Growing Guide
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Polka dot plant

Annual Flower, Houseplant

Also known as Hypoestes, Freckle Face
Hypoestes phyllostachya
Acanthaceae Family
Synonym: Hypoestes sanguinolenta

With leaves spotted and dotted with freckles and splotches in shades of white, pink, green or red, Polka-dot Plant is a colorful, whimsical addition to the garden border.

Site Characteristics
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • requires well-drained soil
Prefers high humidity and warm weather.

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
  • indoors as a houseplant - The polka dot plant has a long history of growth as a houseplant. Indoors, it prefers filtered sun and rich, well-drained soil. Mist it often to maintain the high humidity levels it loves.
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.5 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 0.5 to 1 feet

Bloom time: mid-summer

Flower color: inconspicuous

Produces small flowers, but is grown mainly for its attractive foliage.

Foliage color: variegated

Vividly spotted with red, white or pink on a dark green background.

Foliage texture: medium


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • upright

Starts out rounded and gets taller and more upright as the season goes on.

Shape in flower:

  • same as above
  • inconspicuous flower
Special Considerations
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • non-aggressive
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - South Africa
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed, cuttings - Sow seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last spring frost. Cuttings can be taken at any time, but root best in the spring and summer.

Germination temperature: 70 F to 75 F

Days to emergence: 14

Maintenance and care:
Pinch back the plants regularly to maintain a bushy growth habit. Fertilize plants grown in containers once a month.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Look for varied spot sizes and color combinations (pink and white spots, etc.)

‘Splash Select’ Series: green-leaved plants with four different leaf spot varieties: pink, white, rose or red. Leaf spots are more like splotches, and cover large areas of the leaves.

‘Confetti’ Series: green leaves spotted with one of four colors; red, white, pink or rose. Leaf spotting a bit more limited than ‘Splash’ series.