Alocasia Polly, or the African mask plant, is a popular houseplant known for its large, beautiful leaves that elevate the decor in any living space they grace. It is a tropical plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
This plant has tuberous roots called rhizomes from which its humongous leaves grow, and separating some of these rhizomes from the parent plant is a way of propagating it. Knowing how to correctly propagate your Alocasia Polly will enable you to have more of the same plant at no extra cost. You can then keep these new plants for yourself, or give them away as gifts to your family and friends.
In this article, we are going to discuss how to propagate Alocasia Polly, so if you are interested to learn more about this process, just keep on reading.
How to propagate Alocasia Polly
Dividing the rhizomes
To begin, decide whether you will be using soil or water as your medium, and prepare your work area so that the plant’s roots are not exposed for any longer than necessary during the process.
Remove your Alocasia from its pot with care, shaking off any excess dirt as you go.
You can soak or spray the roots to remove any densely-packed soil that has built up around them.
Examine your plant and select a few healthy offshoots to separate from it. To ensure that the baby plants recover as quickly as possible, they should each have at least three leaves.
Remove the babies by gently separating their roots from those of the mother plant. In the event of tangles, a sterilized knife or scissors can be used to cut them apart.
Having separated all of the offshoots you intend to use, take a moment to inspect the root systems of both the mother plant and each of the plantlets for signs of disease.
Although now is an excellent time to prune away the sickly roots, it is important not to become overzealous and damage the healthy roots.
When dividing a plant, it is possible to end up with an offshoot that has only a few roots, or even none at all, as a result of an error. Fortunately, you can revive this offshoot by injecting it with a small amount of rooting hormone before transplanting it to a new medium. If using water propagation, you have the option of adding the hormone directly to the water.
While the plants are rerooting, keep an eye on them and make sure they are not disturbed. The process takes about four to six weeks, on average.
Alocasia soil propagation
Soil propagation is the most commonly used method of propagation today.
In order to avoid root rot, make sure the container you choose has good drainage, and use a good-quality soil mix.
We recommend a mixture of equal parts general potting mix, coco coir or peat, and sand or perlite for best results. This mixture ensures that the soil does not dry out too quickly or too slowly, while also providing a favorable environment for root growth.
Gently place the plantlet in its new pot, covering the roots with soil, and then moisten with a small amount of distilled water. The plantlet will likely experience transplant shock, and it will be several weeks before any new growth appears.
Place the pot in a location that receives bright, indirect light, and you will soon be enjoying some lush new alocasias in your home.
Alocasia water propagation
Water can be used as a temporary or permanent medium of propagation and is frequently used for plants that have lost their root systems during division or transplantation.
If there is any remaining soil, you will need to gently rinse it away. Use room temperature, and distilled water to minimize the risk of damage.
In order to view the roots, many people prefer to use a clear glass vase; however, a ceramic vase will also work for baby Alocasia’s new home.
Fill the vase halfway with room temperature, distilled water or rainwater, and carefully place the plantlet inside so that the roots are completely submerged.
Place the vase in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight to avoid the growth of algae, and refill the vase with water as needed.
At the same time as feeding the mother plant, give your plantlets a thorough water change and mix in some liquid fertilizer to the freshwater.
Alocasia Polly care
Alocasias require a lot of bright, indirect light to thrive. They can survive in 80 percent shade, but prefer 60 percent shade, which will ensure the best growth and a rich, green shade on the leaves. Take care not to expose the plant to direct sunlight, which can cause the leaves to bleach or scorch if exposed for an extended period of time.
This plant prefers potting soil that drains quickly and is well aerated. The ideal soil is one that is organic, loose, and contains a significant amount of peat moss. The addition of some sand or perlite will help to lighten the soil mixture if it is too heavy.
Maintain some soil moisture for your Alocasia, but keep in mind that it does not tolerate wet feet. If at all possible, water your plant first thing in the morning, from below, to avoid getting the leaves too waterlogged. During the winter, the plant requires a period of rest, so allow the soil to become almost completely dry between waterings during these months. That said, the plant may go dormant if the soil dries out completely.
Temperature and humidity requirements
Alocasia is a tropical plant and will go dormant or die if exposed to below-freezing temperatures. It prefers a climate similar to that of its native Southeast Asian home region, with temperatures ranging between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, it thrives in environments with higher than average humidity. A good idea is to keep it in a typically humid room of your home, such as a bathroom, but you may also need to place the pot on a humidity tray filled with pebbles and water, or purchase a small space humidifier to keep the room humid and the plant healthy.
During its growing period, the Alocasia is a heavy feeder and responds well to applications of diluted, balanced fertilizer, such as urea. Starting in the spring, feed the plant every two weeks until the end of August, and restart the cycle at the beginning of the following spring. Occasionally, the plant’s leaves will turn yellow; if this occurs, try feeding it with a fertilizer that contains micronutrients, or sprinkling Epsom salts around the plant’s base once a month.
Alocasia Polly is a beautiful plant with large, striking leaves that make it a great addition to indoor decor.
It is a tropical plant and therefore has a specific set of care requirements that must be met as closely as possible in order to keep the plant happy.
This plant can be propagated by dividing some rhizomes from the parent plant. The procedure is quite simple and, if you are able to do it correctly, you can start with one Alocasia Polly plant and end up with multiple plants to keep for yourself or give to friends and family.
Image: istockphoto.com / Jamaludin Yusup