Alocasia Polly: Detailed Care & Facts
The alien of houseplants, Alocasia Polly is otherworldly looking with unique foliage. This houseplant has deep green, waxy leaves with bold cream-colored lines. Combining appearance with its unknown origins make this plant dark and mysterious indeed! A sleek addition to any indoor space, the Polly makes a statement all on its own. Requiring a medium level of care, this particular Alocasia is not considered a beginner plant (but by no means do you need to be an expert to care for this plant!).
Name: Alocasia × amazonica 'Polly' (assumed scientific name); Alocasia Polly (common), Alocasia Poly (common), African Mask plant (common), Amazonian elephant ear (common)
Origin: Alocasia Polly has somewhat unknown origins. Here’s what we know: plants within the Alocasia genus typically descend from tropical, Southeast Asia. But the Alocasia Polly is a hybrid, and the exact parents are untraceable. It’s believed that the widely used “scientific” name (Alocasia × amazonica 'Polly) is fabricated and misleading since there are no Alocasia species traced to the Amazon rainforests.
About: Dramatic leaves make the Alocasia Polly a desirable plant, perfect for Aroid collectors (and plant lovers in general!). A rhizomatous evergreen perennial, it features arrowhead-shaped leaves that can grow quite large-- spanning anywhere from 1-10 inches in width and 1-20 inches in length. The edges are wavy and outlined in light green to cream which makes a stark contrast to the dark green leaves. While a compact plant, great for indoor spaces, the plant can grow overall to about 3 feet high and 3 feet wide.
Indoor Care: Having some specific needs, the Alocasia Polly likes warm environments, humidity, and damp soil.
Thriving conditions include a moderately bright spot with no direct sunlight. So consider a northern facing window which provides the least amount of mid-day, harsh light. Other locations will of course work too, but make sure the plant is shaded or light is filtered (like through a curtain) to prevent direct rays. Alocasia Polly is prone to sunburned leaves upon direct sun exposure.
As for water, the Polly plant will thrive with soil that is kept moist throughout. These plants do not enjoy drying out between waterings, which can make this plant more challenging to gauge when to supply more moisture. Typically, when the very top surface layer begins to get 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 exposure to water. Double-check that there’s no excess water standing in the saucer as this can lead to root rot. The Polly does not handle soggy soil well, so it can be a delicate balance figuring out how much water it will need. But 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, but the soil will still indicate needs just the same.
The Alocasia Polly can benefit from humidity. If you notice the tips are turning brown, that’s usually a sign that this plant wants extra moisture. You can either lightly mist the plant with water (be careful, as too much can cause fungus issues) or you can add a pebble layer. For a pebble layer, simply add pebbles to the bottom saucer and fill halfway with water (so that no water is touching soil or roots).
Your Polly will benefit from peaty, well-draining, organic-rich soil. This type of soil helps it retain moisture longer, so keep that in mind when watering.
The Alocasia Polly will need fertilizer in spring and summer. Using a granular houseplant fertilizer (any common one will work), apply half of the recommended amount about once a month. As the plant enters colder months, halt fertilizing to support the plant's dormancy.
Alocasia Polly likes to fit pretty tightly in its pot. But every couple of years (depending on how quickly your plant grows), you will need to repot your plant. That means upsizing to a pot at least 2 inches larger in diameter. Repotting is crucial for helping the plant's continual growth.
Pests and disease are quite rare in the Alocasia Polly. Spider mites though seem to be the biggest issue. So check regularly for webs or mite activity as a prevention method. Spider mites can be treated quickly and easily without much harm to the plant when caught early.
Interesting Tidbit: This stunning plant can flower in the wild. While it’s rare indoors, it can happen when provided excellent care and conditions.
Toxicity: Considered toxic when ingested by humans, cats, and dogs. Alocasia plants contain calcium oxalates, which can irritate the skin, mouth, and throat.
Buy Online: Alocasia Polly — 6 Inch
Arlene; the water dripping from the tips of the new leaves indicates the soil is too moist and the plant has too much moisture
Thanks for your questions. It sounds like guttation, which is a natural process that some plants experience. It’s normal when there’s moisture in the soil and the leaf is squeezing out excess water. It’s not a concern unless the leaves are also turning yellow or mushy (which typically points to an overwatering issue).
I’ve had my Polly three years and it is now very tall with very large leaves. Have repotted it twice. For the first time recently have noticed fluid dripping from tips of the newest leaves. Is this normal and what does it indicate?
Perry, thanks for your question! If the leaf edges are curled upwards, typically that means the leaf is still young/newer and not done unfurling (this can take the Polly a while to full open). If the leaf is curled downwards, that usually indicates a lack of moisture in the soil (so it’s recommended to go ahead and start watering more often). During spring/summer months, houseplants will normally need to be water much more frequently.
I see one leaf sides curled to the center , is this normal.