How To Make My Polka Dot Plant Bushy? (Complete guide)

Polka dot plants are vibrant-colored, pretty-looking plants that people usually keep indoors. Originally from Madagascar, they are a trending house plant that thrives in sunny areas with warmer temperatures. If you own one of these, your biggest concern and worry will probably be around the health of your plant, especially if it is starting to look a little bit leggy.

Here are some of the ways that you can keep your polka dot plant bushy:

  1. Keep the polka plant well pruned.
  2. Give your polka dot plant the right amount of lighting.
  3. Water the polka dot plant properly.
  4. Do not crowd the potted polka dot plant.
  5. Use potted plant mixes for your polka plant.
  6. Plant your polka dot plant at the correct temperature.
  7. Replace the polka dot plant regularly.
  8. Weed the polka dot plant and keep it safe from pests.

Polka dot plants are a great addition to your home or garden but they can become rangy if you don’t care for them properly. Please read on to learn some of the best practices you can follow to keep your polka dot plant bushy and abundant.

1. Keep the Polka Plant Well Pruned

Polka dot plants are typically grown from seedlings planted into flower pots or in the garden. As the plant grows, it will sprout many leaves, some of which may crowd and require pruning. Wisconsin Madison University Horticulture mentions in an article that, on average, under ideal conditions, the plant will grow up to 30 inches (76.2 cm) high and wide.

Experts advise growers to prune the polka plant leaves regularly. This pruning will enable each part of the plant to receive sunlight and water adequately. However, you must ensure that you do not excessively prune the plant, as taking off too many leaves will expose too many of the branches, which could make them dry up instead.

2. Give Your Polka Dot Plant the Right Amount of Lighting

The most common polka dot plant species usually sprout pink spotted leaves, but due to crossbreeding, there are also white spotted and yellow-spotted polka dot plants.

The plant is said to do well and be fully bushy when kept as an outdoor plant. Its vibrant bright colors also add a pop of color to the outdoor garden.

Polka dot plants thrive if you live in sunny states like Arizona, Florida, or even Utah. Even though this is the case, you may still keep them as healthy indoor plants only with extra care.

Most species of the plant require adequate sunlight so they can grow well, and therefore it would be wise to place your flower pot at a window or on the side of your house that allows for the most sunlight.

This need for sunlight does not mean you should put your plant in the scorching sun. Some species thrive in bright but filtered light for their proper growth. If you take care to do this, your plant is bound to look bushy.

3. Water the Polka Dot Plant Properly

Like any other plant, you need to ensure that your polka dot masterpiece receives an adequate water supply to help it grow well. According to Lazy Flora, this doesn’t mean you should flood the plant with water. Soggy soil leads to root rot, making the plant grow poorly and eventually die.

Instead, you can administer small doses of water to the plant every day to keep the soil moisture. If you notice that the soil is still humid from the previous day, you can give it a few extra hours before you can water it again. Excessive watering will also make the leaves susceptible to getting mildew.

If you notice mildew growing on one of the leaves, gently pull it back to prevent the rest from catching it. If you get sufficient rainfall, you may not have to water the plant daily. However, remove the plant from heavy rain to avoid waterlogging your polka plant.

4. Do Not Crowd the Potted Polka Dot Plant

A polka dot plant, when crowded, will start to get leggy because the entire plant is not receiving proper light. After all, some leaves will inevitably cover others.  When planted in a nursery bed, the seedlings can begin to sprout as soon as four days, after which you should transplant them into pots.

You need to ensure that there is adequate space between each seedling. The pot size you use will determine how many seedlings you can put in each. Wisconsin Madison University Horticulture recommends three seedlings for a 3-inch (7.62 cm) flower pot and five seedlings for a 4-inch (10.62 cm) flower pot.

Spacing will enable each part of the plant to receive adequate light; therefore, the leaves will grow bright and beautiful, allowing your indoor plant buddy to look bushy. You can also space the plant by pulling off the flowers to allow the leaves to grow better.

5. Use Potted Plant Mixes for Your Polka Plant

As much as the soil in your polka dot’s pot is full of natural nutrients, take extra care to use other organic mixes to make your plant look more bushy than leggy. According to The Spruce, you can add some pumice or perlite to improve the soil quality. Proper soil quality will enable the plant to flourish, produce even-looking leaves and get bushy. 

Take care that you do not use too much of these mixes as they can lead to drying of the stems and roots of the plants, which will make them grow poorly or even die.

6. Plant You Polka Dot Plant at the Correct Temperature

The polka dot plant is a summer-friendly plant and thrives well in sunny environments, and you should avoid planting the polka plant at temperatures lower than  50°F (10°C). This warmth requirement is why it is a fit house plant if you live in the sunnier states like Arizona and California. It needs to have enough light and warmth to grow bushy.

If you choose to have the plant in an area that regularly experiences winter seasons, plant it towards the summer or at least ten days after the last frost. The seedlings also tend to mature faster when the temperatures are warmer.

You must ensure that you have a great source of warmth to keep your plant thriving during the winter. This placement might not be too easy, but if you must have the plant and you stay in a cold environment, the chances are that it might not get bushy. The cold will make the leaves grow thinner and coil inwards.

7. Replace the Polka Dot Plant Regularly

A polka dot plant’s vibrancy and bushy nature will last up to two years. After this, the plant will deteriorate and eventually die. You can pluck off the flowers in the initial stages, but sooner or later, the plant undergoes natural changes.

To keep your polka dot plant bushy, you may simply need to commit to changing the plant every two years to keep your house plant aesthetically appealing. This replacement will also save you the frustration of trying to keep a dying plant alive.

8. Weed the Polka Dot Plant and Keep It Safe From Pests

To keep your plant bushy, you must ensure it does not compete for soil nutrients or water with other unwanted plants. Make sure you regularly remove any weeds that sprout because they will also crowd your plant, making it look lousy.

Pests will also slow down the growth of your plant. One of the most common pests that attack the polka dot plant is the spider mite, commonly found between the leaf stems. You can get rid of most pests using natural pesticides like neem oil, although this might take a while to see results.

Alternatively, you can use an effective pesticide such as the Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate available at Amazon. It will kill weevils, white bugs, aphids, and any other pest that attacks polka dot plants.

Use the pesticide as instructed and take time daily to inspect your plant for signs of poor growth or diseased leaves. If weevils or bugs have already attacked your polka plant’s leaves, pull them off gently to avoid the infection from spreading to other parts of the plant.

Key Takeaways

When poorly cared for, polka dot plants lose their natural beauty and might even start looking leggy. Factors like temperature, sunlight, soil nutrients, and the amount of moisture are some essential determinants for whether the house plant will grow well or poorly.

To ensure that your polka dot plant looks bushy, you can:

  • Give it the right amount of light.
  • Keep it well watered.
  • Add some organic potting mixes.
  • Grow it in warm temperatures.
  • Weed the plant and use a pesticide regularly.
  • Replace the plant every two years.

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