All about the Alocasia
The foliage of this plant is beautiful and is great for home decoration. In ideal conditions, this plant will thrive, but you need to know how exactly to take care of the plant. Indoors, this plant can grow to a good height of 45 centimeters (cm) and in width.
Although it does sometimes produce flowers, it's known more for the beauty of the leaves. The leaves' veins are colorful, and every leaf can have a different texture, such as waxy, smooth, or glossy. The sides are curvy and wavy, and the shape is like an arrow.
Alocasia has various nicknames, such as Elephant Ears or African Mask.
Different types of the Alocasia
There are around 80 different varieties of Alocasia. The most coveted ones are Kris plant, Giant Taro, Stingray, and Alocasia x. Amazonica. The last one is a hybrid species, as Alocasia is known to produce hybrid plants as well.
Origin of the Alocasia
Alocasia is native to Eastern Australia and tropical regions of Asia, such as the South Philippines. Since they originate from tropical areas, the plant thrives best in humid environments.
How to (generally) take care of an Alocasia
As long as you follow the basic suggestions on how to take care of your Alocasia plant, it'll thrive to the fullest. If you're attuned to your plant's needs, your Alocasia plant will produce a new leaf every week during the growing season. Not only that, but the new leaf will be larger than the one before.
Every pot of an Alocasia plant should have a good drainage system as they prefer their soil to be drier than most plants. If the roots become clogged with water, they'll rot and produce fungal infections. Therefore, before watering the plant, you need to check the top few inches of the soil to make sure it's dry.
During the winter months, the plant retains water; hence you need to increase the duration between each watering.
The plant's best location is near a window that doesn't receive direct sunlight but is exposed to bright light. They can also survive on balconies or patios where there's a constant source of bright but indirect light.
Temperature: Alocasia won't survive temperatures that fall below 15°C; therefore, if you've placed the plants outdoors during summers, you need to place them indoors during winters. Moreover, if your plants are constantly indoors, they need to be away from air conditioner vents or drafts from the windows.
Like most houseplants, Alocasia requires bright but indirect sunlight. Since they originate from the floors of the trees in forests, they can't tolerate direct sunlight. The leaves will burn if exposed to direct sunlight. Alocasia plants also can't live in the shade. Hence bright, but indirect light is best for them.
You need to make sure there's humidity around the plant, or the plant won't thrive properly. There are many ways to increase humidity, such as placing the plant among other plants, connecting a humidifier nearby, making a pebble tray, or misting the leaves with water. However, don't directly spray the leaves with water, as constant dampness will damage the leaves.
Another trick to increase humidity is to move the plant in the bathroom. Although most bathrooms don't have enough sunlight for a plant to blossom, the humidity levels are excessively high due to the constant moisture.
How to create a pebble tray?
Place a tray where you want to keep your plant. Put a few pebbles on the tray and fill the tray with water until only the top layer of pebbles are dry. Place the pot on top of the pebbles. This will create a constant atmosphere of humidity.
Similar to the food of other houseplants, Alocasias also require monthly doses of fertilizers throughout the growing seasons. But during winter, the plant shouldn't be given either regular water or fertilizers as they will damage the plant instead of helping them.
Propagating an Alocasia plant
It's not difficult to propagate Alocasia; however, since this plant is delicate, you just need to be gentle and careful when handling it. Gently cut a piece of rhizome which is underground, and place it in a separate pot. Keep the surrounding area of the new pot warm and give it the care as suggested in plant care guides.
This plant is prone to insects such as spider mites. You'll have to check below the leaves regularly and if you spot them, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth before further damage. Other bugs such as scale and mealybugs can also appear. This is when you can use Neem oil to remove them from the leaves.
Your plant will tell you if it needs taking care of by the look of the leaves; they'll start to droop. This means either the plant isn't receiving sufficient light or is being overwatered. The leaves can also develop black or brown spots, which you need to prune quickly before the damage spreads.
Alocasia doesn't necessarily require repotting, but if you feel the plant has many offsets growing around it, or it seems too big for the pot, then you can repot the plant with delicate hands.