african mask plant

Toadglory_INDSeptember 17, 2005

I've only had this fellow for a few weeks -- got him at the home improvement store.

he's doing all right with the misting and the tray of wet pebbles, but I don't know what else to do for him. He's produced a new leaf, but some of his older leaves have cracks or holes. Will these heal? Do they need removed? CAN you cut leaves off an african mask plant? (alocasia amazonica, I think is his fancy name.)

maybe I'm worrying more about this guy because when I have been able to find him in my plant books (he isn't in most of them) it says he's fussy and hard to keep happy.

I have him in a southern facing window with frosted glass, with other plants surrounding him to help maintain humidity levels.

any information would be helpful, I've only been growing plants since the spring.

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colorado_av_guy(z4 CO)

I like these plants as well. I have looked all over for a small one,but no luck.

I understand they need partial to full shade. They are also reported to be poisonous, all parts of the plant, so if you have pets or kids that like to nibble, keep it out of their reach or look for something else to grown.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 2:41PM
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greenelbows1(z9--so LA)

I don't think they're so very fussy--just don't over-or-under-water, and I think you're doing the right thing about good light and humidity. I thought mine had died and dumped its pot in a new bed, and was quite pleased to have it show up a few months later. They don't like cold, either, which may be why mine decided to take a nap.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 12:39AM
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seaecho1(SW CA)

I had an Alocasia Black Velvet that I adored. They only get 12-18" tall at maturity. Their leaves are nearly black. Its soil remained soggy even when I hadn't watered it in two weeks. By then it was too late, and the plant was dying, but I read afterward that they need a well draining soil. I had worked some perlite into the soil, but either it wasn't a large enough amount or the plant's roots were already rotting. If I ever get another one (don't know if I will, since its loss was heartbreaking) I'll make sure I immediately repot it in half peat and half perlite. They are just stunning plants - I hope you have luck with yours!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 4:22PM
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Cena(S CA 10A)

These are a plant from a bulb, so when it goes dormant, you must keep watering it, although at a much reduced rate. Don't let the soil Dry Out. But also, don't water it as much as you would when it was actively growing.

That is about all I will say, as I've never sheparded one through dormancy, but my mum has kept one alive most of this year.

When actively growing fertilize once a month. Don't let dry out even when actively growing. Don't toss in the trash when it sinks beneath the ground and hides out of sight for awhile!

Good luck! They are magnificent plants, and should be revered by all.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:36PM
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philo_phreak(z9 CA)

Yes, they are magnificent plants, I bought one at a home improvement store as well, and the leaves were beat up, cracked, etc.
I did cut them (not all at once), not at the stem but more near the leaf, and shortly thereafter the stem went soggy, like it had root rot, and eventually I was able to pull it away from the main plant. They are delicate so I didn't want to pull on it too much. It has since grown three new leaves and the leaves that were on the plant when I bought it about four months ago are all gone, but it is thriving.
good luck!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 1:30PM
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thanks for the advice, philo freak, et al.
currently my african mask (black polly) is thriving. i've increased the light a little more and seeing positive effects -- every day he looks bigger and bonnier. i'm hoping to keep him active through the winter, but picked up a couple of ferns to play with, in case he goes dormant.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 8:41PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

I will attempt to overwinter my containerized AMP this winter as well. I grew it outdoors this summer and it has transitioned inside now. I'm keeping the humidity levels as high as possible, giving it good air circulation and keeping my fingers crossed!


    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 12:50PM
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Ah, I wondered what an African Mask plant was. It's Alocasia 'Black Velvet'. I absolutely love that plant! But I don't do well with plants that go into dormancy. Just can't take that dead-looking leaves and empty pot thing. But while it was not dormant, I didn't find it too hard to keep. Ooh, it sure is pretty. . .

