NOTE: Polka dot plant may be referred to as Hypoestes phyllostachya in this article, in fact, those are the same plants, Hypoestes phyllostachya is the botanical name for Polka dot plant.
The Hypoestes phyllostachya is an eye-catching little plant with brightly variegated leaves that stand out against most other foliage. The leaves of the most common polka dot plants are pink and green. There are several spotted or mottled varieties with purple, white, red, and deeper colors and brighter contrast, so the plants pop even more.
Many gardeners treat these plants as annuals, because they are native to warm climates, and replace them with new plants each year. The best time to plant them is in the spring. They can be grown indoors in containers. They have a moderate growth rate and are relatively small when grown indoors. They are not considered an invader because they have a vigorous growth rate in Australia, where they are a weed.
Why does my Hypoestes phyllostachya roots have rot?
Root rot on your Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) can be fatal if not treated with care. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you follow our guide to keep your plant alive if the symptoms occur: Root soft and blackened.
Why does my Polka dot plant have gray mold spots?
A particular fungus known as gray mold spots spreads quickly and frequently damages flowers. This fungus is probably to blame if you see any brown (or gray) spots. If you disregard these warning signs, your plant could die.
The solution is quite logical when you know the cause of the problem. Most of the time, it is due to overwater of the Hypoestes phyllostachya. We advise you to remove the infected parts of the plant, cut off the infected roots and leaves, then repot your plant using sterile potting soil and a clean pot.
Why does my Polka dot plant have leaf spots?
If your plants exhibit symptoms like rapid color changes in the leaves or leaves that wilt or droop, we give you all the information you need to recognize them and rescue your plants. For owners of Polka dot plant, this kind of illness is among the most distressing.
Why are my Polka dot plant leaves turning yellow?
This is probably the most common problem in the gardening world, yellowing leaves. There are 2 main reasons for this phenomenon, overwatering, or a lack of nutrients.
When it’s overwatering, simply reduce your watering frequency, and if you think it’s a nutrient deficiency, here’s how to check it:
Each deficiency produces a different yellowing on the Hypoestes phyllostachya in question, here’s how to spot them:
- The first symptom of a magnesium deficiency is yellow patches between leaf veins on elder leaves. The leaf’s core turns yellow while the veins stay green. The edges of the leaf yellow last.
- Yellowing between leaf veins is another sign of iron shortage, but young leaves on plant tops and branch tips are initially affected.
- Sulfur shortage first affects the youngest leaves, turning them entirely yellow.
- Leaf edges turning bright yellow but inside leaf remaining green are signs of potassium insufficiency. The symptoms first appear on older leaves, and the leaf edges quickly become dark.
- Nitrogen deficiency shows up as a general yellowing. Older, inner leaves turn yellow first. As it progresses, yellowing moves outward, eventually reaching young leaves, too.
You only need to respond to the signs mentioned above. A gardening store expert will be able to provide you advice on how to purchase a specific soil to treat a potassium or nitrogen deficiency. Additionally, you can reduce how often you water your plants.
Is my Polka dot plant sunburned?
It is quite easy to find out if your Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) has been burned by the sun. Just like on us, your plant will change color in this case, it will start to turn yellow or white.
The leaves of your Polka dot plant can also change color in case it gets too much water or not enough light, as we saw above.
To find out if the yellow leaves have been sunburned, look at the part of the bottom that is tinted closer to the base. The yellow leaf is probably burnt and not something else if this portion stays greener.
Why are my Polka dot plant leaves turning brown?
A plant’s browning leaves are typically a symptom that it has been sunburned and has been exposed to excessive amounts of direct sunlight. Don’t worry; your plant probably won’t perish as a result, but its growth will be negatively impacted.
Should I leave my Hypoestes phyllostachya in direct sunlight?
No! If your Hypoestes phyllostachya (or Polka dot plant) has the symptoms described above, don’t leave it in direct sunlight, that’s the reason why your Polka dot plant is in such a state!
As explained in the paragraph above, the solution is simple, just place your Polka dot plant in a place where the light does not reach it directly, in this way and with a correct watering, your plant should resume its life rather quickly.
Why are my Hypoestes phyllostachya leaves drooping or wilting ?
When you become dehydrated, this usually happens. Large plants are more vulnerable since they need more water on a regular basis than smaller plants.
You may quickly determine if your Hypoestes phyllostachya plant needs water by under-weighing its pot; if it seems light, the soil and roots are probably fairly dry and require water.
If the soil in the container is completely dry, you must first moisten it to guarantee that your plant’s roots absorb the benefits of the water. One common mistake is to drown the Polka dot plant right away after a dry time because you think it needs a lot of water.
This is true, but the easiest way to end it is to give too much water at once. Instead, you should water the soil properly, returning to a peaceful watering rhythm.
Caring Tips for Hypoestes phyllostachya
Your plant needs water to survive, but it’s crucial to balance the amount and timing of watering. As we previously mentioned, overwatering could be catastrophic for your Hypoestes phyllostachya.
The best way to know if your plant needs water or not is to touch the soil, if you feel it is still wet, it is probably a good idea to wait a few more days.
Always keep temperatures stable
It is also a good idea to keep your Hypoestes phyllostachya at a stable temperature (especially if it is kept indoors!). At GreenShack, we generally recommend staying in the 65 and 85 degrees F range. Of course, do not place your Hypoestes phyllostachya near a source of hot (or cold) air such as A/C units, radiators or the like.
Keep your Polka dot plant Dust-Free
This one relates to indoor plants. Just like your furniture, dust collects on the leaves of your indoor plants. The issue is that this can block the photosynthesis process from starting, which would cause the plants to gradually lose their color.
This would also make the pests happy, a real descent into hell for your Polka dot plant.
To remove the dust, gently rub the plant’s leaves with a microfiber cloth. Dust can be removed more easily with a damp cloth, but stay away from corrosive substances like rubbing alcohol!
Keep drainage in mind
If you tend to overwater, you need to pay attention to your drainage, and we advise choosing a saucer and a pot with drainage holes if they are not already there.
You can add volcanic rocks (or any other pebbles with holes) to the bottom of your pot in the interim if your pots don’t already have holes in them. This will help to form a channel so that the water doesn’t pool there for too long (preventing the rot of the roots!).