Polka Dot Plant Care Guide

The Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is well known for its colorful foliage. Their bright and beautiful leaves make them a welcome addition to any home. And if you care for them well, you can enjoy their beauty for many years.

The polka dot plant can be grown outdoors in zone 10 and zone 11 USDA growing zones, however, this article will focus on growing and caring for the polka dot plant as a houseplant.

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Polka Dot Plant Basics

The polka dot plant originally comes from Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. They are sometimes also called the freckle face plant or the flamingo plant.

Originally, the only variety of polka dot plant had dark green leaves with small pink spots. Over the years, the polka dot plant has been hybridized domestically to produce the many different colors and varieties that are available today. The underside of polka dot plant leaves are usually white or light colored.

Occasionally, the polka dot plant can also produce small pink or lavender flowers. Polka dot plants grow to be about 12 in (30 cm) tall in ideal conditions, but are often smaller when grown indoors.

Caring for Your Polka Dot Plant

The polka dot plant is relatively easy to care for as a houseplant, but there are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to so your plant can thrive. Here’s what you need to know:

SunlightBright, indirect sunlight
WaterKeep soil moist
SoilRich soil with good drainage
Temperature60o-70o F
ToxicityNot toxic to pets

Light and Temperature

Polka dot plants do best in bright, indirect light. Their colors become deeper and stronger in shade, but you may find your plant becomes thin and leggy as it searches out the sunlight. A sunny (but not too sunny) spot will work best. 

Warmth and humidity are extremely important for the polka dot plant. Polka dot plants like temperatures above 70℉/21℃, and like at least 50% humidity. Misting your plant with a spray bottle can help increase the humidity and help it feel its best.

Soil and Moisture

Polka dot plants like rich soil with lots of organic material that also drains well. I like using an all-purpose potting soil with some perlite mixed in to improve drainage. 

Polka dot plants also like their soil to be moderately moist at all times. If your plant’s soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water. Polka dot plants tend to need less water in the winter months. 


Polka dot plants love fertilizer! I highly recommend giving them a fertilizer made for houseplants once a month during the spring and summer months, following the directions on the package. This is the fertilizer that I use for many of my houseplants.

Polka Dot Plant Propagation

One of my favorite things about polka dot plants is that they are very easy to propagate from a leaf cutting. To propagate from a cutting, take a cutting that has about 4 inches of stem, dip the end in your favorite rooting hormone, and plant in moistened soil. Your polka dot plant cutting should begin growing roots in about 10 days. Place your cutting in indirect sunlight and keep the soil relatively moist at all times.

Polka Dot Plant Toxicity

Polka dot plants are not toxic to dogs, cats, other animals, or children. This makes them a great choice for a busy home with little ones or furry friends. Still, you will want to keep your polka dot plant in a place safe from curious creatures, so it can grow to its full potential. 

Polka Dot Plant Pests, Fungus, and Other Issues

Unfortunately, polka dot plants grown in a houseplant setting can sometimes attract insects and other undesirable conditions. When grown indoors, you may see aphids, scale, mealy bugs, or whiteflies. 

Overwatering your polka dot plant can lead to root rot. White powdery mildew can also be a concern, as well as other types of fungus.

Varieties of Polka Dot Plant

Over the years, breeders have created several new varieties of polka dot plants, including:

  • Confetti: this variety of polka dot plant comes in a wide variety of colors, like pink, white, red, and burgundy. Confetti polka dot plants are generally a bit smaller than other varieties.
  • Splash: this variety has green leaves with large splashes of color, like red, white, or pink
  • Wit: this variety of polka dot plant has white and green marbled leaves.
  • Pink Dot: this variety, as the name suggests, has pretty pink spots on the leaves.
  • Purpuriana: this variety of polka dot plant has gorgeous purple leaves.
  • Pink Brocade: this variety has mottled leaves and pink spots.
  • Carmina: this variety of polka dot plant has bright red blotches on the leaves.


Polka dot plants are beautiful, colorful, and relatively easy to grow. Find a variety you love and add it to your space to bring a splash of color to your home!

Kate Inskeep

Kate Inskeep is a mom of three from Illinois who loves growing things. She fell in love with houseplants after a friend gifted her some succulents. Before long, her windowsills were full of plants, and she was hooked.

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