How to Propagate Polka Dot Plant?

Polka Dot Red Splash (Source: Studleys)
Polka Dot Red Splash (Source: Studleys)

Polka Dots are beautiful houseplants that are equally great in improving your mood and indoor air.

Did you know the variegated Polka Dot leaves do wonders with cleaning indoor air of toxins, dust, and carbon dioxide?

Hence, adding more of these around the house can be a boon to your health, which is best attained by propagation!

Generally, to propagate Polka Dot, obtain a healthy set of stem cuttings 2-4 inches long or fresh seeds and root them in damp peat moss or potting mix covered with plastic to maintain heat for 3-4 weeks.

Polka Dot Begonia
Polka Dot Begonia (Source: Pinterest)

Alternatively, you can root the fresh stem by cutting in a clear, water-filled container, but not seeds.

Follow this guide to propagate your Polka Dot plants at home within a few easy steps.

Why Propagate Polka Dot?

To be frank, every Polka Dot cultivars are gorgeous and elegant! Carmina, Confetti, Pink Brocade, Pink Dot, Purpuriana, Splash, you name it!

Polka Dot or Hypoestes phyllostachya is a flowering plant native to Southern Africa and Southeast Asia and is grown for brightly colored perennial foliage and flowers.

Moreover, these vibrant Polka Dot plants will readily add different colors of joy to your life.

Polka Dot White Splash
Polka Dot White Splash (Source: Studleys)

Hence, it would be good to propagate this plant to produce multiple similar plants that you can add to the collection, sell, or even gift to your loved one.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider propagating Polka Dots.

  • They are super-easy to grow, require the least amount of maintenance, and bloom throughout the year as an evergreen perennial.
  • You can decorate your dining table or work desk with an ornamental Polka Dot or put them along with the windows or walls to zest up the corners.
  • They work great as dust trappers and indoor air purifiers.
  • The bushy Polka Dot foliage effectively removes benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air.
  • They will naturally add moisture to the air, preventing breathing problems and encouraging good sleep.

Pro-Tip: Ensure that your Polka Dot plant has grown over 2-3 inches big before taking the cuttings as it may send the young plant into stress.

When to Propagate Polka Dot?

Propagating the Polka Dot would blatantly mean taking the stem cutting from the plant.

The stem cuttings can be taken nearly anytime during the year; however, early spring and summer are considered the best time.

The active growing season of spring is preferable for propagation and usually yields the most outstanding results and taking the cutting from an active plant is also less likely to send it into stress.

Signature variegated Polka Dot leaves
Signature variegated Polka Dot leaves (Source: Wikimedia)

Polka Dot naturally grows in warm temperatures; hence, trying to propagate it in spring will provide a conducive environment for its roots to grow significantly.

Pip Magazine Australia points out; that plants in spring are pumping with Auxin (the plant hormone that encourages growth and root production).

Moreover, springtime promotes green and flexible stems that contain softwood. They are easy to cut and root pretty rapidly in a few weeks.

Cupid Peperomia Stem Cuttings
Healthy Stem Cuttings obtained in spring (Source: Etsy)

On the other hand, propagating in summer means that fresh cutting will only have a few weeks of active growth before going into dormancy.

It is never too late to propagate Polka Dot until the weather stays above 55°F for consecutive weeks.

Note: The best time to take a cutting is early in the morning but noon or evening when the natural rooting hormones of the plant are gathered at the tip of the plant.

Can you Propagate Polka Dot in Autumn or Winter?

Trying to propagate the Polka Dot plant in fall or winter may be a bad idea when the plant goes into a dormancy stage.

According to Purdue University’s Department of Botany, transplant stress becomes standard with the plant’s failure to root well, causing poorly established plants.

Alternatively, you can take a stem cutting when you decide to report the plant, usually in spring or early summer.

Materials Required for Propagation

Here is the list of tools, equipment, and materials required for propagating the Polka Dot plant.

