The Hypoestes phyllostachya is a small semi-woody shrub, evergreen, native to Madagascar, there are about forty species of hypoestes, widespread in southern Africa and southern Asia, but only some are grown as ornamental plants.
It has small, much ramified stems, usually with prostrate carriage, and reaches the 20-25 cm of height; the thick leaves are oval, very thin and delicate, of green colour with variegations and dots of various colours, depending on the variety, from the white to the pink, from the purple to the red; there are several cultivars with particularly bright colours. In summer it produces erect spikes, several centimetres long, made up of small blue, purple or lilac flowers.
To maintain a compact and dense vegetation, it is advisable to top the longest branches in spring or autumn. The hypoestes are also grown in the garden as annual border plants.
Place the Hypoestes phyllostachya plants in a well-luminous place, also wanting to be exposed directly to sunlight; during the hot months we can also place them outside, in a semi-shady place, the minimum ideal temperature during the winter is around 15-20°C.
These plants do not like air currents, so avoid placing them in a place of passage because they would be affected quickly.
These small plants need to be watered regularly, keeping the soil constantly moist, but not excessively soaked with water; we therefore recommend watering daily with small amounts of water; during the winter months, water slightly.
They are plants which love a certain degree of humidity, therefore, it is good to intervene with some nebulisations on the leaves, especially when the temperatures are higher.
From March to October, mix the water from the flowering plant manure with the water from the watering of the flowering plant manure, using a dose half that recommended on the packaging, every 15-20 days.
For a correct development, it is best to plant in a soil rich in organic matter, soft and light, which slightly maintains the humidity but with a proper drainage. A good substrate can be prepared by mixing composting soil with a little sand, peat and finely chopped bark. The slightly creeping habit and the coloured leaves make these plants particularly suitable to be cultivated in containers with particular shapes, in oval and low pots, or very tall and narrow.
The multiplication of the Hypoestes phyllostachya plants takes place by seed, in late winter or early spring; in spring and autumn it is also possible to make cuttings, which root with great facility, so much so that it is also possible to bury them directly in the cultivation pot.
Hypoestes phyllostachya: Parasites and diseases
Excessive water levels can lead to root rot; these plants are often affected by cochineal and mining larvae.
To eliminate the cochineals, if the attack is not too widespread, it is possible to intervene directly with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to pass on the affected leaves. It is also possible to wash the leaves with water and neutral soap, taking care to rinse carefully.