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How to Grow Alocasia

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How to Grow Alocasia

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Overview

Alocasia is a large plant genus that includes the giant elephant ear plant, native to Borneo and other parts of Asia and the Pacific Ocean. The elephant ear has the largest leaves in the plant kingdom. Many alocasias have heart or arrow-shaped leaves and flowers that resemble Jack-in-the-pulpit. You can grow some alocasias outdoors up to USDA hardiness zone 9, where temperatures never dip below 22 degrees Fahrenheit. Smaller varieties are favored for their tropical look and many serve well as houseplants. Some varieties of alocasia are called taro and African mask; check at your local nursery for a type that will do well indoors.

Step 1

Mix together the following: 50 percent potting soil; 20 percent peat moss; 20 percent orchid bark with charcoal; 10 percent shredded sphagnum moss and a handful of perlite. Place this mixture in a pot with a drainage hole and plant your alocasia.

Step 2

Place a saucer full of pebbles under your plant and keep it wet. This will help to provide the humidity this plant needs while it keeps the roots out of direct contact with a puddle of water.

Step 3

Keep your plant in an area that has bright indirect light, but not direct sunlight.

Step 4

Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Do not over water any members of the alocasia family.

Step 5

Fertilize this heavy feeder every three weeks during the warmer months with a one half-strength fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio or 20-20-20.

Step 6

Avoid crown rot, stem rot and other fungal diseases by keeping your alocasia fairly dry. If any of these diseases attack, spray with a commercial fungicide.

Tips and Warnings

  • Alocasias can contain toxic substances that cause illness. Do not eat any part of this plant or allow pets or children to eat it.

Things You'll Need

  • Alocasia plant
  • Pot with drainage hole
  • Orchid bark with charcoal
  • Perlite
  • Peat moss
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Plant saucer
  • Pebbles

References

  • Plant Care Guru
  • Alocasia Plants
  • Exotic Rainforest

Who Can Help

  • Elephant Ears Growing Information
Keywords: Alocasia houseplant, tropical gardening, foliage plants

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.