Alocasia amazonica “Polly” care – The Alocasia Polly

The legendary Alocasia amazonica “Polly” has many admirers. But for many, the rather demanding Alocasia does not survive. Here you will learn how to keep the American beauty alive and thriving!

Leaves of Alocasia amazonica or Alocasia Polly (Poly) with dark green leaf areas and white leaf veins.
(Image: © fabrizio –

Origin of Alocasia amazonica

Although often claimed otherwise, Alocasia amazonica does not originate from the jungle but from a nursery in the USA – more precisely, Miami, Florida. Here Salvadore Mauro crossed the parent plants Alocasia longiloba and Alocasia sanderiana in the 1950s.

The resulting hybrid we know today as Alocasia amazonica. In the next chapter, you will learn more about the naming.

The hybrid is a member of the arum family (Araceae).

Origin of the name

There are several rumors about the origin. However, the most likely explanation comes from aroid collector and aroid journalist John Banta. He visited the Amazon Nursery in Miami, Florida, in the 1950s. 

There he discovered an Alocasia amazonica grown by Salvadore Mauro and asked him how he developed the hybrid and where the name came from. 

Salvadore and Monroe Birdsey had to laugh because Banta hadn’t noticed the little name tag at the nursery entrance. So, according to Banta, the Alocasia was named after the nursery where it originated. 

You can find the whole story here under the heading “The Myth and the Truth about Alocasia Amazonica, by John Banta.”

Several cultivars are sold under this name today, as breeders and dealers have “borrowed” the name. According to Mauro, DNA testing is necessary to determine the parents of the acquired plant and thus ensure that it is an Amazonica. However, in the botanical context, only Mauro’s cultivation should be called Alocasia amazonica. 

Often one also finds the name Alocasia x amazonica. That is also incorrect, as Alocasia amazonica is not a botanical name but an invented one. 

None of the names are italicized or in quotation marks, as it is neither a species nor a cultivar. 

Alocasia amazonica “Polly”

Alocasia amazonica “Polly” is a minor hybrid. According to breeders Bill Rotolante and his father Denis, the correct name is “Alocasia Poly”. Poly refers to the polyploidy contained in the plant. 

That means more than two sets of chromosomes are present in the cells. Consequences include differences in size. 

However, dealers marketed the plant as Alocasia “Polly” and Alocasia amazonica “Polly”. Therefore, these names have become common. 

Even though, strictly speaking, Alocasia Poly and Alocasia amazonica are two different plants, they do not differ in care. 

Appearance and distinguishing features

The most distinctive feature of Alocasia amazonica (Polly) is its dark green leathery leaves. They are shaped like arrows and have thin wavy margins. The leaf veins contrast with silver and white tones.

The leaves can grow up to 16 inches long. They sit on the green to reddish petioles that arise from the base of the plant.

Alocasia amazonica can grow up to 24 inches tall and wide. Alocasia poly, on the other hand, remains somewhat smaller.

The flower

The flower of the hybrid pushes out from the base of the plant. It consists of a green bract and a white cob. The silhouette of the flower resembles an 8.

As a houseplant, a flower forms only under good conditions. Since these are not always easy to produce, the flower often fails to appear.

The fruit

After successful pollination of the flower, berries form on the cob. These berries contain the seeds of the mother plant.

However, since this is a hybrid, the seeds are sterile in many cases. If they germinate, the young plants carry the characteristics of both parent plants of the breeding. Thus, they are unlikely to get identical features of an Alocasia amazonica or Alocasia Poly.

Other variants

As with many other plants, there is a variegated variety of both Alocasia amazonica and Alocasia Poly:

  • Alocasia amazonica variegata
  • Alocasia Poly variegata (Also known as Alocasia amazonica “Polly” variegata

You also have different colors of variegation: albo (white), aurea (yellow), mint (very fine variegation, which gives a mint color), and pink, which is the rarest color.


Both hybrids are classified as toxic to humans and animals as they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These are released during chewing or biting. 

They irritate the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. Calcium oxalate crystals can also damage the kidneys.


The optimal location of the Alocasia Polly

Light is the deciding factor for the well-being of your Alocasia in this case. It needs plenty of bright indirect light to thrive. Therefore, it needs to be placed as close to a window as possible without getting direct sunlight.

If this is not possible, you can look for alternatives such as the low-maintenance Alocasia sanderiana.

Alocasia amazonica “Polly” is a temperature-sensitive plant. At night, temperatures must not drop below 55 °F; in the best case, they remain above 59 °F. If the hybrid is exposed to low temperatures for a long time, the leaves will turn yellow.

It is also essential to avoid cool drafts. Optimal temperatures are between 64 °F and 82 °F.

To avoid brown leaf tips and revive an alocasia, humidity must be at least 60%. Some Alocasia lovers even advise 70%.

During the summer months, you also can put your Alocasia Polly outside as soon as the temperatures mentioned before allow it. Since wind catches well in the large leaves, you should place it in a protected location. A wide or heavy pot will also protect it from tipping over.

In your chosen location, direct sunlight should not reach the leaves. That can lead to sunburn. Therefore, choose a semi-shaded spot and gradually move the Alocasia brighter until it receives indirect or filtered light.

Also, remember that you will need to water more frequently, perhaps even daily, during hot spells.

Overwintering Alocasia amazonica

Since both parent plants originated in the Asian rainforest, we often have the wrong conditions for the hybrid in the winter. These cause the Alocasia poly and Alocasia amazonica to drop their leaves over the winter.

To prevent this, the temperature should not fall below 55 °F for a long time. Too dry substrate, an unstable environment, or changing environmental factors such as less light and decreasing humidity can also act as triggers.

During the wintertime, you can reduce watering and fertilizing.

