Houseplant of the Week: Alocasia African Mask

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Alocasias are considered some of the most striking houseplants available because of their eye-catching foliage. Native to the subtropics, they have close to 80 varieties with a wide range of looks. 

This week we are focusing on Alocasia Polly, which is also known as Alocasia Kris or the African Mask plant, because of the leaves resemblance to traditional ceremonial masks. The leaves of this plant are such a dark green as to almost look black and are contrasted dramatically with highly visible white striping along the veins and edges.

Alocasias can be a little tricky with their light, humidity and temperature needs.

They require bright, but diffuse lighting. In nature, these plants thrive beneath tree canopies and direct sun will lead to the leaves getting burned. They are also used to high humidity, so don’t place them in a place where they will dry out easily, such as an air conditioner vent or a heater. Employ a pebble tray to keep the air around them humid or mist them with distilled water.

The preferred temperature range for this plant is 70 to 80 degrees, year round. With enough water they can survive extra heat, but your plant might get damaged if the thermostat goes below 60 degrees in your home. 

Allow the top 2 to 3 inches of the plant to dry between watering to ensure that the plant isn’t sitting in soil that is too wet. Make sure your soil has good drainage!