Alocasia gageana is popular mainly for its gigantic heart-shaped leaves. With this plant placed in the corner of the room, you don’t need anything else to make a bolder statement.
You might be surprised to learn how low-maintenance this plant can be. This guide has been written to help everyone from beginners to experts grow their best Alocasia.
- What Is Alocasia Gageana?
- Alocasia Gageana Care
What Is Alocasia Gageana?
Alocasia gageana belongs in nature to the rainforests of Asia and east Australia. It is also known as the elephant ear plant because of its large and oval leaves. The prettiest thing about its leaves is their corrugated edges and bright green color.
Alocasia Gageana Care
Your Alocasia gageana’s height and leaves grow to their maximum potential when grown under bright light and warm temperatures. Don’t forget to feed your plant with the required nutrients regularly too.
– Water Requirements
You only need to water an Alocasia when the top two to three inches of its soil become dry. This means you will have to check the soil every day from the start to see when it gets dry. After a while, you will figure out when your soil approximately becomes dry. It will naturally dry faster and more often in the summer than later in the winter.
The quickest way to check if the soil is dry is to plant your finger up to the knuckle. You will easily be able to feel it is dry. Put a wooden skewer or pencil in place to measure the dryness of the soil.
Once the top is dry, you can proceed with the watering. Better use distilled water every time if you can afford it. Water only the soil and pour very slowly, taking enough time until it begins to flow out of the drainage holes. Other options that you have are using rainwater or reverse-osmosis filtered water.
A well-draining soil takes about 10 to 15 minutes to drain all the extra water. After 15 minutes of watering, drain the water collecting tray at the bottom of the pot promptly. Otherwise, you risk letting the roots and bulbs of your Alocasia plant rot in water.
Bottom watering is an effective remedy if the soil has been dried too much for too long. Put the entire Alocasia pot in a bucket filled one-third with water. Give this water 15 to 20 minutes to soak from the bottom into the soil. When the surface begins glistening with water, lift the pot back up and drain it as usual.
– Light Requirements
The big Alocasia leaves need plenty of sunshine to make food. However, you must provide medium-intensity indirect or filtered light.
Plants taken care of outdoors should be provided some shade, either in the form of larger trees or an umbrella or even just bigger plants.
Inside the house, you must look for a perfectly lit spot for your Alocasia gageana albo. Any room with an adequately sized window that receives light for at least six to seven hours daily is good enough.
Take care to keep it at a safe distance from the southward-facing window. This is the only window that lets in light that is harsh enough to cause sunburn indoors.
Do your indoor living space lack enough natural light? You can install artificial grow lights in the room immediately overhead the Alocasia. Keep these lights on for 10 to 12 hours daily to produce the same effect as 6 hours of natural sunlight. With LED lights, you can rest assured that your electricity bill will not be too much.
– Soil Requirements
An Alocasia needs a very rich soil that drains extra water promptly within minutes. The ideal pH of the soil needs to be 5.5 to 6.5 for the roots to thrive. Your common gardening soil will not work for this plant. You need to make your soil for planting an Alocasia using the ingredients we explain below.
Start with coco coir as your base material. It is an organic constituent but has excellent drainage as well. Add worm castings, compost, or peat moss to the coir in an equal quantity. To improve further upon the drainage, add perlite, vermiculite, and orchid bark in the amount you like. Mix all these ingredients up as thoroughly as possible.
We strongly suggest against using metal or plastic containers for planting Alocasia. The healthiest option is always a clay or terracotta container.
It has the best drainage and airflow and doesn’t get too hot or cold compared to the outside temperature. Before planting, ensure that an adequate number and size of drainage holes are present at the bottom of the container.
– Temperature Requirements
Alocasia will thrive when the temperature is consistently in the range of 64 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Alocasia gageana hardiness zones are 9, 10, and 11.
That is why it cannot tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees at all. Move this plant indoors at the onset of fall later in the year.
Take care of the indoor kept plant as well because the cold drafts of air from the air conditioner can also cause it to suffer and start dropping leaves.
– Humidity Requirements
You will notice your large-leaved plant turning brown at its edges when its humidity needs are unmet. It needs very high levels of around 60 to 70 percent humidity to stay fresh. No house in the US has this much humidity inside or outside.
The easiest approach to improving humidity artificially is to turn on a humidifier in the same room as the Alocasia.
The humidifier will maintain the same levels liked by the plant, but it will become very difficult for you and anyone around you to stay in such a room.
That is why a more reasonable approach would be to mist the plant every three or four days using only clean and filtered water. Just remember to mist it in the morning so the leaves have a chance to dry throughout the day.
An even more convenient option is to put a water-filled container next to the pot. This has been known to improve humidity immediately around the plant by 15 percent at least.
– Fertilizing Requirements
The Alocasia gageana variegata plant must be fed with a liquid fertilizer every month. It is best to start feeding from early spring and go till the end of summer. Ask your vendor to give you a fertilizer with an NPK value of 10:10:10 because it is the most well-balanced of all fertilizers.
All houseplants are sensitive to chemical fertilizers. That is why you must dilute yours to half its strength each time before use. Another thing to help protect against fertilizer-induced burns is to water the roots and the soil copiously before applying fertilizer.
If you do not want to go for chemical fertilizer, apply compost, manure, or worm casting every second to third week. Dig through the top half of the oil and mix these natural fertilizers. Your plant will grow exuberantly.
To keep your plant in shape, you must prune. All you need for this is the right tool that has been disinfected properly and then washed. You can use secateurs, pruning shears, or a sharp knife for Alocasia stems. You should also wash the implement after you are done and before you put it away.