Most of these are readily available in your home, while other items are readily found in nearby stores or on Amazon.

ItemsPurpose
Pruning ShearsTo cut leaves, stems and roots
98% Isopropyl AlcoholTo sterilize the equipment before and after the cutting
Potting MixA coarse soil such as cactus mix or peat moss based potting mix works well.
Clean, tepid waterFor propagation via water
3-4 inch clay, terracotta, or plastic potEnsure the container has multiple drainage holes
500 ml transparent glass vaseFor propagation via water
NewspaperTo collect scraps, debris and to protect the surface.

How to Propagate Polka Dot Plant?

Propagating Polka Dot plant is more ideal with stem cuttings method as it provides the quick and more effective result.

The stem cutting method would work well when you want to multiple the mother plant quickly, especially in spring or summer.

Growing the plant from seed may work well for seasoned gardeners familiar with germinating seedlings at home.

Let us look at different methods and processes of propagating the Polka Dot plant at home.

A. Propagation via Stem Cuttings

Here is the step-by-step guide to propagating stem cuttings in different potting mediums.

Cutting Stem for propagation
Cutting Stem for propagation (Source: Pexels)

1. Taking the Cuttings

It is a crucial step of propagation as the entire process that follows would depend on it.

  • Inspect your plant for a healthy set of green stems full of leaves.
  • Ensure to take the two-inch plant section and have at least two healthy leaves at the top and a few nodes (bumps on the stem).
  • Cut the stems with an exposed node that is slightly protruding. Snip right below the node to leave as little stem as possible.
  • The more nodes you have, the more likely you are to succeed.
Stem node diagram
Stem node diagram (Source: Wikimedia.org)
  • Remove the lower leaves except for two leaves at the top.
  • Otherwise, nip the leggy parts of the adult plant and use them for propagation instead.

Note: Taking off leggy parts will assist with propagation and keep the plant looking neat and healthy.

2. Rooting in Soil

Rooting the fresh stem cutting in the soil may well as the new feeder roots will have a solid ground to grasp.

  • It will also help skip a few additional steps required for water propagation.
  • Here is a guided approach to root stem cuttings in a potting mix.
  • Mix rooting hormone with a liquid-based fungicide into a small container and apply the mixture to the cut ends using a knife or spoon.
  • Applying rooting hormone will help boost the root growth, while fungicide will keep fungal infection at bay.
  • Get a small pot and add the cacti mix or peat moss and perlite-based potting soil into the container.
  • Ensure that the container has drainage holes underneath to drain out excess water.
  • Gently insert the stem cuttings into the soil.
  • Thoroughly water the potting medium to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Place the cutting in a warm location with indirect sunlight. The rooting process requires a temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

The feeder roots will begin growing within the next two weeks. Remove the plastic and let the stem cutting sit for a few more weeks before you can witness new leaves.

Pro Tip: Cover the stem cutting inside a clear plastic storage box or bag to create a humid and warm environment.

3. Rooting in Water

Rooting in the water is another way to go with propagating the stem cuttings.

The process is known as hydroponics, where you directly place the cutting in nutrient-rich water.

Here is a guided step to rooting the stem cutting in water.

  • Take a small jar or glass and fill it with clean tepid or distilled water.
  • Insert the cutting in the water with at least one node inside and leaves outside.
  • Move it near windows with ample indirect sunlight.
  • Change the water once a week to get rid of gunk buildup.
  • Let it sit for about 3-4 weeks to witness young feeder roots.

Pro Tip: The rule thumb is to wait until the roots have grown at least 2-inches before repotting it in the soil.

4. Soil vs. Water

Each grower may have a different approach to propagating Polka Dots, where some choose water over the potting medium.

There are a few vivid advantages to rooting in water because you need not organize a lot of equipment and material required for soil propagation.

Here is a video describing the differences between the two approaches to help you decide better.

B. Growing Polka Dot Through Seeds

Growing Polka Dot plants via seeds is another approach to getting multiple Polka Dot plants.

