Alocasia Polly, also popular as Elephant’s ear, demands growing conditions similar to the tropical rainforest with minimum care.
The plant droops when it reaches maturity and ages to produce new growth.
You will have to encounter drooping in Alocasia Polly once, at least in a life cycle.
Table of Contents Show
- Why is my Alocasia Polly Drooping? [Causes & Solutions]
- Should I Remove Drooped Leaves off the Alocasia Polly?
- Tips to Prevent Drooping in Alocasia Polly
- Editor’s Note
Why is my Alocasia Polly Drooping? [Causes & Solutions]
Drooping in Alocasia can occur suddenly within a day or in a long run of about a week, depending on the plant’s sufferance from stress.
Here are some factors leading to the drooping, limping and, lastly, yellowing of Alocasia.
1. Underwatering Issue
Underwatering in Alocasia persists when they do not receive water routinely.
If checked, the topsoil becomes dusty and cranny under underwatering conditions.
Also, the top leaves become brittle and wrinkly, with signs of drooping as they suffer from thirst.
Brown spots and leaves curling with browning on the edges are also a sign of underwater Alocasia Polly.
- Water the plant slowly from the base so that moisture reaches each nook of the pot and root.
- You can drown your entire plant pot in a bathtub containing at least 3-4 inches of water and let the root soak it in.
- Also, keep a tray at the bottom of the pot (only terracotta pot) and water the plant with a bottom-up approach.
- Keep checking for moisture about 2 inches deep from the topsoil and water based on the amount of moisture present.
- Crack and loosen up the soil if it has hardened with the help of a trowel and water it, and re-pot the plant in the same pot.
- Apply mulch over the ground soil to prevent excess evaporation and preserve moisture.
2. Overwatering Condition
Overwatering is no different than underwatering, leading to drooping and hindering the expected growth of Alocasia.
Early symptoms of overwatering are visible when the lower leaves turn yellow and droopy with pulpy leaf veins.
Moreover, a longer period of sogginess causes the roots to rot and have a rotting smell with brown spots and blisters in the leaf.
You can check for overwatering by looking at wet soil and stagnant water, which usually occurs due to poorly draining soil and no drainage holes.
- Immediately cease watering the Alocasia.
- Change the location of Alocasia to a place receiving direct light for a day or two and shift back to indirect, bright sunshine after the water has dried.
- Alternatively, you can remove the plant from the wet soil and dry it in a newspaper.
- While removing Alocasia from the pot, check for any rot in the roots and trim off the parts that appear black and mushy.
- Re-pot the plant into a pot with enough drainage holes, and remember to use a well-draining mix. Change the pot into terracotta for proper drainage and absorption of water.
3. Transplant Shock
Alocasia Polly becomes even more sensitive to shock if you do not consider the time you are transplanting them.
Meanwhile, during transplant shock, Alocasia shows signs like drooping, wilting, and yellowing with the dropping of leaves at last.
After transplanting them, you can observe transplant shock immediately by noticing their sickly and unhealthy appearance.
- Provide the plant with warmth and water them as per the requirement to boost their energy.
- Cut off the fragile, drooping leaves to shift the focus of Alocasia into stabilizing instead of recovering.
- Place your Alocasia in the exact location as previously since it ensures the same amount of light and humidity and provides them a sense of comfort.
- Water the plant when you see droopy leaves, and look for drainage holes to prevent overwatering.
- If you have trimmed some roots when transplanting, you also need to remove the top growth of plants.
4. Insufficient Light
Alocasia prefers indirect bright light, but sometimes you might forget its basic requirement and keep it in the dark spot.
Insufficient light promotes waterlogged conditions as the moisture does not evaporate away, decreasing the water requirement of Alocasia.
In the absence of sufficient light, the leaves cannot perform photosynthesis, which is the reason for the limp yellow leaves.
Also, the lack of bright indirect light hinders the growth of Alocasia, making it appear bent, stunted, and unhealthy.
- If your pot is in the Northern window, change the location immediately.
- Put the pot in the southeast-facing window to provide a sufficient reach of bright light to Alocasia.
