Alocasia macrorrhiza of the Araceae family is a gorgeous houseplant characterized by dramatic and large leaves. If you are interested in growing this plant and wondering how you can go about it, then this is just the right article for you.
In this detailed guide, we are going to share with you easy techniques to grow and care for the grand foliage alocasia genus plant. Read on for some interesting information about this delightful plant.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- What Is a Alocasia Macrorrhiza?
- Alocasia Macrorrhiza Care
- Water Requirements
- Light Requirements
- Soil Requirements
- Temperature Requirements
- Humidity Requirements
- Fertilizer Use
- Variegata variety
- Common Problems
- 6 Essential Tips
What Is a Alocasia Macrorrhiza?
Alocasia Macrorrhiza is a large tropical plant native to Southeast Asian countries and Hawaii, popular due to its exotic leaves and stunning foliage. The leaves of this plant are so huge and lush green that it never fails to grab eyeballs.
Alocasia Macrorrhiza Care
Large leaf alocasia is hardy and grows well with minimal care. Focus on a few essential aspects and you can have healthy and dark green foliage. Coupled with the fact that it is easy to grow, the plant is an absolute favorite for hobbyists and gardeners across the globe. Find the complete care requirements listed below.
Water the plant only when the topsoil is more than 50 percent dry. You can check this by inserting your finger into the soil and feeling the moisture within.
In general, watering once a week should be sufficient for the plant, provided there is enough humidity in the air and the temperatures are moderate.
If temperatures are high and dry, you will need to water it more frequently. In the winter months the plant goes dormant, thus scaling back on the water is essential.
Alocasia macrorrhiza requires bright light, though not directly under the sun as the heat may burn its leaves. The best way to care is to place the plant under filtered sunlight using a green garden cloth or sheets.
If your plant is indoors, place it near a window where it can receive the sun’s indirect rays for a maximum period of the day. You can also choose to keep it below overhead lights if low light conditions prevail.
The plant requires a loose well-draining potting mix, slightly acidic between 5.5 to 6.5. Use a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark which will give the roots plenty of aeration.
The ideal temperature for alocasia macrorrhiza is between 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold drafts and chilly winds below this temperature can be quite disastrous for the health and growth of the plant.
Prevent extreme heat during summers by creating a greenhouse effect. Cover the plant with a sheet to protect them from harsh sunlight and heat.
As the plant is native to tropical climates, it requires high humidity levels to grow, moreover, an ideal level will be 60 percent and above. In case you are growing the plant in a dry environment, you will need to mist the plant often to create humidity in the air around it.
Misting comes with a double advantage of keeping the plant foliage dust-free thereby reducing the risk of pest infestations.
Alocasia macrorrhiza is a heavy feeder and will require frequent fertilizer use, especially during the growing season. Use a liquid fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 formulation once a month to ensure the plant receives its complete nourishment.
Prune the plant regularly to control growth and keep it in shape. Remove debris and dried decaying leaves that could lead to bacterial diseases and the spread of other pests.
Repot this plant annually to prevent root-bound. Moving to a one-size larger pot gives the roots more soil to thrive in and thereby helps it grow into lush green foliage.
– Toxicity Requirements
The leaf is highly toxic if ingested due to its calcium oxalate content. It is recommended to keep the plant away from pets as accidental intake of the leaf can kick in a series of reactions such as irritation in the mouth, swelling and even breathing difficulties.
Much as the leaf is not meant to be consumed, it is interesting to note that the rhizomes in the root and the stem can be eaten, provided they are cooked well. They are an absolute favorite and popular root vegetable in many places.
– Preventing Pests
Clean the large leaves gently with a damp cloth to keep them pest and dust-free. Mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids are common pests that infect the plant. You can prevent their spread by using a soapy insecticide every few weeks. As for indoors, use a non-chemical leaf shine that will also aid in better photosynthesis.
The alocasia macrorrhiza has a variegated version. This variety is a visual delight due to its splotches of yellow and white on the surface of the leaf. It thrives well in medium and indirect sunlight.
A few variegates also have large white spots that are low in chlorophyll. Because of this, their propagation is slower making them rare and harder to find, in comparison to the non-variegated version.
Alocasia Macrorrhiza can be easily propagated through rhizome division or seeds. The ideal time to initiate the process of propagation is between spring to early summer as this will give it enough warmth to grow and develop well.
– Rhizome Division
- Gently remove the plant from the soil and pick a root clump that has many rhizomes.
- With the help of a sharp and sterile pruner, remove pieces of the rhizome. Plant this separately in fresh soil or a pot.
- Place the plant in warm and indirect sunlight.
- In a couple of weeks, the plant will develop roots and establish itself well in the soil. The plant will resist a tug once the roots have set in.
– Through Seeds
- Extract seeds from the dried pods of the plant.
- Sow these seeds in a peat-moss potting mix that is slightly moist. Ensure to plant them at the surface and not way too deep.
- Seeds take a long time in comparison to propagation through rhizome division. So be patient, when it comes to spotting those first few signs of sprouting. It can take months for the tiny seedlings to mature into a plant with huge leaves.
