Scientific Name: Hypoestes
Synonym: Polka dot plant, Measles Plant, Freckle Face Plant
With their vibrantly speckled foliage that can have a variety of colours like white, pink, and red, Polka dot plants are the ideal pop of colour for any collection of indoor plants.
These tiny beauties thrive in conditions with medium lighting because the foliage is more vibrant in low light. Due to the fact that specimens grown in pots tend to remain smaller and more compact, they make an excellent addition to a foliage display or small individual plant on a window sill.
Most hypoestes are native to Madagascar, some regions of South Africa, and Southeast Asia. where they can be found along the canopy floor, growing in warm, moist conditions. They are relatively small growers, with a maximum height of 20 cm and a maximum spread of 15 cm. Ideally suited for small spaces with less natural light than is typical.
The Polka Dot Plant thrives in high humidity, making them ideal for a bathroom, kitchen, or as a vibrant addition to a terrarium. These characteristics make them the ideal first plant for beginners. They also prefer their soil to remain evenly moist and will droop when thirsty, letting you know when to water.
In order to promote compact growth, your plant should be moved to a brighter location if it starts to look stretched and leggy. This is typically an indication that it is not getting enough light. If cared for properly, the Polka Dot Plant will produce some tiny but lovely little blooms in the summer that give these delightful plants an additional layer of interest.
Put this adorable plant in a plain planter to highlight the foliage, or group several of the same colour to make a vibrant tabletop centrepiece. They will be a hit no matter where you decide to show them.
Toxicity: Polka dot plants are not known to be toxic to pets or humans
Polka Dot Plant Common Symptoms:
- Leaf drop is often the result of cold temperatures. The Polka dot plant prefers a constant temperature, so make sure it is away from any open windows or cool draughts that might cause temperature changes.
- Yellowing foliage: Overwatering is frequently the root of your Hypoestes' yellowing leaves. Although the Polka dot plant prefers its soil to be touchably moist, consistently saturated and soggy soil can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Additionally, yellowing foliage may indicate that root rot has already begun to develop.
- Limp Foliage: This is a sign that your houseplant is probably underwatered. If the potting soil feels dry to the touch, check it and water your plant. The plant should come back to life after about an hour or so. If your plant appears to be wet but the soil appears to be wet, this could indicate that your plant has been overwatered and that root rot has developed, making it impossible for your plant to absorb moisture. In this situation, re-pot your houseplant and remove any diseased or dead roots while examining the root system to see if it is still healthy. For more on identifying watering issues in house plants read: Identifying Over vs Underwatering.
- Dry, Shrivelled or pale leaves: The most likely causes of these symptoms are exposure to excessive light or a lack of humidity. First, check the lighting. If your plant is getting direct sunlight, we advise moving it to a spot that gets a little more filtered light. Check the humidity levels if the problem is not with the lighting. If the air is comparatively dry, we advise spritzing frequently or setting your plant on a pebble tray to increase the air's humidity.
- Pests: Polka dot plants are not often susceptible to pests but if care is not taken to keep your plant in its optimal condition to avoid stress occurring. Stress will lead to pest infestations causing excessive leaf discolouration and leaf drop. Mealybug is the most common indoor plant pest to be attracted to your Polka dot plant and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.
Polka Dot Plant Care Instructions
- Origin: Madagascar, South African and South East Asia
- Height: The plant can reach 20 cm high and 15 cm in spread.
- Light: Medium to bright filtered light is best. Avoid direct sunlight.
- Water: Keep soil very evenly moist, and avoid overly dry or overly soggy potting soil.
- Humidity: Preferably 50% or higher. To raise the humidity for your plant. Spritz it daily and place a plant on a pebble tray.
- Temperature: Polka dot plants like warm environments of between 17 °C and 27°C.
- Soil: A very well-draining organic soil that will hold onto some water.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize every two weeks from Spring to Autumn with a half dilution of a balanced liquid fertilizer.
- Repotting: In spring, re-pot into a planter a maximum of 5 cm larger than the previous, however, only re-pot once the plant is showing no new growth. Avoid disturbing the roots as this will cause transplant shock.
- Propagation: Polka dot plants can be easily propagated via stem cuttings. Take Cuttings of around 5 cm. Either place these cuttings into pre-moistened potting soil, or into a vase of water. Place into a clear plastic bag and position in a bright warm space. If using water, be sure to change the water at least once a week. With potting soil, check regularly and keep the soil moist to the touch. It should take 2 - 3 weeks for roots to develop. Plants in the soil can be tugged gently to see if they are rooted. Water propagated plants can be potted up once the roots are around 6 cm in length. Once potted, remove from the bag and treat as you would the mother plant.