Having a houseplant inside the interior of your house would definitely brighten up the space. From all various choices of indoor plants, Alocasia Polly is one of the most famous for its unique appearance. Its foliage is big with visible veins on its surface. In some region, the plant is also called as African Mask, Kris plant, or Elephant’s ear. Occasionally, the plant would have Alocasia flower growing from the center stem, but it is rather insignificant compared to the exotic beauty of the leaves.
Don’t get confused by the nickname “African Mask” because Alocasia does not come from Africa but from Asia instead. Various species of Alocasia came from Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Among other 50 species of Alocasia, Alocasia Polly or Alocasia x Amazonica is the only one that can be grown indoor as a houseplant.
What Are the Varieties of Alocasia?
In its origin, Alocasia has more than 50 varieties and hybrids. Some of them are Alocasia acuminata, Alocasia boa, Alocasia fornata, and Alocasia odora. The differences between the Alocasia types can be seen from its foliage’s size and color, its height, and the structure of its stem or rhizome.
In some region in Asia, the rhizome from certain Alocasia varieties is edible and even used as medication. However, it takes a rather lengthy process to make it edible an acceptable to the human body. Meanwhile, the Alocasia Polly or Allocasia x Amazonica is straightly a houseplant and is not edible in any way.
Growing Alocasia Polly in Your House
Coming from Asia makes Alocasia Polly does not strive well in extreme cold. If you are interested in keeping Alocasia Polly in your house, the first thing that you need to consider is the environment. It includes medium, light source, and the humidity of the location of the plant.
Alocasia Polly or Alocasia Amazonica prefers to be in a soil that resembles the soil in its natural habitat. A mixture of peat and perlite would be considered healthy for the plant. However, you may want to have a perfect mixture of it and make sure you give some space for the soil to breathe. Another excellent choice is to put 5 parts of peat moss, 1 part of perlite, and 1 part of vermiculite. If you have difficulty in finding the soils, try to look premixed organic soils that are made for tropical plants.
Source of Light
Alocasia Polly grows best under bright and filtered sunlight. In the United States’ Department of Agriculture recommendation, this plant can grow outdoor in zone 9 through 11. Apart from those zones, Alocasia Polly is better kept as a houseplant with adequate sunlight or artificial source of light. If you are growing this elephant ear plant indoor, make sure that you move them a lot to where the filtered sunlight is in the daytime. The plant particularly likes heat, so having an artificial warm light is needed especially when you live in a cooler area.
Resembling its natural habitat, Alocasia Polly needs high moisture. This means, regular watering is needed to keep the plant growing healthily. In colder months, watering can be reduced because the soil tends to keep the water inside. Still, keep an eye for withering or limp leaves as it is the sign of lack of water.
Maintaining and Keeping the Plant Healthy
Many houseplant enthusiasts claim that Alocasia Polly is rather hard to take care. This is mainly because it has a particular demand of sunlight, medium, and humidity especially when it is planted in a different environment with its natural habitat. Still, Alocasia Polly indoor growingis not impossible since the variety is a hybrid which means it can be easily planted in a glasshouse condition.
As mentioned before, Alocasia Polly needs a lot of water. In higher temperature, you may need to water the plant every day or every two days and reduce the frequency when the rainy season comes. Make use of cocoa bean hulls or shredded tree barks under the soil in the pot to help the plant hold moisture.
Fertilizing the Soil
Whether you are using organic or tropical soil, it still needs to be fertilized regularly. For Alocasia Polly, it is best to fertilize the soil at least twice a year or every 6 months. The best fertilizer is the one that is rich in acid and water soluble. The nutrients would make the plant grows healthier.
Watch Out for Damaged Leaves
Though the Alocasia plant does not necessarily need regular examination, any damaged leaves should be pruned right away. You can use sharp pruning tools to get rid of the damaged leaves. When it is left untreated, the damage can spread and ruin the rest of the plant.
Overcoming Alocasia Polly’s Diseases and Problems
The Alocasia care would involve a routine of examination and fertilization. Here are some of the things that you may want to check from your Alocasia plant:
Alocasia Polly is reluctant to pests. Every two weeks, check under the leaves near the stems to see whether there are colonies of spider mites or aphids. As for spider mites, they usually leave a trace of webbing around the leaves. To treat it, regularly spray pesticide onto the infected area.
Withering and Discoloring Leaves
There are many causes to withering and discoloring leaves. The most common cause for discoloring leaves is the quality of the water. Often, city water carries chemicals that can cause Alocasia Polly’s leave to change colors. One of the most effective Alocasia care for this problem is to let the water in a container for two or three days. The chemical would reside to the bottom of the container, making the water cleaner for your Alocasia.
Meanwhile, signs of mistakes in watering the plant would be visible through its leaves. If you don’t water it enough, the leaves will turn crisp and dry. Otherwise, the leaves may turn brown if the soil is too soggy. In winter, you may find the Alocasia Polly seems to be dying. In fact, they are going dormant through cold weather and would most likely grow after the winter is gone.
It is true that Alocasia Polly needs extra care when you are growing it indoor. With the right technique and steps, the plant would be an excellent addition to any corner of your house with its unique and exotic leaves.