All About Alocasia Care: How to Keep them Alive and Thriving
Posted on February 14 2021
Alocasia, pronounced as "al-oh-kay-zee-a," is a group of plants that come in various shapes and sizes. They're becoming increasingly popular as striking "living art" pieces in our living rooms. Some small varieties have such high-gloss leaves that they almost look artificial, while towering species can transform a boring corner into a stunning centerpiece. But what do you need to know to care for your Alocasia?
Basic Alocasia Care Temperature: 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Light: Bright indirect light. Water: Keep soil evenly moist. Soil: Well-draining. Humidity: Moderate to high.
Origins Alocasia plants are native to the warm and humid rainforests of Southeast Asia, where there are 79 native species. Understanding your Alocasia's background can help you take better care of it!
Alocasias became popular in the American houseplant scene in the 1950s and have continued to captivate plant lovers. Scientists have added to the Alocasia family by select-breeding new species, or cultivars, for their eye-catching appeal. They have beautifully shaped leaves with high-contrast veins, some with zebra stems, and others with an almost rubber-like texture. The native-grown species are equally spectacular, with pillowy textures and gargantuan sizes.
Anatomy Alocasia plants are rhizomatous, which means they have a rhizome or tuber instead of a "normal" root system. If you're having trouble visualizing it, ginger root is a commonly known rhizome.
Alocasias are poisonous to humans and animals due to oxalate crystals in their sap, which are released upon biting or chewing. Some people may also experience skin irritation from contact with the sap, so it's advisable to wear gloves while pruning.
Alocasia vs. Colocasia: Is there a Difference? Alocasia and Colocasia plants are similar in appearance, both referred to as "Elephant Ears," and come from the same Araceae plant family. However, they are from separate genera.
To tell them apart, look at their stems or petioles. Alocasia stems are stiff from their base to the leaf, holding the leaves firmly vertical or horizontal, while Colocasia petioles soften before connecting to the leaf, causing them to dangle downwards.
Be-Leaf in Your Alocasia Alocasia plants' leaves have a comparatively short lifespan, unlike Monsteras that can hold onto their leaves for years. It's not unusual for Alocasias to lose one or two leaves each month. However, the good news is that Alocasias are fast growers!
How can you tell if your Alocasia leaf drop is a typical occurrence or a sign of a problem in your care routine? Dying leaves will start with a softening stem, causing your Alocasia to lean, followed by the leaf turning yellow from the edges toward the center. It is common for Alocasias to be losing and growing leaves simultaneously, indicating an overall healthy plant.
Yellowing is an irreversible condition, and there's nothing you can do to stop or slow down the process. It's beneficial to allow the leaf to remain on the plant because the chlorophyll that causes the green pigmentation in your leaf will slowly travel back to nourish the rest of the plant. However, the benefits are limited, so many Alocasia owners choose to cut it off.
If your Alocasia is entirely bare due to leaf drop, don't worry! The plant's rhizome acts as an insurance system, storing enough energy to regrow leaves.