The vibrant polka dot plant is native to warmer climates of South Africa, Madagascar, and East Asia, all of which have warm, sunny climates. Although it thrives as an indoor plant, indoors isn’t the only setting, as they do well outdoors in warmer regions.
Its vibrant foliage on green leaves, available in various hues and a maze of dots, is a magnificent focal point in the home of any plant enthusiast. You may want to know how long do Polka Dot plants live for, as why is my Polka Dot plant dying could be the second part of the question.
The polka dot plant’s life cycle usually takes one year to complete. However, if cultivated indoors, you can increase the plant’s lifespan by pinching off the blossoms as they bloom. In addition, you may ensure you never run out of polka dot plants indoors by starting new plants from stem cuttings.
The polka dot plant has a short lifespan yet is simple to reproduce, and the Polka Dot plant dying could be the natural course. In our guide, you can learn more about plant care and how to get the most from your tropical plants, also known as Freckle Face or the Flamingo Plant. (Read Are Venus Fly Traps Poisonous)
How Long Does A Polka Dot Plant Live?
Unfortunately, most indoor plants only live for a year or less before dying, and this deadline plant, or the polka dot plant (Hypoestes Phyllostachys), is one of the most popular. You may wonder if it is possible to delay polka dot plant dying.
Your polka-dot plants can live for up to two years or more if you don’t let them flower. It would be best to ensure they receive the proper nutrients and water while keeping them in humid, warm, and well-lit conditions.
Polka Dot plants are perennials, so if they are put outside, they will live for a very long period. They bloom in the summer, generate seeds, and then spend the entire winter in hibernation. Then, they awaken to begin the cycle again in the spring.
In contrast, indoor Polka Dot Plants should be cared for as an annual because they only live for a year or two. After that, the plant’s cycle of blossoming and dormancy transforms into a dance of death as the seeds generated in the fall rob the plant of its life.
After the seeds are spread, the Polka Dot plant leaves of the parent deteriorate, and, in most circumstances, the plant dies. A Polka Dot can be kept alive for an additional year with proper care, but an indoor Polka Dot Plant will pass away after two years.
Polka Dot Plant Life Cycle
Polka Dot Plants flowering plants are propagated by cuttings taken from mature plants or tiny seeds planted in the early spring. If properly tended for, they swiftly develop into the lovely, speckled pleasures we know and love.
The Polka Dot Plant takes advantage of the longer days and more sunlight as summer approaches. Their quick growth frequently results in the emergence of wiry flower spikes strewn with tiny purple or blue flowers.
Over time, these seeds shrivel and release tiny seeds. The seeds disperse as the cold fall days appear. The parent plant stops growing because the Polka Dot Plants’ future generations are safe.
It transitions into a dormant stage that indoor plants find challenging to endure. They ultimately wilt and disappear.
For instance, it exhibits annual characteristics when grown outdoors in USDA Zones 3–10 and dies off after its life cycle. However, you can extend the Polka Dot plant lifespan if grown indoors. (Read Basil Growing Stages)
What Triggers Polka Dot Plant Death?
A flower spike is the most frequent reason for a Polka Dot Plant’s demise. If left to mature, the plant will focus all its energy on developing its blossoms into seeds.
The leaves of the Polka Dot Plant become scarce, and it develops a lanky form. When the seeds are finished, the plant will be content with its labor and pass away.
2. Cold Weather
The Polka Dot Plant recognizes the end of its life cycle through cold weather and flowering. A prolonged stretch of temperatures below 60°F alerts the plant that winter has arrived, and its work is finished.
Even while that isn’t particularly chilly, for a tropical plant, it is, and the Polka Dot will become aware and disappear.
3. Poor Plant Care
Your Polka Dot Plant will perish like any other houseplant if you neglect or mistreat it.
Yellow leaves, withering, pest activity, and rotten-smelling soil are additional indicators of a problem. If your Polka Dot plant is having problems, keep a watch out for any of the many potential causes.
How Long Does Polka Dot Plant Live Indoors?
The maximum lifespan of an indoor Polka Dot Plant is two years.
However, the demanding nature of flowering and seed development can stress even the healthiest indoor specimens, and as they age, they become lanky and sprawling.
This is hardly noticeable for an outside plant in a garden bed, especially if they have been mass-planted. Each new generation of seeds sprouts in the spring, filling in the voids with new growth. Although specific plants may come and go, the bed as a whole will endure.
However, a plant’s vulnerability can be seen by a single Polka Dot. They become weaker as a result and are more susceptible to pests and disease.
How To Extend the Life of Polka Dot Plants
1. Remove Flowers
The first sign of a plant’s doom is the plant flowers. If they develop into seed heads, the plant will stop expanding. Once the seeds have grown, the parent plant will perish. You can avoid a death spiral if you remove the blossoms as soon as they emerge. Since it won’t have any seeds to breed on, it will keep growing.
2. Provide Better Growing Conditions
Without enough light, leaves lose color and wither. Indirect sunlight, moderate humidity, and warm temperatures are ideal for Polka Dot plants growth. Thus, keep the environment between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 26 degrees Celsius) and at least 50% humidified.
