Alocasia Polly ‘African Mask’ Care Guide
Bringing home a new Alocasia Polly!
Nothing says tropical like the lush, deep green of the Alocasia Polly ‘African Mask’ plant. With its distinctive dark leaves with light veining, this plant is recognizable in any situation! Despite the name, however, this plant does not hail from Africa – rather it comes from the Philippine Islands. It was give the name ‘African Mask’ due to its resemblance to the ceremonial masks of Africa.
Alocasia like to be moist, but not saturated or dry. It does not do well with drought! Water when the top inch is dry, which you can figure out by using a moisture meter or poking your finger into the dirt up to your first knuckle.
Light and humidity
Alocasia need a warm, humid environment indoors that replicates its natural home environment of the Philippines. Keep it away from drafts, especially cold ones, and keep a humidifier nearby if you live in a dry, arid climate. They can handle lower light, but will not do well in dark conditions.
Soil and fertilizer
Keep the Alocasia in clean, well-draining soil. Since they prefer to be slightly moist, it is imperative that the soil drains well, otherwise it can lead to root rot. Using a moisture meter can help determine the best times to water. Use 1/3 perlite or potting sand and mix with 1/3 peat and 1/3 soil. Fertilize in spring and summer, and you may just see it bloom!
If root rot strikes, all is not lost! We carry a root rot treatment that aids in recovery.
Cleaning and pruning
Clean the leaves of your Alocasia with a soft, damp cloth to rid it of dirt and dust. You can trim dead or dying leaves by cutting them at the soil line with clean, sharp scissors. Keeping your plant pruned and pretty will also keep it happy!
Look for rhizomes on the base of the plant and separate it from the rest of the plant in its own pot. Try to repot in the spring, during the growing season. You can tell it needs to be repotted when water start running straight through it when you water – this means that it is rootbound and there is very little dirt left!
Gently extract the plant from its current container and then put it in one 1-3” larger in diameter. Add more dirt, and you are set!
Alocasia prefer to be in a tight pot, so you do not need to repot it often, usually every 18-24 months.
Their unique, deeply lined leaves will stand out amongst your collection in the best way. Alocasia Pollys need additional humidity, so you may even wish to add a tray with pebbles and water underneath it to keep it happy. One super important note: Alocasia is both toxic to humans AND pets, so keep this in mind when you place it in your home or office.
Don’t be shy about posting photos of your new plant on Instagram – just tag us at @cellardplants and use #CellarDoorPlants so we can see them! Happy houseplanting!