Polka-Dot Plant

polka-dot plant

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There are several places where I can get totally absorbed and forget what time it is – bookstores, fabric stores, music shops, and hardware stores. I’m sorry to see so many of the old-fashioned hardware stores give way to big stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, but I still love browsing those, too. There’s simply more to look at!

So on my last browse through our Home Depot (about 40 miles away), I saw a little 4-pak of a pretty little pink and green bedding plant. There was no name attached, but I bought it anyway. I had no earthly idea what it was but I liked it and thought it might help add a little color to my mostly gray/black landscape.

I dug out some old horticulture books and came up with the “polka-dot plant” or Hypoestes phyllostachya (hye-PESS-teez fil-loe-STACK-ee-uh . Such a sweet little plant to be saddled with such a long name! According to what I discovered, it is grown more for its pink mottled or speckled foliage than for the insignificant lavender flowers.

Most gardeners plant this along a path or as an edging for other planting areas. So guess where I put mine? If you look hard, you can see them.

polka-dot plant tucked along path

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In reading further, I discovered that other gardeners claim the plant tends to become leggy with age and that the tips need to be pinched back in order to keep it bushy. The genus name comes from the Greek for “under+house”.

Gardening is so educational!

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