How to Grow Polka Dot Plants Indoors or Outdoors Guide

As you know Hypoestes phyllostachya or Polka dot plant is an evergreen houseplant which is native to South Africa. They are hardy to zone 10 and 11 & it has colorful leaves that look so unique. It is also a dramatic variety that’s why it is also known as freckle face plant.

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants Indoors or Outdoors?

To grow Polka Dot Plants outdoor, choose a location with partial shade and well-draining soil. Ensure the plant receives sufficient sunlight while protecting it from intense afternoon sun. Regular watering is crucial, considering the specific needs of the plant and the local climate. Adjust your care routine accordingly to cater to the individual requirements of the Polka Dot Plant.

To Grow Polka Dot Plants indoors, find a bright spot with indirect sunlight for optimal growth. It’s important to maintain a temperature range of 70-75°F (21-24°C) and provide moderate humidity. Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering. During the growing season, fertilize the plant according to the recommended guidelines.

What is Polka Dot Plant?

Hypoestes phyllostachya, the Polka Dot Plant, is a popular houseplant with colorful leaves. This Madagascar-born plant is named for its leaf dots. Pink, red, white, and green hues decorate the Polka Dot Plant. It’s tiny enough for tabletops, shelves, and terrariums at 12 inches (30 cm). Indoor gardeners like it because of its little maintenance.

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For many years this plant is listed in another category and Now it is a member of Hypoestes which is a group of over 95+ plant. Polka dot plant initially found in madagascar, South Asia region and it is a perennial plant means it can be grown and existed for many years. They are also denoted as shrub plants which generally have woody stems once they become old.

Polka dot plants

They are generally 2-3 feet tall in height When grown outdoors but if it becomes leggy then they will be cut down to make them bushy. Also polka dot plants grown in smaller pots usually don’t make it to this height; they are smaller. Many people brought this plant for its foliage and it comes in different colors. The actual color of leaves is pink and the spots on those are generally dark green. It comes in different varieties having unique spots on each type of this plant, some of the colors are scarlet, white , lavender and purple foliage.

Splash and confetti Types of Polka dot plant are present having mottled splash with green base comes in different colors like white , red, pink. Confetti Types having scattered spots looks very unique.

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants Outdoors?

Polka Dot Plants Outdoors

Yes, polka dot plants (Hypoestes) can be grown outside, but these plants are native to Madagascar so they typically thrive in warm, humid environments. To successfully grow polka dot plants outdoors, you should take into account the following:

  • Climate: Polka dot plants like high humidity and temperatures between 60 and 80 °F (15 and 27 °C). USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12 are suitable for growing them outdoors. If you reside in a cooler area, you may still grow them outside throughout the summer, but you might need to bring them inside when the temperature drops below 60°F (15°C).
  • Light: Indirect, bright sunshine is ideal for polka-dot plants. The leaves may fade and lose their bright color if they are exposed to too much direct sunlight. If you’re planting outdoors, choose a spot that gets morning light and afternoon shadow, or dappled shade.
  • These plants demand rich, well-draining soil that is between pH 6.0 and 6.5. The soil’s quality may be improved by adding organic matter or compost, which also supplies the plant with crucial nutrients.
  • Polka dot plants must have continually wet soil, but they shouldn’t be left to stand in water. Make sure the soil drains effectively, and water the plant often, letting the top inch of the soil dry out in between.
  • Pruning: Pinch back the plant’s stems on a regular basis to keep it bushy and compact. This will promote new development and maintain the plant’s finest appearance.

Remember that polka dot plants are often planted as annuals or brief-lived perennials, so they may not survive for many years outdoors. But with the right maintenance, they can be a lovely and vibrant addition to your garden.

These are grown in low light conditions so when they get enough light they are more greener, but if they are not getting sufficient bright light. Polka dot plant become leggy and have longer stems which are weak to handle the burden of branches and leaves. Why they become leggy is because they stretches themselves in search of light. Indoor you can place them near windows with filtered or indirect light. Ideal temperature for polka dot plants is 60-70 degree F.

Outdoors polka dot plants need a good place with shade, Choosing an area with no direct sunlight is best for them. Using well draining soil for the potting and larger pots can be useful as these plants can grow up to 3 feet tall , you can grow them under a tree or your patio. Outside polka dots will grow much bigger compared to indoors. Roots of this plant grow faster.

These plants like moist soil but don’t make them soggy. For Outdoor plants they need small feeding of plant food and indoor it can be given in every 29 days when they are in their growing phase.

