There is nothing as amazing as the stunning foliage found in Alocasia plants. With varying sizes, shapes, and colors, Alocasia plants are some of the most dramatic home companions you can display.
Gorgeous heart-shaped leaves, easy care, and quick growth are just some of the characteristics that make this genus a winner. A tropical wonder, you can always be sure that your Alocasia will stand out from other plants as some varieties can grow up to nine feet tall. While indoor varieties typically won’t get that big, they are still a striking addition to any garden. Continue reading, and learn everything you need to start growing alocasia indoors.
Planting Your Alocasia
The easiest way to grow Alocasia plants is through rhizome division. This means breaking the root clumps that have formed into small clusters. Ideally, you should only do this during the springtime to allow the plant to recover and grow. You will notice that mature plants tend to have cluster growths. This is an indication that underneath the soil, several root clumps have already formed. Using a trowel, dig up your Alocasia to check for large root clumps.
Use clean and sterilized pruners to cut off the root clusters. Gather the pieces, and place each piece in a container with moist potting mix. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Allow these rhizome pieces to heal and grow for around two to three weeks. Gently tug at them after this time. You can tell when the rhizomes have started to root when they resist slightly when tugged. At this point, you can now transplant your Alocasia plant into their new homes.
It can take years for many Alocasia plants to produce their famous full-sized, heart-shaped leaves. As long as you care for your new seedlings, you will definitely enjoy their foliage even if they are not yet as dramatically large as mature ones.
Outside of this, you always have the option of purchasing seedlings or growing from seeds. These options are just as easy as rhizome division, and offer an option for first time growers to start their plant.
Container and Soil
Containers are important when choosing to grow your Alocasia plant indoors. Smaller plants will do well in a 6” container, but larger containers will be needed as the plant grows. Alocasia tends to do well in larger containers, so you can start in a bigger container or plan to report every year or so.
In either case, most container types will work perfectly fine as long as they have proper drainage. Our top pick is terra cotta, but plastic and other materials will work just as well.
Alocasia plants prefer to grow in well-draining soil, which is no different from the vast majority of house plants. This can be a loose loamy type or the usual peat-based potting mix with a crumbly texture. Like most plants, they like neutral soil. However, they tend to grow better in slightly acidic soils with a range of 5.5 to 6.5 soil pH levels. Keeping the above in mind, most commercial potting soils will work fine.
Depending on the variety, light requirements can vary. Some species tolerate full sunlight, whereas some prefer more muted lighting. Generally, Alocasia plants thrive in bright indirect light when grown indoors. You can grow your Alocasia plant near windows that offer bright but filtered light, an easterly facing window is a great option for most varieties.
One of the great things about growing alocasia indoors is that they are quite “vocal” about their lack of lighting. You will quickly begin to notice discoloration, usually yellow or brown spots on the leaves, if your plant is lacking light. Luckily, this is usually an early warning sign, and increasing the light your plant gets will fix the problem without any long lasting issues.
Water and Feeding
Alocasia plants grow well when the soil is constantly moist and damp. You want to water them only when the topsoil slightly dries out, use your finger to check the top few inches for moisture before watering. The soil should not completely dry out either, as the plant can suffer from dehydration and wilt away.
However, too much water can also be detrimental to their health. Overly wet soils or soils with a lot of clay content can make their roots susceptible to root rot. Too much water in the soil and leaves is also one of the causes of fungal infections in Alocasia plants. The ideal amount of water is about a few inches per week, and should be done to keep the soil moist but not overly soaked.
Temperature and Humidity
Being from tropical regions, Alocasia plants will grow well when the temperature is above 60 F. The ideal temperature for these plants ranges from 65 to 85 F, which is perfect for most homes. Below their minimum temperature requirement Alocasia plants will suffer from cold, wilt, and potentially die. Based on this, you should keep your plant away from cold drafts from doors, windows, and air conditioning units. You should also make sure to bring it indoors as the temperature drops, and make sure to avoid exposing it to freezing or frosting conditions.