Watering Alocasia amazonica “Polly”

Alocasias love moisture. Therefore, deficiencies in watering quickly become apparent.

The root ball should be kept moist. However, waterlogging should not be allowed to occur. You can do this by watering as soon as the substrate’s top inch has dried.

To keep the moisture in the soil longer, I advise not to use terracotta pots for alocasias. In them, the substrate dries faster.

You should reduce watering if your Alocasia has shed its leaves due to winter dormancy. Without the leaves, the water requirement has decreased.

Fertilize Alocasia Polly

While you can fertilize almost weekly during the summer months when growth is good, fertilizing is drastically reduced during the winter. Therefore, fertilizing reduces to once a month.

For fertilizing, I recommend using a No products found.. That added to the water. Alternatively, you can use slow-release fertilizer.

Immediately after purchase and about half a year after repotting, fertilizing is paused.

The perfect substrate

A light substrate with good drainage properties is ideal. That prevents too much moisture from remaining in the substrate, which can lead to waterlogging. A coarser substrate ensures sufficient air circulation at the roots. 

The Aroid mix is super suitable here! If you want to store more moisture, add some Sphagnum moss. Keeping them in pure Sphagnum moss or a mineral substrate is also possible. 

You can find more information about substrates and their properties in our extensive substrate article

Repot Alocasia poly

Alocasia amazonica “Polly” that are still growing, need to be repotted about every one to two years. After repotting, they are placed in a slightly larger pot.

Already mature specimens can remain in the same pot for several years. When repotting, only the substrate is then renewed. You should maintain the pot size.

To prevent waterlogging, the pot should have drainage holes. So you can pour away excess water. You can also use a saucer if your pot of choice does not have drainage holes.

The best times to repot are spring and the beginning of summer.


The Alocasia amazonica does not require topiary. You should remove only diseased and dead leaves regularly.

Propagation of the Alocasia Polly

If you want to propagate your Alocasia amazonica or Poly, you have three possibilities:

  • Propagation by offshoots
  • Propagation by bulbs
  • Propagation by division of the rhizome

Propagation by offshoots

The easiest method of propagation are offshoots. They grow from tubers, which the alocasia forms over time.

When repotting, you can separate the offshoots from the mother plant and place them in their pots. Care is no different from the mother plant.

Propagation by bulbs

Older plants especially form tubers between their roots. These can be separated from the mother plant during repotting. Gently press the tubers to see if they are still good.

They are no longer suitable for propagation if they feel soft or very moist. That happens when they have been too wet for a long time.

Then you can root them in moist Sphagnum moss.

Propagation by division of the rhizome

If your Alocasia has a sufficient size, you can also divide the rhizome. Here the rhizome is cut between the leaf nodes. It is then treated with a fungicide or other antibacterial agents such as activated charcoal or cinnamon.

Once this has dried, both parts of the plant can be placed back on a substrate. The part without leaves should have a piece of the rhizome exposed. New leaves will sprout from the dormant eyes.

You should remove some leaves in the upper part of the divided plant. That sounds quite harsh initially, but the plant can no longer adequately supply the leaves due to the missing roots. That will likely cause them to drop off in a short time.

To give you a visual idea of the different propagation methods, here is a video of the propagation of an Alocasia bambino (An alocasia that is probably related to Alocasia Poly and Alocasia amazonica. However, it is even smaller than Alocasia Poly). So they can be applied here as well.

Diseases, pests, and care mistakes


Alocasia amazonica “Polly” is rarely affected by diseases in our country. If the health declines, it is usually due to care errors.


Many pests avoid the Alocasia. However, in the wintertime, spider mites may attack your plant. You can recognize them by formations under the leaves and in leaf axils, which look like spider webs.

For small infestations, it may be sufficient to rinse the plant and spray a mixture of neem oil and water on the leaves.

However, if the infestation is severe, I advise using No products found.. Alternatively, you can use natural enemies like the No products found..

In any case, you should isolate the houseplant to prevent the pests from spreading.


Care Mistakes 

Leaves of Alocasia Polly turn yellow

If the leaves turn yellow, this is usually due to low temperatures or too much or too little water. The substrate should have good drainage properties and be kept evenly moist.

The optimum temperature spectrum is between 64 °F and 82 °F. To avoid cold damage, you should try to keep the temperature above 55 °F.

Brown leaf edges and leaf tips

If the leaf tips or edges turn brown, this is often due to insufficient humidity. That should be at least 60%.

Other causes can be overfertilization or deposition of salts. The substrate can be flushed for 3 to 5 minutes every six months to avoid salt deposits.

Hanging leaves

Drooping leaves can be a consequence of too little light and too little moisture. Try to keep the substrate moist.

The alocasia should receive plenty of bright indirect light. Direct sunlight, on the other hand, can burn the leaves.

Let me answer your questions!

Is the Alocasia amazonica “Polly” poisonous?

Yes, the Alocasia amazonica “Polly” is toxic to humans and animals. The calcium oxalate crystals it contains can irritate and even harm mucous membranes and the gastrointestinal tract.
Therefore, you should place the houseplant out of reach of children and pets.

Why do my Alocasia amazonica “Polly” leaves lose their dark green color?

The leaves become lighter when the plant receives too little or too much light. The Alocasia needs a lot of bright but indirect light.

How big does Alocasia amazonica Polly grow?

A mature Alocasia amazonica “Polly” grows up to 70 inches tall and wide.

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About the author
Richard Schmidt
Hey, my name is Richard! In my spare time, I write about the care of indoor plants on this website. Indoor plants have long fascinated me. That's why there are many plants in my little urban jungle - from the mainstream Syngonium to true rarities. Besides my passion for houseplants, I'm a real sneakerhead.

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