Mike Dana, Extension Landscape Horticulture
Specialist, Purdue University
When it comes to flowers in the landscape
and especially in containers, color is everything. Tasteful,
subtle color usage in plant combinations in pots is at the
peak of fashion.
A plant that may be forgotten by many, because its been around
a long time, is the polka-dot plant, or
Picture one shows it in combination with
a pink geranium. Here,
the pink of the leaf mottling not only compliments the pink of
the geranium flowers, but the dark background foliage and stem
color provides striking contrast. The smaller leaves of
the Hypoestes also
provides textural contrast.
The polka-dot plant is sometimes used for
creating pictures and sculptures with plants. Picture two is of a free-form
sculpture in a plant display at a major hotel atrium. Here,
regular shearing keeps the plant from becoming open in habit,
and the high light level results in a stronger pink/red appearance.
Hypoestes phyllostachya, polka-dot
plant is available with leaf blotches in pink, red, and creamy
white. It is a member of the mint family of plants. Its true flowers are small,
blue, and not of interest ornamentally. The leaves provide