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How to Care for Polka Dot Plant?

How to Care for polka dot plant?

The polka dot plant is a small but very impressive plant that has spotted and special leaves. Most polka dot plant species have pink leaves with green spots that make an exceptional combination, but there are some other species of this plant that have purple, white, red or other spots. Some growers even create special colors of this plant which is very impressive. Continue reading this article in TooPlant in order to learn more about how to grow and care for polka dot plant.

Introduction of Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Before addressing how to care for polka dot plant, please allow us to give you a brief introduction about this houseplant.

Name Polka Dot Plant
Family Acanthaceae
Botanical Name Hypoestes phyllostachya
Native South Africa, Madagascar, and south east Asia
Common Name(s) Polka dot plant, flamingo plant, freckle face, measles plant, pink dot

Introduction of Hypoestes phyllostachya (polka dot plant)The polka dot plant is not difficult to maintain, but since it is native to the tropics, it may not tolerate perennials in all areas and you will have to replace the plant with a new one each year.

The best time to plant polka dot plants is in the spring, and you should know that these plants have a moderate growth rate and remain small and compact even at maturity, especially when kept indoors. Therefore, polka dot plant is a good choice for those who are looking for a compact houseplant.

In this article, we want to provide you with information about how to care for polka dot plant, so stay tuned with Tooplant.

Types of Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)

In addition to the main species of polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), this plant has other species, each of which has leaves with a special and beautiful color.

How many varieties of polka dot plant are there?

Some of these types include the following:


Among the polka dot plant species, Carmina is a plant with dark green leaves that have red spots.


This species of polka dot plant has green leaves whose spots can be white, pink, rose, red, or burgundy.

Pink Brocade

This species of polka dot plant has green leaves with spotted pink spots.

‘Splash’ series

It is a type of polka dot plant whose green leaves are decorated with drop-like spots in pink, red or white.

Care for Polka Dot Plant

In short, about the maintenance and care of the polka dot plant, we must say that a warm and humid environment is all that this plant needs for healthy growth. polka dot plant likes regular watering and fertilizing in the growing season and may shrink during storage, which fortunately you can fill the plant with a timely and correct pruning. To have a polka dot plant that is always beautiful and fresh, it is necessary to observe and consider the vital items such as light, watering and other items that we have mentioned in detail below.

In this part, we will focus on the most important aspects which you need to take into consideration while treating this houseplant. The best methods of how to care for polka dot plants include as follows:

Polka Dot Plant Light Requirements: What light is best for Polka Dot Plants?

Light is among the first important issues to care for polka dot plant. If you keep this houseplant outside the house, it is better to put it in a place that is a little shady during the day. In fact, too much light can cause the plant’s leaves to fade. But if you keep the plant indoors, you need to provide plenty of indirect or filtered light.

Of course, polka dot plants can tolerate a small amount of direct light or low light during the day, but you should know that low light in the long run causes the leaves of the plant to fade or get thin. Therefore, the east or south window of the house is a good place to keep Hypoestes phyllostachya and provides good light for the plant.

So, as shown above, light plays a significant role to care for polka dot plants.

Polka Dot Plant Watering: How often should you water a Polka Dot Plant?

In the rest, concerning the tips of caring for a polka dot plant, it is better to know that the soil of this houseplant should always be moist and its humidity should be managed. That is, you must be careful that the soil of the polka dot plant does not become too dry or too wet; this is because excessive drying of the soil can cause the plant to wither and then to die in the long run. Excessively wet soil can also cause plant roots to rot and die. Therefore, watering is another important aspect in order to care for polka dot plant.

As a general rule, whenever the upper half of the plant dries out, it is time to re-water it. Keep in mind that the indoor plants need more watering than the plants in the ground. So regularly check the soil of the plant and water it if necessary.

In winter, however, reduce the amount of watering slowly, because polka dot plant is resting in winter and needs less water. Instead, whenever you enter the next growing season, return to the plant watering routine.

In this way, to care for polka dot plant, watering is considered to be of great significance.

Polka Dot Plant Soil: What is the best soil for a Hypoestes phyllostachya?

Intending to care for polka dot plant, the other crucial matter is soil. This houseplant prefers to live in an organic, rich and well-drained soil. Any soil composition that is organic is suitable for this plant. In the case of drainage, if you want to have better drainage, you can use perlite or pumice in the soil composition.

Thus, it can be said that, soil is another basic and important issue so as to care for polka dot plant.

Polka Dot Plant Temperature Tolerance

Now, we come to temperature which is assumed to be principal to care for polka dot plant in addition to light, watering and soil that are mentioned above.

The polka dot plant needs a temperature of about 21 to 26 degrees Celsius. Therefore, if you keep your plant outdoors, you should move it indoors before the onset of winter.

Polka Dot Plant Humidity: Does Polka Dot Plant like humidity?

