African Mask Plant also known as Alocasia amazonica or Elephant Ear Plant, grows from rhizomes and has broad heart-shaped, thin leaves up to two feet long. The leaf blades have a dark green, nearly black color, with broad white or silver veins running through them. Because of its striking shape and leaves colors, it is planted as a decorative houseplant.
Its origin is unknown, however, most botanists assume it is a hybrid cultivated in the 1950s near Miami, Florida. As a result, it is classified as being of Garden origin. It is planted as a beautiful indoor houseplant or in a summer garden all over the world.
African mask plants
African mask plants is a tiny elephant ear houseplant recognized for its unique glossy leaves that evoke visions of an Amazonian rainforest despite not being native to the Amazon (or any jungle, for that matter). It’s the most common Alocasia planted indoors, also called the African mask plant. This article will help you care for your Alocasia ‘Polly’ & keep it looking healthy and lovely.
What are the other different types of African mask plants?
Alocasia amazonica is the most common type of African mask plant. However, two additional cultivars, ‘Bambino’ and ‘Polly,’ are also popular.
They are both relatively smaller, with the dwarf ‘Polly’ variation reaching a maximum height of 2′ and the ‘Bambino’ type never reaching more than 12″. Aside from size, their foliage and requirements are identical.
How to care for African Mask Plant?
The African mask plant is a prominent houseplant. It requires little care and is low maintenance. Here’s how to get started.
Soil and planting
Alocasia belongs to the aroid family Araceae (a group that includes popular houseplants like Syngonium podophyllum, Monstera deliciosa, and Rhaphidophora tetrasperma). Most of these plants demand loose, well-draining soil. Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’ is no exception.
It resists compact mixtures because they hinder air from getting to the roots and may not drain quickly enough. Sure, this variety prefers mildly damp soil, but that doesn’t mean dripping wet: the medium should let the excess water drain rapidly to keep the corm from decaying.
This plant needs a warm environment to grow. As a result, it should be stored at a temperature range of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will begin to exhibit indications of illness.
To thrive, Alocasia amazonica requires bright, indirect light. Therefore, it should be kept in a place where it can obtain filtered sunshine for at least six hours every day. The leaves will burn if exposed to direct sunlight, and too much shade will limit development.
This plant may be kept indoors year-round in a good area or moved outdoors to a patio or deck in the summer. Just remember to bring it inside before winter.
The African Mask plant’s watering needs vary according to the season. In the summer, the plant requires constant watering, but considerably less so in the winter. Maintain moist but not damp soil. Root rot is often a problem with these plants.
To keep healthy and grow properly, these plants require frequent fertilizer. You can use either a general-purpose liquid fertilizer or one particularly designed for these plants. During the growth season, which lasts from spring to fall, fertilize the plant every 2 weeks.
Alocasia amazonica/ African Mask Plant needs high humidity levels to grow. You may raise the humidity level of your plant by placing it in a room with a humidifier or misting it on a regular basis. To counteract air dryness, lay a water dish filled with stones under the plant.
Your African Mask Plant /Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’ will normally not require pruning, save to remove the occasional ragged or dried-up leaf.
How to propagate African Mask Plant?
Alocasia amazonica /African Mask Plant can be propagated by division, seeds, or stem cuttings.
Propagation via stem cuttings
- Select a healthy stem approximately 4 inches long and cut it off at the base.
- Remove the leaves from the base and replant them in a new container.
- Water well & wait for the roots to form.
- When the plant begins the spring growth phase, divide the rhizomes (underground stems).
- Each division must have at least one healthy leaf as well as a little bit of rhizome.
- Replant them in damp soil and water them regularly.
Propagation via seeds
- Sow the seeds in damp potting soil in pots or trays.
- Keep the soil wet and cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt until they germinate.
- Germination typically takes 2 to 4 weeks, although it may take longer.
Though they’re kept more for foliage, African mask plants can flower when given the proper care and growing conditions.
In mid to late summer, small, inconspicuous white or pale-green spathe-type flowers will form among the leaves.
African Mask Plant Potting and Repotting
Use a container with a drainage hole when potting this plant. Because the plant enjoys wet soil and despises being waterlogged, the potting mix must be well-draining. Use a potting mix designed particularly for these plants, or prepare your own by blending one part potting soil, one part peat moss, and one part perlite.
When repotting, take care not to damage the rhizomes (the underground stems that produce the leaves). If the rhizomes are injured, the plant may die. It is advisable to use a pot that is only one size larger than the previous pot when potting or repotting an elephant ear plant.
The elephant ear plant is a tree-like plant that may grow rather huge, thus keeping it in a tiny container for too long will result in repotting at some time.
Important questions to know about African Mask plant
These are some important questions about the African Mask plant that you need to know.
How can you keep your African Mask Plant leaves shiny?
Cleaning your Alocasia plant’s leaves not only keeps it looking lovely but also eliminates dust and minimizes pests like spider mites. The simplest technique to add shine is to gently wipe down the top and bottom of your leaves with a soft, moist cloth.
African Mask Plant also benefits from a tepid shower in the sink or bathtub a couple of times a year to remove dust, grime, dander, and other particles from their leaves.
How quickly grows an African mask plant?
The plant African mask plants/ Alocasia ‘Polly’ grows quickly. It grows one to two new leaves every month on average, while smaller plants may begin more slowly.
Why do the fresh leaves of African mask plants turn into brown crispy Leaves?
Check the humidity levels of the plant surroundings. If they are too low, use a humidifier or regular misting to raise them. If the humidity is at proper levels, adjust the water you use to water this plant. For optimum results, use rainwater or distilled water.
Why are African Mask plants wilting?
Wilting can be caused by both overwatering and underwatering. Improve your watering regimen and consistency. If the issue remains, check for root rot (overwatering can cause this). If this occurs, remove the damaged roots and treat them with fungicide before replanting.
How to control African Mask plants from pests?
Scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs are the common pests that can harm African mask plants. All of these pests may be controlled with regular applications of insecticidal soap.
Why do African Mask plants die in the winter?
These plants go dormant in the winter. The plant appears to be dying, yet this is only an appearance. If temperatures do not dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your plant should return to normal once spring arrives.
Why are there brown spots on the leaves of the African Mask Plant?
Sunburned leaves have a brown or golden hue. So move your plant to a more shady location. However, do not place it in total shadow, as this is also harmful.
Note: Check the label of the product you’re using to ensure it’s okay to use on your plant.
You can see our article on the popular indoor plant Stapelia Grandiflora evergreen succulent details for your home garden.