Polka Dot Plant Leggy: Ways to Fix Leggy Plant

The Polka dot plant caught my eye with its bright variegated leaves, so I brought it home and soon noticed it was becoming extremely leggy and looking quite unhealthy. I knew that trimming could help, but it was taking time, so I researched specific methods to ensure the Polka dot plant would grow evenly and bushy.

Experimenting makes me achieve the perfect result. To help others prevent their Polka dot plants from becoming leggy, I have explained all possible methods and steps to keep the plants blooming.

If you encounter any issues while growing Polka dot plants, feel free to ask me in the comments below.

Quick takeaways:

  • Polka dot plants have leaves with a pink base that attracts against other foliage.
  • They come in various spotted or mottled varieties in purple, white, red, and deeper colors having brighter contrast which makes attract toward themselves. 
  • The polka dots are not difficult to grow because they are native to warm climates, but many gardeners make them grow annually and replace them with new plants each year. 
  • These polka dot plants can also be best grown in containers as houseplants. 

Ways to Fix Polka Dot Plant Leggy:

Here are 7 ways to treat the leggy polka dot plant and you can adjust the Polka Dot Plant Care methods that will ensure the plant grows best and is more compact.

Adjust The Temperature:

  • The polka dot plants bloom best in temperatures between 65° and 80° degrees Fahrenheit and with a humidity level of at least 50% percent.
  • Providing polka dot plants with hot and humid conditions does encourage faster growth but will cause getting leggy.
  • You can slow down the process by keeping the plant in a room where its temperature remains between 65° and 70° degrees Fahrenheit where it will have humidity levels of 50% to 55%.
  • Keeping the plant at an ideal temperature will make it thrive best but will slow down the growth rate and prevent it from getting leggy.
  • Just ensure the polka dot plant is not kept at a temperature below 65° degrees Fahrenheit for a longer time because it will harm the plant.

Increase Lighting:

  • Increasing light is in fact the single most common reason for getting polka dot plant leggy with fewer leaves.
  • Providing the plant with insufficient sunlight will cause them to seek out the nearest light source and will stretch quickly to reach that goal.
  • In short, plant stems will grow at an angle to receive light.
  • The solution for preventing leggy growth is by moving the plant to more light.
  • The best amount of light the plant needs is bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade.

Ways to provide sufficient light:

The following are several ways to provide them with bright, indirect light:

  • Keeping the provide in an east or west-facing window will give it plenty of sunlight in the morning or evening and save the plant from harsher afternoon sunlight.
  • If you keep the plant in a room with a south-facing window, you need to put one side of the window so that it won’t hit direct sunlight or keep a sheer curtain in the window to decrease the sunlight.

Just to tell you, choosing any method will result in a healthy plant having more vibrant variegation and less legginess. Always avoid keeping the plant in too much direct sunlight which will cause the leaf to scorch and crinkly curling leaves.

Polka Dot Plant Leggy: Ways to Fix Leggy Plant

Prune Polka Dot Plant:

There are two benefits to pruning the polka dot plant such as:

  • Pruning will allow the plant to get in shape and will shorten the leggy stems of the plant. While pruning a polka dot plant, using the cutting for propagation doing this will make the parent plant grow at full size when it gets stretched out.
  • You know polka dot plants are species that bloom only once and then die.
  • Regular pruning of the polka dot plant prevents it from blooming so that the lifespan of the plant gets extended and it won’t die.
  • The flower grown is fairly unremarkable and is not worth letting the plant die.

Ways to prune polka dot plant:

The following are steps for pruning a polka dot plant:

  • Do light pruning once per month in the growing season but without harming the plant.
  • Pinching the plant is tempting however but polka dot plants do have a higher risk of infection by not making a clean cut.
  • Make sure to use sharp, sterile shears or a pair of scissors to make a cut at the stem on just below the leaf nodes.
  • Pruning the plant does help in preventing the disease from spreading and infestation of pests such as aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and spider mites.

