Tropical Alocasia Houseplants


Plants of the tropical Alocasia species make excellent houseplants if given the right amount of care and proper growing conditions. The Alocasia amazonica, also known as Hilo Beauty elephant's ear or African Mask, features glossy dark green leaves with white stripes. This plant can grow outside in tropical climates but needs to be grown indoors in all other areas.


Alocasia amazonica ranges from 18 inches tall to 48 inches tall. The plant's large leaves display pale green to white veins and edges. The leaves themselves are dark green and the plant stems are brown. This alocasia's leaves have scalloped edges. Dave's Garden notes that this plant flowers in the summer to early fall.


Alocasia can grow in full or partial shade and does not like direct sunlight. Backyard Gardener recommends placing the plant in a north or east-facing window, since these sides of the house receive less light. If your plant starts losing the light green shading and the foliage grows more black, it needs more light.


Alocasia amazonica needs regular watering when the soil becomes dry. To test whether it's time to water, stick your finger in the soil. If the soil is still wet a few inches below the surface, hold off on watering. Alocasia amazonica prefers an acidic or mildly acidic soil, with a pH of 5.6 to 6.5, according to Dave's Garden. This plant will need to be re-potted when it grows too large for its container; you'll see roots sticking out the bottom of the container when this occurs. Plant in a container with drainage holes to prevent water from collecting in the bottom of the container.


Dave's Garden notes that all parts of the Alocasia amazonica are poisonous if ingested. If you live in a home with children, do not grow this plant, or display it in a hanging planter where it can't be easily reached.


Despite the South American name, the Alocasia amazonica is Asian in origin. It grows naturally in Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia.


Alocasia amazonica can suffer from spider mites and scale. Isolate new plants before introducing them into your home to make sure they don't have these diseases. Mites look like small colored dots; scale resembles a crusty growth. Both diseased can be treated with insecticidal soap and other measures.

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Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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