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 6:56PM
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I think sells them..think that's where I bought mine..I've got it growing in a pot w/the Amazonica..I'm sure that's incorrect spelling. It's off the side of a west window, in the upstairs bathroom.
Cena's 100% correct, if leaved die back, don't discard..when days get longer, you'll see new growth. Also, stop feeding when plant goes dormant. Toni

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 9:24PM
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can anyone please tell me why I am getting browning on some of my leafs on the African Mask? The plant had gone dormant for a while, then I started gettng some brown spots on them, after which, one leaf completely died - so I cut it off. Now I have a new leaf coming out...I have concern about the browning of the leafs...any advice is very much appreciated!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 4:47PM
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Edoris, can the brown spots be scraped off or are they embedded in the leaves?
If they can be scraped it might be scale bugs. Pluck off, then rub area w/rubbing alcohol.
If embedded in the leaves, it could be dry soil, low humiidty or fungus.
Please describe the brown spots in more detail..Toni

    Bookmark   February 19, 2006 at 4:52PM
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Thanks for the response Toni! The browning on the leaf - only on the tip and edges - as if the leaf is burning (too much sun?) The color is actually a "yellowing" color on the end tips of the leaf (and the edges) if it's drying out. I should have used the term yellowing before, because that's really more like the coloring, more of a yellowing. It's right on the tips & edges of 7 leafs out of 9 well 10 another new leaf coming up...would really like to save it - it's a beautiful plant. Maybe I have it in too much sun or the humidity is too low (I live in NY so it pretty cold right now). I know for sure it's not a fungus...thanks again for your feedback!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 12:30PM
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I've had one for about 6 months and it seemed to be doing fine. Then about a month ago several of the leaves started yellowing and dying and I noticed a whitish substance at the base of one of the stalks (too much watering?). Only 2 leaves left now, one looks good, one doesn't. Any advice?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 1:30AM
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Jb, the white substance could either be a mold or mealy bug. Do you have a pic?
All 3 of my Alo's are kept in west windows. 2 in the bathroom where humidity gets high, and one in front plant room..In winter, I allow soil to dry, allow them dormancy, even though leaves are misted/showered daily. While showering, I try not to get additional water in the soil.
Once the days get longer you'll see more leaves.
The thing now is to figure out what your plant is suffering from. If mealy bug, treat it ASAP..They spread, not only to leaves on your Alo, but nearby plants..If you can post a pic, or can ID which problem it is then start treating. Toni

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 3:39PM
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There are huge holes in my plant's leaves! I think she has a disease. Is anyone familiar with this condition? I've given her more and less sunlight, but that doesn't seem to have any effect.I love Gertrude and would hate for anything to happen to her. Thank you.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 1:53AM
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bihai(zone 9)

ALmost all the plants of this kind (the thick leaved alocasias like gutatta, amazonica, cuprea, reginula,sanderiana etc) will come and go in and out of dormancy if any of their conditions aren't met, particularly light and temperature. But overwatering can kill them. Work some aeration into their soil, perlite, orchid mix, coconut husk, nut shells...they like that a lot.

I have had some of these go dormant and take months to come back, but when they do, they come back with more growth because they seem to produce more bulblets under the soil while they are taking a rest. WHat Cena said in her post above is absolutely correct: don't stop watering all together.

I have had plants of reginula Black Velvet, gutatta Imperialis and cuprea pop back up in places where they had once been planted in the ground and I had moved them to another spot, from errant bulblets that got left behind in the ground.

Are you certain that the holes in your leaves aren;t from predation? DO you have a cat or other pet that may be chewing it up?

I had an anthurium by the door that kept getting mysterious rips, tears and holes that I couldn't figure out...til I caught my dog chewing on it

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 7:59AM
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No animals, just brown spots that eventually disintegrate into holes.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 1:31PM
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I bought an Alocasia African Mask about a month ago and put it in my bathroom because I heard they like moisture. My bathroom has a skylight so it gets plenty of light.

However I just noticed that it has root rot and gray mold on the base of the stalks. I guess this means it is too moist? Any suggestions on what I can do?

I already broke off the part of the plant that had the mold but I'm trying to salvage the other half.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 4:20PM
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"No animals, just brown spots that eventually disintegrate into holes."