Growing alocasia macrorrhiza comes with its share of problems. In this below section we guide you to identify and tackle each of these easily. Read on for more information.
– Droopy Leaves
Droopy large leaves of the alocasia macrorrhiza can be quite a sad sight. The primary cause for this is an exposure of the plant to too little light or too much of it. Adjust light conditions as per the care recommendations we have listed in the above section and you should have them limp back to life soon.
– Crown Rot
Crown rot is characterized by yellowing of the leaf margins and darkened spots on the surface of the leaf. This is essentially a fungal disease that spreads from the soil all across the plant. An infected plant can lose its tissue strength, get discolored, and eventually wilts and dies.
Tackle crown root by avoiding soggy soil and overwatering. Maintain good air circulation around the plant to help the soil dry. Catch crown rot early by inspecting leaves regularly for signs of discoloration.
– Pest infestations
Common pests such as spider mites, mealybugs and aphids suck the sap off the plant leading to the death of the plant. Combat infestation by maintaining good plant hygiene keeping it free of dust and debris. Isolate infested plants immediately and spray a soapy insecticide to get rid of the pests.
– Fungal Leaf Blight
Fungal leaf blight disease causes tiny lesions that secrete fluids, on the surface of the leaf. If left untreated, it can make the plant wilt and eventually lead to its death.
The best way to tackle fungal leaf blight is to catch it early. Apply a coating of copper-based fungicide twice a week. Also, remember to scale back on the watering as the disease spreads faster when the soil and the plant are wet.
– Yellow Spots With Brown Halos
A commonly seen problem, yellow spots can be a result of one or more of the below-mentioned problems. Regulate them as per the care requirements of the plant to set the plant back in order.
- Soggy soil as a result of overwatering
- Plant subject to dark environments or with little light
- Use of excessive cold water to water the plant
- Lack of nutrients in the soil
- Root rot
This is a fungal disease that causes reddish-brown spots and faded patches on the leaf. Though not harmful to the life of the plant, they can still ruin its look.
Tackle rust by snipping away infected leaves. Isolate the plant to prevent its spread and increase air circulation around the plant. Also, reduce the humidity around the plant as an excess of it causes this fungal disease.
– Mold Growth
Mold growth is yet again a result of improper watering and excess exposure to heat and light. Repot the plant in fresh soil and move it into a partial shade to tackle the condition.
– Slow and Stunted Growth
Slow and stunted growth can happen when the temperatures fall. It can also be due to nutrient deficiency of the plant. Move the plant to a warmer spot and fertilize the soil to aid in its growth.
6 Essential Tips
- Water the plant with lukewarm water as the plant root systems are very sensitive to extreme chills. Rest tap water overnight before watering as the plant is sensitive to chlorine and fluoride that may be present in it.
- Use a thin layer of grit or gravel at the bottom of the potting soil to aid in better drainage.
- Ensure the pot drainage hole is big enough to permit the flow of water easily, thereby preventing waterlogging at the roots.
- Lightly mist your plants to give a humid atmosphere around them.
- Maintain a good watering schedule as the health of the plant greatly depends on this.
- Improve light absorption by cleaning the large leaves with a damp cloth every few weeks. Do not shine the leaves with chemical leaf shiners as they could make the leaves brittle.
What Are Some Noteworthy Features of Alocasia Macrorrhiza?
Some of the features of Alocasia Macrorrhiza include:
- The large leaves are ruffled and resemble the ears of the elephant, hence it is also known as the large elephant ear plant.
- With a clumpy and upright growth, it can touch a height of fifteen feet and spread eight feet wide.
- The arrow-shaped and waxy-edged dark green leaves can grow to a length of three feet.
- Alocasia Macrorrhiza is also known as the Giant Upright Elephant Ears, Giant Taro or Giant Elephant Ear Alocasia due to its dramatic and huge leaves.
- The plant produces white insignificant blooms throughout the year
- The rhizomes in the roots and the stem are popular vegetables in many countries.
- It is an easy and fast-growing plant that grows indoors as well.
Can you propagate Alocasia Macrorrhiza from a leaf?
No, Alocasia Macrorrhiza cannot be propagated from a leaf alone. It requires a stem cutting with a node.
Why is my Alocasia Macrorrhiza crying?
Alocasia Macrorrhiza may “cry” due to overwatering or underwatering, humidity levels that are too low, or pest infestation.
Alocasia macrorrhiza plants are indeed easy to grow and care for. Let us refresh our memory with all the information that this article has brought out.
- Alocasia macrorrhiza comes with striking foliage making it a delightful indoor plant.
- The plant is popularly known as the Giant Taro or Elephant Ears due to the dramatic and large leaves.
- The plant grows best in partial shade and rich well-draining soil.
- The leaf can scorch in excessive heat and light.
- Propagate the plant via rhizome division or seeds easily.
Having read about this easy-to-care plant, you will now have the confidence to include it in your home decor or garden. Go ahead and bring in some freshness and calm in your space with the alocasia macrorrhiza.