Alocasia Care

Alocasias are part of the Arum family. They are rhizomatous perennial (recurring every year) plant. They thrive in a bright, warm and humid atmosphere. They originate from tropical rainforest of South East Asia. There are about 70 different varieties of alocasia. They can grow very tall. They have ribbed, often oval leaves. Alocasia’s nickname is the elephant ear for a reason. Some Alocasia can reach up to 1 metre depending on which variety you have.

“If you want an ornamental plant, it is plant is for you. They are not the easiest to look after”

Overview

 

Family Origin Temperature
Araceae Asia 16º+
Humidity Light Shape
Love it Indirect bright light Tall group of stem
Watering Toxic Growth
every 3 weeks Yes Medium to rapid
Dormant Period Dislike Repotting
October to March To be overwatered Spring/Summer
a bedroom with a fiddle leaf tree next to a window

Alocasia Stingray, Credit: Patch Plants

Alocasia’s Golden rules

Do not leave your plant in a cold draft or near a cold window
Do not leave your plant next to a radiator
Do not overwater it or let it dry out, keep it moist
Do not leave the roots in constant contact with water for an extended period of time
Do not place it in direct sun

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There are not for novice houseplant lovers

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They like moist soil and bright indirect light

Light and Location

They like to be in bright indirect light, a West facing window is ideal. If you put your alocasia in the North facing window, put it next to the window where it has a good amount of light. They need light to grow. They can tolerate a little shade. 

Watering

Watering can be tricky. They don’t really like to be completely dry. The soil needs to be moist but not soaking wet. When the soil is three quarters of the way dry, water it. I typically wait for the top to be dry before watering. Always use water at room temperature. It is better to water your alocasia more often but in small quantity.
In summer, you will have to water your plant more often.
In winter, it all depends on your home environment. If it is very hot and dry, you will have to water more often. You will have to adjust your watering routine to your home’s environment. In general, I reduce my volume of watering and check more often.
If your plant is in the shade, you probably won’t have to water so often.
The key is to water more often but not fully soak the soil.

Alocasia Yucatan Princess

Temperature & Humidity

Alocasias like temperature between 18 to 22° which is perfect for our home.
They love humidity. The higher the humidity, the better they will grow and thrive. Increasing humidity around your plant is a good idea by having a peddle tray under the pot. Fill the tray with stones, add water without covering the stones, and put your pot on top of it. The roots do not like to be in constant contact with water.
Like most tropical plants, they do no like to be near a cold draft/window or next to a radiator.

Repotting & Compost

They like to be root bound and do not like to be repotted too often. The more root-bound your plant is the more often you will have to water them. If the roots are coming out of the pot, I suggest you repot them with new soil but in the same pot. The pot needs to be full of roots before you repot your alocasia.
When you repot your plant, only repot one size up pot.
You need to make sure that your soil drains well. If it does not drain well you will end up with root rot and bacterias. The soil need to be aerated, well drained and keep moisture.

My compost mix is:
15% pumice
10% agricultural charcoal
85% houseplant compost.
I always use terracotta pots as they retain moisture and they are breathable which is great for the roots.

The first time I repot my plants, I always add Rootgrow which is a mycorrhizal fungi. It is entirely natural and plants friendly fungi. Always read the directions for the right dosage.
The horticultural charcoal will get rid of impurities. It airs the soil and helps to increase the drainage and to grow healthy roots. It adds a source of carbon to plants, speeds water drainage, allows good airflow in the subsoil and inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Alocasia Amazonica Polly,  Credit: Hortology

Fertiliser

They love to be fertilised since they have big leaves and they grow big and tall. You can ferlitise them more often when it is most active but do not give them a full dose. 1/4 of a dose each time your water them is good.
I use Plantwork from Empahy. It is a natural plant stimulant that helps plant development.
Worm casting is also another good option.

Propagation

The best time to propagate your Alocasia is in spring or early summer. This is when the plant is coming out of dormancy. If your plant has grown big, pull out your plant from its pot, you should see long tubers. Carefully divide them if you have more than one and repot the mother plant and the division with the appropriate compost mix.

Alocasia Portodora, Credit: Hortology

Cleaning the leaves

Clean the leaves regularly to get rid of the dust. They are prone to spider mites and a regular check is necessary if you do not want to lose your plant.
You can shower your plant to clean it or use a damp cloth and clean the leaves by supporting the leave in your hand. You need to be gentle as the leaves are delicate.

Growth

They are medium to fast growers. They are as quick as dropping a leave as they are to grow a new one. It all depends on where it is placed in your home and your watering routine. They slow down in winter. 

Pruning

They do not require any pruning. When a leaf becomes floppy, you can cut it as it will have reached the end of its life. In my case, my personal preference is to wait until the leave starts yellowing. 

Common Problems

Dropping leaves is often the case when the leaf reach its end of life. It can also be caused by dormancy which is triggered by low light exposition and drop in temperatures. 
Leaf curling and brown leaf tip can be the cause of low humidity.

Leaf transpires is often a case of under watering and low humidity. 

Pests

Always put your plant in quarantine if you have any pests on our plants.

Spider mites can do some damage to your Alocasia.  They are the main pets of the Alocasia.They suck the sap of the leaves and can kill the plant if undetected. They are very hard to detect as they are tiny. You can see their spider web. Use a fungicide to resolve this problem and repeat treatment two weeks later. Ensure that your plant has enough water.

Another way to get rid of pests is to clean your plant with a damp cloth and a little amount of washing liquid. Repeat every week until your plant is cleared. Top up with fungicide.

Truly Yummy Things

Truly Yummy Things

Welcome! Truly Yummy Things is an interiors, outdoor living blog and sourcebook of truly beautiful things to inspire you for your home and garden.
It is also a sourcebook for houseplants and outdoor plants with a manual to keep them beautiful for many years to come.
I am a firm believer in recycling old furniture and sustainable products for your home. I like to think that truly beautiful things in our home has the power to improve our mood and make us smile without always spending a fortune.

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