However, remember that germinating seedlings can be challenging for novice growers.

It will take a germination kit, potting medium, conducive indoor environment, correct humidity level, and LED lighting to grow the seedlings.

Propagation of a plant by seeds illustrations
Propagation of a plant by seeds illustration (Source: Stocklib)

here is a step-by-step guide to seed propagation.

  • Get a fresh packet of Polka Dot seeds from the nursery or store.
  • Otherwise, collect the seeds from the blossomed plant and allow the seed heads to dry out.
  • Sow the seeds when it is the right time, two weeks before spring or sometime in summer.
  • Get a germination kit and add a potting mix filled with damp peat moss and perlite to allow fast draining.
  • Thoroughly water the germination kit and let it sit in a warm surrounding, around 70 to 75° F. (21-24° C).
  • Cover the kit with clear plastic to trap heat and moisture inside.
  • When grown indoors, consider using appropriate grow light with full-spectrum lighting.

Voila! Given adequate conditions, the seedlings will begin to germinate within the next two weeks.

Let it sit for a few more weeks until you see a sapling with a couple of leaves.

Grow Pothos from Seeds
Germinating seeds (Source: Unsplash)

Consider transplanting it to a container with the appropriate potting mix in late spring.

Polka Dot Care for Newly Potted Plants

Propagating a plant alone is not enough to grow a healthy Polka Dot plant but a conducive growing environment and proper maintenance.

Here is how to care for a newly potted Polka Dot plant.

1. Indirect Sunlight

Polka Dot plants require bright, indirect sunlight to attain rich, variegated leaves.

Place them a few feet away from the south or west-facing window to provide at least 6 hours of diffused sunlight.

2. Warm Temperature

Being native to coastal African regions, it does well in moderately warm temperatures around the year.

Provide anywhere from 70-80°F (21-26°C) temperature in the day and at least 65°F during the night.

3. Moderate Humidity

A humid environment is not so crucial for Polka Dots, but it does need a moderate amount of humidity round the clock to maintain a healthy set of leaves.

Polka Dots appreciate 50% or higher humidity levels. Install an electric humidifier or huddle houseplants together to boost humidity.

4. Regular Watering

It enjoys a slightly moist condition but is not too soggy to retain oxygen and nutrients from the soil.

Watering the plant once or twice a week in the growing season and once in two weeks in fall and winter would suffice.

5. Monthly Fertilization

Polka Dots enjoy an extra nutrient boost to attain more vibrant and colorful leaves in the growing season.

Use diluted general fertilizer once a month to promote even growth.

6. Regular Pruning

Polka Dots enjoy regular pruning to maintain healthy and evenly growing foliage.

Pinch or snip off the top two leaves on the end of the stem every week and remove leggy growth during the growing season.

Read our blog about how often to prune Polka Dot plants.

FAQs About Polka Dots Propagation

Are Polka Dot Plants Fast Growers?

Polka Dot plants are reasonably fast-growing plants that require repotting once every year.

Given the ideal condition, the stem cuttings will render inch-long feeder roots within 2-3 weeks of propagation.

Does Propagated Polka Dot Grow Variegated Leaves?

Polka Dot stem cutting propagated from the mother plant is equally likely to show similar shape, size, and colored leaves.

However, you must ensure to provide a conducive growing environment.

Can Polka Dots Grow in Low to medium Light?

Polka Dots are light-loving plants that thrive in sunny locations close to windows, doors, or patios.

The plants grown in low light will render leggy growth and discolored leaves.

A beautiful Polka dot plant (Source: Pexels)

Conclusion

Polka Dots are relatively easy to propagate and require only a few crucial steps.

However, you must remember to provide sufficient lighting and temperature, ample humidity, and fertilization around the year to witness healthy blossoms.

The healthier the leaves, the higher the chances of getting signature variegated leaves.

Related Article: Polka Dot Plant Dying: Reasons and Solutions

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