- Keep your plant under grow lights for a few days.
Cover your windows with a curtain if the Alocasia Polly is under bright direct light, which also causes your plant to dry and suffer from underwatered conditions.
5. Lack of Humidity
Alocasia has always loved a humid environment instead of dry spells, as it shows signs of drooping if the humidity falls below 40%.
Moreover, drooping usually occurs because the roots cannot compile with the water requirement of the aerial plant part due to excess water loss.
Following the curling of the leaves, the Alocasia Polly starts to turn brown from the margin along with drooping, ultimately wilting.
Also, the potting mix dries more quickly than normal, causing cracks and dried, hard soil for the plant.
- Shift the location of the Alocasia pot into a more humid place like the kitchen and bathroom but do consider for light.
- You can even try adding pebbles below the pot in a tray and filling it with water to increase the humidity around the plant.
- Spray water around the Alocasia with the mister to increase the humidity until your plant revives its robustness.
- Install a humidifier near the area of the plantation if the tips mentioned above did not revive your plant.
- Alternatively, you can move Alocasia Polly into a group of plants to maintain the humidity level.
6. Temperature Stress
The fluctuations in temperature are not good because, firstly, Alocasia loathes cold drafts.
While trying to adjust to the cold, the temperature might suddenly rise to make them confused and suffer from stress.
Thus, the weakened stems cause wilting of the leaves.
Temperature stress usually persists when your pot is near heating vents and coolers.
- Change the location of the pot if it is near cooling and heating vents or refrigerators.
- Move the pot at least 2 to 3 inches away from the window as they become very cold during winter.
- Keep a thermal pad below the pot during winter to maintain the warmth entire season.
- Apply a mulch of straw or sawdust over the topsoil during sunny days to prevent overheating soil.
- Keep frequently misting the plant with water to maintain the temperature during heated days.
7. Improper Fertilization
Over and under-fertilization harm the Alocasia as they are heavy feeders demanding enough food.
This can make Alocasia suffer from overfertilization, hindering the root system’s normal functioning due to the soil’s accumulation of salts.
Overfertilization usually occurs in winter, when the Alocasia enters dormancy and demands less food supply.
Besides, lack of nitrogen gives rise to yellow leaves, extending up to stems and veins, and the leaves appear droopy.
Nevertheless, phosphorous and potassium deficiencies are equally responsible for altering the green color of leaves to purple or violet with curling and drooping.
Immediate Solutions for Overfertilization
- Cease on fertilizing the plant as soon as you notice burning in the leaves.
- Wash the excess fertilizers by applying water pressure to the roots and letting the excess water drain.
- Do not fertilize Alocasia if it is the winter months, as that will overfeed the plant.
- If the fertilizer sticks with the soil, change it immediately to a new potting mix suitable for the Alocasia.
Immediate Solutions for Underfertilization
- Nourish your Alocasia with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) if you are unsure of the deficiency suffered by the plant.
- You can cut off the damaged roots and leaves to shift the focus on the entire growth.
- If the deficiency occurs in spring and summer, feed your Alocasia Polly extra food like bloodmeal, vermicompost, or manure.
- However, cut back fertilizing in winter. And it is rare for Alocasia to suffer from deficiency during cold days.
8. Pest Infestations
Alocasia’s broad and juicy leaves are easily susceptible to getting attacked by house pests like spider mites, aphids, flies, and scales.
Alocasia’s pests have piercing mouths, sucking the sap and nutrients of the leaves and stems, causing them to appear fragile and droopy.
Also, cuts and holes are visible from Alocasia invaded by the pests.
Most of the pests are noticeable to the naked eye, but sometimes they escape from our eyes, harming Alocasia.
I have tabulated some major pests with their visible symptoms and appearance here!
|Common Insects||Signs and Symptoms|
|Spider Mites||Mites appear as small yellow to brown spots on the leaves that look like tiny spiders.
They hide and suck out the sap from underside of the leaves making them curled and droopy.
|Mealybugs||These bugs resemble small and white cotton balls that lack wings.
