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plant, Measles plant, Flamingo plant, Freckle-face
Hypoestes species most commonly sold as an indoor foliage
plant is H. phyllostachya, which is known for its
colorful pink-spotted leaves. The plants, which grow quickly,
can reach 2 feet tall in some cases but are best kept more
compact. They have hairy, densely set leaves that measure 1.5 to
2.5 inches in length. The varieties ‘Splash’ and ‘Pink Brocade’
are showy versions in which the pink coloration is even more
dense, creating more of a mottled look. Some breeders also have
produced varieties where the spots are white or red or where red
is the leaves’ base color.
care, individual plants can live up to two years indoors (see
plants are available year-round.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
Bright indoor light is
appropriate though the plants should be kept out of direct sun.
WATER From spring through fall,
water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry slightly between
waterings. Water less frequently in winter.
Average warm indoor
temperatures are appropriate; Hypoestes plants like a night
temperature between 65 F and 70 F and a day temperature between
75 F and 85 F. Avoid temperatures below 55 F.
HUMIDITY Mist the leaves
FERTILIZER Feed established plants
with a balanced houseplant fertilizer, diluted by half, every
Hypoestes can be
propagated through stem cuttings or via seeds.
PRUNING Pinch back stems as they
grow too long, such as those longer than 10 inches, to encourage
a more bushy form.
REPOTTING It is recommended to take
stem cuttings and start new plants each spring to replace aging
or straggly Hypoestes plants. Potting mixtures formulated for
African violets are suggested.
PESTS AND PROBLEMS Watch for
aphids, whiteflies, spider mites or scale. Pinch off infested
areas, thoroughly clean the plant and isolate it from other
houseplants. Daily misting to increase humidity can keep some of
these pests at bay.
LEAF DROP Yellowed leaves dropping
from the plants are a sign of overwatering. Leaves that drop off
without turning yellow are a sign the plants aren’t getting
CURLED LEAVES Too much light,
particularly direct sunlight, can cause the leaves to curl. Move
the plants to a shadier spot.
WHAT'S IN A NAME
The genus name Hypoestes comes from the
Greek roots “hypo,” which means “below,” and “estia,”
which means “a house.” This refers to the bracts that cover the
FAMILYHypoestes plants are members of the Acanthaceae (Acanthus)
family. Common relatives include Crossandras (firecracker
flower), Aphelandras (zebra plants), black-eyed Susans
and Justicias (shrimp plants).
HOME SWEET HOME
The plants are native to Madagascar, South Africa and Southeast
SEEING THE LIGHT
The amount of light that Hypoestes plants receive affects how
colorful their leaves become. Plants receiving too little light
may stay all green; in well-lit spots, the leaf coloring will be
Some Hypoestes plants, after reaching a year old, will
produce spikes of purple flowers in late winter. These flowers
should be pinched out. After flowering, the plants may go
dormant, and at that point watering should be reduced until new
growth starts. sfr
information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, by Barbara Pleasant
Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses, Inc., www.exoticangel.com
House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
“Foliage Plant of the Month” writer Amy Bauer at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (800) 355-8086.
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