When they get older , it will start to become leggy  which can be pruned to control its legginess. Cutting the tips and thin stem part about 0.5 to 1 inch where it seems leggy can make it overcome this problem and also pruning increases the healthy growth.

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants Indoors

Polka Dot Plants Indoors

To grow Polka Dot Plants indoors, provide them with the right conditions. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, which may burn their delicate leaves, and instead place them in a well-lit room with bright, indirect light. These plants flourish best in windows that face north or east. Avoid excessive temperature changes and maintain a temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius).

polka dotted High humidity is ideal for plants; thus, raise the humidity by utilizing a humidifier close by, clustering plants together, or using a water-filled tray with stones. To provide more humidity, sometimes mist the leaves. Keep the soil continuously wet but not soggy when it comes to watering. When the top inch of soil feels just a little bit dry, water the plant. To prevent root rot, avoid overwatering and make sure sufficient drainage is in place.

For the Polka Dot Plant, use a peat-based potting mix that drains well or a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. During the growth season, fertilize the plant once a month with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Regularly prune the plant to promote bushier growth and preserve its form by pinching or clipping the developing tips.

Stem cuttings make it reasonably simple to propagate Polka Dot Plants. Remove the lowest leaves from 3- to 4-inch (7- to 10-cm) stem cuttings before putting them in wet potting soil or water to allow roots to form.

Keep an eye out for typical indoor pests like aphids or spider mites on the plant, and take fast action if an infestation develops. To avoid fungus problems, be aware of leaf spot infections and refrain from overhead watering. Every 1-2 years, when the plant’s roots grow confined, repot it in a new container with drainage holes to ensure appropriate water drainage.

You may enjoy Polka Dot Plants’ colorful and patterned leaves as an appealing and dynamic addition to your indoor plant collection by following these maintenance guidelines.

Caring for a polka dot plant (Hypoestes) indoors involves providing the appropriate conditions to ensure its growth and health. Here are some key aspects of indoor care:

Light: To keep their beautiful hues, polka dot plants need strong, indirect light. Put them beside a window that gets filtered light or in an area that gets dappled light. Insufficient light may result in lanky growth, while too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to fade and lose their color.

Temperature: The ideal range for these plants is 60 to 80 °F (15 to 27 °C). Keep them away from heaters, vents, or cold winds since rapid temperature fluctuations may harm plants.

High humidity is ideal for polka-dot plants, which are endemic to Madagascar. Use a humidifier or set up the plant on a tray with water and stones to keep the right amount of humidity inside. Regular water misting of the plant is another option, but be cautious not to overuse it as this might result in fungal problems.

Watering: Maintain a constant moisture level in the soil that is not flooded. When the top inch of soil seems dry to the touch, water the plant. To avoid standing water, which may cause root rot, use room-temperature water and make sure the pot has drainage holes.

Use a rich, well-draining potting soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. To increase aeration and drainage, you may add perlite or vermiculite.

During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize the plant every 4-6 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that has been diluted to half its original strength. During the fall and winter, lessen fertilization.

Pruning: Pinch back the stems often to promote bushiness and keep a compact form. This will encourage new development and maintain the plant’s vivid appearance.

Repotting is only essential when the plant gets root-bound or if the soil becomes exhausted since polka dot plants typically have a tiny root system. Select a pot with good drainage that is one size larger than the current pot.

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants From Cuttings

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants From Cuttings

Growing Polka Dot Plants from cuttings is a common propagation technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to assist you:

  1. Choose a robust parent plant: To take cuttings from, choose a mature, healthy Polka Dot Plant. Look for a stem with many sets of leaves on it that is a few inches long.
  2. Make the cutting ready: To cut a stem immediately below a node, which is the place where leaves emerge from the stem, use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Make sure a few sets of leaves remain at the top and remove any lower leaves.
  3. Apply rooting hormone if desired; while not necessary, doing so may improve the likelihood of a successful rooting. In accordance with the product’s directions, dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder or gel.
  4. Incorporate the cutting: A tiny container should be filled with seed starting mix or well-draining soil. With a pencil or your finger, make a tiny hole in the ground, and then carefully place the cut end of the stem inside. To firmly anchor the cutting, push the dirt around it.
  5. Set up suitable circumstances Put the pot somewhere warm and sunny, but keep it out of direct sunlight to protect the cutting. Maintain a reasonable humidity level and a temperature between 70 and 75 °F (21 and 24 °C). Mist the cutting every so often to keep the leaves moist.
  6. Watering and maintenance: Maintain a moderately wet but not too saturated soil. Finding a balance is essential since overwatering may cause rotting. To avoid root burn, avoid overfertilizing during this phase. Apply a balanced houseplant fertilizer and gradually increase the frequency of watering after the cutting grows roots and starts to bloom.
  7. Transplanting: You may transplant the cutting into a bigger pot or your preferred growing site after a few weeks, if it has developed a strong root system and fresh growth is evident.

