The Alocasia Calidora is one of the biggest plants in the alocasia species, also known as the elephant ear plant.
They are popular for their huge arrow-shaped leaves that attract attention no matter where they’re placed. It’s a suitable plant for gardeners who love larger plants without the hassle of caring for them.
If you want to grow one yourself, read on as we show you how to care for it!
What is a Alocasia Calidora?
The Alocasia Calidora plant is native to tropical and subtropical parts of Eastern Australia and Asia, coming from the alocasia and Colocasia species. It belongs to the Araceae family, having different names such as elephant ear alocasia and taro.
In terms of cultivation, the plant is widely cultivated in Borneo, with the tropical species having the ability to grow up to 13 feet tall. In gardens and homes, it may grow up to 5-9 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide in vases or pots. You can find many varieties and cultivars of this plant, with variegated leaves colors ranging from green, purple, and even white!
This perennial plant produces huge ribbed foliage, upright and arrow-shaped leaves sitting on large petioles. The calidora plant leaves have the ability to grow up to 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, and when there is full sun, you’ll see V-shaped clumps that are 2 feet wide at the base and 6 feet wide on top.
As for its blooms, there aren’t any reported when it is grown inside. You can expect a moderate to fast growth rate, developing actively during spring and summer seasons in USDA zones 9 to 11.
With its beautiful looks and the vintage vibe it sets, people grow this as an ornamental plant. However, the ornamental variety is NOT edible. In fact, its stems and leaves contain oxalic acid, which causes skin irritation or swelling. That’s why you need to keep the plant away from children and pets so that they can’t ingest it.
The plant has some edible varieties though. If cooked sufficiently, it can be eaten since the heat would break down its harmful substances. Ask your local plant dealer about the form of Alocasia Calidora you are getting before buying and planning to eat it.
Alocasia Calidora Care Guide
What’s great about this elephant ear houseplant is that it is hardy and easy to grow.
Take note of the following care requirements of this plant:
– Light Requirements
This plant would thrive in bright and filtered light. For it to grow well, avoid it from being exposed to the two extremes, which are either placing it in complete shade or under direct light.
When it is exposed to harsh sunlight continuously, it would lead to scorched leaves. When it is not exposed to any light at all, it limits new growth and will stunt its development.
When placing your plant outside, it should be in a partially lit and shaded area. You can move it when the sun is at its hottest, which is usually in the early afternoon. However, if you can’t change the plant’s location, then place a shade cloth on top as a way to lessen the exposure to sunlight.
For those who want to grow an indoor calidora plant, it’s best to place it in a north or southwest-facing window. This will give it the right amount of light to reach the plant. Or, you can also grow this plant with artificial grow lights, as long as they are not positioned directly on it.
– Water Requirements
The Alocasia Calidora has the same watering requirements as the usual houseplant. Because it is tropical and subtropical, it needs watering every other day. With that in mind, find the balance in your waterings, as too little or too much would lead to a lot of serious issues.
Allow the plant’s soil to dry up a bit before you water it. Don’t let it dry up completely or be drenched. Before you water your plant, see if it needs watering first by checking the first 2 inches of the soil. You can also use a moisture meter, which can measure the moisture content of soil accurately.
When you check the soil condition before watering, it will help prevent underwatering and overwatering of the plant. This can prevent issues such as droopiness or water-clogging, which causes significant plant damage.
Another thing to consider when watering your plant apart from the soil is the season. During the dry and warm days of summer and spring (the growing seasons), your plants would need a bit more watering. When fall and winter come along, the need to water your plants will lessen.
– Soil Requirements
For the plant to be able to thrive and reach its full potential, growing healthily and at its maximum height, you need to grow it in a quality soil mix.
This plant prefers well-draining and moist soil. If you choose soil that is either too dry or holds too much water, it can cause damage to your plant.
