Plant 101: How To Care For An African Mask Plant

HELLO MY PLANT FRIENDS!

Over the next couple of days, I’m going to be introducing you to three of my favorite plants that I have in my collection. The other day, I counted and I have 36 plants ? sort of insane, sort of amazing (right? right).

The first post is going to be about my absolute favorite plant in my collection – The African Mask Plant. These are often called “Elephant Ear” plants (thats what I thought she was before I did some research) but they’re actually an African Mask plant or the Kris Plant. The scientific name for this plant is: Alocasia Sanderiana (I know, too big of a name to remember). So we’ll just refer to it as the African Mask plant in this post!

These plants are an endangered species (I’m crying) and they’re originally from the Philippines. In it’s native habitat these beautiful plants can grow up to six feet tall (crazy right).

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I absolutely adore these plants for their pointy, shiny, almost rubber-like leaves. They’re exotic and different which also means that they can be somewhat temperamental when grown indoors.

But, have no fear! I’ve had this plant for quite a few months and feel like I’ve picked up some great care tips along the way.

Originally, I bought her from a Lowes – one of my favorite places to find plants for cheap. You’ve gotta be careful though, some plants can carry diseases or be poorly soiled / watered / sunned while in the “big box store”.

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But, my African Mask plant is happy, healthy + is currently growing two new leaves (YAY). So, I figured that I’d share some of my very best tips with you guys. Let’s get into this!

Water

1-2x a week, when the top layer feels dry. Never let these (or any plants for that matter) sit in water. Their roots will start to rot and the plant will eventually die. Make sure that your plant is in a well-draining container. You want to make sure that the water flows freely and quickly through the holes at the bottom.

I like to use filtered tap water for my plants – the tap water here in Philly is far from ideal for plants. A lot of times, tap water can contain harsh chemicals that can destroy plants.

Sunlight

Now, this is the tricky part about these plants. If your African Mask plant is too close to a window, you’ll burn the leaves and dry them out. This will cause them to brown and eventually fall off. If they’re too far away from the sun source, they’ll start to turn yellow and fall off.

I like to keep my African Mask plant about 1-3 feet away from a large, south facing window. During the summer, I moved it farther away from the window as the sun was strong, hot and beating directly down on it. As the year rolls on and the suns position changes, you can adjust accordingly. On cloudy days, feel free to move it closer to the window so that it can still absorb the suns rays.

Air Quality

Since these beautiful plant are custom to living in the humidity of the Philippines, you need to make sure that you’re creating as best of a humid environment as you can. If you live in an apartment like I do, you’ll want to mist your plant every single day.

I just take a little bit of filtered tap water into my spray bottle and mist away! I spray until all of the leaves are covered.

Dust

Just like any other plant, you want to routinely clean off their leaves. If there’s too much dust / dirt / debris on their leaves, they’ll literally suffocate. Isn’t that crazy?! Think about it, plants get their energy through their leaves. If there’s a barrier between their leaves and the sun / light, there’s no way for them to get energy!

Dust your African Mask plant once a week. Clean off their leaves using a damp paper towel or even your finger. I’ve heard of some people showering with their African Mask plants. Not only does this help with humidity but it also helps to clean off the tops of their leaves!

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Hopefully you guys found these tips helpful and you find this plant a little less intimidating now.

I highly encourage you to try caring for one – they’re not as hard to care for as you may think. With a little more TLC and care, you will be having one of these looking beautiful in no time!

Talk tomorrow,

XO,

Emily

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