by Anna Karsten

House Plants: Polka Dot Plant Care Guide

Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachya) is one of the most beautiful houseplants you can find. Its exquisite leaves and polka dot patterns make it stand out from most other plants.

It comes in a number of different colors too including pink, red, purple, and white. There are also plant breeding experts who have developed even more vividly colorful types of Hypoestes Phyllostachya.

Another reason this is such a wonderful addition to your home is because the Hypoestes Phyllostachya is pretty easy to grow. They are best planted in the spring and they will grow at a moderate speed.

This Polka Dot plant care guide will walk you through all of the steps necessary to ensure that this beautiful plant thrives and bestows all of its amazing benefits on your home.

Benefit of Owning the Polka Dot Plant

Indoor plants like the Polka Dot Plant will enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your home and comes with a wide range of additional benefits such as improving your mood, filtering the air, and even reducing stress. Here are some exact ways that the Hypoestes Phyllostachya will benefit your home:

  • It’s a beautiful plant so it will improve your mood through aesthetics. This provides a boost to mood and creativity.
  • Its natural air filtration characteristics lower stress, fatigue, and sickness.
  • Removal of toxins makes you more productive.

That last point is especially true if you live in a large city where pollution could be a problem. Indoor plants can offset a lot of that toxicity and give you a healthy reprieve.

Hypoestes Phyllostachya Watering Guide

This plant loves damp soil that is not oversaturated. Like most houseplants, the most common mistake (and the most devastating for the plant) is overwatering.

However, there is a careful balance that needs to be found here because if the soil gets too dry, the plant will also suffer. The key is to water the plant only when the top layer of soil is dry.

Check it by sticking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it’s damp, then the plant does not need water. If that layer is dry, then it’s time to give her some water.

Just add water to the soil until it comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Then allow it to fully drain before placing it back into the decorative pot.

You will find that the Hypoestes Phyllostachya needs less water in the winter months since it’s dormant during this time.

Lighting Tips for Proper Care of the Polka Dot Plant

The Hypoestes Phyllostachya thrives on bright light but you have to make sure that sunlight is not directly hitting it through windows. Glass enhances the sun’s rays and can damage the plant. So the rule of thumb is to place this plant in the west or southern windows, or in a well-lit room.

If you plan to place the polka dot plant on a balcony or patio, then make sure it’s in a shaded area to avoid direct sunlight. UV rays will scorch the leaves and damage them.

If the Hypoestes Phyllostachya is not getting enough sunlight, its color will fade so if you notice this happening, then be sure to find a more suitable location for it.

Environmental Requirements of Polka Dot Plant

The polka dot plant thrives in an environment where the humidity is roughly 50%. So if you happen to live in a dryer climate, then you will need to create a humid environment. There are a couple of steps you can take to create a humid environment.

The first method is to place a drip tray under the plant so that it’s not touching the pot. The water will evaporate upward and create humidity. The other method is to periodically mist the leaves with water.

In addition to humidity, the Hypoestes Phyllostachya thrives at room temperature. That’s one of the reasons they are a perfect houseplant. However, you need to make sure you keep them away from air conditioning and heating vents.


What Happens if my Plant Starts Getting Leggy?

This is a fairly simple fix. Just prune the tips of the plant during its growth spurts. This will control its height and makes it a bit bushier too. So it’s a win-win!

Fertilize the Polka Dot Plant the Right Way!

The Hypoestes Phyllostachya does require feeding but only once the roots have developed to a specific point.

If the plant is young, then don’t fertilize it right away. Give it time to adapt after transplanting so that its roots have time to spread and make their home in the new soil.

Once you decide it’s time to feed the plant, you can use liquid fertilizer and apply it when watering the plant. Also you should never feed houseplants during winter months when they are dormant.

Start feeding the plant at the beginning of spring and then set up a regular schedule. Fertilizing the Hypoestes Phyllostachya will enhance its color and creates a more vibrant look. 

How to Propagate Polka Dot Plants

If you decide that you want some new additions to your home, you can propagate the Hypoestes Phyllostachya quite easily since their root systems require very little maintenance.

But, it’s just as easy to grow the plant from a seedling as well. In fact, both methods take about the same amount of time.

If you do choose to propagate with seeds, then it’s worth noting that you do not bury the seeds. This plant’s seeds should be placed on top of the soil and then watered. Soil will suffocate them.

But if you choose to propagate using the plant itself, then you will need to harvest cuttings in the beginning of spring. These cuttings are gathered around the base of the plant. Then dip those cuttings in root hormone and plant them in fresh, moist soil.


Pest and Disease Troubleshooting

The Hypoestes Phyllostachya will not have to deal with most diseases as long as you follow proper watering habits. Fungal infections are the most common but as long as the soil isn’t soggy, this will not be an issue.

With that said, your biggest concern will be pests. Spider mites, for example, can infest your Hypoestes Phyllostachya. I recommend that you regularly inspect the area in the plant between the stems to check for infestation. Do this every time you water the plant.

If you notice an infestation, then treat the plant immediately. Don’t wait! Infestations will spread quite quickly and will move from plant-to-plant. Finally, isolate the plant during treatment so the pests don’t move.


The Polka Dot Plant doesn’t require a lot of special care so as long as you follow the proper watering and lighting requirements, then it’s relatively low maintenance.

The biggest issue is that it will start to become leggy if it’s not getting enough light. If this happens, you’ll need to prune and move to better lighting to compensate.

If you care for the Hypoestes Phyllostachya, then it will bring delight to your home for many years to come.

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