Moisture is another thing which we need to inevitably pay attention to when talking about how to care for polka dot plant. Regarding humidity, we must say that this houseplant needs a humid environment and prefers to live in a place with a humidity above 50%. As a result, the plant storage environment needs to be humid. If your home environment is dry, you can get help by spraying water around the plant, placing a fumigator near the plant, or placing the plant in places such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Therefore, please do not forget to take humidity into consideration in order to care for polka dot plant in the best way.

Polka Dot Plant Fertilizer: What is the best fertilizer for a Polka Dot Plant?

When you want to care for polka dot plant, one of the important questions that may come to your mind is “what is the best fertilizer?” In what follows, we will address how to fertilize this plant:

Polka dot plant is very interested in nutrition. Therefore, whether you keep it in the garden or in a pot, you need to fertilize it. If you plant it in the garden, you can mix some compost with the plant soil every spring to provide enough food for it. If your polka dot plant lives in pots and indoors, you can use organic plant fertilizers monthly during the growing season, i.e., from spring to autumn. In winter, you should not fertilize this plant.

It should be noted that a standard 20-20-20 fertilizer is a good choice to use for polka dot plants (Hypoestes phyllostachya).

As a result, we could say that fertilizer is regarded as one of the fundamental issues when someone wants to care for polka dot plant.

Polka Dot Plant Toxicity: Are Polka Dot Plants poisonous to humans and pets?

In order to care for polka dot plant, toxicity is considered to be a major issue because it directly relates to your health especially children and pets.

In general, the polka dot plant is a non-toxic plant and is considered safe for humans, dogs, cats and even wildlife animals and does not cause poisoning. Of course, this does not mean that eating this plant does not cause any problems; Digestive problems may occur if a large volume of the leaves or stems of this houseplant is swallowed.

Polka Dot Plant Repotting: How to repot Polka Dot Plant?

When the roots of the polka dot plant start to come out from under the pot, it is time to change the pot.

But before repotting, be sure to use its stems for propagation.

Note that in no case should the difference in size of pots be more than one size, because in this case the plant has to do the growth of roots and then start growing stems and leaves.

Polka Dot Plant Pruning: How to prune Polka Dot Plant?

Another thing to keep in mind when caring for a polka dot plant is pruning it. As we said, polka dot plant is very prone to thinning and needs pruning to prevent this.

You do not need any special tools to do this and you can prune the top two leaves of each stem with your nails on a weekly basis.

By pruning the Hypoestes phyllostachya, the plant will grow stronger and healthier from the pruned place again.

Propagating Polka Dot Plant: How to propagate Polka Dot Plants?

When you want to care for polka dot plant, another important question that may come to your mind is “how to propagate it.”

To propagate this houseplant, you can use two methods: 1- Propagating by seeds, 2- Propagating by stem cuttings.

If you want to use the seed growing method, you should start by soaking the seeds in early spring, then transfer the seeds to moist, warm soil to germinate after a few days. After a week or two, the seeds have grown to the point where you can transfer them to a pot.

But if you want to use the second method to propagate polka dot plant, you need a stem about 10 cm from the plant that is healthy and strong. After finding the desired stem and cutting it, put the end of the stem in the root hormone, then plant it in warm, moist soil. After about a week your cuttings will take root and start growing.

Common Pests and Diseases

There is nothing special about polka dot plant diseases, but in the case of pests, pests such as spider mite, mealybugs or aphids can attack your plant. When these pests attack the polka dot plant, its leaves may appear colorless, perforated, or generally unhealthy. Therefore, if you see such cases, be sure to act quickly to eliminate the pests.

Common Pests

Polka dot plant, like any other plant, can be exposed to pests.


The presence of white cotton-like sores on the leaves and stem of the polka dot plant is a sign of bedbugs. This pest feeds on plant sap and causes the leaves to become tubular and reduce growth. In the long run, it also causes the complete destruction of the plant.

Treatment: Spray with penetrating insecticide every two weeks until the problem is completely resolved. Also, using cotton soaked in water and soap and rubbing it on the infected plant leaves can be effective in removing stone flower weevils.

Spider mite

The formation of spider web wounds on the underside of the leaves and yellowing and dropping of the leaves are signs of this pest.

Treatment: Use acaricide according to the instructions.


Aphids are another common pest that attacks this plant. As a result of the activity of this pest, a sticky substance called Honeydew is produced, which makes the appearance of the plant ugly and weakens the plant.

Treatment: To fight this pest, you must use special pesticides according to the instructions.

Keep in mind that a plant that lives indoors and in poor conditions is usually more likely to be harmed than a plant that lives in the garden. As a result, if your Hypoestes phyllostachya lives indoors, even in good conditions, check the plant regularly for pests, and if it does, you can take action to get rid of them in a timely manner.

