Alocasia are a plant family that originate from the tropical area of South East Asia and Eastern Australia. In recent years they have become more popular as houseplants due to their distinctive foliage and tropical aesthetic. Alocasia aren’t difficult plants to care for but they require you knowing your stuff so you can provide them with the optimum cultivating conditions.
As mentioned above you shouldn’t have too many problems caring for an Alocasia, but it is still important to get their growing conditions right.
They are a tropical plant so are used to warm, humid environments. We want to try and recreate this in our homes so they have the best chance of success.
The lighting requirements will vary depending on the type of Alocasia you buy, but generally these plants like bright indirect sunlight to partial shade. If you’re not sure then a west or east facing windowsill should give you plant the light it needs but do make sure you check out the individual plants needs rather than assuming that all Alocasia are the same.
Just like many other tropical plants, the Alocasia is a plant that likes to be kept moist so you will need to water it regularly. Do not let the soil become soggy but do not allow it to dry out either.
Regular waterings throughout all seasons is required however you will need to do so less during the winter months.
As this plant originates from the tropics it may not be a huge surprise to you that they prefer higher humidity. If you have a room that receives a lot of humidity and is warm like a bathroom where you shower regularly then this could be a good placement for your plant.
If you are planning on keeping tropical plants like an Alocasia then you may want to consider investing in a humidifier. You can group the plants that need the most humidity close to the humidifier, or even invest in a couple.
You will see the best growth if you can keep your Alocasia in an environment that is both warm and humid.
Alocasia require a well draining soil to allow moisture to move through without it becoming soggy. We would recommend using peat moss or perlite to keep the soil from being heavy.
Too much fertiliser can damage the leaves of your Alocasia, so only fertilise from spring through to the autumn. Do not fertilise throughout the winter.
As this plant is more sensitive to fertiliser, make sure you dilute the plant food to half the strength to avoid leaf burning.
Alocasia like to be root bound, so keep them in a smaller pot for longer before repotting.
Alocasia can be propagated through root division. Simply take your plant out of its pot, work the soil away from the roots and then gently split the plants into segments being careful to separate the roots and not cause any damage in the process.
Common Types Of Alocasia
If you’re considering buying an Alocasia but aren’t sure which one to get then here are some of the most common types that you will encounter.
This is probably the Alocasia that you will most readily recognise, it is also known as an Alocasia Polly.
This type of plant is popular for it’s enormous leafy foliage.
These are some of the most commonly asked questions that we encounter about this species of plant.
How do you water Alocasia?
Wait for the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering. Water slowly and thoroughly until the soil is sufficiently moist. Do not allow the plant to sit in wet soggy soil but make sure that it is consistently moist.
Why is my Alocasia dropping leaves?
If you notice dropping leaves then don’t panic, this is quite common for this type of plant. When the plant is young it is likely to drop a leaf when it produces a new one.
You need to worry if you notice your leaves looking scorched or burnt which can indicate that it is receiving too much light or fertiliser.
Do Alocasia need sun?
Different species of Alocasia need sunlight to varying degrees. Some species prefer direct sunlight while others prefer a partially shaded environment. A west or east facing windowsill should provide the right amount of light for your Alocasia but it’s best to check on a plant by plant basis.
How do you fertilize Alocasia?
As mentioned above these plants can be sensitive to fertiliser so you will need to dilute the feed to at least half of its strength. Only fertilise during the growing months and do not fertilise during the winter.
Are Alocasia toxic to pets?
Alocasia plants can be incredibly toxic to children and pets, so if you have young children or cats that are likely to pick at and eat the leaves then this may not be the houseplant for you. In some reactions consuming the leaves can cause irritation however in more severe cases this can lead to difficulties breathing and can be very dangerous.
Are Alocasia sustainable for the environment?
Recent articles have pointed out how collecting houseplants from tropical regions can do more harm for the environment than good due to having to import these specimens into the country.
If this is something that you are concerned about then don’t hesitate to contact your local nursery or gardening centre and see where they get their plants from. See if you can source a company that grow their plants in your country rather than shipping houseplants in.
If you’re feeling torn to the extent that you don’t want to cause damage to the environment but you really want to add an Alocasia to your collection then why not find someone else who wants this plant and do some root division or propagation. You can even grow the plant yourself and divide out segments for your friend and family so more people can have access to the plant without having to ship it in from abroad.