Alocasia: guide to planting, care and growing

Nothing brings a visual flair and drama to a luscious garden like Alocasia, a fabulous foliage plant with bold texture and charismatic appeal.

These tropical beauties flaunt giant green arrow or heart-shaped leaves and decorative veining that steals the heart of a gardener at first glance.

Native to Asia, the plant produces flowers on occasion, but its striking, large dramatic foliage is what makes it popular. It is also famed as elephant ears due to its resemblance to the flappy elephant ears.

If you are looking for a real eye catcher in your shady garden, large containers or warm greenhouse, Alocasia is a great choice. Increasingly gaining hype as a houseplant, it takes proper care and attention to grow this amazing plant indoor.

Here is the complete guide on how to plant, care and grow the tropical plant to make an eye-catching addition to your space.

Planting Alocasias

The tropical plant requires frost-free weather to grow. So, spring or early summer is ideal for planting Alocasias to help it acclimate and establish before winter.

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However, it is not difficult to grow the plant in winter with proper humidity and extra light. You can also plant them six weeks earlier in pots and then relocate it to the outdoors after frost. Plant it 2 to 3 inches deep in the loose, well-drained potting mix or the prepared site.

Make sure the soil is porous, and a mix of well aerated and well-drained soil, perlite, coarse potting sand and peat that remain moist works great for the plant.

Grooming

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The Alocasia houseplant can vary in size from as small as 6” to as tall as a tree. Usually, the houseplants can grow up to 4 feet with a leaf growing from the long stem on the ground.

They can also produce small and inconsequential flowers with a calla-like bloom without any fragrance. No real grooming except the removal of older leaves that die off normally is required for Alocasias.

Alocasia Care

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Fertilizers

Some Alocasias are heavy feeders. So frequent and small applications of granule fertilizer or liquid fertilizer feeding during the growth period can promote the growth of the plant.

Fertilize the plant with a basic houseplant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength in every two weeks from late March to September to see the active growth.

Light

Direct sunlight can burn the leaves of the Alocasia. So it is advised to keep it under exposure to bright, indirect sunlight.

Water

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This water-loving plant needs to stay moist all the year and grow the best in high humidity. It is better to let the 2″- 3″ of soil dry out before watering.

It should be evenly moist but make sure not to over water it as wet leaves, and soggy soil can make it vulnerable to a variety of serious fungal infections. Frequently analyze the soil to keep track of its watering needs.

Temperature

Its tolerance to temperature varies depending on the variety, but most of the plants can’t stand frost. Usually, the temperature between 60° to 80° is ideal for the plant.

However, the prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60° can harshly affect it and cause the plant to drop all of the leaves.  Keep it away from air conditioners and cold drafts.

Humidity

This tropical stunner is quite fussy, preferring the high humidity to grow best. However, frequent misting of the leaves can offer it the moisture it craves. To increase the humidity around the plant, keep it on a tray filled with pebbles and fill water.

Make sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and fill water until it reaches to a level just below the pot. Or you can just place a small humidifier near the plant.

Protection from pests

Mealy Bugs, scale, Aphids, and spider mite are the common pests found in Alocasia plants. So, spraying warm soapy water every few weeks can prevent such pests and also keep the leaves dust-free.

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