They suck out the sap right from the point where leaves are attached to the stem and make them weak and droop.
|Whiteflies||They are winged and triangular-shaped flies that stay in groups under the leaves.
They contort the leaves by drinking all the juices and leave behind sticky droppings called honeydews.
|Soft Scales||Scale bugs appear as small and oval bumps on the surface of the stem and leaves.
They misshape the leaves by guzzling the sap out from them and distort the shape of leaves making them droopy.
|Thrips||Thrips are tiny and slender, black to brown insects present on the surface of the leaves.
They puncture the epidermal layer of the leaves and suck all the juices out making the leaves papery, thin, and dangling.
|Aphids||Aphids are white to green, oval or pear-shaped insects that perfectly hide themselves on the surface of the leaves.
They use the pair of tubes in the belly to suck the sap from the leaves and stems causing them to droop and wilt.
- Immediately remove the infested plant from the healthy ones to stop the spread to others.
- Wash away the leaves containing pests with a water hose, dry them in the broad sunlight, and bring them back indoors.
- Rub the leaves with cotton dipped in Isopropyl alcohol.
- You can use organic pesticides like neem oil to control the infestation.
- Using insecticidal soap in case of severe conditions is also one of the options.
- Lastly, trim off highly affected parts to let the plant focus on its recovery from the damage caused by the pests.
9. Root Rot
The external factors, including the drenched soil for longer periods, high humidity, and lack of light, leads to root rot.
Root rot mainly occurs due to a fungus of Fusarium species, which persists in the overwatered soil, promoting the fungus growth.
When the overwatered condition combines with insufficient light, your roots will give a rotting smell.
This way, rotted roots cannot usually transport nutrients and water to all plant parts.
So, the lack of water and food simultaneously is a catastrophe if Alocasia leaves turn yellow and have brown spots with blisters and droopings.
- Cease on watering Alocasia as soon as you notice stagnant water.
- Keep the pot in a location receiving bright, indirect light or broad daylight to dry out the excess moisture.
- Scoop out the plant from the pot and change the soil mix into a peat-based mix.
- Look out for any drainage hole blockage and remove foreign particles.
- If the rotting is severe, cut off the rotted roots and some leaves to balance the root and shoot system.
- For the best result, you can use fungicides like thiophanate-methyl and polyoxin-D.
Look at the video below for more detailed care!
Should I Remove Drooped Leaves off the Alocasia Polly?
The drooping might not be the last stage for Alocasia Polly if the cause is a watering problem or light issue, as you can remedy the problems.
So, it is better to remove the unhealthy leaves.
For trimming, you can use a sterilized pruner or scissors and cut off petioles just below the leaf joint.
And be careful not to harm the plant stalk, as it increases the probability of infection in the cut portion.
Tips to Prevent Drooping in Alocasia Polly
The drooping can become a serious concern if the environment goes awry. So look for the tips below to keep your Alocasia lively and flourishing.
- Provide Alocasia with at least 6-8 hours of indirect, bright light, while during winter days, direct sun for an hour or two can be beneficial but not on summer days.
- Alocasia loves humidity above 60% but not more than 75%.
- Try to avoid fluctuations in temperature and maintain the optimum temperature between 64ºF-79ºF.
- Water the plant once every week by checking the moisture in 2 inches of soil from the top.
- Treat your Alocasia with a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) once a month in the growing season, and avoid fertilizing on winter days.
- Maintain a pH between 5.5-6.5, as Alocasia prefers slightly acidic and well-draining soil.
- For the best soil option, you can use soil mixed with succulent and orchid mixes with an abundance of peat moss
- Given Alocasia’s slow to moderate growth, pruning is unnecessary, but you can trim old, damaged leaves during spring and summer.
- If you plan to re-potting Alocasia, choose one size bigger pot and do it once every two years for the best result.
Alocasia Polly demands love and care just like a baby, allowing us to leverage its beautiful, shiny, and broad leaves for a longer period, given its lifespan of more than five years.
But be careful not to neglect Alocasia since they may test your patience by showing signs of sickness and drooping.
So be there for your Alocasia Polly now and then. Happy Gardening!