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June 2010
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Polka Dot plant:characteristics, growing and planting conditions and care that is to be taken

Polka dot plant is a delicate tropical foliage plant, which has become popular as a novelty house-plant. It is a perennial herb native to Africa, growing 1-2 ft tall. It is grown for its pink, red or white mottled, dark-green leaves. Leaves are ovate in shape and are generally 3-4 cm long. The pink-purple flowers occur in leafy spikes during the summer season. However, the flowers are negligible in comparison to the brightly spotted foliage. In NE India, Polka Dot Plant seems to have escaped cultivation, and is frequently seen growing wild. The Polka-Dot Plant is a perennial shrub-like species that grows to a maximum height of 3 feet.
Temperature & Humidity
Average temperature is preferred but this plant is hardy enough to tolerate higher or lower temperatures but never 55F or below. Keep it in high humidity or mist daily early in the day.
Proper light will allow this plant to achieve optimum color. Medium light intensity is best except for winter, when high light is recommended.
Soil should be kept moist spring through the fall months. Since the plant does not actively grow in the winter, water less.
Fertilize with houseplant food diluted to half strength. In spring and summer fertilize weekly and during fall and winter fertilize once a month.
Pests and Diseases
The colorful leaves of a Polka Dot may attract whiteflies, aphids, and mealy bugs; use the green solution at ½ strength to get rid of these infestations. Over watering causes powdery mildew.
A Polka Dot needs to be pruned regularly or it will become very leggy and thin. Pinch off the tiny insignificant flowers to encourage the colorful foliage.
– Seeds and stem cuttings in the spring through late summer.
– It is best to propagate any type of cuttings or seeds in a mixture of moist peat and perlite.
– Cover the pot and plant with a plastic bag secured by a rubber band to prevent the moisture from escaping.
– Place in indirect sunlight or under a fluorescent light.
– Repot in its regular mix after it has been growing for a while.

Polka Dot Plant Care Tips

– Shed some light.
– Keep up the humidity : If humidity drops below 50 percent, use a humidity tray or room humidifier to increase the moisture in the air.
– Water regularly.
– Pinch your plant. Pinch off tall stems to prevent the plant from getting too leggy.

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