatively easy to grow, but they require some care and maintenance during the growing season. To survive, they need to be watered, fertilized, and kept humid, so you can’t just leave them to grow by themselves. They also need regular pruning to avoid legginess.

However, they’re still relatively low-maintenance compared with other plants out there. The most time-consuming aspect of growing a polka dot is probably the pruning because you may need to do it a few times a week during the peak growing season. It also means you need to keep a constant eye on the plant to catch new stems growing as quickly as possible.

The longer you leave it to cut away unwanted stems, the less likely it will be that your polka dot will grow fuller. Luckily, it’s easy to find unwanted branches, and you can get rid of them by using your hands.

Are Polka Dots Good Houseplants?

Polka dots are good houseplants because they’re relatively easy to grow and maintain. Plus, they’re bright and colorful. Because of their unique foliage, they bring excitement and brightness to any home.

Another great thing is that they don’t need direct sunlight to thrive. This means you can keep them indoors and out of the sunlight from time to time without worrying about them wilting and dying.

And although they require plenty of humidity, you can mist them regularly to keep them healthy. So even if your home is low on moisture, these plants can make excellent houseplants!

Since polka dots are short-lived plants, you can frequently replace them with new plants. This is excellent if you like to change up the look of your home every year by incorporating new plants. You don’t have to feel bad about replacing a polka dot plant to spice up your home because it will naturally die within a year or two anyway!

Red Polka Dot Plant - 3'' from California Tropicals

Is Fertilizer Necessary for Polka Dots?

Fertilizer is necessary for polka dots if you want them to thrive and live for as long as possible. Since they’re heavy feeders, they need plenty of nutrients throughout spring and summer to remain healthy.

If you don’t use fertilizer during the growing season, your polka dot might become nutrient-deficient and die prematurely. That’s why it’s important to use rich soil and fertilizer. As mentioned earlier in the article, you should use fertilizer at least once a month.

However, it’s good to use it once every week or two to keep the plant healthy and long-lasting. You can buy ready-made fertilizer easily online or in stores, and most will be suitable for all plants, including polka dots.

Although fertilizing is essential during the peak growing season, it’s unnecessary during the off-peak seasons (fall and winter). During these periods, your polka dot plant won’t be growing very much, so it won’t need extra nutrients from fertilizer.

If you fertilize your plant during the cold seasons, it could promote growth (which you want to avoid).

Can You Grow a Polka Dot in a Dark Room?

You can’t grow a polka dot in a dark room because it needs indirect sunlight to grow and survive. If you keep it in a dark room for too long, it will eventually die. It’s best to keep your polka dot by a window that receives some sunlight throughout the day.

It would be best if you also didn’t keep a polka dot in a room with too many windows and too much sunlight because this could cause it to scorch and die. It’s vital to balance sunlight and shade when growing and caring for a polka dot plant.

White Polka Dot Plant - 3'' from California Tropicals


To grow and care for a polka dot plant, you should:

  • Water it as needed.
  • Use well-drained soil and a pot with drainage holes.
  • Grow it in indirect sunlight.
  • Keep it moist by using mist.
  • Prune the plant frequently during the growing season.
  • Fertilize the potted soil at least once a month during spring and summer.

In addition to these steps, it’s also good to cut back any flowers that grow if you want to prolong your polka dot’s life by a few more weeks or months.

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