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HYPOESTES phyllostachya

Image of Hypoestes phyllostachya

Felder Rushing

Family

Acanthaceae

Botanical Name

HYPOESTES phyllostachya

Plant Common Name

Polka Dot Plant, Polkadot Plant

General Description

Named for its colorfully dotted leaves, polkadot plant is an evergreen tender perennial native of Madagascar. It is a popular house and bedding plant grown for its brightly hued, spotted or mottled foliage. There are many well known cultivars with different spotting, such as the red-spotted 'Carmina' and pink-spotted ‘Pink Brocade.'

The pretty opposite leaves of polkadot plant are oval, thin and spotted in shades of white, pink, red and green. The bushy, compact plants eventually become woody at the base if grown where they are hardy. When growing conditions are favorable, small, inconspicuous flowers of lavender are produced in the upper leaf joints. It is wise to pinch off the flowers to encourage foliar growth. If allowed to produce fruit, small capsules form which forcibly explode and expel many small seeds.

Polkadot plant is generally very easy to grow. It requires evenly moist, fertile, well-drained soil. It is very frost sensitive and can only be grown as a bedding annual or houseplant in temperate gardens. In tropical landscapes it should be grown in shaded locations with bright filtered light and high ambient humidity. Regular pinching of the new growth will keep the plants bushy and full, otherwise they may become leggy. This beautiful ornamental makes a fine tropical groundcover (though a short-lived one) and looks great as a foliar accent plant for containers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    8"-24" / 20.3cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Madagascar

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Rose

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    SpottedMottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edging, Groundcover, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes