Polka dot plant

tamela_star(Zone 7)July 19, 2013

Does anybody grow these as houseplants? I just received a cutting yesterday and one site said they were hard to propagate and another one said they were easy. I have it sitting in a cup of water with a pinch of root hormone in it. I know they're usually grown in gardens as annuals but they are also sold as houseplants too. My 5 year old daughter is totally in love with it and wants to grow it inside.

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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

They are lovely when young, but quite leggy when old. In my opinion, once they start to bolt, they lose attraction. I like Fittonia much better.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:06AM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

Thanks! I have a fittonia growing with my Norfolk pine. They came like that, but the fittonia was mostly dead when I bought it so I didn't think it would make it, but it's still around and coming back. I'll keep the polka dot plant compact so it stays attractive. Are they easy to grow as houseplants?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you have space near a window, and enjoy fussing over a plant, it should do fine. If your daughter wouldn't mind if it goes outside for summer, that would probably be best.

Juju, that's funny you mention Fittonia. My experience has been opposite but Fittonia was potted by itself until being added to this pot this spring.

The polka dot plants have been in this pot since last May. Whenever a piece gets too tall for the 'attitude' of this pot, I just cut it off. Propagating the pieces is not guaranteed but usually takes. This pot is on the east end of covered front porch facing south, so gets direct light for a few hours in the morning. When I brought it inside over winter, it was in a south window under the porch roof, so about an hour of sun early morning, another hour or two late afternoon.

Speaking of the pieces, I put 3 in this pot about a week ago. Since they're still so perky, I'm sure they have taken root, or are in the process of doing so. I just stuck them in the dirt until I thought they were deep enough, probably 1 1/2 inches.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 10:55AM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

Is it best to root it in soil? I'll post a photo of my cutting. The cutting wilted so fast on the way home, so I put it in water and now it's perky again. Those are beautiful pictures. My daughter loves it because it's mostly pink. I spray all of my houseplants in the morning, and I put most of them outside for the summer anyway. It gets very humid in Baltimore

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yeah, most plants love humidity, and helps a lot when trying to propagate plants that wilt. You can see how the leaves on my last pic are kind of wilty, might have shriveled and died instead w/o the humidity. Looks like the big leaves will be lost, but I would have removed them soon anyway to encourage the new tips at the nodes to spring into action.

I've not done one in water, so have no idea which is easiest or more reliable. Sometimes water is, for some plants, at least until you see the roots starting. Maybe someone who has done both a few times with this plant will pop by and answer that.

I would like to have the other colors too. Had Begonias on my mind when the annuals were abundant and hoped the pink would come back in the ground like folks said it might (edge of hardiness here) but only more of the white one did. Also comes in red.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 11:56AM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

Here is a picture of my cutting. It's outside on my front porch. It will get morning sun and the rest of the day it will get shade. I have a few begonias but I take them indoors when it gets cold. They make good house plants too. I grew one as an annual that my son bought for 25 cents at his school. He was sad to see it die so I bought him two more the next year and put them in a pot instead. He loves his begonia and in the winter I pinch it back so it stays attractive. I have given cuttings away as well. The one I grow have red leaves with pink flowers.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

...sounds good. And looks so very pretty! Sending good vibes!

Are you talking about wax Begonia? I agree, they can keep blooming all winter in a good window, and stay alive a nice long time. Putting polka dot where wax Begonia would be happy for winter is a perfect comparison, IMHO. ...this is making me want to add some pieces to that shallow white(ish - peeling paint = shabby chic, maybe?) pot.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:37PM
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jujujojo_gw(6b 7a)

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 10:55

Haha, how interesting. In my view, the red Fittonia may lose color if the temperature is safe and high. If the temperature is dangerously low, and with all attempts to bloom removed, the Fittonia produces large colorful leaves persistently (in high humidity - near soil surface).

I used very fertile soil for my Polka Dot. They looked marvelous for a couple months then they start to bloom. The leaves turn smaller and smaller. I cut and cut, root and root, they start to bloom quicker and quicker. Eventually, about 4 months later, I have a pot of small leaved sticks all ready to bloom, no matter what I do ... :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:40PM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

It is a wax begonia but it did get a little sunburn in shade. It flowered all winter long. Thanks! I found it very attractive. I hope it takes root. My cuttings usually do great when I have a pinch of rooting hormone in the water. I'll put it in a bright window sill. Luckily, my daughter's room gets sun for most of the day. I heard the plant dies after it blooms, and it's short lived. I'm not sure hot true it is, but I plan to pick the flowers off if that's the case. We just like the foliage. She also has a Christmas cactus that she got as a gift last year. It is looking good, and they're so easy to grow. She really wants a goldfish plant so badly. I haven't seen them in stores for a few years.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Curious if your polka dot plant took root for you? I seem to be batting about 60% with attempted cuttings (stuck directly in soil) this summer.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 4:11PM
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