Other names: Polka Dot Plant, Flamingo Plant, Measles Plant, Freckle-Face, Freckle Plant
Botanical Name: Hypoestes phyllostachya
Hypoestes are delicate care-free annuals that make a spectacular ground cover or border plant. Seeds sprout easily and plants grow quickly, requiring very little pruning or maintenance. They prefer partial shade and will reseed freely in warmer climates. The plants produce terminal, spike-like racemes of small, tubular pink or blue flowers in late summer or fall (even as house plants if given long enough light exposure) but the flowers are not very showy and are easily overlooked. Hypoestes require lots of water whether grown indoors or out, and are excellent candidates for hydroponics and passive wick watering systems.
Types of Hypoestes
Hypoestes come in various shades of white, pink, red and green with patterns ranging from sparse, tiny dots to large splashes of color. Colors can be against green foliage, or reversed (green dots on pink foliage, for example). One of the most popular varieties is the Hypoestes ‘Splash’ series which have been bred for easy germination, improved heat tolerance and long shelf life. Several seeds can be sown together to quickly fill a patio container or window box display, and plants can be pinched back to promote branching and fullness.
Planting Hypoestes Seeds
For outdoor plants, sow seeds indoors mid-Spring to be transplanted outdoors after last danger of frost has passed. Alternately, seeds can be sown directly outdoors after danger of frost. For indoor plants, seeds can be sown at any time of year.
Plant seeds in seed starting mix and cover over lightly with mix or vermiculite. Place under lights or in a bright window. Seeds germinate in 2 to 3 days. Peat plugs or Jiffy® pellets can be used as well. Heat mats, propagation domes or other equipment are optional and not necessary for successful germination. Average home temperatures are fine for propagating hypoestes plants.