Botanical name: Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly'
Common names: Alocasia Polly, African Mask, Elephant's Ears Plant
Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly' also called Alocasia Polly, Elephant's Ears Plant or African Mask is a strikingly beautiful plant which is moderately easy to grow indoors.
The stems in Alocasia Polly are erect and bear enormous, arrow-shaped, dark-green leaves with distinctly white-colored veins.
Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly' is a hybrid of Alocasia longiloba and Alocasia sanderiana both species of the family Araceae.
There are about 90 species in the Alocasia genus which are native to tropical and subtropical Asia to Eastern Australia.
frican Mask grows to a height of 1ft and a width of 1ft. The large leaves can grow up to 2 ft long.
The flowers in Elephant's Ears Plant are are unimpressive pale-colored spathes which only last a few days. They grow at the end of a short stalk but they are not conspicuous; they are often hidden behind the leaf petioles.
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Alocasia Polly (Alocasia X amazonica 'Polly') thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.
Alocasia X amazonica 'Polly' requires regular pruning to keep it neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations.
Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Alocasia Polly grows best under bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause brown sunscorch marks on the leaves.
Too little light for African Mask will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant gets light on all sides for even growth.
Alocasia X amazonica 'Polly' can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is inadequate.
Water the Alocasia Polly thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil consistently moist.
Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Underwatering the plant will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Elephant's Ears Plant does not like to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations.
Therefore, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Average warmth with a minimum of 160C is ideal for Alocasia Polly. Below this temperature the plant may drop all its leaves and go into dormancy stage.
African Mask also needs to be be kept away from draughts as it hates sudden changes in temperature which can cause reduced growth and death of the plant.
Alocasia Polly requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.
Occasionally clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pests infestation.
Feed Alocasia Polly with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) every 3-4 weeks during the growing period but do not feed during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period.
Flush out accumulated salts arising from fertilizers every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes and repeat several times.
Alocasia Polly prefers to be root-bound, therefore frequent repotting is not needed. Repot into a 1 size larger pot during the growing season only if the roots have grown out through the drainage holes.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to fungal infestations.
The best soil for Alocasia Polly should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most aroids potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Buy quality Aroids Potting Mix for African Mask online from Etsy.
Pruning Alocasia Polly is easy as it only requires removal of yellow and diseased leaves as they occur to maintain the plant neat and also reduce chances of diseases and pests infestation.
Alocasia Polly (Alocasia X amazonica 'Polly') can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
Water the Alocasia Polly thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Carefully take the Alocasia Polly out of its pot and gently divide the rhizome into sections by cutting through with a sharp sterilized knife. Ensure that each section has 1-2 stems.
Plant the sections in individual pots in moist, free-draining soil at the same depth that they were in the previous pot.
Ensure that each pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight to prevent scorching.
Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which you can begin routine care.
Alocasia Polly (Alocasia X amazonica 'Polly) problems indoors are due to cultural faults and include plant death, leaf spots, dropping leaves, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
There are three possible reasons why the leaves of Alocasia Polly are dropping and the plant is dying. These three reasons signal dormancy for the plant and hence the leaves die in readiness to enter dormancy.
Naturally, this happens during the cold season (winter) when the plant undergoes dormancy. However, even if the foliage may die, the underground rhizome is still alive and can regrow under favorable conditions.
One possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia Polly are dropping and the plant is dying is too little light as it requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight to thrive.
Position the Elephant Ears Plant in a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
The second possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia Polly are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 160C.
African Mask grows best in average warmth between 160C and 240C. Keep the plant away from cold and hot draughts which cause sudden changes in temperature.
The third possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia Polly are dropping and the plant is dying is underwatering.
Alocasia Polly requires consistently moist soil. Water the plant liberally during the growing season.
Lessen watering in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
The reason why the leaves of Alocasia Polly are losing color and dying is too little light as the plant grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.
Move the African Mask to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is not adequate.
One possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia Polly is too low humidity. Where the air temperatures are high, the air humidity is likely to reduce significantly.
To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
The second possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia Polly is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.
Flush out the accumulated salts from the soil every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes.
Let the stream of water run for a few minutes and repeat the process several times.
There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in Alocasia Polly. One possible cause of drooping leaves is too little light.
Place the plant in a brighter spot where it will recieve bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight or use a grow light to boost the natural lighting if it is too little.
The second possible cause of drooping leaves in African Mask is underwatering. Keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season.
Decrease watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Low humidity is the reason for the yellowing and dropping of the leaves in Alocasia Polly. The plant flourishes in warm humid conditions.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to increase humidity for the plant.
However, it is natural for the old leaves to turn yellow and drop as the plant continues to grow.
Remove such leaves by snipping them off at the base with a clean sharp knife or a pair of scissors to keep the plant neat and reduce pest and disease infestations.
Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia Polly are an indication of leaf spot disease which is enhanced by soggy soil and overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.
Isolate the affected plant immediately to prevent spread to other houseplants, remove the damaged leaves and treat with a fungicidal solution.
Make sure that there is proper drainage for both the soil and the pot to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Avoid misting and wetting the leaves and keep them dry to discourage the disease infestation.
Improve on ventilation and ensure that there is good air circulation for the Alocasia Polly. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
Common pests in Alocasia Polly are Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, Scales and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Alocasia Polly (Alocasia x amazonica 'Polly') like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA.
It contains crystals of calcium oxalate which if ingested can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx leading to difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the throat.
Keep the African Mask away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.