Alocasia Plant Care & Information

Overview

The Alocasia is the name of a genus in the Araceae family. The genus is comprised of tuberous, bulbous perennials and rhizomatous with broad leaves. Alocasia appears in subtropical, tropical and humid regions ranging from Asia to Australia and Oceania and South America. Approximately 70 different species of the Alocasia are in existence.

Characteristics

The Alocasia has sagittate or cordate leaves that can grow to a height of 8 inches to 3 feet. The leaves grow on petioles that are long. The attractive flowers of the Alocasia are araceous, and appear on the short stalks' ends. They are often concealed behind the petioles of the leaves, however. They tend to vary greatly in color, shape, size and height.

Use

Alocasia plants are commonly cultivated for ornamental purposes. This is because of their attractive appearance, with their glossy and deep green (sometimes silvery) leaves that are shaped similarly to arrowheads and vast heart shapes.

Varieties

There are many varieties of Alocasia plants in existence. Some varieties that are popular for ornamental purposes include the Alocasia cuprea, the Alocasia "Hilo Beauty," the Alocasia x amazonica, the Alocasia brisbanensis, the Alocasia rugosa, the Alocasia macrorrhiza and the Alocasia lutea.

Care

Alocasia plants, when planted outdoors, must be placed where they can receive filtered shade. When grown indoors, they need indirect and bright light in order to thrive. The soil needs to be highly nutrient-rich, which can be accomplished by mulching with organic substances, including leaf mold, compost, cocoa hulls and shredded bark. The plant must be regularly washed to keep the soil surrounding the rhizome moist at all times. The soil must never be allowed to become dry. When the plant is grown in any container, it is important to make sure that it has drainage holes to make sure that the soil doesn't get saturated, which can lead to the rhizome rotting.

Pruning

Any stems that are diseased, damaged or dying on Alocasia plants need to be pruned immediately. This can be done by cutting the stem back all the way down to the base with sharp, sanitized secateurs. However, in general, the plants do not require pruning to bring upon healthy growth.

Keywords: Alocasia plants, Alocasia care, Araceae family

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.