Polka Dot Plant Losing Color? [5 Common Causes and Solutions]

Having plants in your house can benefit your overall health and well-being. Perhaps you just purchased a new polka dot plant and noticed it is losing its vibrant color. You may be wondering about the leading causes of your polka dot plant losing color.

The most common reasons your polka dot plant loses color are lighting, watering, humidity, soil mixture, and infestations. Either one or several of these problems could be the cause. To ensure that your polka dot has vibrant color, watering, lighting, soil mixtures, and humidity must be adequate. 

The joy of polka plants is their wonderful color spectrum, which is a cause for concern if your plant is losing its vibrancy. This article will discuss the common reasons why your polka dot plant is losing its color and cover some of the guidelines you should follow to take proper care of your polka dot plant.

1. Your Polka Dot Plant Has Inadequate Lighting

Different plants need different amounts of sunlight and shade. The polka dot plant is relatively flexible in that it can grow indoors or outdoors and tolerate direct or indirect sunlight. However, it is generally considered a plant that grows best in medium to bright lighting.

Medium to bright lighting means you can rotate it between having exposure to direct or indirect sunlight. If you have your polka dot plant inside, moving it around a bit is best to receive varying types of sunlight.

If you keep it next to the window, be careful not to leave it there for too long of a period. This direct sunlight exposure can burn the leaves and cause them to lose their color.

Additionally, suppose you leave your polka dot plant in a low-light setting inside your home. In that case, you may find that it also loses its color. This type of color loss is due to a lack of light exposure.

How To Fix Your Lighting

If the problem lies with the lighting, try experimenting with moving your polka dot plant around. You may first try a place in your house where you can expose the plant to light for most of the day. However, ensure it is not right next to the window as this could be too much sunlight.

You can also keep your plant outside in a medium-light place for weeks. You can move it back inside after observing it to see if its color recovers. The ideal place to put your plant is where it will have five to six hours of medium or indirect light. You can face it slightly away from the window.  

2. Overwatering or Underwatering Your Polka Dot Plant

Another common cause of polka dot plants losing color is improper watering habits. If you overwater or underwater your plant, this could cause the leaves to lose color. If you overwater your polka dot plant, it may cause the leaves to wilt and turn brown. Additionally, the leaves will hang if you do not water your plant enough due to a lack of water and dryness.

As with all plants, you need to be attentive to the watering needs of the specific plant. You should consider that polka dot plants need constant watering, but you do not want to water them so that the soil is soggy. The soil should remain moist but not soggy.

If you notice that the leaves of your polka dot plant are losing color, do not stress about it, you can fix it. There are a few things to look out for that will help you reverse this issue.

How To Fix Your Water Leaves

The first thing to look for is the soil moisture level. You want the soil to be moist but not waterlogged. One way to check this is that if you notice that the top of the soil looks dry, you can check the soil layers underneath with your hand or a stick. If the top two inches of soil are dry, but the bottom layers are still slightly moist, it is time to water your plant again.

One way to help ensure you water your polka dot plant properly is to use an app to help you keep track of when you wet your plant and when you are due to water it again.

The app Planta can help you identify your plants and provide care instructions for lighting and water. Following the proper guidelines for watering your polka dot plant are essential to ensure the leaves do not turn brown. 

3. Your Polka Dot Plant Lacks Humidity

Your polka dot plant may be losing color due to a lack of humidity. Humidity is essential for polka dot plants to retain their color. Polka dot plants do best in highly humid conditions. If you live somewhere particularly dry, such as Nevada, California, or many mountain states, your polka dot plant may be at high risk of losing color.

The moisture in humid air allows polka dot plants to retain their moisture and stay colorful with superb foliage. If you see that your polka dot plant is colorless, you will need to consider the humidity conditions of where you live.

How To Fix the Humidity

If you live somewhere particularly dry, you will need to consider leaving your polka dot plant inside as much as possible. Then, you will also want to consider investing in a humidifier for your home. A humidifier will help increase the moisture in the air inside your home and ensure that your polka dot plant does not dry out and lose color.

If purchasing a humidifier feels too expensive, another option is to use a water spray bottle. If you choose this option, keep in mind that you will need to spray mist on your polka dot plant most days.

4. Your Soil Mixture Lacks Nutrients or Is Overfertilized

Polka dot plants need healthy soil to grow. Polka dot plants need a healthy blend of nutrient-rich soil and fertilizer. If you are not using nutrient-rich soil, your polka dot plant will lose color.

Additionally, your plant will lose color if you do not fertilize it enough or fertilize it too frequently. Like water and light, you can over-fertilize a polka plant. If this happens, your plant will begin browning. 

How To Fix Your Soil

The general guideline for polka dot plants is to fertilize them just once or twice a year. It is possible to fertilize them more than that, but if you want to do so, you need to check the specific fertilizer you are using.

The best fertilizer for a polka dot plant is a balanced houseplant fertilizer such as this Fitleaf All-Purpose Fertilizer (available on Amazon.com). This product contains macro, micro, and secondary nutrients to ensure the most efficient plant growth.

The number series 20-20-20 refers to the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in the fertilizer. If you choose to use a different fertilizer that is not balanced like this one, be sure to research how often you can safely fertilize your polka dot plant.

5. Your Polka Plant Is Infested

Suppose you have reviewed all of the possibilities why your polka dot plant may be browning, such as water, light, humidity, and soil. In that case, it may be time to consider whether your plant has an infestation.

Infestations can happen due to the presence of pests such as :

  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids
  • Mealy bugs
  • Scale.

These pests can wreak havoc on your polka plant and deprive the nutrients necessary for vibrant color. Often you will see telltale signs of pests by holes in your polka dot plants or discoloration of their leaves.

Pests can come from many sources, such as:

  • New plants
  • Fresh flowers or produce
  • Your potting soil
  • Through open doors and windows.

How To Fix Infestations

You should immediately take action if you notice that your polka dot plant has pests. There are several options to deal with pests, such as:

  • Horticultural oil
  • Organic pest spray
  • Neem oil.

Be sure to move your polka dot plant away from other plants if you notice an infestation. Diseases can quickly spread from plant to plant when in close contact. You should also clean and disinfect the surrounding area to prevent the pests from spreading to your other houseplants.

Don’t forget to thoroughly clean your pots and trays as pests can lurk there, ready to reinvade your polka plant.


When your polka dot plant loses color, it could signify something as simple as moving its location or watering it more or less. However, it also may be a sign that you need to pay attention to the soil mixture you are using and consider the possibility of a plant infestation.

Once you have tackled the cause of your color loss, you can turn your attention to making your polka plant thrive. Taking good care of your polka dot plant is essential to ensure it does not fade in color and remains a bright, vibrant presence in your home.

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