The stems that are actively growing need to be trimmed at their tips to promote better growth. Instead of making a straight cut, aim for an angled incision. Cut with force and precision in one neat stroke; otherwise, you risk damaging the stem and stopping its growth altogether.
Wait till springtime to carry out your pruning business because this is when the plant is in full growth mode. Never cut off more than one-third of the total length and breadth of the plant in one season.
If you own an Alocasia and have not yet propagated it, you are missing out on something amazing. Learn two easy ways of carrying out Alocasia gageana propagation using your original one during springtime in this section.
– By Rhizomes
This method will require you to remove your Alocasia from its old container. If you are already planning on repotting this plant, why not remove a few rhizomes along the way to make more copies of this amazing plant?
- The first step is to remove the potting mixture’s roots without harming them. That is why it is best to first water the mix copiously the night before, so it becomes soft and easy to work with..
- Use a rake to loosen each layer of soil while simultaneously pulling the plant upwards. Once it is out, gently wash the roots with medium water pressure to see them clearly.
- You will see tiny versions of the plant called offsets growing under the stems near the roots. Cut them off as near the base as possible.
- Transplant each of these plantlets in their little container with the same potting mix as the parent plant.
- If you want to, you can propagate the offsets in water until new roots grow and then transplant them in water.
- Within a few short weeks, your plant will establish its roots and start growing. In the meanwhile, you must take proper care of these baby plantlets.
– By Stem Cuttings
This is the oldest propagation method and the most straightforward as well. There is no hassle of taking the plant out of the soil or any chance of damaging the parent plant.
- Using sharpened secateurs will make cutting a stem extremely easy. Cut any healthy stem right below a leaf node, preferably at an angle of 45 degrees from the growing end.
- The cutting should contain about two leaf nodes and be 3 to 4 inches long. The leaves growing from said leaf nodes should be removed because they hinder the growth of new roots.
- You can put the cutting directly in an aroid potting mix or grow the roots in water first.
- When using water, make sure you use a transparent container so that the cutting has access to light. Keep changing the water weekly, or your cutting will not grow in dirty water. After new roots grow a few inches, plant this cutting in the potting mix prepared beforehand.
- If you plan on planting the cutting directly in the soil, then it’s best to apply rooting hormone to the cut end first. Put the pot in a warm, humid, and brilliant spot where the new plant can thrive properly.
- After a week, gently tug at the cutting to see if you can feel any resistance. If you do, this means that roots have been formed and are establishing themselves.
Please do not fret about growing Alocasia for the first time because it is a very non-demanding plant. Learning how to deal with common problems like yellowing leaves and bugs should be enough.
– Leaf Yellowing
Your pretty Alocasia leaves might be turning yellow due to improper watering. Whether you are overwatering or underwatering it, the result is the same: yellowing leaves. This can destroy the whole esthetic of your plant and cause further problems.
If the yellow leaves are soft and fragile, then overwatering is your culprit. Feel the surface of the soil with your finger. It will probably also feel soft and runny with water. Even the plant’s container feels heavier on lifting.
It would be best to improve how you water this plant right away before serious complications like root rot starts. It’s also possible that there is something wrong with the drainage holes.
If the yellow Alocasia leaves are thin, crispy, and break down on twisting, you have been a negligent plant parent. Test how dry the soil is by inserting a pointed, thin stick to its bottom. If the soil has been dried for a while, you must bottom feed the plant to bring it back.
– Leaf Spot Disease
An Alocasia, when overwatered, can get easily attacked by the bacterium Xanthomonas. This then leads to the development of the dangerous leaf spot disease. We don’t want you to panic, but this disease can kill your plant within weeks.
Leaf spot is characterized by the appearance of countless brown and black spots over Alocasia leaves. These spots become necrotic within a day and form holes in the center. In the end stage, the diseased leaves wilt and fall off.
Cut off the most severely blackened plant parts to treat Xanthomonas leaf spot. Neem oil foliar spray can be easily ordered these days. It must be consistently applied for several weeks. If you don’t think you can be consistent, go for the shortcut option and get a bactericidal agent.
These small cotton ball-like pests are the most common pests you will have to face again and again. A mealybug infestation begins with yellow spotting on the leaves, followed by full-fledged chlorosis and overall growth retardation. You cannot miss these signs, plus the slow-moving pests crawling all over the plant.
First, move the infested Alocasia far away from the rest of your houseplants and isolate it. Take it outside and use a hose to give it a thorough washing.
The lower side of the leaves is the most important spot that should not be missed because that is where most of these bugs hide. After this bath, most of the mealybugs will have been removed from the plant.
Next, you need a potent yet gentle insecticide to combat the larvae and eggs laid by these bugs. Nothing works better than neem oil when it comes to planting problems. A few drops of neem oil on a cotton roll spread over the plant every week will do the trick.
How Many Leaves Can an Alocasia Gageana Have?
The Alocasia can only sustain 4-5 leaves per plant.
Is Alocasia Gageana easy to grow?
Alocasia Gageana is generally easy to grow, requiring well-draining soil, regular watering, and moderate humidity levels.
Can Alocasia Gageana live in just water?
Alocasia Gageana cannot live in just water; it requires a well-draining soil medium to thrive and should not be submerged in water for extended periods.
Why don’t we go through a summary of this Alocasia care guide before letting you off?
- This large-leaved plant is intolerant to direct light but thrives under indirect or filtered light.
- Make it a habit to check if the topsoil has dried or not before watering your Alocasia.
- Give this plant plenty of warmth and high humidity to keep it happy.
- Overwatering will cause this plant to suffer from several problems and should be avoid at all costs.
Taking care of Gageana Alocasia is such a fulfilling experience. Use our comprehensive guide to become the most successful plant parent of the exotic elephant ear plant and solve any problem that comes your way like a professional.
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