Alocasia Polly - Elephant Ear

Common Name(s):

Alocasia x Amazonica, Elephant Ear, African Mask Plant, Amazonian Elephant Ear.

Family:

Araceae

Genus:

Alocasia

Origin(S):

Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia

This dramatic plant has a striking aesthetic. Its dark green, glossy foliage is marked with a pale linear pattern and deep purple underneath. Each leaf is like an artwork in itself.


Common names include African Mask Plant and Elephant ear, due to its resemblance. 

Native to the tropical South Pacific Islands, these plants are accustomed to warm and humid environments. So misting is recommended. 

Occasionally Alocasia will bloom and produce flowers. However, it also has a dormant period in which leaves will fade and drop off. Alocasia are relatively easy to maintain once you follow our helpful guides.


Care Guide

Light:

Alocasia Polly houseplants prefer to reside in areas that are bright but do not receive harsh direct sunlight as their leaves tend to scorch easily. East or west facing windows often offer very good conditions as they tend to be bright but the morning and evening sunlight tends to be much less intense.


In south-facing rooms, position your Alocasia Polly some distance from the window or ensure the light is being filtered through a blind or mesh curtain.

During the winter, it is often beneficial to move your Alocasia Polly to a brighter room in your house in order to increase the amount of light it gets. Reduced light and colder temperatures are the primary factors that trigger dormancy in species within the Alocasia genus.

Water:

Elephant Ears prefer to be watered little and often, particularly during the warmer summer months. Avoid allowing the soil to dry out at all and water whenever the top of the soil begins to appear slightly dry.

Their preference for moist compost means overwatering is a common problem encountered by owners of this plant. To avoid this ensure your Elephant Ear is potted in a clay pot, to allow the roots to breathe, that has a drainage hole. Ensure the pot is only slightly bigger than the plant's root system also to avoid soggy compost suffocating the roots.

During the winter months, watering frequency should be reduced but the moist conditions should be maintained. In the colder months these plants can go dormant, dropping most of their leaves. The presence of what appears to be an empty pot of compost can cause some people to forget about their Alocasia Polly entirely, but ensure you continue to keep the soil moist as your plant should begin to grow again in the Spring.

Fertilizing:

Fertilizing your Alocasia during the growing season is recommended and should be done roughly once per month. The additional nutrients provided will help supply the plant with additional energy to produce leaves more regularly, and leaves that are larger in size.

It is recommended you fertilize your Alocasia Polly with half of the recommended dose stated on the label of your plant feed. This will ensure you provide adequate additional nutrients without running the risk of over fertilizing.

Temperature:

These indoor plants require temperatures of roughly 18-25 degrees Celsius, ideally. If the plants resides in a room that falls below this temperature consistently and for several hours at a time, it can trigger the plant to enter its dormacy period resulting in cessation of growth and potential loss of foliage.

Soil:

When repotting your Alocasia, rich organic composts mixed with a moderate quantity of drainage-improving amendments tend to be best.

Propagation:

The best method to propagate the Elephant Ear is using the rhizomes, sometimes call bulbs or corms. To do this gently remove your plant from its pot and remove as much soil as possibel from around the root system. Around the root system you will find these rhizomes, either partially attached to the roots or freed entirely from the root system. Separate them from the mother plant (The easier they separate the better). Place these separated rhizomes in small pots of either compost or clay pebbles, ensuring the top of the rhizome is just above the surface. Keep the newly planted rhizome in a warm place and ensure the surrounding compost is kept moist.

This process is best performed on well established plants with a dense root system. We recommend propagating your Alocasia Polly during the spring as the longer days and warmer weather will trigger the rhizomes to grow.

Toxicity:

These plants are considered toxic if ingested due to the presence of calcium oxalate within this plant.


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