Hypoestes phyllostachya (syn. Sangninolenta)

This is a sub-shrub from Madagascar. There are about 40 species of Hypoestes distributed in Madagascar and South Africa. In its natural habitat, H. phyllostachya reaches a height of 1 m (39 in). Grown as a house plant, however, it is much shorter. It is cultivated chiefly for its leaves, which are patterned with prominent red veins and pink patches. The flowers are not particularly striking; they are pale blue-violet and grow singly from the axils of the leaves.

It requires a high level of humidity – 60 per cent. It needs a very light position. When supplied with sufficient light, the leaves are beautifully coloured. It is readily propagated by tip cuttings which should be cut back after they have rooted to promote branching. It can also be propagated from seed.

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