Alocasia are quickly growing on me. Everyone knows I’m a total Hoya Head! But Alocasia are definitely a close second for me. I love their striking coloring, unique leaf shapes, and interesting textures. They can be a little tricky for beginners, but well worth the effort once you get them figured out!
Potting: Alocasia like a rich but well draining potting mix. I like to start with a high quality potting soil like Earth Mother or Happy Frog, and then add in a little pumice and mini bark nuggets to help with the drainage. They don’t need as much drainage as say a Aroid or a Hoya, but a little more drainage than most potting soils offer right out of the bag.
Light: Alocasia love light! I find that mine are the happiest right in a sunny window, at least where I live in the northern US. The closer you are to the equator the more intense the sun is so you may have to use a sheer curtain if you notice leaf burning.
Watering: I think people tend to get a little confused about the watering on Alocasia. Most of the recommendations I see are for Colocasia who like it boggy. Alocasia like Colocasia love humidity, but would like their soil to dry out some in between watering. I let mine dry out down about two knuckles down then I water deeply. I don’t let them dry out completely for log or they start dropping leaves.
Fertilizing: All Alocasia are heavy feeders, so make sure you are fertilizing with a slow release fertilizer a couple times a year, or using a liquid fertilizer frequently through the growing season. I really like using either Osmocote Plus as a slow release fertilizer or Foliage Pro as a liquid fertilizer. only use one or the other though, otherwise you will burn your plant.
Propagating and Pruning: To propagate Alocasia you can wait until new plants come up and then divide them, or when repotting look for the tubers in the roots. Pot up the tubers and keep moist but not soggy until they sprout. I find using a seed starter and heat mat speeds up the process and helps with the humidity. Alocasia don’t really need pruning, but you can snip any of the lower leaves as it sheds them.
Pests: Just a quick note on pests, Alocasia are pretty prone to getting spider mites. So be diligent and check them frequently. Preventative maintenance will be your best friend with Alocasia. Wipe the leaves down often and treat with a spider mite treatment once in awhile even if you don’t see any mites just to be safe.
Toxicity: All parts of Alocasia are toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and humans. Call your vet or doctor if your pet or a human ingests any part of the plant.