Alocasia Polly (Top Tips & Care Guide)

alocasia polly

Alocasia Polly is a popular indoor plant grown for its spectacular leaves. Large, dark green leaves feature dramatic silvery-green to white veins. Also, they produce attractive shades of yellow and green when backlit by the sun.

A compact tropical plant that’s great for indoor spaces, the Alocasia Polly house plants can grow to about 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. This evergreen perennial features arrowhead-shaped leaves that can grow quite large – anywhere from 1-10 inches in width and 1-20 inches in length. 

Although the name suggests otherwise, this Alocasia variety did not originate in the Amazon rainforest. The species was artificially created, though their ancestors are naturally found in rainforests in Asia. 

Knowing this gives us clues about caring for this plant at home. Try to mimic rainforest conditions – filtered light, a moist environment, and relatively high temperatures.

Plant With Many Names: Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’ (scientific name), Alocasia Polly, Alocasia Poly, African Mask plant, Amazonian elephant ear

Alocasia Polly requires just the right amount of light and humidity when grown indoors. When you find the right balance and meet those essential needs, you should not have any issues growing this unique plant. 

Alocasia Polly

So, how do you care for Alocasia Polly?

Alocasia Polly Care

Here are the basics of Alocasia Polly care, which we will detail in this article.

  • Soil: Well-draining & peat-based
  • Pot: Non-porous pot (ceramic or plastic) with drainage holes
  • Light: Bright but indirect
  • Water: Keep moist
  • Humidity: 60-75%
  • Pruning: Remove dead or dying leaves

Soil

The best soil for Alocasia Polly is porous and allows for moisture retention and also adequate drainage. This plant is all about balance. 

To achieve a good balance, try using peat-based soil for moisture retention and adding some perlite to ensure proper drainage.

We recommend the following DIY Alocasia Polly soil mix:

  • One part soil
  • One part perlite or coarse potting sand
  • One part peat

This mixture must be well aerated, well-drained, and yet remain moist.

You can also use alternatives such as coco coir or loam mixtures.

Fertilizer

Use a diluted liquid fertilizer to feed your Alocasia Polly once a month as long as it’s growing.

Stop feeding entirely during the winter months or if the plant is dormant.

Pot

Be sure always to use a pot with a drainage hole to escape any excess water. 

Plastic pots work well for Alocasia Polly. They are non-porous and will not draw moisture from the soil like cement, terra cotta, or clay pots. It will be much easier to manage the moisture levels for your plant if your pot is a non-porous material like plastic or ceramic. 

Because these plants don’t mind a slightly cramped environment, it’s usually not necessary to repot every year. You can repot your Alocasia Polly during Spring if it has outgrown its current container.

Alocasia Polly likes being slightly root-bound. When repotting, use a pot that is only a couple of inches wider than its previous one.

When Should I Repot Alocasia Polly?

Even though Alocasia Polly likes to fit pretty tightly in its pot, you will need to repot your plant every couple of years (depending on how quickly your plant grows). Choose a new pot that is 2 inches larger in diameter than your current pot. 

How to Repot Alocasia Polly

When it is time to repot, follow these steps:

  1. Find a cute new pot that’s about 2 inches larger than your current one.
  2. Get some fresh potting mix that is well-draining. Add some perlite if desired for extra drainage. 
  3. Carefully remove your plant from the current pot. 
  4. Check the root ball for any signs of poor health. Be sure it is not mushy or soft. If you do see anything wrong, carefully trim away the damaged roots. 
  5. Add your potting mix to the pot, about ⅓ to ½ full, so that the plant stands out of the pot at roughly the same height it did in the old pot. 
  6. Once your plant is in, fill the rest of the pot with soil. Keep the soil loose and not too compact. 

Sun/Light Requirements

Because imitating rainforest conditions is crucial in keeping these Alocasia varieties alive, finding the right location and temperature range can be challenging.

alocasia polly near sunny window
Alocasia Polly Needs Bright/Indirect Light

How Much Sun Does Alocasia Polly Need?

Alocasia Polly thrives in bright, indirect light. 

It will grow towards the light like many other plants. To make sure your Alocasia Polly grows straight, rotate it 90 degrees once a week. Rotating your plant will expose all sides to the same amount of sunlight, and it will grow straight up.

Where Should Alocasia Polly Be Placed?

