Why are my Alocasia Polly Leaves Turning Yellow?

Alocasia Polly is a favorite of unique plant collectors. This hybrid plant is one of many Alocasia hybrids grown for their amazing glossy leaves and bold white veins.

Alocasia Polly is also sometimes known as Alocasia Amazonica. The name suggests this hybrid has roots in the Amazon; however, the parent species of Alocasia Polly are unknown. The name was likely appointed by botanist Salvadore Mauro, who worked out of the Amazon Nursery in Miami, Florida. He is the father of many hybrid Alocasias and is thought to have developed this specific hybrid in the 1950s. 

Although Alocasia Polly is not native to the Amazon rainforest, its ancestors did originate from tropical regions. Due to its finicky nature, many plant collectors have a hard time keeping this plant alive. One of the major issues it suffers is yellow leaves. 

If your Alocasia Polly leaves turn yellow, this is likely due to overwatering, a lack of sunlight, or a spider mite infestation. 

Learn more about what causes these common issues and how to fix them!

Why Are My Alocasia Leaves Turning Yellow?

There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing your prized Alocasia Polly leaves morph from lush green to dull yellow. The bigger and more mature those leaves are, the harder it is to see them suddenly die away. We’ll explain the three most common reasons why this might happen. 

Overwatering

watering plants
Although these plants love moist soil, they also require excellent drainage to keep the soil aerated. In nature, water drains into the ground, but in pots, there is limited space for the water to go. 

When Alocasia Polly is housed in a pot with poor soil or no drainage holes, the soil will retain too much moisture. Too much moisture blocks oxygen from reaching the roots, and the leaves won’t receive the nutrients they need.

This nutrient deficiency makes the plant unable to produce chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color, so without it, leaves lose their pigmentation and turn yellow.

Lack of Sunlight 

Alocasia Polly is designed to live in the undergrowth of tropical rainforests. It isn’t equipped to handle direct sun rays but does enjoy regular exposure to indirect sunlight. So, this plant needs an east-facing windowsill, where it can get an even mix of shade and indirect light. 

It’s common for beginner gardeners to assume that shade-loving plants must always be kept in the shade. But if your Alocasia Polly experiences too much shade, it won’t get the sunlight it needs to photosynthesize. Since photosynthesis is required to create chlorophyll, the leaves will turn yellow. 

Spider Mite Infestation

Spider mites frequently plague Alocasia Polly and many other Alocasia plants. Spider mites are generally brought home on an infected plant from the nursery. If they’re not kept under control, they will munch on the chlorophyll in the leaves and leave unsightly white spots. Once this happens, the leaf begins to die, which often results in yellow, then brown leaves.  

Unlike other plant killers like fungus, spider mites prefer dry plants. So the best way to combat an infestation is to wipe the Alocasia Polly leaves with a damp cloth. You can also use neem oil spray or a plant insecticide if the infestation worsens. 

Spider mites can and will travel to your other plants to wreak the same havoc. And, it only takes a few days to cause irreversible damage to a plant. So if you bring home a new Alocasia Polly, look for early signs of spider mites, such as cobwebs between leaves. 

Can a Yellow Leaf Turn Green Again?

Alocasia turning yellow
When a green leaf turns yellow, this is the first sign that the leaf is dying. The plant recognizes this and turns its attention away from that leaf to focus on saving the rest of the plant. When this happens, it will absorb leftover nutrients from that yellow leaf to use elsewhere. 

Once this process begins, it’s nearly impossible to reverse. So no, that yellow leaf will not become green again. 

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off My Alocasia?

Since yellow leaves cannot turn green again, removing them is okay. Removing yellow leaves will help prevent plant disease since some fungus is attracted to dead and decaying leaves. 

Removing yellow leaves also helps improve the overall appearance of your plant. 

As with any plant issue, always try to be proactive. Preventing yellow leaves first means you won’t have to cut off too much of your plant’s lovely foliage. 

