Alocasias are popular houseplants with a bold and beautiful signature look. They can shoot up to three feet tall, for starters, and their large, evergreen leaves closely resemble elephant ears.
I could go on about the striking veins, scalloped edges, and shiny surfaces, but I’m more interested in clearing the confusion surrounding the difference between Alocasia amazonica and Polly (is there a difference at all?).
If you, too, are eager to get to the bottom of this, hang on as I explain my well-researched details.
Most people are convinced that Alocasia amazonica and Polly are pretty much the same. However, the two plants mainly differ in size. That’s because Alocasia Polly is, in fact, a cultivar of the hybrid Alocasia amazonica. In other words, Alocasia Polly is a smaller variant of Alocasia amazonica.
|Alocasia amazonica||Alocasia Polly|
|USDA Hardiness zone||10-12||10-12|
|Scientific Name||No scientific name since it’s not a species.||No scientific name since it’s not a species.|
|Mature height||2-3 feet tall, depending on care.||Up to 2 feet tall. More compact than Alocasia Amazonica|
|Mature width||Spread may be similar to height.||Spread may be similar to height.|
|Growth rate||Varies with care. Up to 2 leaves can open per month with proper care.||Varies with care. Up to 2 leaves can open per month with proper care.|
|Habit||Place in any high humidity spot with plenty of shade or part shade.||Place in any high humidity spot with plenty of shade or part shade.|
|Light Requirement||Indirect or filtered bright light.||Indirect or filtered bright light|
|Soil Type||Porous soils that drain well but can still retain moisture. For instance, you can add peat and pumice to your potting mix.||Porous soils that drain well but can still retain moisture. For instance, you can add peat and pumice to your potting mix.|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic e.g. 5.5 to 6.5.||Slightly acidic e.g. 5.5 to 6.5.|
|Watering Frequency||Enough to keep the soil moist, plus frequent misting. Not too dry and not too soggy/saturated!||Enough to keep the soil moist, plus frequent misting. Not too dry and not too soggy/saturated!|
|Pests||Watch out for aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.||Watch out for aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.|
|Diseases||Prone to leaf spot as well as rot around the root, stem, and crown area.||Prone to leaf spot as well as rot around the root, stem, and crown area.|
Differences Between Alocasia Amazonica and Polly
To give you a top-to-bottom answer on the differences between Alocasia amazonica and Polly, I did some thorough research on the following key areas:
- Leaf shape and texture
- Leaf size
- Leaf color
- Growth Habit
- Height and structure
- Growing requirements and care
Now that you know what to expect let’s head straight into it!
It’s time to set the record straight. First of all, Alocasia amazonica and Polly are both hybrids (not plant species), so what you’re looking at are not scientific names but horticultural names. I searched on many scientific databases, including the Missouri Botanical Garden, and I did not find any mention of these two plants.
These two plants don’t even come from the Amazon rainforest! Alocasia amazonica is believed to have originated from a Florida nursery called Amazon nursery. As the story goes, its owner bred it from Alocasia longiloba and Alocasia sanderiana, though some sources list its parents as unknown.
Alacosia amazonica sometimes goes by Alocasia x amazonica, while you may see Polly refer to as Alocasia amazonica “Polly” or spelled as Alocasia “Poly.” Both can also be labeled as the African Mask.
Leaf Shape and Texture
There is a unique difference that may be used to differentiate Amazonica and Polly. This slight characteristic is unique to Alocasia Polly and occurs at the leaf corners in what appears to be crests and folds.
However, both Alocasia Polly and Alocasia amazonica feature large, waxy leaves shaped like arrows protruding from long, single stems.
Alocasia amazonica’s leaves are slightly bigger than those of Alocasia Polly. However, the difference may only be noticeable when the plants are fully matured.
The leaves of both plants have a deep green color with stunning silver veining. Both of them also have a rich purple underside. Sometimes the underside of Alocasia amazonica is burgundy. Gardeners who have experience dealing with Alocasia Polly and amazonica report that the latter has many grayish veins. This appears to be the only difference when it comes to leaf color.
You’ll be lucky if you get to see both of these plants bloom! This rare phenomenon has a long stalk-like inflorescence. The flowers are small (those from Polly could be smaller) and generally consist of a green spadix and white spathe. Doesn’t it put you in mind of a giant flower?
Both Alocasia hybrids thrive in a humid environment, with plenty of bright, indirect, or filtered light. They may suffer if temperatures dip below 50-55°F (10-13°C).
There’s not much difference here. Going with what the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) says, both plants may be toxic to pets and humans. That’s because Alocasias contain compounds called calcium oxalates, which can cause irritation.
They should, therefore, not be chewed or ingested. It’s also best to wear gloves if you’re going to be handling the plants for an extended period.
Height and Structure
With proper care, amazonica can grow as tall as 3 feet. As the smaller variant, Polly typically grows up to 2 feet tall. It seems that the width or spread usually equals the height, so both plants tend to have a wide structure.
Growing Requirements and Care
Alocasia amazonica and Polly don’t have many differences when it comes to growing requirements and care. They both need:
- Bright, indirect lighting
- Moist soils and misting (remember to avoid soaking the soil too much)
- Regular repotting
As you can see, trying to tell amazonica and Polly apart can be a bit tricky. In fact, most stores don’t even bother differentiating the two plants, largely because their care is almost the same.
However, in terms of overall appearance, the main difference I found between the two plants is that Alocasia Polly is generally considered to be a dwarf version of Alocasia amazonica. Alocasia Polly may also have folds and crests formation at the side of the leaf.