The Polka Dot plant is best known for its beautiful speckled leaves. The Polka dot plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya, is a favorite accent plant that can be grown outdoors in flower beds or as a container plant in some areas. It is sometimes referred to as 'Freckle face'. It is also grown indoors as a houseplant and can be used in dish gardens and terrariums. Planting this along side an aluminum plant makes quite a combination for your indoor gardening specimens.
The Polka dot plant comes in two varieties. The most popular and my favorite is the pink leaved variety. It is also commonly found with white speckles on the leaf. It has green leaves with pink markings that are made more pronounced when the plant is grown in bright light. It will not tolerate direct sun but does well in a protected bright window. Provide average temperatures of 60-75 degrees and high humidity of 60 percent and above.
The Polka dot plant is a herbaceous plant that has a fine texture, with fast growing variegated leaves. The plant forms a mound and grows to about 24" high by 9" wide.
Care of a Polka Dot Plant
You should provide it with evenly moist soil so the edges of the leaves don’t brown. Feed it only three times during the summer with foliage plant food. It may need repotting annually. You should trim the plant back regularly so that it doesn’t get leggy, prune the plant back hard, and new growth at the soil level will come back strong fairly quickly.
The flower stalks arise from the base of the plant. Some gardeners feel that they detract from the plant and pinch them out at the base. If you want to try to start new plants from seed, let them grow and ripen their seeds.
Polka Dot Propagation
Propagation of the polka dot plant is done by taking cuttings at any time. The plants can be started fresh from seeds as well. When the stalks begin to dry and the seeds are ripe, collect the seeds and sow immediately on fresh, sterile potting mix. Keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy.
Next, cover them with glass or plastic to increase the humidity until the seeds germinate. When the seedlings are several inches tall, transplant them into pots.
Pests on the Polka Dot plant consist of mealy bugs and whiteflies. They can be treated with a horticultural oil.
Other species of include: ‘Wine Red’ which has dark red spots. The Splash Select Series has bright red, rose, white or pink speckles.