The Hypoestes phyllostachya is a small semi-woody, evergreen shrub originating in Madagascar; there are about forty species of hypoestes, widespread in southern Africa and southern Asia, but only some are cultivated as ornamental plants. It has small, very branched stems, generally with a prostrate habit, and reaches 20-25 cm in height; the thick leaves are oval, very thin and delicate, green in color with variegations and dots of various colors, depending on the variety, from white to pink, from purple to red; there are numerous cultivars with particularly bright colors. In summer it produces erect spikes, some centimeters long, made up of small flowers of blue, violet or lilac color. To maintain a compact and dense vegetation it is advisable to trim the longest branches in spring or autumn. The Hypoestes they are also grown in the garden, as annual border plants.
Place the plants of Hypoestes phyllostachya in a very bright place, wishing also to be exposed directly to sunlight; during the warm months they can also be placed outdoors, in a partially shaded place, the ideal minimum 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 quickly affected.
These small plants need to be watered regularly, keeping the soil constantly moist, but not excessively soaked in water; it is therefore advisable to water daily with small amounts of water; during the winter months thin out the watering.
They are plants that love a certain degree of humidity, therefore, it is good to intervene with the nebulizations on the leaves, especially when the temperatures are higher.
From March to October, mix the water for the fertilizer for flowering plants, using a halved dose compared to that recommended on the package, every 15-20 days.
For a correct development it is good to put it in a soil rich in organic, soft and light matter, which slightly maintains the humidity but with a proper drainage. A good substrate can be prepared by mixing composting soil with little sand, peat and finely chopped bark. The slightly creeping habit and the colored leaves make these plants particularly suitable for cultivation in containers with particular shapes, in oval and low pots, or very tall and narrow.
The multiplication of Hypoestes phyllostachya plants occurs by seed, in late winter or early spring; in spring and autumn it is also possible to practice cuttings, which root with great ease, so that it is also possible to bury them directly in the cultivation vessel.
Hypoestes phyllostachya: Pests and diseases
The excesses of water can favor the onset of radical rot; these plants are often affected by the cochineal and the minar larvae.
To eliminate scale insects, if the attack is not too widespread, it is possible to intervene directly with a cotton pad 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.