How To Grow And Care For African Mask Plant

African Mask Plant

The African mask plant is one of the most stunning plants with its glossy, dark green arrowhead leaves and contrasting silver veins, which gets its name from its resemblance to the hand-carved ceremonial masks. Although you may be attracted by its unique and striking leaf patterns, you need to know the African mask plant is not an easy-care houseplant.

Where The African Mask Plant Comes From

Although it goes by the names African mask plant and Amazonian elephant’s ear, this plant originates from the South Pacific jungles. Many species come from the Philippines, India, Southeast Asia, and New Guinea. The Alocasia Polly, a small hybrid that is frequently kept as a container plant inside homes, is the most prevalent variety you’ll find in the United States. The African mask plant doesn’t often bloom when it’s in a pot, but it still makes a striking houseplant.

It’s not the easiest plant to care for, but it’s not impossible either. Every now and then, you might notice a yellow leaf or a crispy edge appear on your African mask plant. These suggestions for preventing and resolving potential problems are provided because this plant has specific maintenance needs.

An African Mask Plant: What Is It?

The African mask plant, also known as the Kris plant, is a species of Alocasia that is indigenous to the South Pacific tropical regions.

It gets its name from the unusual foliage that resembles intricately carved African ceremonial masks. Their 2′ long, deep, almost-black leaves are prized for the silvery, pale-green ribbing that runs through them.

Depending on the species, the elongated stems can grow as tall as 2-4 feet. They are produced from tuberous rhizomes.

African Mask Plant (2)

Different African Mask Plant Types

African mask plant Alocasia amazonica is the most prevalent type. But there are also two other well-liked cultivars: “Bambino” and “Polly.”

They are both much smaller, with the dwarf ‘Polly’ variety reaching a maximum height of 2′, and the ‘Bambino’ never exceeding 12″. Their foliage, requirements, and size are all the same.

How To Care For Your African Mask Plant

About Light

The leaves of African mask plants will burn in direct sunlight because they grow naturally beneath trees. Despite this, they prefer bright, dappled light; they can tolerate medium light but may grow more slowly and have smaller leaves. Wipe off dust accumulation from the foliage from time to time to improve how well your alocasia absorbs light.

About Watering

If you want your African mask plant to have consistently moist soil that isn’t waterlogged, you should water it frequently. If the top layer feels dry to the touch during the winter, only add water. Having said that, avoid letting the plant completely dry out as this can cause the edges to become brown and crisp. On the other hand, yellow and spotted leaves are a sign of root rot brought on by excessive watering. Consider changing the soil and reducing watering if you notice these symptoms.

About Temperatures

African mask plants like it warm, and they also like high humidity levels. Though they can withstand the winter’s colder months, at this time they will find it difficult to sprout any new growth. Make sure to keep them away from drafty windows and air conditioning vents where they might feel cooler temperatures. If you want to be certain that your plant is in the right place, a digital thermometer is a great tool.

About Humidity

It’s challenging to grow this beauty because of the dry climate. Other subtropical and tropical native plants thrive in the drier conditions of our homes. African Mask Plant maintenance requires a moderate to the high humidity level.

Tucson occasionally experiences 12% humidity levels. A level of about 60% is ideal for the typical houseplant. Here’s what I do to increase the humidity factor:

  1. The growing container is perched on top of a saucer filled with rocks. I always keep water in the saucer to about 3/4 of the way full. Just be careful not to let the roots sit in the water as that will cause root rot.
  2. The plant is removed from its attractive container, and I place it in my large kitchen sink. I spray it after that and let it sit there for about an hour.
  3. On the back of that long, slender table, where my African mask plant is placed, I have a tall diffuser that is only filled with water; it does not contain any oils. Depending on the humidity, I run it 4-5 times per week for 6-8 hours.

It would benefit from two weekly sprays if you have a mister bottle. Since plants sleep at night, it is best to avoid spraying them then.

Depending on how dry your home is, you may or may not need to increase the humidity factor.

About Fertilizer

Throughout the growing season, feed your aloe a diluted, balanced fertilizer once a month. During the spring and summer, the African mask plant can be a particularly heavy feeder, but too much fertilizer can burn the plant’s foliage.

