Alocasia Care Instructions
Alocasia Care Instructions
Need to know about Alocasia care? Alocasia are commonly known as the African Mask or Elephant Ear. By following these instructions, you should have no problem keeping your Alocasia not only surviving, but thriving for years to come. The Alocasia is a popular plant due to it’s striking and large dramatic foliage. The most common varieties, Alocasia Polly has massive dark green leaves with a white vein running through. Alocasia are native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia and Australia and are in the family Araceae which is closely related to the Anthurium and Philodendron.
The most common houseplant variety of Alocasia is “Polly” however, there are many more lesser know varieties available. Some variety names include Aurora, Baku Park, Fantasy, Bambino, Gigantea and Gandis. All of the varieties differ in leaf size or color and whether they are more suitable to a garden / landscape setting or used as an indoor plant. This article will focus on the care of Alocasia as in indoor plant.
Alocasia do best in well-lit locations such as a window sill that has an Eastern exposure. Bright but indirect sunlight is optimal. Be careful not to put your Alocasia in full sun because in many cases the plant will burn and the leaves will be damaged in a similar way that people get sunburn. If you have less than optimal lighting available you may want to choose a different plant as Alocasia tend to be finicky. In most cases, artificial lighting such as in a windowless office proves to be too little light to sustain a healthy Alocasia. However, some varieties tend to do better than others in low light. For a poorly lit area, try Alocasia Polly. From our experience it is one of the best Alocasia for a challenging situation.
The Alocasia is a good house plant because it prefers the same temperatures that many homes are kept at on a daily basis. Night time temperatures in the lower 60’s and day time temperatures in the 70’s are ideal. Keep in mind that although your home or office are kept at these average temperatures, other factors may play a part in your plant being too hot or cold. Make sure that your Alocasia is not directly affected by a heating or air conditioner vent. The direct cold or hot air will surely damage your plant. You also want to keep an eye on the window if you place your plant in one. On very cold days, the glass will transfer the cold – and if the leaves from your Alocasia are pressed against the glass, they will become damaged. It is never a good idea to have your Alocasia up against any window or wall. You will also want to avoid any drafts in colder climates. A cold gust of wind from being placed near a door or window that opens could also damage your plant. Alocasia do prefer a humid environment and will thrive when the humidity is high. If you have low humidity, try layering stones on the bottom of a drip tray and leave a little water at the base. You can place your Alocasia on top of the stones and the evaporating water will help increase the humidity around the plant.
The most important thing to keep in mind when watering Alocasia are that you want to avoid creating a situation that promotes root rot. In our homes and offices, we keep Alocasia in a light, well-draining soil. They prefer to be kept moist and do not like to dry out completely. There is not specific amount or frequency of water that we can suggest because the lighting, temperature and evaporation rates differ in every home. You will need to develop a feel for the proper amount of water. Try to keep an even amount of moisture, not letting your plant stay soaking wet and not allowing it to completely dry out. Do not let water accumulate in the crown or cups that the leaves. Moderation is key. Any planter that allows for evaporation, air flow and water drainage works well. Once you develop the “feel” for watering, you will be able to judge when to water by picking up the plant. The heavier the plant feels, the more moisture there is in the growing medium. If the plant is too large to lift, a water meter is well worth the investment.
Are Your Plants Leaf Tips Turning Brown?
A common problem with Alocasia and almost all indoor houseplants is what we call “tipping” or simply the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown. This can be caused by a number of factors including over-watering, chemical burn from too much fertilizer, Root rot and dry stagnant air. Probably the most common reason your plant is tipping could be in the tap water. Tap water contains salts, chlorine, minerals and fluoride – all of which can build up in the soil of your plant causing the tips of the leaves to burn and turn brown. One way you can reduce this is to use a water filtration system. If you do not have a filtration system available, leaving he water in an open container overnight before using can help relieve some of the chlorine.
Do house plant fertilizers work? Definitely. Alocasia, like every other living thing need a source of energy. The plants take in their nutrients from the water and potting medium they are planted in. That medium only holds so much, and when the nutrients are depleted, fertilizer is the only source left. People who grow house plants without repotting and fertilizing regularly are essentially starving the plants and holding them back from their full potential. There are many different fertilizers on the market and they come in many forms. There are water soluble fertilizers, ready to use liquid, liquid concentrate, fertilizer spikes, time release granules and many others. Which fertilizer works best? That is up for you to decide. We prefer a ready to use liquid simply for the convenience of use. We also dilute the fertilizer and use every time we water so there is a constant stream of nutrients being fed to the plants.
Do you have a question about Alocasia or any other plant that was not answered here? Please feel free to contact us at 201-794-4747 and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members. We would be happy to help.
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