Thursday, January 13, 2011

Alocasia amazonica 'polly'

I LOVE this genus. I've only got amazonica, but I've seen lots of cool varieties, like Alocasia black velvet, Alocasia cuprea, and Alocasia scabriuscula, among others. "There are 78 species of Alocasia," says Wikipedia, "occurring in Tropical & Subtropical Asia to Eastern Australia and widely cultivated in Oceania and South America." ( I also learned from this page that you can eat the stems, but that it can "numb and swell the tongue and pharynx." However, just because you can eat it doesn't mean you should. Anyway...

'Polly' in one of my favorite painted pots.
Most of my plants have rewarded me in some way, but this was by far one of the most rewarding. As with most of my plants, this was acquired on one of my obsessive trips to Lowe's last July. :) It had many glossy, medium-sized leaves, but then fervently began shedding the old and producing monstrous new ones, with the largest being around 12 inches long. It loves humidity and moist soil, and I've got it standing on a drywell since the air is extremely dry where I live. I clean its large leaves with a damp cloth when they begin to look dusty. A very rewarding grow, but the sap is poisonous to a non-lethal extent. This was of concern to me since I've got five animals. I've got it sitting on an end table, and neither of the two cats has touched it. The cooler winter temperatures have definitely slowed its growth, but I expect a stunning emergence of new leaves this spring and summer. It should look much fuller, like it did when I first bought it:

'Polly' in May 2010
 All the leaves in this picture have since been shed and replaced with those new gigantic ones. There are only four leaves now, but I'm sure this is a normal process. I watered it correctly and gave it the bright light it loves. Feeding it only seemed to speed up the process.

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