Mine did this too. Apparently they're nearly impossible to grow these indoors.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 10:57PM
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OK ... I'm confused. I bought my African Mask Polly (amazonica)about 6 weeks ago. I was told by the lady in the plant department that they like dark, shady areas, but the hang tag on the plant says "bright to moderate light". Huh?
So I put it in a hallway, where it stays fairly unlit most of the time. Rather dark, actually. I noticed two of the leaves turned yellow last week, so I moved it into an east-facing bedroom, where it gets good morning sun, filtered thru a sheer curtain. The temp in there stays at about 65ð. Not sure what the yellow leaves are all about. I snipped them, for aesthetic reasons, but see no other sign of yellowing or dying leaves, at this point.
I keep it moist ... not overly-so, though. My plants thrive on neglect, and I think they do better cuz I'm definitely NOT an "over-waterer". ha!
So, by the conflicting comments here on this thread ... bright, west sun? or shade to partial shade?
Very moist soil and high humidity (as the comment above says in a west window bathroom!), or a less humid area?
And I didn't know it is a bulb plant ... so that means I can divide it at a later date and grow more? or are the store bought ones genetically altered so propagation is impossible, like so many other plants?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 12:39PM
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> or are the store bought ones genetically altered so
> propagation is impossible, like so many other plants?
Where did you hear this?

How would a plant be altered to prevent propagation?

Seeds often don't grow true, but that isn't necessarily due to genetic altering.

You can always use asexual propagation, though it isn't necessary legal, some plants are protected.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 2:29PM
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Praz, don't listen to the clerk who said Alocasias do best shade. Remove it from your dark hallway. The tag on your plant is correct, 'for once.' Alocasia's need medium to bright-indirect light.

Alocasias grow low on the earth, in tropical Asia, surrounded by larger plants/trees, but when container grown, indoors, it's a whole, new ball game.

Do not keep soil wet. Let dry a little before adding more water. 'It'll rot.' I believe it's from a corm, not a bulb.
When grown in a tropical climate, daily showers will not harm an Alo. They love it! Especially humidity. Growing indoors, in hot, stuffy, dry rooms, wet soil will cause problems..including rot. Reduce water in winter, especially if it's in a dark location.

Honestly, Alocasias are not easy plants to grow. I've had mine a few leaf grows, the older dies. So, I'm stuck with one problems are insuficient light, and definately, lack of humidity. In summer, especially when it's outdoors, several leaves grow, w/o the older dying.
Even though there's one leaf, it will soon bud. The flower isn't anything special...African Mask is grown mainly for foliage. And it is beautiful. Flowers resemble those of Peace Lily/Spathes.

By chance all your leaves die back, don't discard. Water occassionaly, and withhold fertilizer. In spring, you should see new growth.

There's quite a few reasons leaves yellow. I believe yours is from over-watering, while in too shady a spot. Reduce water, and place in a sunnier area.. Spray leaves daily, or take to sink and hose leaves w/o hitting soil.
Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 2:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Prazsong, take a look through the Thread I've linked below.
And, please, feel free to ask any questions that haven't been answered sufficiently.

I helped a friend with his 'African Mask' Alocasia hybrid this Spring, and we had it blooming by late Summer.

This plant likes a well-draining soil and frequent waterings.

Indoors for the Winter, my friend's Alocasia gets morning and afternoon light.
Outdoors during the Summer, it sits on a west-facing deck for afternoon sun.

The sunlight was diffused through the branches of oaks and pines.


Here is a link that might be useful: Elephant Ear - African Mask - Alocasia

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 3:03PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Josh I was just getting ready to link to the famous African Mask post. LOL

How is your friends plant doing? Mine is indoors now and it is not happy. I am moving it around until I find the place it likes.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 3:11PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey! Thanks! ;)

My buddy's plant is indoors now, and it's still looking good.
I saw it the night before last. Time will tell, however....

(p.s. I think the "bulb" of this plant is called a tuber).


    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 3:23PM
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If you are talking about Alocasia Amazonica or Alocasia Poly (the same identical plant), you can find almost all the answers you are seeking in this link.

The hybrid was created in the 1950's by Miami Postman Salvador Mauro and the name of his nursery was the Amazon Nursery................thus the name of the plant.

It needs fairly bright light, fast draining soil, warm conditions and the DNA causes it to go dormant but it is not dead.

It grows from a tuber (not a bulb) and if th tuber gets fungus it should be treated with cinnamon, a great anti-fungal for aroids.


Here is a link that might be useful: Alocasia Amazonica/Alocasia Poly

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 1:23AM
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