The Polka Dot plant is a fun, colorful houseplant famous for its eye-catching spotted leaves. The most common cultivar is the pink polka dot plant, the pink brocade, with dark green leaves and pink spots. The polka dot plant also comes in purple, red, white, and other color varieties.
The Hypoestes phyllostachya is relatively easy to care for and makes for a great indoor plant. Keep reading to learn all about Polka Dot plant care and how to keep this fun splash of color in your home.
- Hypoestes phyllostachya
- Flamingo plant
- Freckle face
- Measles plant
- Pink dot
What Soil Works Best for Polka Dot Plants?
The Polka Dot plant does best with moist, well-draining soil that is slightly acidic. The ideal pH range for Polka Dot plants is between 5.6 and 6.5. They will do well with almost any standard potting soil mix. Look for a potting mix rich in organic material and contains perlite or other materials that help with drainage.
How Much Sun Does a Polka Dot Plant Need?
The Pink Dot plant does best with bright, indirect sunlight or low light. Indirect light helps keep the leaf color looking its best. Too much bright light or direct sunlight can cause the leaves to curl, burn, and fade in color.
The Polka Dot plant might grow towards the light when kept in low light conditions and become a little leggy. Therefore, rotate your pot often and use clean, sharp shears to prune the plant to keep it from getting too leggy and wild.
What Temperature Works Best for Polka Dot Plants?
The Measles plant is native to Madagascar. Madagascar is warm, so this plant thrives in similar home temperatures. It grows best in climates between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can tolerate temperatures between 50 and 80.
Do Polka Dot Plants Enjoy Humidity?
Pink Dot plants do very well with humidity, so consider placing them in a bathroom with a shower or near a sink. You can set your Polka Dot plant near a humidifier or use a humidity tray underneath your pot to keep humidity levels high. Misting the leaves in between waterings is also recommended.
How Often Should You Water a Measles Plant?
Polka Dot plants enjoy moist soil, so they need watering often. Monitor the soil frequently by placing your finger on the top of the soil. Water the Polka Dot plant after the first 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil has dried out. But be careful not to overwater the plant or let it sit in standing water. Always water your plant with room temperature water.
What Size Do Polka Dot Plants Grow to Typically?
Polka Dot plants can grow quite quickly, but they remain relatively small when mature. When mature, they can grow to be about 1–2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. The leaves grow to be about 2 inches wide. That means this little plant will fit nicely on a shelf or many other areas of the home or office.
Most Common Bugs
Be watchful for signs of aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and other pests. Check for discolored spots and holes in the leaves. Regularly examine the stems and undersides of the leaves for any small bugs.
If your plant does become infested, gently wash the leaves with insecticidal soap and rinse well.
Most Common Diseases
Some of the most common issues with Polka Dot plants come from their leaves. If the leaves are curling, turning brown, or drooping, the plant is likely not getting enough water or humidity. It may also be getting too much direct sun. Consider moving your plant to a shadier spot in your home or increasing humidity. Use a regular watering schedule and always keep the soil moist.
Overwatering is another common problem with this plant. If the leaves turn yellow, mushy, or fall off, then the plant might be getting too much water. Overwatering can cause other diseases like root rot, fungal growth, and powdery mildew. If your plant shows any of these signs, reduce watering and humidity levels and ensure your plant is in a pot with suitable drainage holes.
How Often Should You Repot Polka Dot Plants?
Since it is a slow grower, the Polka Dot plant does not need repotting often. Consider repotting your plant every three years into a slightly larger pot. Monitor your plant for signs of being root bound and repot it if it seems unwell or overcrowded.
How Do You Propagate Polka Dot Plants?
Polka Dot plants are straightforward to propagate. Find a healthy-looking stem and use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to cut it off right below a leaf node. Then, place the stem cutting in a glass with clean water and place it near a window with bright, indirect sunlight. Change the water regularly and keep the glass clean.
After several days, the cutting should begin to grow roots. The roots typically grow very quickly on the Polka Dot plant, but you can also use a rooting hormone to help with this step. Once the roots are a few centimeters long, you can plant the cutting in a small pot with potting soil. The plant should take root, and you’ll have a new plant in no time!
Conclusion — How to Take Care of a Polka Dot Plant
In summary, polka dot plants are a stunning addition to any home. Their brightly colored foliage may make them look like a challenging plant, but it is pretty easy to grow Polka Dot plants in reality. Remember, keep the soil moist and keep the plant out of bright, direct sunlight. With proper care, you can enjoy these beauties from South Africa in your home year-round!