Caring for Polka Dot Plant: Common Problems With Polka Dot Plant

After a description of taking care of a polka dot plant, we will explain the problems and their solutions:

Why Are Polka Dot Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

As “leaves turning yellow” is one of the common problems that you may face when you want to care for polka dot plant, we will try to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

The yellowing of the leaves of this houseplant is due to overwatering; Excessive watering causes the plant soil to remain wet and as a result, the roots will be damaged and eventually the leaves of the plant will turn yellow. Unfortunately, the leaves do not return to their original state after turning yellow and drop after a while.

Why are Hypoestes phyllostachya leaves turning brown?

There are several reasons that can cause the leaves of the polka dot plant to turn brown. These reasons include excessive drying of the soil, use of heavy water (high in salts), high fertilization, very hot environment, low humidity and excessive or low light. Therefore, if the leaves of your plant have turned brown, it is better to check the above-mentioned points. and after finding the problem, try to solve or correct the habit of keeping the polka dot plant.

Since “leaves turning brown” is another common problem that you may face when you want to care for polka dot plant, we tried to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

Why Are Polka Dot Plant Leaves Curling?

The curling of polka dot plant leaves is very different from drying. One of the main problems of polka dot plant holders is the curling of its leaves. If you also see that the leaves of this houseplant have curled, you should check and correct two things. The first is the humidity of the environment. Ambient humidity should be balanced.

High humidity in the plant area causes the leaves to curl and also low humidity causes the leaves to dry out, so you should be able to consider a suitable moisture for polka dot plant. The second case is to check the amount of light that shines in place. This happens sometimes if there is a lot of ambient light, although you should place this plant in an environment where there is plenty of light.

Why are Polka Dot Plant leaves dropping?

One of the problems that people face is the dropping of polka dot plant leaves. We must say that “leaves dropping” has different causes and one of them is the cold weather. If you also use cold water for watering, this may cause the leaves to drop.

If the plant is close to the gate, move it so that it is not exposed to cold air. Another reason could be the lack of moisture in the storage area, and you should use the island mode to provide moisture. In these cases, the tips of the leaves burn and drop.

Why is my Polka Dot Plant wilting?

The main problem that you may face in maintaining polka dot plant is the wilting of its leaves. The wilting of polka dot plant leaves is directly related to the method and amount of watering. If enough moisture does not reach the roots, the flower leaves wither. To avoid this problem, water the plant every two to three days. To remove the wilting of the leaves of this houseplant, just add some water to the soil.

Usually, people do not know what to do after seeing a defect in their houseplants. For example, some people do not know what to do in order to solve the wilting of the leaves of polka dot plant. If you also see that your plant leaves have withered, just give it some water. Watering is the only way you can do after the leaves wither. As we have already explained, polka dot plant loves watering and it should be watered carefully.

Why is my polka dot plant losing its spots?  (Here’s Why & How To Fix It!)

One of the problems of polka dot plant is the disappearance of spots on the leaves, colored spots on the plant is one of its beauty factors and with their disappearance, the leaves turn green.

In case of this problem, the plant may not receive enough light. Move it and place it in the indirect sun behind the window. The main reason is the lack of light. If you have low light in the house, be sure to use plant growth light.

Why is my polka dot plant losing color?

This problem occurs due to lack of nutrients and fertilizers. If you face this problem, you can strengthen the plant and soil. You can use NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer during the growing season of the plant, which is from early spring to late summer.

Why are my polka dot plant leaves burning?

This problem occurs for two main reasons. The first one is exposure to direct sunlight. As mentioned, light should shine indirectly on the plant. The second one is the use of chemical brighteners on the leaves. The cause of burning the tip of the polka dot plant leaf can also be due to the lack of moisture and thirst of the plant. First find the cause and then take action to eliminate it.

How do I make my Polka Dot Plant thicker?

This plant naturally becomes thinner with age. Of course, low light can also cause the plant to get thin. As a result, if this problem is not due to unsuitable light, you can solve this problem by pruning the upper leaves of the plant on a weekly basis and make the plant denser and thicker.

Does Polka Dot Plant Bloom?

Polka dot plant is one of the houseplants that also has flowering, but its flowers are not as attractive as its leaves; In fact, this plant is more famous for its beautiful leaves. Therefore, you can prune the flowers of the polka dot plant so that the plant can focus on the healthy and strong growth of its leaves. The leaves are the strong point of this plant and of course the main factor of its beauty!

Polka dot plant has small purple flowers. Unfortunately, these flowers are a sign of the end of a period for this houseplant. In fact, this flowering shows that the plant either dies or goes into hibernation after the end of this period. In this regard, we must say that if you have taken good care of your plant, you can hope that after the end of flowering, your plant will fall asleep and after a while, it will wake up healthy from hibernation.

Infographic Of How To Care For Polka Dot Plant

In this article, we tried to explain to you in an infographic the essential tips in the care of polka dot plant, so that you can briefly and usefully learn the methods of caring for this plant.

In The End

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of caring for a polka dot plant.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

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