Find a spot with bright but indirect light. When this plant is in its natural environment, the sun is blocked out by higher tree canopies in rainforests. Therefore this plant is not used to direct sunlight. 

Placing your plant in a dark spot will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, leading to dry, brown edges.

Try a room with an eastern or western exposure, where it can get plenty of sun throughout the day, but not direct sunlight. Place your Alocasia near a window that doesn’t get full sunlight, especially not during mid-day. If you only have a window with direct light, try a sheer curtain. This can help to block the sun’s harshest rays. 

If you notice brown edges on the leaves, you might have your Alocasia Polly in a spot where it’s getting too much sunlight. Too much sunlight will burn the leaves and dry them out. It would help if you moved your Alocasia to a spot with slightly less sunlight when you notice the brown edges.

Alocasia Polly Leaf Burned From Too Much Sun
Alocasia Polly Leaf Burned From Too Much Sun

How to Water Alocasia Polly

Keep the soil moist (but not wet/soaked) during the summer when the plant is in full growing mode. When growth is slow or nonexistent during the winter, let the soil dry out a little more but never completely.

Alocasias, in general, are moisture-loving plants, so bone dry soil spells disaster for these plants. You should also avoid letting these plants sit in water for long periods. 

Typically, when the very top soil is slightly dry, the Alocasia Polly is ready for water. Allow water to drain out the bottom holes of the pot to ensure the roots are getting exposed to water. Double-check that there’s no excess water standing in the saucer, as this can lead to root rot. 

The Polly plant does not like soggy soil, so it can be a delicate balance figuring out how much water it will need. Once you have it figured out, this plant is pretty simple to care for. Remember that you will need to water more in summer and less in winter. Checking the soil will tell you when this plant needs water.  

You can also tell if your Alocasia needs water by looking at the stems, which start to droop when it’s thirsty. 

Alocasia Polly is not drought tolerant. Although it loves water, too much water can cause root rot. Again, it’s all about finding the right balance.

Watering Alocasia Polly in Summer and Winter

In warm summer months, watering twice a week is expected. You will need to reduce your watering schedule when the plant enters dormancy in the cooler winter months.

We recommend letting the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent overwatering and root rot in winter. This plant is not drought tolerant, and extended periods of dryness will cause leaf edges to brown.

If your home has hard water, Alocasia Polly might prefer filtered or bottled water. Collected rainwater is also a good option.

Humidity

Alocasia Polly loves a humid environment. One of the most critical factors in keeping your Alocasia Polly happy is finding the right humidity level. 

Ideally, you should provide it with at least 50% humidity (60-70% is ideal). Anything below 50%, and you will notice that the leaves start curling, browning, and eventually dropping off.

 There are several ways you can ensure that your Alocasia Polly gets enough humidity:

  • Misting is a decent way to add humidity. However, this only increases the humidity level for a brief time. If you decide to mist, remain on the lookout for signs of disease and fungal issues.
misting an alocasia polly
Misting an Alocasia Polly
  • Place your potted plant on a pebble tray half-filled with water. Add pebbles to the bottom saucer and fill halfway with water (so that no water is touching soil or roots). 
  • Polly plants will appreciate being placed in the kitchen or bathroom, which are typically the more humid rooms in your home. If you have a bathroom window that allows for sufficient indirect light, try that as a spot for your Polly plant. 
  • If possible, provide your plant with a humidifier. A plant humidifier is the best and easiest way to add humidity to your plants. Yes, it’s an investment, but we believe it’s a worthwhile one if your home tends to be dry. 

Pro Tip: An inexpensive hygrometer is a wise investment in testing the humidity level in your home and adjusting it accordingly for your plants. 

The best way to add humidity to your houseplants is a plant humidifier. 

We have two fantastic articles detailing humidifiers for plants:
Best Humidifier for Plants
How to Use a Humidifier for Plants

plant humidifier
Plant Humidifier

Temperature

Because they are tropical plants, Alocasia Polly will not appreciate low temperatures. Alocasia Polly does well in temperatures between 64°F and 77°F (18°C to 25°C). If the temperature drops below that range, it can harm the plant, especially in winter. 

Exposure to cold can cause them to go into hibernation or even die off completely.

Keep these plants away from drafty windows or doors. Keep them away from any air ducts during the summer and winter as air conditioning and heat are bad directly on the plant. 

