Why Is My African Mask Plant Dying?

The African mask plant is the most beautiful member of the aroid family. The attractive foliages with deep green colors and white veins make this elephant plant appealing.

But growing and caring for African mask plants can be challenging. The African mask plant problems are inevitable regardless of your houseplant caring experience.

So, why is my African mask plant dying? Overwatering, under-watering, temperature stress, incorrect lighting, pest infestations, and nutritional deficiency are the leading causes.

I wrote this article to share detailed reasons for a dying African mask plant. I have also shared tips to revive a dying African mask plant.

Reasons for African Mask Plant Dying

The unusual leaves make African mask plants interesting and attractive. Every houseplant enthusiast needs to exercise ultimate African mask plant care for successful growth.

But African mask plant problems are inevitable. Below are the reasons for a dying African mask plant and tips for reviving it:

Incorrect Lighting Conditions

The African mask plant is a tropical houseplant and thrives in bright indirect sunlight. Replicating the plant’s natural growing conditions at home will result in successful growth.

Direct sunlight exposure is the leading reason for a dying African mask plant. The sun scorches the leaves to inhibit the synthesis of food and well-being.

Low lighting conditions will make your African mask plant experience stunted growth with leggy stems. The houseplant will later die due to a lack of food to promote healthy growth.

I recommend relocating your houseplant to a spot receiving bright indirect sunlight. Remember to water your tropical plant to strike a balance between absorption and transpiration.

Under-Watering Problem

Alocasia plants prefer slightly moist soil to thrive well. Keeping your African mask plant roots dry for an extended period will kill them.

Dry soil inhibits the tropical houseplant from absorbing water to carry out its physiological activities. The houseplant will perish if the dry soil condition persists for a long time.

Inspect the soil moisture content by pushing your index finger in it. If 2-3 inches of topsoil is dry, rehydrate the soil to keep the roots moist.

Remember to schedule a strict watering routine to avoid soil dehydration. It will also help prevent inconsistent watering habits.

Overwatering Problem

Overwatering may kill your elephant ear plant. Keeping the African mask plant roots moist at all times is detrimental to the plant.

Sogginess and waterlogging tend to suffocate the roots. You will notice your African mask plant leaves turning brown. The houseplant will eventually wilt and die as a result.

Overwatering issue is due to inappropriate soil drainage and lack of drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. African mask plant leaves turning yellow is the early sign of overwatering.

I recommend re-potting an overwatered African mask plant to revive it. Inspect the roots for a sign of root rot and trim the affected parts.

Use fertile and well-draining soil to avoid the overwatering problem. Ensure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to eliminate excess water.

Temperature Stress

Elephant ear plants prefer a temperature range of 64-79oF (18-26oC) to thrive. But indoor temperature is vulnerable to fluctuations due to many reasons.

The Alocasia plant will die when the temperature drops below 55oF (13oC) due to cold-related damages and triggers dormancy and stunted growth.

Be sure to relocate your plant to sunny areas during winter and fall. Another option is to use artificial lighting to revive the dying African mask plant.

Lack of Nutrients

African mask plants are light feeders compared to other tropical plants. But the fertilizer nutrients help foster a healthy growth rate.

Nutritional deficiency may also be a reason for a dying alocasia plant. These plants require fertilizer nutrients every two months during the spring and summer seasons.

Over-fertilization will also increase soil toxicity that may kill your elephant ear plant. I recommend flashing the potting mix every three months to eliminate excess salt.

Do not feed your African mask plant during winter due to dormancy. Winter is the period where most plants are stagnant in growth and do not utilize fertilizer nutrients.

Transplant Shock

African mask plants are less vulnerable to the root-bound problem. Leaves turning yellow or brown are some of the root-bound symptoms.

Transplanting the alocasia plant is the best option since it will get revived. But improper African mask plant care routine after transplant may kill it.

Correct the growing condition to help save the houseplant from dying. It will take time to adjust to the new surroundings and overcome death.

Pest Infestations

African mask plant leaves turning brown is another sign of insect infestations. These invasive insects drain nutrients from the plant and inject venom to kill it.

Leafhoppers, mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, and scales are the most common pests attacking the elephant ear plant. These tiny creatures strip and damage the foliages from the plant.

Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils to kill the pests from your African mask plant leaves. I recommend spraying the plant weekly to kill the pests.

Low Humidity

Brown spots on African mask plant leaves are a sign of low humidity. These tropical houseplants thrive in a high humidity environment in their natural habitat.

Every houseplant enthusiast needs to replicate the high humidity condition at home. It will save your elephant ear plant from developing brown leaf tips and edges.

Use an electric humidifier to increase indoor humidity and revive the dying alocasia plant. I also recommend wiping the leaves to remove dust and boost humidity around the plant.

Some people prefer relocating the houseplant to the bathroom due to high humidity. Grouping the alocasia with other houseplants is another best alternative to increase the humidity level.

Plant Diseases

African mask plants are less vulnerable to common plant diseases. But this does not mean the houseplant is invincible to plant diseases.

Common African mask plant problems are due to bacterial and fungal infections. Bacterial leaf spots make the foliages look moist and less attractive.

Brown spots on leaves are a sign of fungal infections and they can kill the plant if the condition remains untreated for an extended period.

Use Bordeaux mix to kill bacteria and fungi causing diseases. Be sure to isolate your tropical houseplant to avoid spreading the diseases.

Related Questions

How often should I Water My African Mask?

Water your African mask plant once every week during spring and summer. Reduce the watering frequency during the winter season. Test the soil moisture content level before watering your alocasia plant.

When Should You Re-Pot an African Mask?

Re-pot your elephant ear plant when the roots fill the container or the potting mix becomes soggy and no longer drains water.

How Big Do African Mask Plants Get?

African mask plants can grow up to 4ft tall with leaves of 20 inches long. Indoor alocasia plants can reach 2-4ft tall with one foot wide leaves.

Final Words

African mask plant care involves the provision of bright indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, a regular watering routine, high humidity, room temperature, and feeding every month during spring or summer.

Most African mask plant problems are due to inappropriate care routines. I hope this information will help you fix these problems and save your alocasia from dying. Feel free to share this information with your friends and family.

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