Alocasia polly and Alocasia amazonica are both hybrid plants. The two species are largely the same, except for their size: the ‘Polly’ variety stays a bit smaller. Though not very easy plants, they are definitely worth the buy if you can provide what they needs. They have lovely foliage that can look especially stunning when the light shines through the smaller leaves.
Keep reading for everything you need to know to about Alocasia amazonica and Alocasia polly care!
|Name(s) (common, scientific)||African mask plant, Kris plant, elephant’s ear, Alocasia x amazonica, Alocasia ‘Polly’, Alocasia ‘Bambino’ etc.|
|Recommended lighting||Bright but indirect|
|Soil type||Well-draining & peat-replacement based|
Tip: These care guidelines can also be applied to other very similar Alocasia cultivars, such as Alocasia ‘Bambino.’
Alocasia amazonica & Alocasia ‘Polly’ care
Although the name suggests otherwise, neither of these Alocasia varieties naturally originate from the Amazon rainforest.
The species were artificially created, though their ‘ancestors’ are naturally found in rainforests in Asia, which gives us some good care indications to keep in mind when growing this plant at home. Filtered light, a moist environment and relatively high temperatures should be provided.
With Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica, these guidelines are a little more important than with most other plants. They are quite fussy and will quickly die off or go into hibernation mode if care is lacking anywhere.
Let’s clear up some of this naming confusion, shall we? Alocasia amazonica is most likely a hybrid of Alocasia sanderiana and Alocasia watsoniana, although many other species are mentioned as possibly involved. In turn, Alocasia ‘Polly’ is actually short for Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’, a cultivar of this hybrid.
Alocasia ‘Polly’ & Alocasia amazonica location and temperature
Because imitating rainforest conditions is so crucial in keeping these Alocasia varieties alive, finding the right location and temperature range can be a little challenging.
Find a spot with bright but indirect light. In rainforests, the sun is blocked out by higher tree canopies, so this plant will not react well to strong direct light.
The fact that it will burn in direct sun doesn’t mean you shouldn’t place your Alocasia near a window. Just find one that doesn’t receive the sun’s full force, especially not during mid-day. Be sure to acclimate the plant carefully if you move it to a higher-light location.
A sheer curtain between the window and the plant can help block out the harshest rays if needed.
The ideal location for Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica is actually a greenhouse where humidity and temperature can be controlled. Luckily, however, they can also be grown inside the home with some extra care.
One of the most important factors in keeping your Alocasia ‘Polly’ or Alocasia amazonica happy is humidity. Although there are other ways to make sure the air is moist enough (discussed below), these plants will definitely appreciate being placed in the kitchen or bathroom.
If you have one, this is a perfect candidate for your greenhouse cabinet. A low-budget version would be a humidity box, which is basically a transparent bin filled with sphagnum moss to keep tropical plants happy.
Because they are tropical plants, Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica will not appreciate low temperatures at all. In fact, exposing them to cold can cause them to go into hibernation or even die off completely.
Be sure to keep these plants away from drafty spots or any windows that might not be isolated too well (single-pane). Spots below an A/C are not a good idea either, nor is placing the plant close to a heater, as it’ll dry out too quickly.
Planting Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica
These plants should absolutely be kept moist, but as with almost all plant species, it’s not a good idea to keep the soil too wet. Root rot and other problems can quickly become an issue! Aroid plant roots especially need plenty of air pockets and quick drainage.
You can buy an Aroid soil mix for your Alocasia ‘Polly’ or Alocasia amazonica, but it’s also quite easy to put one together yourself. Many houseplants appreciate these airy, potting soil-free mixes. If you have a lot of greenery, DIY-ing it can cut the cost.
For a basic Aroid mix (referred to as 5:1:1), just combine the following:
- 5 parts orchid bark
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part sphagnum moss
Be sure to always use a pot with a drainage hole so any excess water can easily escape. You can repot your Alocasia ‘Polly’ or Alocasia amazonica during Spring if it has outgrown its current container.
Because these plants don’t mind a slightly cramped environment, it’s usually not necessary to repot every year.
Watering Alocasia ‘Polly’ & Alocasia amazonica
Proper watering is a very important aspect of Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica care, so be sure to take some time to figure out a watering schedule that works for this plant.
As the amount of water any plant needs depends on environmental factors such as the amount of light and the air humidity level, no watering schedule will be the same.
Soil should stay moist (but not wet/soaked!) during the Summer months when the plant is in full growing mode. During Wintertime, when growth is slow or even nonexistent, let the soil dry out a little more – though never completely.
Humidity for Alocasia ‘Polly’ & Alocasia amazonica
As discussed earlier, the air around your Alocasia ‘Polly’ or Alocasia amazonica should stay quite humid. More so than the average home, anyway, as our dwellings can get pretty dry! Tropical houseplants like these can struggle, especially during winter.
So what can you do to make sure your plant is comfortable? Many sources still recommend regular spraying or the use of a humidity tray with pebbles and a layer of water, but unfortunately, neither of these make much of a difference.
Instead, you can try:
- Grouping plants together to create a mini rainforest environment.
- Running a humidifier.
- Using a greenhouse cabinet, old aquarium or humidity box.
Alocasia ‘Polly’ & Alocasia amazonica propagation
Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica can easily be propagated by dividing the rhizome. Just carefully remove the offsets you would like to plant somewhere else during Spring or Summer (when you are repotting, for example).
You can find more information on dividing this plant in the full Alocasia propagation guide!
Feeding Alocasia ‘Polly’ & Alocasia amazonica
You can use a diluted liquid fertilizer to feed your Alocasia ‘Polly’ or Alocasia amazonica around once a month as long as it’s growing.
Stop feeding completely during the Winter months or if the plant is dormant.
Alocasia amazonica & Alocasia ‘Polly’ dormancy
If the light levels are inadequate or things get a bit too chilly for your Alocasia amazonica or ‘Polly’, the plant might end up going dormant. Yikes! This means it stops growing and will likely also shed (part of) its foliage. It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your plant is dead and gone.
So if you accidentally let your Alocasia go dormant, how do you wake it up?
- Verify it’s still alive. Check the corm/bulb: if it’s still firm, you should be good.
- If you’re in the dead of Winter, you might want to wait things out until Spring. This ensures your Alocasia has better chances of surviving once it does wake up.
- Ready? Start upping the light, temperature and moisture levels. Consider placing the pot with the bulb on a heat mat, make sure it gets lots of light and shower the soil regularly. Try watering with lukewarm water.
- With a bit of luck, your Alocasia will start sprouting again soon. To prevent this from happening again, make sure things never drop below room temperature and provide plenty of light at all times.
Did you know? Although their flowers aren’t very spectacular, these Alocasias do sometimes bloom in the home with the right care. A nice sign your plant is happy!
Is Alocasia toxic to cats and dogs?
The ASPCA and other sources list plants from the Alocasia genus as toxic to cats, dogs and humans. Like many other houseplants, species within the Alocasia genus contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which can cause intense burning in the mouth and surrounding areas.
Conclusion: be careful with this one! You might even want to wear gloves yourself when you handle it for repotting or propagation.
Buying Alocasia polly and Alocasia amazonica
Whether a local plant store carries these species is a bit of a hit and miss, though I’ve seen them sold in multiple places throughout the year.
If you don’t want to risk heading out to the shop for nothing, you can also order Alocasia ‘Polly’ online here.
If you have any more questions about Alocasia ‘Polly’ and Alocasia amazonica care or want to share your own experiences with these striking houseplants, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!