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How to Grow Hypoestes

Polka-dot plant Hypoestes

Hypoestes–commonly called polka-dot plant–is a striking plant with liberally marked lavender-rose and white leaves. It can be grown indoors in bright light or outdoors in year-round subtropical regions.

Hypoestes are good houseplants; they may also be grown as annuals and used as bedding or in patio containers. In warm-winter regions, they can be grown as a shrub border or in containers.

Hypoestes should be growing in bright filtered light. Outdoors Hypoestes should be grown in partial shade, sheltered from cold winds.

Hypoestes is a genus of about 40 species of evergreen perennials and subshrubs. Hypoeste is native to open woodland in South Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia.

Get to Know Hypoestes

  • Plant type: Tropical perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 10-11
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Optimal growing temperature: day 70°F (21°C), night 50° to 55°F (10°-13°C)
  • Height and width: 12 inches (30cm) tall and 9 inches (23cm) wide
  • Foliage: Distinctive spots in pale pink on smooth green roughly heart-shaped leaves 2½ inches long
  • Flowers: Racemes of soliatary or clustered, tubular, 2-lipped flowers
  • Bloom time: Late summer to winter
  • Uses: Houseplant, bedding plant in warm regions
  • Common name: Polka-dot plant, freckleface
  • Botanical name: Hypoestes phyllostachya
  • Family: Acanthaceae
  • Origin: South Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia

Where to Plant Hypoestes

  • Hypoestes needs bright light; direct sun will bring out the color spot most. If the plant gets too little light the spots will fade.
  • Grow Hypoestes in all-purpose, soil-based mix.
Polka-dot plant or Hypoestes phyllostachya
Polka-dot plant or Hypoestes phyllostachya

How to Water and Feed Hypoestes

  • Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. In winter keep the soil slightly drier.
  • Place a tray of pebbles and water below the plant to maintain humidity.
  • Fertilize Hypoestes twice in spring and summer.

Hypoestes Care

  • Keep the plant bushy by pinching off the tiny lavender flowers when they appear.
  • Plants get leggy with age, replace them with new plants, or cut the old ones back to 1 inch tall and repot.

Growing Hypoestes as a Houseplant

  • Hypoestes requires bright light to maintain its vibrant leaf color.
  • Hypoestes needs average room temperature and medium humidity.
  • The soil should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings; if the soil becomes too dry, the leaves may wither.
  • Fertilizer should be applied regularly during spring and summer.

Hypoestes Pests and Diseases

  • Hypoestes is susceptible to attack by mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites, and whiteflies.
  • Powdery mildew can be a problem.

Hypoestes Propagation

  • Hypoestes can be propagated by seed and from stem cuttings.
  • Root softwood or tip cuttings in late sping or semi-ripe cuttings in summer.

Hypoestes Varieties to Grow

  • Hypoestes aristata, ribbon bush: Erect evergreen perennial with ovate, dull-mid-green leaves with velvety surfaces; pale magenta to purple flowers sometimes spotted or lined with white or mauve; grows to 4 feet (1.2m) tall and 18 inches (45cm) wide.
  • H. phyllostachya, polka-dot plant, freckle face. Grows to 12 inches tall and 9 inches wide; ovate, downy dark green leaves spotted with reddish or bluish pink; terminal magenta to lilac flowers from late summer to winter.

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