It’s best to use airy, chunky, and/or porous soils since they do not hold too much water. The soil should have adequate aeration with the right draining characteristics. You want equal mixes of amended aroid, organic, and high-quality soil, adding compost, peat moss, or perlite to your potting mix.
If you think that the soil is a bit too heavy, you can add a bit of sand, but not too much. Just add enough to make the soil texture just right for your plant.
When talking about the pH levels, this plant needs something slightly acidic to neutral, about 5.5 to 6.5. The soil acidity will help your plant absorb nutrients well.
– Temperature and Humidity Requirements
While the plant is easy to maintain, its tropical nature makes it have limited temperature tolerance. Alocasia plants would grow best in hot and humid environments compared to cold and dry regions.
The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 16 to 27 degrees C. If the temperature goes below that, it would result in wilting or stunted growth. If it gets too hot, it may end up experiencing extensive and irreversible plant damage.
Fortunately, most households would have temperatures within the plant’s recommended range. If your home is very warm though, you should place the plant in a slightly dry and cool area, typically in a room with an air conditioner. For those living in colder areas, bring your plant indoors during the winter and place it in a temperature-controlled area.
Additionally, you should protect this plant from any direct drafts of wind that come from air conditioners, fans, heaters, open windows, and the like.
As for its humidity, expect this plant to thrive in higher humidity levels, being a tropical species. But take note that if you place the plant in extremely humid environments for prolonged periods, it may end up being susceptible to fungal diseases and/or pests.
The ideal humidity level for this plant ranges between 60-80%. Since this humidity level may be unsuitable for the household, you can use different methods to maintain the plant’s required moisture levels.
One effective method is to place the plant’s pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water. When the water from the tray evaporates, it moistens the plant’s surroundings. Just make sure that the plant will not touch the water directly, as this can end up drenching the soil and plant, which can cause problems.
Another good way to maintain moisture is by using an indoor humidifier. This will help you have more control and accurately monitor the plant’s humidity levels.
This plant prefers balanced organic fertilizer that is made specifically for the Alocasia Calidora and its varieties. Invest in high-quality and balanced fertilizer that contains the right amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate.
You can find different kinds of fertilizers in your local gardening store. The most effective one is a slow-release fertilizer, which is what the plant would thrive on the most. When you feed your Alocasia Calidora, be sure to do it during the spring and summer, but not the late fall and winter seasons, as the plant is dormant.
If you plan to use quick-release fertilizer, do it 2-3 times a week during spring and summer. When using a slow-release fertilizer, feed your plant a sizable amount only twice a month. You can also check the particular fertilizer’s instructions, as certain fertilizers have different recommendations on timing.
Do not starve or overfeed your plant. Just like overwatering and underwatering, it leads to dire consequences.
– Repotting and Pruning
Because the plant is easy to manage and mostly hassle-free, it won’t require frequent repotting and would actually grow better if it were slightly rootbound.
It is recommended to repot the plant in well-aerated and well-draining soil once a year during the spring season when it begins actively growing. If you notice that your plant outgrew its current pot or caught fungal infections, then change its potting mix or the pot altogether.
If you see that your plant’s leaves are distorted or have an abnormal appearance, this may be from fungal infections or diseases. Rather than waiting for it to infect other parts of the plant, it’s better to cut the leaves that are affected.
When unwell, the Alocasia Calidora may drop a lot of leaves in the process, usually during fungal attacks or pest infestations. If you see leaves dropping or abnormally colored, move the plant to another area and wipe its leaves with a mixture of neem oil and water.
You may also spray the plant with water or do regular neem oil cleanings, which would prevent dust and bacteria from sticking to the plant’s foliage. Besides this, it’s also best to cut a few vines from the plant to control its size.
Alocasia Calidora Propagation
The optimum method to use for propagation is the Rhizome method. You’ll need to prepare a potting mix, a sharp blade, and water.
Make sure that all the gardening tools you’ll use are clean and disinfected, then follow these steps:
- Prepare potting mix using the correct potting soil like peat moss. Add a bit of water to it.
