(Acanthaceae) Common name: Polka Dot Plant.
Culture: In Sydney the brightly coloured bred varieties of Hypoestes phyllostachya are an excellent addition to the herbaceous perennial border. Native to Madagascar, Hypoestes phyllostachya look especially striking as a backdrop to Santolina chamaecyparissus. However care should be taken to avoid planting Hypoestes phyllostachya in warmer, tropical climes, northward from Sydney as it is a potential weed due to its ability to redily self-seed. (zones 9 - 11)
Position: Hypoestes phyllostachya require full sun to dappled light for the richest leaf colouration. They are both drought and frost tender so during Summer keep the Polka Dot plants fairly moist.
Flowers: Polka Dot plants are primarily grown for their leaf colouring but in Spring tiny purple flowers appear, followed by masses of viable seeds. Leaf colours include white dots, pink dots and red dots.
Care: Hypoestes phyllostachya like moist, but very free-draining sandy loam soils.
Seedlings will emerge all around established plants during
Summer. These can be discarded or potted up into peat pots and
transferred to another part of the garden.