Ways to make a polka dot plant bushy:

Pruning is considered the only way to encourage the fuller, bushy growth of polka dog foliage. In case of pinching off the plant from the tips or the top two leaves of the stem will help in promoting branching and result in bushiness of the plant.

Reduce Container Size:

  • This is the most common mistake everyone makes while growing a polka dot plant using a container that’s bigger in size.
  • Having extra room does make serious downsides in growing polka dot plants.
  • Watering and providing nutrients when they reach the roots will lead to toxic build-ups or fungal growth.

Ways to select container:

  • Using a 4″ to 6″ inch diameter pot is perfect for a small to medium size polka dot plant.
  • It will help in restricting growth when it reaches a specific size and automatically reduce the risk of legginess when it gets paired with regular hypoestes pruning.
  • There is a need to repot the plant in fresh soil, well-draining soil, or moist potting mix every 2 years. Doing this time you can also determine the plant if it is root bound.

Use Less Fertilizer:

  • Don’t provide the plant with too much food so that it won’t turn into a beanpole.
  • You need to feed the plant every 2 to 4 weeks during the growing season by following the dosage recommended on the fertilizer packaging.
  • If you prune the plant more often, feed the plant every 2 weeks and cut the plant once per month.
  • During autumn cut back the plant to monthly feed so that the plant gets ready for its dormant stage and just stops fertilizing completely during winter.
  • In case of feeling the plant monthly then the growth rate of the polka dot plant gets too slow.
  • If you are not finding results, just increase the frequency every 2 to 3 weeks.

Ways to reduce the dosage of fertilizer:

  • Let’s understand this by an example, if you are feeding a polka dot plant in 20-20-20 liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength then you can switch to a 10-10-10 fertilizer at half strength or to  5-5-5 at full strength.
  • If you are keeping the NPK balanced, the plant gets everything that is needed in a smaller dosage.
  • Just remember too much nitrogen will cause excessive growth of the plant.

Use Soak-And-Dry Method:

  • Providing the plant with proper water is important and accidentally underwatering is the common cause that makes a polka dot plant leggy.
  •  Overwatering the plant will lead the plant to root rot or push oxygen from the soil, and the symptoms of overwatering are similar to underwatering because the roots don’t get proper water and nutrients to absorb.
  • When you use a soak and dry method, give the plant the right amount of water and it is just an easy method.

Here are the following steps for using soak and dry methods:

  • Just stick the finger in the soil and water the plant when you feel the soil dry 1” inch down.
  • For pouring water use room temperature evenly onto the soil.
  • Just stop watering when you find the soil surface is no longer absorbing weather or when you see moisture seeping from the drainage holes.

Pinch Back:

  • Pinching out gently to remove the new growth at the tip of a stem. 
  • In case you’ve moved the leggy polka dot plant to a brighter spot just pinch back new shoots to encourage more compact growth that will help in creating a clean appearance.
  •  There are times when a polka dot plant looks a little straggly if you provide the right amount of light so do regular pinching off tall shoots just above the top node on the plant stem that helps in encouraging growth to the side rather than growing straight up.
  • Doing this will make your plant look fuller and bushier.


I hope with the help of my guide, you can solve the problem of the Polka dot plant getting leggy. Just make sure to follow each step carefully and save your Polka Dot plant from dying.


What is the reason behind losing polka dot plant vibrant colors?

Losing vibrant colors is due to inadequate light or excessive direct sunlight so to find the right balance of bright indirect sunlight for maintaining vibrant hues.

Is it possible to grow polka dot plants outdoors?

During warm climates, the plant thrives best outdoors if you keep it in shaded areas. They are best to grow as indoor plants as they are sensitive to temperature changes.

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, BonjourGreen.com aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including:   Homesandgardens.com Yahoo.com Urbansplatter.com Inkl.com Foliagefriend.com Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading BonjourGreen.com, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of BonjourGreen.com   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched BonjourGreen.com in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At BonjourGreen.com, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission   BonjourGreen.com is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore BonjourGreen.com and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at BonjourGreen.com, where gardening dreams bloom!

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