- Remove a healthy Alocasia Calidora plant vine from the pot, dusting off any excess soil from the roots. You may use your gardening hose for removing soil.
- Once you see the plant’s roots, find multiple clumps then split those clumps using a clean blade or knife.
- A benefit of these plants is that some of the clumpy types already have their root systems. Because of this, you don’t have to provide more effort in root development as they tend to grow out on their own.
- Put one of the cut clumps in a pot, positioning its roots correctly.
- Add a bit of water into the plant. If you use chlorinated water, fill a bucket of it then leave it for at least a day before you add it to the peat moss mix.
- Next, make the mixture firm using your fingers. Make sure there’s no excess water in your new plant’s pot or container.
- Put the container in a bright location so it can receive a lot of filtered sunlight. Add more water if needed. You may add liquid fertilizer to promote the plant’s growth.
- And you’re done! It may take about 6 to 8 weeks for this plant to mature.
Alocasia Calidora Problems
Unfortunately, there are a few problems you may come across when growing the Alocasia Calidora. It’s best to be prepared to know how you can prevent these issues from arising and to treat them immediately if they happen.
As mentioned, this plant is known to be toxic to both animals and humans. Its oxalate crystals are known to cause facial swelling, irritation in the mouth, along with the gastrointestinal tract. It might also restrict airway passages, leading to difficulty in breathing, though this would only happen in extreme cases.
Because of the severity of the toxicity, it may be fatal. Never attempt ingesting uncooked or decorative leaves, and keep them away from your children and pets.
– Pests and Diseases
Pests that would commonly attack this plant are mealybugs and spider mites. Pest infestations can cause damage to your plant, and in worst-case scenarios, its death.
To treat an infested plant, you can use insecticidal spray or soap, applying it to your leaves every few weeks or so until the problem is clear. An alternative method is applying neem oil, which helps get rid of mealybugs without chemicals. This method also helps eliminate eggs, if there are any.
This is a common disease for the Alocasia Calidora plant, appearing as dark brown or black spots on the upper and/or lower parts of the plant’s leaves with yellow-colored rims around them.
You can prevent this by watering your plant only as needed, which is when the top 2 inches are dry. Do NOT drench the plant’s roots, as this would increase the risk of bacterial and fungal attacks and diseases.
– Floppy and/or Yellow Leaves
You may have noticed that your plant is losing some of its leaves. If the leaves they drop are old and/or floppy, this is a natural process, as the plant would only be able to hold a maximum number of leaves at a time. This is also a way for your plant to manage and distribute enough nutrients to new foliage.
What if you see an unusual number of leaves dropping from different locations? This may indicate that your plant has a disease. Reevaluate your plant’s watering schedule to see if you are giving your plant adequate amounts of water. You might actually be giving it too little or too much.
Also, the location and lack of light may be a problem. Place it in an area where it receives more light with only partial sunlight.
– Spots on the Leaves
If you see other spots on your plant’s leaves, then this may indicate that you’re overfertilizing, which results in salt accumulation. It may also mean that you use too much chlorinated or hard water.
If the issue is overfertilization, wash the soil with soft water, allowing it to drain well. Then, make sure that you give your plant only chlorine-free water and that it is fertilized every few months at the appropriate periods.
Wrapping It Up
Now that we know more about the Alocasia Calidora, let’s explore a few key points:
- The Alocasia Calidora is an attractive plant known for its huge size and uniquely shaped leaves.
- It is very easy to care for, requiring only basic necessities such as water, light, proper temperature, and fertilizer.
- This is a toxic plant if ingested, so keep it away from children and pets.
- As a tropical plant, it thrives best in warmer climates and higher humidity levels.
- It has common problems that are easy to treat and prevent.
- Propagation is fairly easy using the rhizome method.
- Repotting is only necessary once a year or so.
If you plan to grow an Alocasia Calidora plant, consider these points and prepare ahead for a healthy plant. Good luck and happy gardening!
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