How to Propagate Alocasia Polly (And Keep Them Alive)
Posted on July 22 2021
What’s more magical than an Alocasia Polly? With their striking face-sized leaves, it’s no wonder they’re also known as the African Mask. Whether you’re multiplying your collection or making a last-ditch rescue effort, follow these tips on how to propagate your Alocasia Polly!
Choosing the Right Time
Are you hoping to “save” your bald Alocasia Polly by propagating it? Well, just remember: Alocasias often lose their leaves in the Fall-Winter (dormancy), so your plant might not need saving! You shouldn’t disturb your plant while it’s resting.
The ideal propagation season for your Alocasia Polly is Spring-early Summer! During this time, your plant is reawakening from dormancy and starting to grow.
Alocasia Polly Anatomy
Alocasia Polly’s (and all Alocasias, for that matter) have a tuber or rhizome as its central root system. What does that look like? Instead of your average houseplant root system, imagine mini tulip bulbs!
Why does it matter? These underground ‘bulbs’ give your plant superpowers: they store enough energy for regrowth, even if your plant is entirely leaf-bare!
The best method for propagating any tuberous plant is division. Stem and leaf cuttings won’t bring you any success!
A Word About Growth Pattern
Alocasia Polly’s have a “clumping” growth pattern. Once you unveil what’s underneath, you’ll see a thick forest of tubers. They also produce new “off-shoots,” which are tiny versions of themselves.
How to Propagate Your Alocasia Polly
Chopping off a stem here-or-there is pretty simple, but division? That probably sounds a little more daunting! The good news? If you can repot a plant, you can divide it. Here’s how to propagate your Alocasia Polly:
Step One: Thoroughly water your plant the day before, which will help the soil release from your plant’s roots without damaging them.
Step Two: Remove your Alocasia Polly from its container.
Step Three: Loosen the soil with your hands.
Step Four: Take time to inspect your plant’s root system. Identify the tubers and locate any offshoots. Is there still lots of soil clinging to the roots, making it hard to see? Soak the rootball in a bucket of room-temperature water for 5-10 minutes. This will remove the last remnants of dirt so that you can see!
Step Five: Carefully unravel “baby” offshoots from the mother plant. Never break or cut a tuber. You can cut small roots with a pair of sterile scissors or a knife. (Although, it’s best just to put in the extra effort!)
Step Six: Place your baby and mother plants in appropriately sized containers with suitable soil. (More details on that below!)
Step Seven: Water thoroughly.
An Advantage to Division
Sure, all-in-all, division is more stressful on your Alocasia when compared to the stem-cutting techniques that work on other houseplants. However, division comes with an advantage: You don’t have to wait for your cutting to root because it already has them!
Choosing an “Appropriately Sized” Container
What exactly does this term mean? When it comes to container size, Alocasia Polly prefers tighter quarters. For small baby plants, choose a pot that is 1 inch larger than the current rootball. For more mature plants, select a planter that is 1-2 inches larger. Remember, since you divided sections off your mother plant, there’s a good chance you can “plop” her back in her original container.
Selecting “Suitable Soil”
Why does it matter? Soil is the center of your plant’s world. It’s responsible for your plant’s moisture and nutrient absorption. Get it wrong, and you’re likely to have a drowned (dead) plant on your hands. Get it right, and your plant will continue to flourish.
If you’re planning on potting your Alocasia in an unaltered, traditional potting mix, think again! These tropical beauties are fussy when it comes to their soil. For the best result, plant your Alocasia Polly in 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part peat. Are you looking for a quicker fix? Use prepackaged African Violet Mix.
How to Care for your Propagated Alocasia Polly
The success of your mother and baby plant depends mainly on your care routine. If you divided your plant because it’s a big, luscious success, keep doing what you’re doing. But, if this is a rescue mission, you likely need to iron out a few things with your care routine. What does your Alocasia Polly need?
Your Alocasia Polly requires bright, indirect light. What does this likely mean for you? The brightest location you can find in your house, without placing your Alocasia in the direct sun. Putting your plant a few feet closer to a brightly lit window can make all the difference in the world!
Alocasias are tropical plants and require constantly moist soil. No, this doesn’t mean “sopping wet.” The soil’s moisture level should feel like a wrung-out sponge. The key to success?
For larger containers, you should water your plant when the first inch of soil is dry to the touch. Or (for smaller pots) watering your plant when the first layer of topsoil is crumbly—and planting your Alocasia in the proper soil mixture.
If you want a healthy, thriving Alocasia, you need to place it near a humidifier or mist it daily. Increasing the humidity levels around your plant will boost its leaf production, help it ward off certain pests, and maintain even soil moisture. You’ll have an all-around happier plant.
Alocasia Polly’s are best suited to temperatures between 65-80 degrees. It’s vital that you keep your Alocasia away from heating or AC vents, which will expose them to extreme temperature fluctuations. For the best results, keep less established plants (like your new cuttings) on the warmer side.
How do you propagate your Alocasia Polly? By dividing it, which isn’t as tricky as it sounds! How do you keep your plant alive? By planting it in well-draining soil, putting it in a relatively small container, and caring for it properly. We can’t wait to see your Alocasia Polly propagation success stories (don’t forget to tag us @exoticforest). Happy planting!