Pruning

Pruning your Alocasia Polly plant is only necessary to get the size and shape you want. 

While you’re pruning your plant, it is also helpful to remove dead or dying leaves to prevent Alocasia Polly from wasting resources.

When pruning, trim the leaf’s stem all the way to the base of the plant.

Make sure to use clean pruning tools, so you do not transfer any disease or pest to your plant. Wipe the blades off with rubbing alcohol or a household disinfectant.

Common Issues With Alocasia Polly

Pests and diseases are rare in the Alocasia Polly. Spider mites seem to be the biggest issue. Check regularly for webs or mite activity as a prevention method. When caught early, you can treat spider mites quickly and easily without harming the plant. 

spider mites
Spider Mites (shown here on a Tomato Leaf)

Related Post: Soil Mites vs. Aphids

The most common question people have about Alocasia Polly is about it going dormant. 

Dormant

Generally speaking, Alocasia Polly produces one new leaf each month. If you notice that months go by without any new leaves, your plant may be dormant. Dormancy means no fresh leaves and that your plant will shed (part of) its foliage. While this doesn’t look great, it doesn’t necessarily mean your plant is dead and gone.

Dormancy is a natural process for the Alocasia Polly, triggered by reduced light, cooler temperatures, and drier air and soil. Your plant will regrow when warm, bright, moist conditions return.

During your plant’s dormancy period, water and fertilize your plant less. Your Polly plant won’t need as much energy as it’s not growing anymore.

While dormant, your Alocasia Polly might start to drop leaves. It might even drop all of its leaves. Dropping leaves doesn’t mean your plant is dying. Your Polly plant will begin to grow leaves again in the early spring and should continue growing as though nothing happened. Dormancy is just part of the natural lifecycle of this plant.

If you think your Alocasia Polly is dormant, you should:

  • Verify it’s still alive. A dead Alocasia’s roots will wither into rotten mush or become desiccated and brittle.
  • If it is winter and your plant is still alive, you may want just to wait it out. Waiting until the spring ensures your Alocasia has better chances of surviving once it does wake up.
  • When you’re ready to bring your plant out of dormancy, start increasing the light, temperature, and moisture levels. You may want to try a heat mat.
  • Make sure your dormant Alocasia Polly gets lots of light and water the soil regularly. 
  • Try watering with lukewarm water.
  • Be VERY careful not to overwater your plant.
  • Your Alocasia Polly will start growing new leaves again soon. 

To prevent your plant from going dormant again, make sure to closely monitor the temperature in your home and provide plenty of bright/indirect light year-round. 

Yellowing Leaves

If you notice your Alocasia Polly leaves turning yellow, you don’t need to worry right away. One yellow leaf now and then at the bottom of the plant is typical for Alocasias.

If more than one leaf is soft, limp, and yellowing, you are probably overwatering your plant. You may also notice brown spots on the leaves caused by fungal infections due to overwatering. 

alocasia polly yellow leaves
Yellow Leaves on Alocasia Polly

Leaves Curling

The most common reasons for Alocasia Polly leaves curling are low humidity and underwatering. 

Your plant also might not be getting enough light or the nutrients it needs. Other growing factors like temperature stress can also cause this issue. Sometimes pest infestation and fungal diseases interrupt the normal physiological activities and cause problems like leaves curling up or down.

Drooping

As with yellow leaves, you do not need to be alarmed if your Alocasia Polly begins to droop. Drooping is almost always easily fixed. 

If you let your Alocasia’s soil dry out completely, you may see leaves go limp, droop, and possibly start to brown. If the soil is dried all the way through the pot, you will need to thoroughly water your plant until you see water coming out of the drainage holes. 

After a complete soak, you should see your plant bounce back in a couple of days. 

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by overwatering your plant and affects the plant’s roots first before spreading up the stem. You will need to address root rot immediately as it will kill your plant if left untreated. 

Drooping leaves are the first sign of rot. You may also see the base of the stem turning dark brown or black. The stem base will also feel soft or mushy to the touch. 

If root rot is suspected, it is essential to inspect the roots. Any infected roots should be removed and thrown out.

Sometimes it is possible to separate the healthy roots healthy parts of the plant. Replant any healthy portions left in new soil and change your watering routine, so you don’t overwater your plant again. 

FAQ’s: Alocasia Polly

Is Alocasia Polly a Difficult Plant?

