Alocasia African mask (Alocasia longiloba x A. sanderiana) is a hybrid plant created by cross-breeding Alocasia longiloba and Alocasia sanderiana. It was developed by a nursery owner, Salvadore Mauro, in Florida. The origin of both parent plants is Asia and it is sometimes called Alocasia Amazonica.
Alocasia African mask grows to a size of 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. It has large dark green leaves with scalloped margins and light-green almost white veins. The leaves are heart-shaped and can grow to 16 inches long.
Alocasia African Mask Care
Alocasia African mask plants grow quickly which can make them extremely rewarding houseplants to care for. The main factors to consider for successful growth are moisture, sunlight, and fertilizer.
Make sure you check them regularly for signs of insects or disease so you can correct the problem quickly. Also, take care to keep these toxic plants away from children and pets. While African masks don’t require any pruning, you can prune off any damaged or dying foliage.
African mask plants need soil that can retain moisture without being soggy. It needs to be well-drained without drying out too quickly. They also prefer soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
To create an ideal soil for your Alocasia African mask plant, use soil, perlite, and peat moss. Mix equal parts of all three. This will create soil that drains well but can also hold moisture between waterings.
Alocasia African mask plants like moisture and grow best in evenly moist soil. You should water them thoroughly any time the top 1 inch of soil is dry.
Don’t overwater your Alocasia African mask. Overwatering can lead to root rot issues. During winter, when African masks are dormant, you shouldn’t need to water them quite as often.
Alocasia Amazonica needs plenty of bright, indirect light to grow fast and produce vibrant leaves. Placing them near south, west, or east-facing windows is best.
Direct, afternoon sunlight may cause leaf damage. To avoid leaf burns, don’t place them too close to windows with direct sun. Plants that don’t get enough light will grow slower and have less impressive leaf coloration.
Humidity & Temperature
Humidity should be kept around 70 percent for Alocasia African mask plants. This is higher than usual for indoor spaces so you’ll likely need to provide supplemental humidity.
You can place a tray filled with pebbles underneath the plant’s pot. Add water to the tray but don’t allow it to contact the flower pot. As the water evaporates from the pebble tray, it will increase humidity levels around your plant.
Alternatively, you can use a small humidifier to increase the humidity level around plants.
Temperatures should be kept between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit can damage Alocasia African masks.
African mask is known to be a heavy feeder during the active growing season in spring and summer. You’ll want to add a balanced fertilizer once or twice a month during this time.
Use a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer that has 20 percent nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Make sure to dilute it according to the directions so you don’t burn the roots. Don’t fertilize your plant during winter when it is dormant.
The best way to propagate Alocasia African masks is by division. Alocasia plant leaves grow from corms which are similar to bulbs. It produces more and more corms as it grows.
To create a new plant, you can simply remove your African mask from its pot. Gently shake away the soil to expose the roots and rhizomes. Using a sharp, sterile knife, separate a section of roots from the main root mass.
You can now replant the parent plant and your new plant in the soil. Make sure you thoroughly water the soil after replanting.
Diseases & Pests
Root rot is the most common disease affecting Alocasia Amazonica. It is caused by overwatering or poor soil drainage. Make sure your African mask plant is planted in the right type of soil and that you don’t overwater it.
Spider mites and mealybugs are the most common pests of Alocasia African mask. They usually enter the house when you bring in new plants that are infested. Make sure you carefully inspect any new plants for signs of insects before bringing them into your home.
All parts of Alocasia African mask plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate is toxic to humans, cats, and dogs when eaten. Make sure to keep any Alocasia plant out of the reach of small children and pets to prevent ingestion.
Alocasia African Mask Plant Flower
Alocasia African mask plants have spadix-type flowers. They have a central inflorescence of male flowers called the spadix. The spadix is white to cream-colored initially. It turns yellow from the top down as the male flowers open revealing their pollen.
Below the spadix is a circular chamber where the female flowers are concealed. By the time the male flowers open to reveal their pollen, the female flowers are no longer receptive to fertilization. This prevents self-fertilization.
The spadix is partially surrounded by a modified bract called the spathe. The spathe is white to cream in color with hints of green. Alocasia African mask plants rarely flower indoors but it’s not uncommon for them to flower when planted outside.
Alocasia African Mask vs Alocasia Polly
The main difference between Alocasia African mask and polly is their size. Alocasia Polly is actually considered to be a dwarf cultivar of Alocasia African mask. Polly only reaches about 20 inches tall while African masks can grow up to 3 feet tall.
Foliage of African mask tend to be smoother and less scalloped than those of Polly. Some people often suggest that African mask leaves have deeper, richer coloration. However, the leaf color of both plants can be variable and impacted by the light conditions they’re grown in.
Frequently Asked Questions
African mask plants live for about 5 years when grown indoors. However, you can easily propagate them by division. Propagation will allow you to enjoy having an African mask plant indefinitely by starting new plants from the mother plant. The best time to propagate a new plant by division is when it’s time to repot your mature plant.
Alocasia flowers don’t have a smell. Flowers that produce scents do so to attract pollinators. Many Alocasia flowers are pollinated primarily by flies that will lay their eggs on the spadix. Flies are attracted to white flowers with open structures. Alocasia flowers rely on color and shape to attract pollinators, not scent.
There is no guaranteed method for making Alocasia African masks flower indoors. They usually only produce flowers when plants are mature and stress-free. They need to have optimal lighting, water, and nutrients to flower. Providing as much indirect sunlight as possible during spring and summer is said to increase the odds of Alocasia blooming.
African mask plants grow best when they get plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. You should put them in rooms with south or west-facing windows which will provide good lighting. Make sure you don’t place your plant too close to the window. It shouldn’t get any direct sunlight through the window or the leaves could be burned.
 Alocasia. (n.d.) North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox, North Carolina State University Extension.