Can Overwatered Plants Recover on Their Own?

The recovery of your overwatered Alocasia Polly will depend on how far gone it is. If your plant has just started showing signs of overwatering, the best course of action is to let the soil dry out.

If the pot you’re using doesn’t have drainage holes, you should re-pot your Alocasia Polly in a pot that does. Repotting your plant also allows you to discard the moisture-saturated soil and use fresh soil instead. Inspect the roots when you repot your plant to check for signs of root rot. Any mushy, brown roots should be cut away to prevent the spread of fungus

Should I Bottom Water Alocasia?

Bottom watering (or reverse watering as it’s sometimes called) is a technique where you feed a plant’s roots water from the bottom of the pot. This is usually achieved by placing the pot in a water bowl until the soil is saturated. A more straightforward method is adding water to the drainage saucer for the soil to absorb. 

Plants like African Violet and Primrose benefit from bottom watering because their leaves and flowers are delicate. African Violet’s fuzzy leaves are especially prone to rot if they become wet. Other plants like Snake Plants prefer bottom watering because of their shallow roots. Bottom watering encourages their roots to grow deeper and, therefore, more robust. 

Bottom watering will not necessarily benefit your Alocasia since it loves water on its leaves and has deep roots already. The best way to water your Alocasia Polly is to add water to the soil until it runs out of the drainage holes. Leave the plant to drain for 5-10 minutes in a sink to ensure the saucer doesn’t fill with water. 

What Soil Does Alocasia Polly Need?

Holding Soil
Alocasia plants generally desire very porous soil that retains some moisture but also drains effectively. Moist soil helps provide these plants with the humidity they crave and gives their roots a constant source of nutrients.

Although it likes moisture, Alocasia Polly doesn’t like soggy soil. Soil mediums like peat moss and perlite will help provide adequate drainage for your Alocasia Polly. Peat moss, in particular, is an excellent way to add nutrients to the soil, which helps encourage growth. 

If you’re looking for a well-balanced soil mix for your Alocasia Polly, try 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 perlite. 

Where Should You Put Alocasia Polly?

Alocasia Polly is susceptible to leaf burn, so you must house this plant out of direct sunlight. An East or west-facing window is preferable.

If you only have north or south-facing windows, place your Alocasia Polly on a table or the floor in an area of the room out of direct sunlight. 

Terracotta pots are not recommended for this plant. They are porous and will draw too much water away from the soil. Instead, opt for a glazed ceramic or plastic pot that will retain moisture. And as always, ensure whatever pot you use has a drainage hole and a saucer to collect excess water. 

How Can I Make Alocasia Polly Grow More Leaves?

If you’ve had to cut leaves off your Alocasia Polly due to yellowing, you’re probably eager to see them grow back. Alocasia Polly is a slow grower, so this can take a while. But, you can do a few things to speed up the process. 

Alocasia plants generally do not need much fertilizer, but you can feed them once a month during the spring and summer. Make sure you stop fertilizing your plant when it goes dormant in the fall. Use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer for the best results. 

To promote growth, you can also prune your plant in the spring and summer. This includes removing any dead or yellow leaves.

Summary

Tropical plants like Alocasia Polly add brightness, calm, and contrast to our living spaces. The last thing you want is for those beautiful green leaves to lose their color. If your Alocasia Polly leaves turn yellow, this is likely due to overwatering, a lack of sunlight, or a spider mite infestation. 

Overwatering is one of the most common issues that cause yellow leaves. This can be corrected by adding better drainage. A lack of sunlight will also cause yellowing since the plant cannot photosynthesize or create chlorophyll.

When you bring your Alocasia Polly home from the nursery, check for spider mites thoroughly. These pests are especially attracted to the Alocasia family and will attack its leaves first and foremost. If you watch out for these three main issues, your Alocasia Polly should thrive with beautiful, lush foliage!