Alocasia Polly isn’t necessarily a plant for beginners unless you’re the kind of person who just wants to go for it. It isn’t a terribly difficult plant either, as long as you’re willing to put in some time and attention to figure out what your plant needs. 

How Do You Keep Alocasia Leaves Shiny?

Alocasia plant leaves are large enough to need regular dusting to stay clean and shiny. 

Use a light dusting cloth. The cloth can even be a little damp.

Wipe both the tops and undersides and while you’re doing it, take a look for any signs of spider mites or other pests. 

Is Alocasia Polly Toxic?

This plant is considered toxic when ingested by humans, cats, and dogs. Alocasia plants contain calcium oxalates, which can irritate the skin, mouth, and throat.

Always keep your Alocasia Polly out of reach from pets and children. When handling the plant, use gardening gloves, and avoid touching your face. Wash your hands immediately afterward, especially if you’ve come into contact with the sap.

Does Alocasia Polly Produce Flowers?

When kept outdoors, Alocasia Polly regularly produces flowers.

However, when kept indoors, flowers on this African Mask Plant are less common, and optimal conditions need to be met to induce blooming.

Alocasia Polly produces “spathe” flowers, multiple small flowers grouped together. The flowers look similar to a peace lily. 

Many plant owners prefer to trim off flowers from the Polly plant. The flowers are not very beautiful, and the blooms require a lot of nutrients from the plant. It is common for a plant to lose a leaf or two when creating a flower.

Other Alocasia Varieties to Check Out

Alocasia Zebrina

Alocasia Zebrina gets its name from the unique yellow and black zebra print-like markings on its stems that contrast with its lush green leaves.

Alocasia Zebrina close up of stem
Alocasia Zebrina With Gorgeous Striped Stem

Alocasia Polly vs. Sanderiana

Alocasia sanderiana, also known as the kris plant, can grow over 6 feet tall. It is possibly a hybrid parent of Alocasia Polly.

alocasia sanderiana leaf close up
Alocasia Sanderiana

Alocasia Polly vs. Bambino

Alocasia Bambino looks similar to Alocasia Polly. Both have arrowhead-shaped leaves and silver veins, but the Bambino is half the size of the Polly plant.

alocasia bambino
Alocasia Bambino

Alocasia Polly vs. African Mask

African mask plant is the common name used for many Alocasia varieties, including Alocasia Polly.

This name comes from the shape and pattern on the leaves, which looks like a tribal mask.

Where to Buy Alocasia Polly

Alocasia Polly is sometimes sold under the name African Mask Plant or Elephant’s Ear. While you may not find this plant lovers plant at your local nursery, it is widely available at many online retailers like Amazon and Etsy. As always, purchase your indoor plants from a reputable seller with good reviews. 

Rooted Alocasia Polly, Alocasia Amazonica, Live, Tropical Plant, Live Indoor, Easy to Grow, Easy to Care, Outdoor Garden and Low Maintenance Houseplant, 4 inch Pot
  • 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐈𝐍𝐃𝐎𝐎𝐑 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐓 Introducing a botanical masterpiece, the Alocasia with an enchanting eggplant colored underbelly, adorned with lush green veins and captivating geometric features. While its appearance may be striking, this plant is surprisingly easy to cultivate, making it an alluring addition to your indoor garden
  • 𝐒𝐔𝐍𝐋𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓 𝐑𝐄𝐐𝐔𝐈𝐑𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐒 Adaptable to medium to bright indirect light, this plant flourishes in a range of light conditions, making it a versatile and eye-catching addition to your indoor space
  • 𝐖𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐆𝐔𝐈𝐃𝐄 Water once every week, allowing the soil to dry approximately 2 inches down for optimal care and health
  • 𝐏𝐄𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐄 While a captivating plant, this plant is not pet-friendly. Exercise caution and keep it out of reach of your furry friends
  • 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐄 A perfect choice for intermediate plant parents, this Alocasia offers an engaging and rewarding experience for those looking to expand their plant care journey

Final Thoughts on Alocasia Polly

If you’re looking for an indoor plant that is beautiful with unique, exciting leaves, this is it!

Some items we discussed that will help you with Alocasia Polly care to keep it growing strong:

Good luck growing your Alocasia Polly tropical plant and making it part of your cozy, fresh, and green home!

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