Skip to Content

Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Dying? (4 reasons and solutions)

The polka dot plant is one of your house’s most striking and distinctive decorative plants. With its full bush, colourful foliage, and unique splattered pattern, the polka dot plant makes for a beautiful garden plant to be kept indoors.

In most cases, it is a low-maintenance plant and can survive in tough conditions. So, when you notice the physical features of the polka dot deteriorating, the first question that comes to mind is – why is my polka dot plant dying?

There can be several environmental reasons for the bad condition of your plant. It could also be due to changes in the lifecycle.

You must get to the root of the reasons before solving the issue. So, here is a detailed analysis of your question – why is my polka dot plant dying? Keep reading.

Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Dying 1
Polka dot plant is dying!! Help!! – via Reddit

Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Dying?

The polka dot plant comes in various colours, including white, green, and pink. They are mostly kept indoors, and their care routing involves similar steps as an outdoor plant. You need to provide the right amount of water, sunlight, a mixture of soil, and other growing conditions.

If any of the above conditions are not met in the required amount, your polka dot will suffer severe consequences. Lack or excess of one of these prerequisites could be the answer to your query – why is my polka dot plant dying? Let’s explore each one in detail.

1. Overwatering

The polka dot plants are native to Madagascar’s hot and humid environment, and therefore, they have evolved to thrive in moist conditions. They will grow well in high water content in the soil, but there is still a limit on how much water they can survive.

If you keep adding water repeatedly, there will come the point when the plant becomes overwatered. Overwatering is one of the top reasons why the polka dot plant dies.

The plant roots need air to breathe, and adding excess water can clog the soil. This will cause the roots to become drenched and unable to breathe in air. Excess water also takes up all the nutrients and minerals in the soil, leaving a depleted mixture for the plant.

In this way, the soil will become waterlogged, nutrients will be depleted, and the moist soil provides a perfect habitat for fungus and other pathogens to thrive. These pathogens can cause diseases like root rot, and eventually, your plant will die.

You can look for the following sign on your plant to confirm that this is a case of overwatering:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Leaves turning yellow
  • Edges and tips of leaves turning brown
  • Sudden and fast loss of leaves through the shedding
  • Bumps and blisters on the leaves
  • Weak and swollen stems
  • Small leaves and other signs of stunted growth

There are a few different ways to fix this issue. If you notice signs of overwatering, put the plant in a warm and airy environment, such as in a hot room with a fan on, to let the excess water dry up quickly.

In extreme cases of waterlogging, you can also report the plant. Take it out and let the water drip out. Spray the roots to wash off all dirt and soil. Cut off any dead roots which are brown or black and leave the white roots.

Use soil with a good draining ability and a pot with several holes to let the water out. Use fungicides to deal with root rot. The rule of thumb is to check the soil. If it is dry till 1-2 inches, you can water the polka dot.

Sale
Garden Safe Brand Fungicide3, Ready-to-Use, 24-Ounce, 1 Pack
  • FOR ORGANIC GARDENING: Can be used up to day of harvest – OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Listed.
  • INSECTICIDE/FUNGICIDE/MITICIDE: Three garden products in one!
  • READY-TO-USE SPRAY: Spray for complete coverage of all plant tissue.
  • FOR USE ON: Roses, flowers, houseplants, ornamental trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables.
  • PREVENTS LISTED FUNGAL DISEASES: Apply weekly to every 2 weeks until the potential for disease is no longer present.

2. Underwatering

The polka dot plant detests being in a dry growing medium. If you do not give the plant enough water, it will show symptoms of underwatering. The leaves will become yellow, dry, crunchy, and curled up. The stem may become droopy, and there might be brown spots on the leaves.

If you pick up the pot, it will be lighter, and the soil will be immensely dry if you put your finger in it. Underwatering mostly happens in summer and when the wind is dry.

You can treat underwatering by soaking the plant in water. Let it sit in a sink full of water until the soil becomes wet. Ensure the drainage system is fine, as too many draining holes can cause the water to pass out and leave nothing for the soil. Adding water from the base helps the soil retain moisture.

Why Is My Polka Dot Plant Dying 2
My polka dot plant just started dying 2 days ago and it’s getting worse and worse. – via Reddit

3. Inadequate Sunlight

Your polka dot plant could be suffering from excess or lack of light. If your plant’s leaves are turning brown, it could be due to excess light. If the plant sits in bright, direct sunlight for too long, it will turn crisp and become bleached.

In case of lack of light, the plant leaves will turn yellow and become leggy. This mostly happens in winter as the sun is already weak, and if your polka dot is sitting inside the house, it could lead to a lack of light.

Lack of light will lead to the inability of the plant to manufacture food, and so to preserve energy, the polka dot will start dropping leaves.

The solution here is simple. For excess light, keep the plant out of direct sunlight if it is placed outside. It should get ample light but not too much direct sunlight. For lack of light, move the plant to a location where it can get lots of bright, filtered light. You can put it near an east-facing window for the correct amount of light.

4. Pest Attack

The polka dot plant is not immune to pest diseases, and it can become a target of pest attacks if a suitable environment is provided. Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies are some of the pests that can attack the polka dot.

The first step is to take the infected polka dot plant aside from other plants. In case of a small, contained infestation, use cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to wipe the pests off, or you can use a strong jet of water to hose down the infestation.

For a larger infestation, use a good insecticidal soap or neem oil. Spray the plant once a week for a few weeks to destroy the pest attack.

Bonide Insecticidal Soap Ready-to-Use, 32 fl. oz., Multi Purpose Insect Control, Indoor and Outdoor, Potassium Salts of Fatty Acids
  • PEST DEFENSE - Insecticidal Soap controls adelgids, aphids, lacebugs, mealybugs, mites, tent caterpillars, grasshoppers, thrips, scale, & more.
  • INDOOR & OUTDOOR USE - Designed for use indoors, outdoors, & in greenhouses on fruit & nut trees, corn, soybeans, melons, peas, cabbage, figs, grapes, citrus, houseplants, ornamentals, & more.
  • CONTACT SPRAY - This product is a contact spray. Pests must be sprayed directly to achieve control.
  • ORGANIC GARDENING - Approved and suitable for all of your organic gardening needs. It can even be used up to the day of harvest.
  • READY TO USE - This product is conveniently ready to use when it arrives at your home. The spray nozzle makes this product easy to deploy.
Harris Neem Oil, 100% Cold Pressed and Unrefined Concentrate for Plant Spray, High Azadirachtin Content - OMRI Listed for Organic Use, 12oz
  • 100% Cold Pressed & Unrefined - All natural with absolutely no chemicals or additives included to ensure that the neem oil retains its original composition
  • Cosmetic grade - The oil is high in antioxidant compounds that soothe the skin
  • Organic gardening uses - used in organic gardening to keep plants looking healthy
  • Mix with lotions or shampoos - Antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids provide nourishment for hair, nails and skin
  • Satisfaction GUARANTEED - If you aren't fully satisfied with our Neem oil, contact us and we will issue a full refund no questions asked

Conclusion

I hope this answers your query – why is my polka dot plant dying? This is not an exhaustive list of reasons for the bad health of your plant. There could be other reasons, such as diseases caused by pathogens, poor soil mixture, etc. The main reasons for the dying polka dot include the inadequate amount of water or sunlight, lack of nutrients, requirement for repotting, and pest attacks. Make sure to take notes and get to saving your polka dot plant.