Whether we are growing a plant for landscaping or ornamental purposes or sentimental or logical reasons, it is essential to populate our surroundings with these little greeneries, be responsible for them, and know how to solve issues that may arise.
The same goes with the polka dot plant. Polka dot is an ideal example of the most exotic and attractive plant species out there in the world. If you have it in your home, you know it can effortlessly become the center of everybody’s attention.
But sometimes, we can face some problems with our pink and green buddy. If you find the leaves and stems of your polka dot getting long and leggy, you might think, “Why is my polka dot plant drooping?”
That is a common question amongst gardeners.
But don’t worry, a lot of home growers face this challenge. Today’s article will answer why is your polka dot plant dropping and how you can prevent it from happening in the future.
Why is My Polka Dot Plant Drooping? | What is a Polka Dot Plant?
The polka dot plant is a homegrown ornamental plant. People love it for its specks of color on the leaves, just like the name implies. Some polka dots have pink spots, others brown.
Polka dot is a perennial shrub that can be grown indoors and outdoors. It has hardiness in zone 9 to 10; it is also an evergreen plant.
Home growers often describe a drooping, leafed polka dot plant as unhappy, but it can also be a symptom of a potentially critical underlying matter.
So, let’s see why is our polka dot unhappy and how we can make it cheer up again!
Reasons Why Your Polka Dot Plant Is Drooping
Identifying the cause of a thing is often already the remedy to that problem. For example, below are answers to “Why is my polka dot plant drooping?”
But once you go through these answers, you’ll also be able to fix and prevent this issue from happening in the future.
Every plant requires sufficient water to survive; the polka dot plant is no different. Underwatering is the most likely and common cause of drooping in Polka dot plants.
- To know if your Polka Dot Plant is drooping due to a lack of moisture, remove it from its pot and inspect the potting mix and root system.
- If the potting mix feels parched, almost like sand that falls through your fingers, this is a sign of underwatering in plans.
- Also, look out for shriveled and dried roots; this is also a sign that the plant needs more care and attention to watering.
Resolving this issue would require the Polka Dot plant to be watered a little once a day for a few days.
Do not water intensely in a single go! Proper watering over an extended period is vital to treating an underwatered plant. Frequent and thorough watering would help you a lot in this regard.
Overwatering will cause the polka dot leaves to droop and look unhappy. This might be confusing because you get the same symptoms for entirely different reasons.
- Inspect the plant; touch the soil, and feel for excess water or proper drainage. As a result of cold and dampness, overwatering can occur.
- The soil must drain quickly to avoid issues such as root rot. Check if the problem is not critical—check the roots to see if they are healthy.
- Ensure that the soil properly drains, allowing the excess water in the plant to evaporate. Using 20% to 30% of perlite can aid in soil drainage.
- In more significant cases, extract the plant from its pot and vertically position the root ball to dry for a few days to avoid the entire moisture being drawn out of the plant; place it on a sheet of newspaper.
- When returning the plant to the pot, use fresh soil and do not add water until the top part of the soil is aired with no hint of excess water.
After thoroughly inspecting your plant and looking at the water schedules and pot mix, it is necessary to consider factors like the weather.
If your polka dot plant is near any drafty window or close to an AC vent, the cold air would harm your plant and cause it to droop. Cold temperatures can also cause brown leaves and stunted growth.
- In this regard, a digital thermometer is your best friend, as it’s the only way to know how the temperature changes around your polka dot plant.
- Cold air also increases the risk of root rot as it takes longer for the potting mix to dry out.
- Overwatering and cold temperature is a perfect mix for problems such as root rot, so you should be extra cautious when caring for your plants in winter or cold temperatures.
Lack of Sunlight
Why is my polka dot plant drooping, you say? Plants require a good amount of sunlight to thrive via photosynthesis.
Drooping of polka dot leaves can happen more in winter when the sun is weaker and out for less of the day. So what was once a good place for your Polka Dot Plant in summer might not be giving it enough light in winter.
Drooping leaves is one of the early signs, but if the problem develops, you’ll also notice discoloration of the leaves, stunted growth, and your plant shedding leaves.
- If you realize that the plant is drooping because you kept it in a shady area, it is best to take it out of the shade—not scorching sunlight.
- Please keep it away from too much direct sunlight (especially in summer) as this can scorch the delicate leaves.
- If you cannot give it more natural sunlight, investing in an LED grow light is a great way to supplement your plant with a healthy glow.
Small Root Balls
Unfortunately, the polka dot plant sometimes has a small root ball, even than the leaves.
This is not a human error; the plant grows many leaves without adequate roots to transport nutrients to the leaves, hence the drooping leaves.
- An inspection confirms that; remove your plant from the pot and check the football size. Compare it with the full foliage.
- Punching new leaves or pruning the plant can help it focus on growing its root system to promote a bigger root ball and a better root system.
- Once you achieve a balanced growth above and below the soil, the polka dot plant will become bushier and more upright from the pruning activities.
Related Article: Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Dying? (4 reasons and solutions)
A leggy polka dot plant is due to low light, inability to adapt to the new climate, and too much fertilizing. Age is also a significant factor in the polka dot plant drooping leaves.
You can check if the stem of the polka dot plant is leggy, in that case, prune the tips of the plant or shorten the thin stem.
- Find a node from where the plant has grown multiple leaves. Make a cut there, and two more branches will pop out from this cut.
- Same way, trim more where you see plants getting taller and downward; it must be leggy.
- Polka dots are compact and bushy; if it’s going downward, it is because of legginess.
When you prune your plant, try to take cuttings so that you can propagate them into new and healthy polka dot plants.
Now you know the answers to “Why is my polka dot plant drooping?”
- First, it is pertinent to ensure that water and fertilizers are up to standard; these factors contribute to the plant’s health.
- Activities like pruning and re-potting need to be done with the uttermost care for the plant.
- A healthy polka dot plant benefits from proper watering, balanced temperatures, high humidity, good water quality, bright indirect light, and adequate fertilization.
Cheers to a healthy and happy polka dot plant!
- Arifur Rahman, Polka Dot Plant Drooping (causes and solutions), 2021. https://gardenforindoor.com/polka-dot-plant-drooping/
- Evergreen seeds, Polka Dot Plant Wilting, 2022. https://www.evergreenseeds.com/polka-dot-plant-wilting
- Amelia Clark, Polka Dot Plant Drooping – Hypoestes Phyllostachys (FIX), 2020. https://willjames31v13.medium.com/polka-dot-plant-drooping-hypoestes-phyllostachya-fix-bb88ee25c477