If you’re planning for a unique addition to your houseplant collection, then Alocasia Polly may be the ideal plant for you. Also known as the African mask Plant or Elephant Ear Plant. But, as the name says Alocasia doesn’t come from Africa at all. The name came from its resemblance to the hand-carved ceremonial masks found in Africa but actually hails from Asia mainly Philippine Islands, India, Southeast Asia, etc.
Growing Alocasia Plant
Proper Alocasia plant care begins with the soil. It needs to be porous and a recommended mix would be one part soil, one part perlite or coarse potting sand, and one part peat. The potting mixture must be well aerated, well-drained, and yet remain moist.
Humidity is second on the list of necessities for your new houseplant. African Mask Plant thrives in a moist environment and needs plenty of water during active growth. This is a plant that definitely needs a pebble tray beneath it. That being said, the Alocasia plant also has a dormant period in the fall where the leaves fade and die.
Your Alocasia indoor planting should be well lit with bright, but diffuse light. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. Fortunately, average household temperatures are sufficient for African mask plants, although they prefer it a bit warmer, about 85 F. (29 C.) in summer.
Use a fertilizer formulated for foliage plants, such as a slow-release fertilizer applied every couple of months during the growing season.
Potting and Repotting
Most Alocasia plants can be propagated by clump or rhizome division. Cut off a piece of the underground rhizome and pot it up separately. Keep it warm and moist until new growth begins.
Common Pets and Diseases
Common pests of the Alocasia plants are mealy bugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites. Every few weeks, spray the plant with warm soapy water to prevent these pests and keep the plant dust-free. If an infestation occurs, use ultra-fine insecticide oil or Neem Oil. These products will kill the pests and their eggs but keep the plant safe from damage.