The Alocasia genus of tropical plants has magnificent foliage that may become the focal point of a garden or area. Elephant’s ear gets its name from the large rhizomes or tubers that develop into giant heart-shaped or arrow-shaped ears.
They’re commonly kept as houseplants, but they’re also commonly brought outside during the summer months, with the entire pot buried in the ground to produce a natural effect.
Alocasias may grow quickly, and certain species are regarded as invasive under the correct conditions, particularly along the Gulf Coast of the United States. As a result, ask your government before growing this species within the garden.
Because the leaves are poisonous to people and animals, you should eschew these plants if you have children or pets. The flowers are usually light butter-yellow in colour and are seen in some regions of Asia and eastern Australia.
The blooming period for these plants is usually spring and summer, and the type of soil they require is loose, well-draining potting mix or crumbly loam with a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5. They can grow up to 2 to 15 feet tall and 2 to 8 feet wide.
How To Care Alocasia?
These plants may develop quickly even in northern locations with a short growing season. Alocasia plants may generate a replacement leaf hebdomadally during the recent summer months, and every new leaf are often double the dimensions of the previous week’s.
Leaf forms range from thin arrowheads to large heart-shaped leaves with vibrant veins and a spread of textures, including thick, waxy, slippery, and glossy. The plant will begin to rest after it has entered its dormant stage.
The plant’s fast leaf development will slow down, and it will likely remain unchanged throughout the winter. Keep looking after it, and the quick growth will come back in the next growing season.
How To Grow Alocasia?
Depending on species, requirements range from shade to full sun. Check with the grower or vendor to ascertain if the plant has been sun-trained.
Plants that thrive in brighter environments have superior leaf colour. Most Alocasia species can thrive in the shade, although they prefer filtered sunlight that is somewhat brighter. The larger kinds can be bred to withstand the full force of the tropical sun.
Elephant’s ear should be planted in loose, well-drained potting soil or crumbly loamy soil.
Water-loving Alocasia plants should be kept damp all year. With some of these plants, there is a narrow line that has to be walked. It’s important to stay the soil moist but not wet. Because the plants are dormant throughout the winter, they require less water.
Before watering, let the top few inches of soil get nearly dry. This will aid in maintaining an equal moisture level in the soil. The plant is more sensitive to fungal diseases when the soil is wet.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Elephant ear plants will die if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, certain kinds will die down and re-sprout from the rhizome. They require and flourish in extremely humid conditions.
Place your plant on a tray packed with stones and add water until the humidity level comes to just below the bottom of the container. Keep them faraway from draughts coming in through the windows, doors, and air con.
Alocasias, exceptionally large species, can be heavy eaters. During the growth season, apply liquid fertiliser or granule fertiliser in tiny amounts on a regular basis.
Varieties of Alocasia
1. ‘Kris’ features long, sharp leaves with white veins and scalloped white borders, as well as exceptionally dark green foliage.
2. ‘Zebrina’ has arrow-shaped leaves and stalks that resemble zebras.
3. ‘Giant Taro’ may reach a height of 15 feet and a width of 8 feet, with leaves that can be 3 to 4 feet long and 2 to 4 feet broad.
4. ‘Silver Dragon’ has strong green veins and silvery-green foliage.
Cutting your Alocasia’s fading leaves is all it takes to prune it.
How To Propagate Alocasia?
The majority of Alocasia plants may be grown through rhizome or clump division. Cut a bit of the subterranean rhizome and place it in its own container. Maintain a warm, moist environment until new growth appears.
Alocasia Potting and Repotting
Alocasia variations should be repotted into larger pots every year with new, free-draining potting soil. It’s also a good idea to divide the rhizome once a year to keep the plant manageable and expand your assortment.
Common Pests and Diseases in Alocasia
Despite their beauty, these plants are susceptible to a number of diseases, particularly crown, stem, and root rot, leaf spot, and Xanthomonas infection.
The disease symptoms include black or dark brown patches on the leaves with a golden border around them. Disease may be avoided by following correct watering procedures; do not overwater these plants.
Maintain good air circulation around and near the plant by keeping the leaves dry. Mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites are common pests of Alocasia. Spray the plant with warm, soapy water every few weeks to keep pests away and keep it dust-free.
Use ultra-fine insecticide oil or neem oil if an infestation arises. These pests and their eggs will be killed by these chemicals.
Alocasias have a standard spathe and spadix once they bloom, but the flower is usually uninteresting. These plants are said to blossom in the spring after being moved outside, but elephant ears are mostly planted for their leaves.
Common Issues in Alocasia
Elephant ears are simple plants to cultivate as long as you provide them with the right quantity of sunshine and water. Are you having issues with yours? Ideally, these fixes may be of assistance to you.
i. Yellowing Leaves
Your elephant’s ear might be turning yellow for a variety of reasons. It’s most likely a watering concern; too much or too little water might produce discoloration. Elephant ears are heavy drinkers, using many inches of water every week.
It’s possible that the yellowing is due to the amount of food you’re providing them. They also require plenty of sunshine, and if they don’t receive enough, leaf yellowing can occur.
Their leaves might also turn yellow if they’re kept in an insufficiently large container. When was the last time you replanted? Are they shackled to their pot? Replanting might be the solution. Elephant ears may eventually go dormant.
ii. Shriveled or Drooping Leaves
If elephant ear leaves are exposed to too much light or fertilizer, they can droop or shrivel. Make the required adjustments, and your plant will repay you with lush foliage.