Hypoestes: The Polka Dot Plant

hypoestes_leavesWe grow three colors of Hypoestes, known as the Polka Dot plant for its spotted foliage. This old-fashioned houseplant has a long history, but recently it has been getting attention from landscape designers who need to add color to outdoor annual beds. Hypoestes is a mounded plant with a spreading habit.

Plants mature quickly and fill their space with strong mottled colors, creating a striking display container or pocket garden, or adding excitement to a sweeping vista. Dramatic enough to stand on its own as a centerpiece in a pot, it can also provide a strong accent to mixed containers and border gardens.


hypoestes_1203The best Hypoestes we've seen are from the Splash series, because they have the strongest, brightest pigments in the leaves and the best green/white contrast in the white version. Pigments stay strong for the life of the plant, so you don't have to worry about colors fading as the plant matures.

Plus, you won’t find pink-and-green variegation with robust growth very often. This opens up some exotic design opportunities; Hypoestes can be used in garden beds alongside marigolds and geraniums, so long as it is not exposed to full sun all day.

Culturally, this is a plant that does needs some shade cover. Strong, hot sun will curl the leaves. Plants grow about 6 to 8 inches tall and you’ll need to keep about 8 inches of distance from the center. If you want a taller, bushier look, pinch it back mid-way through its growth; for a lower, more spreading look, pinch it back later.