About Soil

The African mask plant requires well-draining, aerated soil. Your African mask plant should thrive in a loose mixture of potting mix, perlite, and peat (or an alternative to peat).

About Repotting

If you live in a warm climate, early fall is acceptable. Spring or summer are the best times to do this. Since it’s the season for rest, try to avoid repotting any indoor plants during the winter. Your plant will require repotting sooner if it is growing more quickly.

Because it prefers to grow a little bit snugly in its pot, repotting your African mask plant every 2-4 years should be fine. As opposed to my rubber plants, I use larger pot sizes, such as going from a 6 to an 8 for instance.

About Size

Around two primes, Alocasia Polly will reach her maximum. Alocasias, including the African Mask Plant, can grow to a height of 4-6′.

About Growth Rate

moderate if all circumstances are favorable. This plant enjoys both warm temperatures and humidity. In spring and summer, mine experiences a significant growth spurt.

About Flower

It has a green spathe-like flower. It rarely, if ever, occurs as an indoor plant. This plant is attractive due to its foliage.

African Mask Plant

How To Propagate An African Mask Plant

Rhizomes, the root systems that the African mask plant grows from, can be divided more easily than leaf cuttings. To avoid having thin plants after dividing up your original one, you should start with a plant that is relatively crowded. Digging up your plant and loosening the roots is all that is required. Next, carefully separate the rhizomes using a clean knife or a pair of scissors. Now that you have two plants, plant your new one in some new soil.

Although growing the African mask plant can be intimidating at first, being aware of its particular care needs will help you deal with any issues that arise. Despite coming from tropical rainforests, you can grow it indoors as a focal point of your collection by simulating some of its natural surroundings. You’ll be feeding a healthy African mask plant in no time if you provide it with enough water, bright indirect light, and humidity.

Common African Mask Plant Problems

African mask plants can be difficult to grow, even with the best care. The longer you grow them, the more problems you might encounter. Here are my top recommendations for restoring their health.

Yellow Leaves

African mask plant yellow leaves are typically a result of infrequent watering. They prefer to have a consistent level of moisture without becoming too dry or developing wet, soggy feet.

When the top inch or so has dried out, use a moisture gauge to help you assess the situation and water in smaller amounts more frequently.

Leaves Turning Black

Your African mask plant may have black leaves for a few different reasons. In the beginning, the natural color can be very dark, almost black.

However, if the black leaves are wet or fragile, your plant is under stress. Issues with humidity, temperature, or moisture are the most frequent causes.

Keep them away from vents and drafts in evenly moist soil in a location that will receive constant warmth. A pebble tray or humidifier can raise humidity levels.

Brown Spots

Brown spots can be brought on by changes in temperature, inadequate lighting (either too much or too little), illness, pests, or burns from too much fertilizer.

They should be kept in a bright area out of direct sunlight with constant temperatures above 60°F.

Any pests must be treated right away. Rust is a condition that can be treated with a natural fungicide if the spots are small, numerous, or turning into pustules. Airflow can also be beneficial.

Frequently Asked Questions

African Mask Plant (2)

A French Mask Plant Blooms?

When given the right care, an African mask plant can indeed bloom. They’ll flower sometime during the summer if you keep them in a warm, well-lit area and provide them with regular water and humidity.

Why Is My African Mask Plant Dining?

Your African mask plant could be dying for a variety of reasons. The most frequent causes of death are improper watering (typically too much), exposure to sunlight, and/or changes in temperature.

What Place Should I Set Up For My African Mask Plant?

Your African mask plant should be placed in a spot with consistent, warm temperatures, lots of humidity, and bright, diffused light.

The Best Time To Water My African Mask Plant

When the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch, water your African mask plant.

To keep your African mask plants happy and healthy, use the advice in this article. You can successfully grow these tropical beauties now that you are aware of their precise requirements.

Be Aware: African Mask Plants Are Highly Toxic To Pets

A chemical found in the leaves of African mask plants makes them poisonous to pets, which can result in stomach problems and vomiting if ingested by your pet. We advise you to keep yours out of the reach of both young children and your furry friends.