When circumstances are too dry, leaves can become aggressive in their pursuit of light and crisp up quickly.
3. Prune and Pinch Regularly
Check for legginess and be ready to trim excessive growth, as tall growth increases the risk of flower spikes. They will also sprout if the light is too low, the temperature is too hot, or they receive too much or too little fertilizer.
Extra growth should be trimmed and pinch blossoms immediately so the plant will focus on leaves and not produce blossoms.
4. Fertilize Routinely
Polka Dot Plants need fertilization as each new leaf and stalk drains nutrients from the earth, and the plant will fight to keep its foliage. The recommendation is a half-dose of balanced fertilizer once every two weeks for these small plants. Then as the weather cools in the early fall, reduce fertilizer use.
5. Treat Pest & Disease
Keep an eye out for insects, curled leaves, and peculiar leaf color. In a short-lived plant, two months is a sizable portion of the Polka Dot Plant’s existence. If disease and pests are not addressed, a plant has a lower probability of surviving for a second year.
6. Move Polka Dot Plant Indoors
Polka Dot plants die when the temperature drops in the fall and winter. They can, however, stop growing if they may blossom. Bring your Polka Dot Plant inside as the weather gets cooler. This will trick the plant into believing that autumn never ends and won’t die completely.
Instead, you can deceive it into living another year by making it wait for winter, even if it doesn’t arrive. (Read Will Snow Kill Grass Seed)
Planting Polka Dot Plants Indoors
Most plants are already rootbound when purchased from a nursery or store, so repotting is crucial before being grown indoors.
- A container 1-2 inches larger than the nursery or storage container should be chosen.
- Ensure the container has enough drainage holes so any extra water can be adequately drained away.
- Increase the general potting soil’s ability to drain by adding perlite or pumice. Alternately, use nutrient-rich potting soil that has good drainage and can hold enough moisture.
- The plant’s root ball should be inserted into the soil after the container has been filled with potting mix to about halfway.
- Place in a warm area free from chilly drafts and easy access to lots of bright light.
- When cultivated indoors, a minimum humidity level should be maintained at roughly 50% and can be raised by misting or pebble trays.
Planting Polka Dot Plants Outdoors
Outdoor polka-dot plants must be placed where they receive filtered sun, even though they love the extra light. The outdoor polka dot plant does well in the shadow of your patio or gazebo, under larger plants, trees, or both.
After placing the plant in its new location and filling it, make a hole big enough to fit the root system. This plant prefers moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. To increase the soil’s nutrient level, use homemade compost.
Light Requirements for a Polka Dot Plant
The brightness of the foliage freckles will increase with the amount of light the plant receives. However, excessive exposure to sunlight can potentially burn the polka dot plant’s leaves and cause leggy stems.
Pick a planting that isn’t in low light or offers too much light. To offer adequate light without burning the tender foliage, place indoor polka-dot plants about 4 feet away from a window and outdoor polka-dot plants in the shadow of a tree or patio.
Polka Dots need bright, indirect light to maintain their color, yet they need to stay away from direct sunlight. Too much sun can burn the leaves, which turn brown if there is a lack of water.
Polka Dot Plant Watering & Fertilization
Both indoor and outdoor polka dot plants need moist soil to grow well. So between soaks, check the soil to ensure the top half inch of soil hasn’t dried or gotten too wet.
- Keep an eye out for indicators of over- or underwatering at the polka-dot plant.
- Reduce your watering schedule if your plants are losing yellow leaves because this shows over-watering.
- Increase the watering frequency if curling leaves drop without turning yellow, indicating that the plant is dehydrated during the growing season.
- Polka dot plants must be regularly fed to keep healthy because they are constantly hungry. Therefore, when actively developing, fertilize outdoor polka-dot plants with a balanced, diluted fertilizer once each month.
- Every other week, indoor plants must be fed with the same fertilizer. Pour the fertilizer into the soil surrounding the plant’s base for indoor and outdoor plants.
- Soggy soil causes yellowing root rot and powdery mildew.
Polka Dot Plant Propagation
These plants can be quickly multiplied by cuttings or seeds. But the most effective and quick method of producing new polka dot plants is stem cuttings.
Gather the plant’s dry seed heads and put them away until you’re ready to propagate. The seeds should then be planted in a tray of damp peat soil. Keep soil moist for germination.
If the temperature remains between 68 and 77°F (20-25°C), this could take up to two weeks. Plant the seedlings in soil that drains well and some shade when they are mature.
Stem Cutting Propagation
Cuttings can be used for propagation at any time of the year. First, cut a 2-2.5 inch long cutting with a sharp pair of scissors or a knife. The severed clipping should be dipped into some rooting hormone and planted immediately in the soil.
Spray with a spray bottle and cover the plant with clear plastic to improve warmth and humidity while fostering development. When the new plant is strong enough, plant it outdoors or in a new container in partial shade to regularly protect the new plant’s leaves and water.