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Alocasia Care Guide: Top Tips for a Thriving Plant

Alocasias are common houseplants known as ‘elephant’s ear’ plants. This is because of the shape of their leaves, which are typically large and heart-or-arrow-shaped. These plants are members of the Arum family, originating from the tropical rainforests of South-East Asia. They tend to be fast-growing and can therefore make for excellent statement plants. This is your full guide to caring for a thriving Alocasia.

Varieties and Names

1. Giant Elephant Ear – Alocasia wentii: This plant has very large leaves with dark green on the top and deep purple underneath.

2. Pink Passion – Alocasia brancifolia: This new variety has deeply serrated leaves and pink-speckled stems.

3. Alocasia Zebrina: This well-known houseplant has striped black and white stems and pointed, dark green leaves.

4. Alocasia Dragon Scale: This striking plant has light green leaves with contrasting dark green around the veins.

5. Alocasia Polly: This unique plant has wavy-edged, dark green leaves with contrasting lighter veins.

6. Alocasia Black Velvet: This Alocasia has velvet-like, dark green leaves. They are soft to the touch and have a striking appearance.

Alocasia Care

Light requirements

Due to their tropical origins, most varieties of Alocasia thrive in bright indirect light. This is because sunlight would naturally be filtered through the canopy above them. Too much direct light can scorch the leaves and fade the colours. However, this depends on the species; some Alocasias will enjoy more direct sun.

Temperature and humidity

These tropical plants enjoy warm temperatures and high humidity. Many Alocasia varieties die back over the winter and re-emerge in the spring. Avoid leaving them in cold draughts or exposing them to sudden drops in temperatures.

Watering

Water your Alocasia when the top few inches of soil have dried out. They like their soil to be evenly moist but not soggy or waterlogged. When your plant needs watering, thoroughly soak the soil and let the excess water drain from the bottom before putting it back. Never leave it sitting in water. Reduce your watering during the colder months when the plant isn’t actively growing.

Potting soil

Alocasias prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil. If your potting soil is too dense, add some orchid bark or perlite to aerate it and improve its drainage. This will help to lessen the effects of overwatering.

Fertilisation

Use a regular houseplant fertiliser around once a month in the spring and summer. Dilute the fertiliser according to the instructions it comes with, or slightly more.

Pruning and rotation

These plants naturally maintain quite a contained shape, so shouldn’t need any pruning for shaping purposes. You may, however, need to prune out dead or damaged leaves. Older leaves on the outside of the plant will sometimes die off so that the plant can focus on new, larger leaves. Use a clean cutting tool to cut the dead leaves near the base of the plant.

Rotate the plant roughly once a week during the growing season to make sure it’s getting an even amount of sunlight on each side.

Repotting

Repot your Alocasia when it has outgrown its current pot. If the roots are very tangled together, gently massage them until they loosen. Once you can see how big the root ball truly is, pick a new pot that will allow roughly two inches of extra room around the roots.

Pests and diseases

Look out for common houseplant pests and diseases such as mealybugs and thrips. Alocasias are also susceptible to root rot, meaning you should be careful not to overwater them or leave them in soggy soil.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why are my Alocasia leaves yellowing?

Yellowing leaves can be caused by both overwatering and underwatering. Pay attention to your watering habits to make sure your plant is getting the right amount of water. If you’re dealing with too many yellow leaves, check the soil to see if it’s overly dry or wet.

Remember, however, that it is normal for leaves to age and die off. Leaves on the outside of your Alocasia may turn yellow and die so that the plant can use more energy to produce new leaves.

Why are my Alocasia leaves turning brown?

Brown leaves could be a sign of sunburn from too much direct light. Remove any affected leaves and move the plant into a place with bright – but not direct – sunlight.

Updated on December 13, 2023

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