Humidity is another important factor in this plant’s health. Alocasia plants require about 70% humidity to thrive, which is usually a bit more than most homes. You can increase the air moisture content around your Alocasia plant by filling a tray with pebbles and adding some water to the tray at a level that does not spill over. Place your potted Alocasia plant on top of the tray. You can also lightly mist the plant daily to increase humidity without risking overwatering.
Most Alocasia plants are heavy feeders, especially the large and mature specimens. You can feed your plants with some liquid fertilizer once every two weeks using a balanced 20-20-20 formula. Simply follow the directions on the label for the perfect fertilizer mixing ratio. Ideally, they should be fertilized during the growing season.
Believe it or not, Alocasia plants do produce flowers in the spring and summer, especially once they have been brought outside. The flowers are not remarkably beautiful, although they do look similar to Spatyphyllum blooms. Most people tend to miss the light creamy yellow flowers because the leaves grab more attention than the blooms.
Alocasia plants are toxic to animals and humans. If you have curious pets and inquisitive children, you may want to keep this plant away from their reach.
Additionally, some varieties can be considered invasive by some states. If you plan to transplant your potted Alocasia into the ground, you may have to consider verifying with your local environmental agency.
Most varieties of alocasia will go dormant in the winter. This will usually be accompanied by some dying back, you may notice that some of the leaves turning brown and dying, this is completely normal. During this time you can stop feeding, and can cut back on how much you water. Once spring arrives, your plant should spring back to life and continue its growth.
Even though Alocasia plants are relatively easy to care for, they can be prone to some pests or diseases. Some of them are:
- Spider mites. They are attracted to stressed plants that experience too much or too little water. To remove these tricky insects, soak some cotton balls in rubbing alcohol, and wipe off the spider mites.
- Yellow leaves. This condition can be caused by several reasons.
- One is that your Alocasia plant is receiving too much or too little water. Ensure that it gets the right amount every time you water it, and it should perk right up.
- Another reason is light exposure. Place them in an area that receives bright filtered light. Too much or too little light can cause the leaves to yellow, shrivel, or droop.
- When the temperature drops, it can signal your plant to go dormant. Worse, temperatures below 60 F can cause its leaves to yellow and die.
- The last possible reason for yellow leaves is that your plant is becoming root-bound. Make sure your container is large enough to house the root system. If you’ve haven’t given your plant a soil refresh in a few years then it may be a good time to do so.
Growing Alocasia Indoors
Alocasia plants are very easy to care for as long as you provide the proper growing conditions. By giving them adequate soil, water, and light, they will quickly grow and thrive. Here are some reminders you need to keep in mind:
- Keep your Alocasia plant in damp, quick-draining, loose soil.
- Place the plant in a well-lit spot that receives bright filtered light.
- Grow your Alocasia plant in temperatures that range from 65 to 85 F indoors.
- Feed your plant with liquid fertilizers to encourage growth.
- Keep your Alocasia plant away from pets and children who may be tempted to eat the plant.
- When you care for your plant correctly, you prevent it from experiencing pests, infections, and yellow leaves.
Growing Alocasia Indoors FAQs
How long do Alocasia plants live?
Their lifespan will depend on the variety you choose. With the right care and propagation, your Alocasia plant can live for a decade or more.
How do I make my Alocasia plant produce more leaves?
The more light that your Alocasia plant receives, the more leaves it will produce. This supplies the energy the plant needs to grow after all. Place your plant in an area that receives a lot of bright filtered light.
How often does the Alocasia plant produce new leaves?
Normally, a healthy Alocasia plant will produce one leaf every month. Depending on the conditions, the plant could produce a new leaf every two to three months. However, if your plant has not grown a new leaf in six months, you might need to check if it is receiving the right amount of light and fertilizer. You might also want to consider repotting it in a bigger container.