Alocasia Polly (Alocasia)

How to keep your alocasia, african mask, elaphant ears ALIVE!.jpg

Common Name

Alocasia polly, Elephant ear, African mask

Botanical Name









Want to find your perfect houseplant?

I like to call alocasia ‘dragon plants’ but only because they remind me of dragons. Not because that’s there actual name, though there is a variety of alocasia with the common name “dragon scale”, so clearly I am not alone in this!

They are stunning and can grow leaves up to 2-3 feet long! Though they prefer bright indirect sunlight I have found they adapt well to lower light conditions when needed. Alocaisa polly are fairly toxic if eaten, so think twice before you ad them to your home if you have small children or pets.




Indirect sunlight is key, however I have found that a few hours of dappled, direct sun is very beneficial! Just avoid harsh, direct evening sun.




During the summer months keep the soil slightly moist at all times and avoid soggy soil. I always suggest feeling the soil before you water and be certain to allow all excess water to drain, never let a plants roots sit in water for long.

Water a little less in the winter and fall, this is because your plant is getting less sun and therefore will need less water in order to photosynthesize. During less sunny months allow the soil to dry 1-3 inches down and water very deeply each time.




Proper watering is far more important than fussing with humidity, however adding additional humidity will only help! The simplest way is to place a humidifier nearby or group it together with other houseplants, or add it to your bathroom provided you get enough sunlight and have enough room for it in there.


Soil + Pot


Potting is a very crucial step to ensuring houseplant success! I tend to suggest using terra-cotta for just about most houseplants and a drainage hole is nonnegotiable. As far as the soil using a simple, all-purpose houseplant/potting mix has worked very well for me. I try and keep things simple and rarely add any soil amendments to my houseplants.

Repot to a larger pot every two years in the spring. You don’t absolutely have to wait until spring, though this is when your plant is coming out of a resting period and would appreciate the new nutrients that adding fresh soil will offer. In addition because the plant is gearing up for new growth it is easier fr i to recover fro the stress of repotting.



Proper fertilization is essential and easy to misunderstand. Always err on the side of too little plant food as opposed to too much! I recommend using an all purpose houseplant fertilizer, liquid concentrate at half strength every time you water in the summer and spring. Use once a month (at most) during the fall and stop you all together in the winter.

Remember that if you use a soil that has a slow release fertilizer already in it (most do) wait to add more until 4-6 months after potting it in new soil.

Watch your plant closely as you use it and adjust as needed. Over feeding a plant can cause the plant to die.



To take a cutting cut the newest growth right below the aerial root.


Place your cutting in a vase or jar filled with water so the aeral root(s) stay fully submerged in water. Keep in their until roots are well established, about two weeks, though you should start to see roots forming within one week.

Keep in a mildly light space and away from direct sunlight. I suggest repotting your rooted cutting back into the pot you clipped it from for a more lush plant. Or you can pot it in it's own home!


Rooting mostera in soil is the recommended method. Simply pot your cutting in soil so the aerial root is fully covered. Keep the soil moist as it develops new roots. You can also opt to use a rooting hormone. To do this wet the areal root and tip of the cutting and dip in the rooting powder before you pot it.


Pests + Common Problems


Too little or too much water, though it is usually too much. Feel the soil to be certain.

If you also spot little brown spots in addition to the yellowing on the leaves or small, dark new leaves it is likely under-watering or at the ver least un-even watering.

If you are confident you are watering correctly but are still getting yellowed leaves underfeeding could be the issue. Follow fertilizer instructions above.


Dropping lower, older leaves is very normal and mothing to worry about. If your plant is dropping new leaves or dropping a lot very quickly look for other warnign signs.

Dropping leaves is typically a sign of not enough water or too much temperature fluctuation. 

Leggy growth or small, pale leaves

Increase the amount of sunlight it gets and make certain you are watering appropriately.

Brown, cripsy edges

Increase humidity and make sure it’s being watered well and evenly.