Home Houseplants Alocasia ‘Polly’: A Guide to Growing and Caring for the African Mask Plant

Alocasia ‘Polly’: A Guide to Growing and Caring for the African Mask Plant

by Gregory
3 minutes read

Alocasia ‘Polly’: A Dramatic Houseplant with Tropical Flair


Alocasia ‘Polly’ is a captivating houseplant that brings a touch of the tropics indoors. This compact plant, also known as the African mask plant, is a smaller version of the Alocasia amazonica species, making it ideal for growing in pots and small spaces. Its distinctive, glossy leaves and jungly appearance have made it a popular choice for indoor plant enthusiasts.


  • Height and Spread: Alocasia ‘Polly’ typically grows to a height and spread of around 45cm (18 inches).
  • Foliage: The plant’s most striking feature is its large, glossy leaves. The leaves are a deep purple color with prominent veins and variegation, giving them a unique and eye-catching appearance.
  • Toxicity: It’s important to note that all plants in the Alocasia genus are toxic when ingested. Keep this in mind if you have children or pets.

Growing Requirements

Alocasia ‘Polly’ thrives in specific growing conditions to maintain its health and beauty.

  • Light: The plant prefers bright, indirect light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.
  • Temperature: Alocasia ‘Polly’ prefers warm temperatures between 16-24°C (60-75°F).
  • Humidity: The plant appreciates high humidity levels. You can increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water or using a humidifier.
  • Watering: Water the plant regularly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Fertilizer: Feed the plant with a liquid fertilizer once or twice a month during the growing season (spring and summer).

Purchasing Alocasia ‘Polly’

  • Local Garden Centers: You may find Alocasia ‘Polly’ at your local garden center, but the selection may be limited.
  • Online Retailers: You’ll have a wider variety of choices by purchasing online from reputable plant nurseries.
  • Before Buying: Always inspect the plant for any signs of disease or damage before purchasing.

Toxicity and Wildlife

Alocasia ‘Polly’ is toxic to both humans and animals if ingested. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation to the mouth, throat, and digestive system.

The plant has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK. Birds, cats, dogs, horses, livestock, and people are all known to be attracted to the plant, but it’s important to keep it out of reach of these animals due to its toxicity.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

  • Yellowing Leaves: This can be caused by overwatering, underwatering, or lack of light.
  • Brown Leaf Tips: This can be caused by low humidity or underwatering.
  • Drooping Leaves: This can be caused by overwatering, underwatering, or low light.
  • Pests: Alocasia ‘Polly’ is susceptible to pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Treat infestations promptly with an appropriate insecticide.


Alocasia ‘Polly’ is a beautiful and dramatic houseplant that adds a touch of the tropics indoors. By providing it with the proper growing conditions and care, you can enjoy its glossy, variegated leaves and lush appearance for years to come. Remember to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets due to its toxicity.

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