How to Grow Polka Dot Plants From Seed

Growing Polka Dot Plants from seeds is another propagation method. Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Obtain high-quality seeds by buying fresh Polka Dot Plant seeds from a dependable vendor or, if possible, gathering seeds directly from established plants.
  2. Fill seed trays or small pots with a well-draining seed starting mix to prepare the seed trays or pots. Before planting the seeds, moisten the soil.
  3. Sprinkle the Polka Dot Plant seeds evenly on the soil surface to sow them. Gently push them into the ground, being careful not to bury them too deeply since they need light to germinate.
  4. Maintain ideal circumstances: Place the seed trays or pots in a warm area that is 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius). Provide indirect sunlight or use a grow lamp if you want your Polka Dot Plant seeds to germinate. By misting or softly watering, maintain a constant moisture level in the soil.
  5. Care for germination: Germination typically takes 1-2 weeks. As soon as the seedlings appear, make sure they have enough airflow and gradually increase the amount of indirect light they get. Thin out the weaker seedlings as they develop so the strongest ones may flourish.
  6. Transplanting: Place the seedlings into individual pots or the spot where you want them to grow after they are a few inches tall and have a few sets of leaves. To protect the tender roots, handle the seedlings carefully.
  7. Continued maintenance: Maintain a warm, humid climate, provide bright, indirect light, and water when the top inch of the soil feels a little dry. These are all general care instructions for Polka Dot Plants. When the seedlings are well-established and actively developing, start fertilizing.

Hypoestes phyllostachya Information


Polka Dot Plant Outdoors – Tips to Grow Hypoestes phyllostachya
Karl Thomas Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Polka Dot Plant Care and Growing


Bright, indirect light is ideal for Polka Dot Plants. Since direct sunshine might damage their leaves, they prefer filtered sunlight or somewhat shaded settings. Place your Polka Dot Plant next to a north or east-facing window so it may get enough of indirect light all day long. Use fluorescent or grow lights to offer the required light intensity if you’re growing it inside.


The health of Polka Dot Plants depends on maintaining the right moisture levels. They require soil that is regularly damp but not soggy. When the top inch of soil seems just a little bit dry to the touch, water your plant. Refrain from overwatering to prevent root rot. On the other hand, avoid letting the plant dry out entirely since this might result in withering. Depending on the climate and the plant’s need for moisture, adjust the frequency of your waterings.


During the growth season (spring and summer), provide a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to your Polka Dot Plant. Apply the fertilizer every two to four weeks after diluting it as directed on the packet. Avoid overfertilizing since it might burn the fertilizer and harm the plant. During the dormant season (autumn and winter), when the plant’s development slows down, reduce or stop fertilizing.


Pruning keeps your Polka Dot Plant in good condition and looks good. To promote bushier growth, prune stems that are lanky or straggly. Just above a leaf node, use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make precise cuts. To improve plant health generally, remove any dead, damaged, or yellowing leaves on a regular basis. Throughout the year, pruning may be done as required.

Surviving Winter

Although often grown as indoor houseplants, Polka Dot Plants may also flourish in certain types of outdoor environments. Bring your Polka Dot Plant indoors before temperatures drop if you live in a place with chilly winters, below USDA hardiness zone 10. Place the plant in a warm location that’s free from drafts, and make sure there’s enough light. Winter is a time when plants develop more slowly, so minimize the frequency of watering and let the soil somewhat dry out in between applications. Keep an eye out for symptoms of stress or pests on the plant, and alter the care as necessary.

Keep in mind that depending on their climate and special demands, each Polka Dot Plant may need different maintenance.



Related Posts:

How to Collect Polka Dot Plant Seeds: Step-by-Step Guide

Propagating Polka Dot Plant In Water? – A Complete Guide

Polka Dot Plant Propagation: Water and Soil Method(Care)

Copright Notice: The content is first published in website, if you are seeing this article in other website then it has been copied fully. Lotusmagus is a website about plants and flowers by Amelia Clark. Copyright Marked

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark, a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences.

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