Alocasia which is also infamously known as Elephant Ear or African mask is a type of household tropical plant. It has large, beautiful, and sizable leaves and does also produce flowers occasionally but that is not its striking feature. When it comes to its striking feature it is rather unusual and unique looking arrow-like patterned large leaves.
There are more than 50 varieties of Alocasia plants found in the world, some of the most common and popular varieties are-
- Alocasia Singapore
- Alocasia cucullata – also known as “buddha palm”
- Alocasia macrorrhiza – It is popular because of its flower also known as “Giant Taro”
- Alocasia black velvet
- Alocasia ‘Dragon Scale’
These plants require very little attention but sometimes it may prove to be challenging as they can grow very large in size and may die if not maintained properly.
If you are planning to get one for your home or garden, here are a few important growing and caring tips for you.
How do you care for the alocasia plant?
- Light – You should avoid both direct harsh sunlight and pitch darkness, a moderately lit environment like early mornings and the fading sun of the afternoon suits it perfectly. But some of its variety is sun trained which can cope with good sunlight
- Soil – Need to be planted in well-drained porous soil mixed with loamy soil and peat, it should be well-drained but still moist.
- Watering – Create a perfect balance between extremely dry and soggy, the soil should be evenly moist. More than excess watering leads to rotting of the roots.
- Fertilizer – you should not fertilize it in winters, in summer use the organic homemade food diluted fertilizer after every two weeks.
- Temperature – Alocasia being a tropical plant thrives well in high temperature and suffers in low temperature.
- Toxicity – leaves of alocasia plants are toxic in nature and may harm kids and pets if chewed, it causes irritation and swelling in the gastrointestinal tract.
Is alocasia an indoor plant?
Growing any plant indoors is a challenging task in itself, but plants that don’t need intense exposure to sunlight can easily thrive in indoor conditions like the Alocasia plant, they grow very well in the right conditions and even can produce a new leaf every other day.
For growing it well, it needs to be potted into a big pot which provides its root good room to grow further, it grows very well in summers. So during summers if you put it into the garden or terrace it will thrive and may produce the rare alocasia flower also. Shift it back indoors during winters as it is very sensitive toward winters.
The major difference between indoors and outdoors is that the leaves grow smaller in size in indoor condition in comparison to the outdoors.
If you are planning it to grow indoors there is one major thing you should keep in mind that the leaves of the alocasia plant are toxic if eaten, if you have little kids in your home you should be pretty aware of it.
Why is my alocasia plant dying?
There are many factors that could be responsible for the poor condition of the alocasia plant.
- Overwatering – most people think underwatering is the most common cause of the alocasia plant damage but overwatering is the most common problem. Due to overwatering the plant the soil becomes soggy which leads to poor air circulation for the roots which is very essential for the plant to survive. One should keep in mind that it should not be overwatered, first touch the soil and check if it is dry and non-sticky than water it. It should be moist all the time, not very dry nor soggy. Yellow leafing and rotting smell are its prime symptoms.
- Low humidity – falling and curling of leaves shows that plants lack humidity, which puts them at risk of underwatering. Using a humidity tray or electric humidifier may solve the problem.
- Low Light- when it comes to indoor plant light is the major factor of plant’s health, Alocasia plant needs bright and indirect light for its good health. Low light may hinder its growth and put it at the risk of overwatering.
- Underwatering – Any brown crispy edges of the leaf or stem is the result of underwatering. Should not let the soil dry, as alocasia plant leaves transpire too much which may lead to underwatering. Always keep the soil moist.
- Temperature – Tropical plants like alocasia usually tend to suffer in low temperature i.e. in winters & in frost. Make sure that it shouldn’t be in a place with extreme low temperature, always place it at room temperature or above, as they are fond of summer.
Common problems exhibited by alocasia plant:
- Leaf turning yellow – If the alocasia leaves turn yellow, that is usually due to an incorrect way of watering. This sign denotes that either you are watering too much or too less. You’ve to keep the plant moist throughout, do not let it too dry or too drench. Avoid watering it frequently during the winters because in colder days transpiration rate is too low.
- Mealybugs – There may be different causes for mealybugs contaminating your plant. It may happen because of over fertilising or overwatering or maybe a new plant already had it when you bought it home.
To tackle this problem, you should isolate the plant for a few days, after that you can use a commonly practiced remedy, that is removing it by hand using a swab of alcohol dip cotton. Repeat this process for a few days until you get rid of them.
Will alocasia die in winter?
