While there are still a few common houseplants I'll always love, I am more decerning than I used to be. If I am going to bother of keeping indoor plants, I want them to be as interesting as my outdoor plants.
Container planting photographed on May 30th just after being potted up.
Despite the fact that I crammed a fair bit into a modest-sized pot, all the plants performed pretty well. The only exception would be the white pansy which surrendered to the effects of the hot summer sun. The other plants took full advantage of the absence and filled in to take the pansy's place.
Same container planting photographed October 12th
As you can see the pink darkened into magenta and green became more olive over the course of the summer. When the plants in my pot got a little leggy mid-summer, I took cuttings and made even more plants.
The main reason to grow these plants is their cheerful speckled foliage . The 'Splash' series is dotted splotches of pink, white, rose and red. The 'Confetti' series has the same color palette, but the spots are a bit more sparse.
Here are some basic tips on growing Polka Dot Plants:
Light: Bright, indirect light is their preference. Too little light may result in leggy growth. Low light can also cause colorful spots to fade and the leaves to turn solid green.
Water: Moist, but not soggy soil is best during the growing season (indoor plants have a spring and summer growing season just like outdoor plants).
In the winter, Polka Dot plants like to be just a bit drier. If your plant produces a flower and moves into a dormant phase, reduce your regular watering regime until the plant shows new signs of growth.
Heat: A cold windowsill won't do for this tropical plant. It's best to keep temperatures at least 65-70 degrees F. (18-21 degrees C.)
Fertilizer: During the spring and summer feed your plant weekly with a liquid fertilizer following the package directions.
Soil: For indoor plants use a good, well-drained potting mix. When planted outdoors as annuals, Polka Dot Plants require well-drained soil rich in organic matter.
Care: Pinching back growth will encourage a bushier plant.
Propagation: Polka Dot plants aren't particularly long-lived. Once they have flowered they will move into a dormant phase or may die altogether.
Growing new plants from cuttings is fairly easy. I tried rooting my cuttings in water, but that didn't work. Placing the cuttings right into the soil worked perfectly. Just remember to keep the soil moist and the cuttings out of the direct sun until they root and you should have no problem making new plants.
Pests: White fly, scale and aphids can be potential issues.