Hypoestes pink leaves
Hypoestes (Polka Dot Plant) - Expert tips

How to care for Polka Dot Plant (Hypoestes) - Expert Tips for Thriving Plants

The Hypoestes phyllostachya is a member of the Acanthaceae family. You might know it better as the "Polka Dot Plant" because of its unique leaf pattern, which looks like it's covered in dots. This plant originally comes from regions like South Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia, where it thrives in the tropical rainforest climate. The Polka Dot Plant grows low to the ground in its natural habitat, spreading its colourful leaves like a carpet.

While it may be easy to confuse it with the Fittonia, or Nerve Plant, due to its colourful and patterned leaves, they are actually quite different. For example, Fittonia belongs to another family and typically has veined patterns on its leaves rather than spots. Additionally, Fittonia prefers higher humidity levels compared to the Polka Dot Plant.

White hypoestes

Polka Dot Plant Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully

  1. Choose a spot with the right indirect light and lots of natural light without direct sun. Place the plant in a spot where it will receive several hours of bright, indirect light daily.
  2. Make sure your Hypoestes won't get that intense midday sunlight. Too much and intensive direct light can fade the vibrant colours of the leaves.
  3. Be careful not to overwater. Hypoestes is a tropical plant that doesn't like to sit in soggy soil. Wait until half of the topsoil or the entire soil has dried before watering it again.
  4. Water deeply and evenly. When you do water, water deeply enough that water flows out of the drainage holes. This will help to ensure that all of the roots get a drink.
  5. Don't let the plant sit in water for too long. If the plant is sitting in a saucer of water, empty the saucer after 15 minutes or so. This will help to prevent root rot.
  6. Fertilise regularly during the growing season. Use a liquid houseplant fertiliser every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season for best results.
  7. Give it a trim from time to time, or pinch the tips. It is easy for Hypoestes plants to grow leggy or too thin. Pruning helps the Polka Dot Plant maintain a bushy, compact appearance.
  8. It is important to rotate your Polka Dot Plant regularly so that all sides get equal exposure to light. As a result, it grows more evenly and beautifully.
  9. Repot the plant every year or two. Hypoestes is a fast-growing plant, so it will probably need to be repotted every year or two.
  10. Keep your eye out for pests and diseases. Hypoestes are susceptible to a few common pests and diseases, such as mealybugs, spider mites, and root rot.

Hypoestes Plant Care

Light requirements

You can place your Hypoestes in bright, indirect light. In other words, it needs a place where it will receive plenty of light without being directly exposed to the sun's rays. This makes sure that its leaves keep their amazing colours.

Expert tip! If you notice your Polka Dot plant leaves aren't as bright as they used to be, poor lighting conditions are probably to blame. Look for a location with more light.

It can tolerate lower light conditions, but this will result in leaves getting less vibrant over time. A west-facing window would suit her best, since too much light also results in fading colours, which we would like to prevent.

Hypoestes in pot


The Hypoestes can be a really thirsty plant. During the growing season, you may need to water it every 3-4 days, making sure that the soil dries out partly between waterings. Outside of the growing season, it needs less water. So, always make sure to feel the moistness of the soil with your finger before watering. The best time to water your Polka Dot Plant is when the top half of the soil feels dry.

Expert tip! Your Polka Dot Plant will show you dramatically when it's thirsty by drooping its leaves. This is a dramatic trade of the Hypoestes, but you have nothing to worry about. Once you water thoroughly, it bounces back up again. If this happens too often, it can result in browning, crispy leaves or leaves falling off completely.

Hypoestes is also really sensitive to overwatering. One of the early signs of overwatering is yellow leaves and leaves falling off the plant. You might notice that the leaves become soft and then fall off.


You can provide the Hypoestes with a monthly portion of PLNTS liquid houseplant fertiliser during the growing season. This nutrition is almost 100% organic and suited for all houseplants.

Temperature & humidity

The Polka Dot Plant comes from tropical places, so it likes warm and humid settings. Keep the room temperature between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius. While it's okay with regular room humidity, it's even happier when it's more humid. To make the air moister around it, you can put the plant on a tray of pebbles, set it near a humidifier, or place it next to other plants that also like a lot of humidity. Read more about how to raise humidity for your houseplants.

Repotting & soil

Polka Dot Plant can be a pretty fast-growing houseplant and thus may need repotting every 1-2 years. Signs that it's time for a repot include slowed growth, water sitting on the soil's surface, or roots poking out of the drainage holes. Choose a soil that is well-draining and meant for houseplants. We recommend using PLNTS organic houseplant soil to support its healthy growth.

Polka Dot Plant propagation

You can easily propagate the Hypoestes by stem cuttings. Make sure to cut underneath the node. You can place the cutting in water or place it inside the soil. You can use some rooting powder for the soil method to make the chance of a successful propagation bigger. It will take some time for it to root, and it will be a bit more sensitive than its mother plant. Make sure it is not overwatered or underwatered, and keep it out of direct sunlight.

Hypoestes pink leaves

Most common pests on Hypoestes

Due to her bright leaves, the Hypoestes might attract Mealybugs, Aphids and Whiteflies. Other diseases that are found on the Hypoestes are root rot and mildew. If you need any help with diagnosing your itchy problem, then you can go to our PLNTSdoctor page. Here, you will find all the information you need to determine what pest you're dealing with and how to get rid of it.

Are Hypoestes poisonous for your pets or children?

No! According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the Polka Dot Plant is completely safe to have around pets. It is also considered to be non-toxic to humans, so that you can place this plant in your house without any hesitation!

Buy your new Polka Dot Plant online at PLNTS.com

Would you like to brighten up your house with some striking leaves? Then the Polka Dot Plant might be something for you! At PLNTS.com you can buy Hypoestes online, like the Hypoestes Phyllosachya Red and the Hypoestes Phyllostachya Pink. Whether you like your Hypoestes big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - we’ve got you covered!

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Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!