Usually, alocasia is an easy growing plant but in winter it demands intense care as it is a summer-loving plant. In winters try to keep it in a warm spot like in the living room where light is adequate and the temperature is a little higher than outside, in cold temperatures it doesn’t grow that well, root growth is restricted. You should restrict watering it in the winters as it transpires very less in this time.
How do you grow alocasia indoors?
Growing alocasia plants indoors is not a tough task, you have to replicate the outdoor conditions, which is a warm, humid, and well-lit environment. Here are few easy steps to grow alocasia plant indoors.
- Take a large size pot so that the plant can get enough room to grow.
- Use well-aerated loose soil to show that airflow could be maintained if the soil is too hard to add a little proportion of sandy soil and mix it with loamy soil and peat. Now pot the plant, Let the topsoil be dry for some time, and then add water to it.
- A rhizome is a part from which the root grows while planting the plant. You care that rhizomes should be above the topsoil layer to insure the plant’s growth.
- Alocasia plants prefer tight spots so do not repot it very often.
- Watering is a very critical and key element for a plant’s health, you should water it when topsoil looks dry, it should be kept moist all the time.
- Keep the pot in a well-lit environment but not in direct sunlight as well lit environment promotes its growth very well but direct harsh sunlight will damage the plant.
- It is a humidity-loving plant so take care of humidity, if you have two plants keep them nearby to enhance the humidity or you can also use an electric humidifier.
- Use Organic fertilizer with neem extracts into it once every 2 months which will provide it optimum nutrition and prevent it from fungus and bugs.
Can you propagate alocasia from Leaf?
No, you can’t propagate alocasia from its leaves because Alocasia plants are tuberous which means it grows from its rhizome. Propagating it is a fairly tricky process, that doesn’t mean we can’t propagate it.
When you remove it from its pot you will find many clumps, soak it in water and free the root from the gardening hose.
Clumps are connected to the root, separate it gently from the root, if the roots are too tangled then you should use sharp objects like garden scissors or knife to cut it out and must use disinfectant over it. You won’t have to wait for them to root owing to their own little root system and that is the most congenial part about dividing the clumps.
You can cultivate the alocasia in either soil or in water.
Propagation in water:
It is the most beautifying way to bloom household plants and with proper nourishment, they get flourished. The method basically comes into use when the cuttings don’t have grown their roots. Yet, we can also place the clumps separated from the main plant by putting it into water.
You can grow alocasia clump in water by wiping off the soil from its root and placing it into a pot, you can go for transparent vases through which you can show the root system, which will look impressive. Fill the vase base with natural water as it contains chlorine & minerals for a full day, ensure that roots are completely submerged. Place the vase in well-lit condition & make certain that you are not putting it under direct sunlight, as it can induce algal growth.
As the water evaporates, you should refill the water every few months and can use liquid, organic plan fertilisers to ensure its proper growth.
Propagation in soil:
For alocasia plants, soil propagation is a widely practiced and popular method. As the clumps will have their own root system. Take a large size pot, which should have drainage holes in it. Now, add a mixture of sandy soil, loamy soil, peat and little amount of fertile into the pot and make sure the soil should be loose, because the hard part of the soil restricts the growth of root into it, this mixture of soil restricts the growth of tropical plants like alocasia.
Once the soil is ready, plant your alocasia offset and make sure that its rhizomes should be above the topsoil, (rhizome is a part from which the root system grows) water the soil evenly, and do not overwater it as that will restrict the airflow to the roots and may cause the root rot.
Watering is a very essential part to ensure the growth of alocasia plants. It always demands evenly moist soil, do not underwater as it makes the surface dry and overwatering makes it soggy.
Keep the plant in a bright spot where there is a presence of indirect sunlight. It may take a while to show its growth as it has been transplanted. You just have to show a bit of patience to see it nurture. When you see the popping of new leaves, after a while, it is a sign that propagation was successfully done.
Should I mist my Alocasia Polly?
Alocasia is a humid loving plant, keep it in a bright spot and mist it often or you can also use pebble trey or electric humidifier as it needs ample humidity to thrive in indoor conditions.
Grouping all the household plants together also do the task as they tend to transpire which creates a humid environment near them.
When should I repot alocasia?
Usually, it’s not necessary to repot it every year as they love the cramped environment, you should repot it every 2 years, in autumn and spring as they are the most favorable time to repot it.
They are tropical plants that grow year long.
When repotting it, take a large volume of soil that can keep its root always moist, the plastic pot is more favorable as it keeps the moisture intact.
Water the plant before repotting it, it will hydrate the root and leaves and also untangle the roots and then repot it at the same depth as it was previously done.
These were a few tips and tricks for caring and growing the alocasia plant. I hope they prove to be helpful for you.
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