Alocasia Elephant Ears

Every now and then we have a spot in our homes that looks empty. It is usually a space that is too big for most small grade plants, and yet to invest in a shelf, and then then to have to dress it, seems like far too much effort. The Alocasia Elephant Ears is the perfect plant to fill this space. With its large leaves of vibrant green it is bound to lift any room. The Elephant Ear Alocasia is formally known as the Alocasia Macrohrizza and is one of the more commonly known Alocasias. As you can see from the images this plant is clearly names due to those large heart-shaped leaves that are similar in shape to that of an Elephants Ear. This plant has been grown in warmer conditions specifically to acclimatise these delights for a life indoors, or at a push they will survive in a spot that has limited exposure to outdoor conditions such as on a veranda.

When introducing this stunning addition to your home there are a few things to keep in mind about its upkeep requirements. Your Alocasia Elephant Ears will want to be watered regularly. The size of those leaves, and its growth habit of adding a new leaf each week, means your plant has requirements that need to be met to help it looking great. Particularly, during spring and summer months of growth. We have outlined some top tips below to help you with the volume of water and regularity of fertilising we are talking about. You will come to understand the growth habits of this beautiful plant including the sacrificing of older leaves to reinvest the nutrients into its newer foliage. That means leaf loss is a normal part of your plants life cycle.

The Alocasia is a member of the Arum family and has over 70 varieties within its genus. It is a tropical plant that thrives in a warm humid environment and is native to Asia. When grown in optimum conditions one particular variety of Alocasia can reach up to fifteen feet tall and eight feet wide making it quite the spectacle. During cooler months the Alocasia varieties are known to hibernate reducing the amount of energy they are expending. This means your plants require less water and fertiliser over this time. It is said that some varieties of Alocasia die back in the cooler temperature and hibernate. Continue to care for your plant as per normal and in the warmer months you may be rewarded with new growth from the centre rhizome.

Alocasia Elephant Ear Plant Care

Temperature

The Alocasia Elephant Ears needs to be kept in a warm and humid environment. If the temperature is too cold your plant has the potential to start to try to hibernate and will drop its leaves. Its preferred temperature is between 18-22˚C. Air circulation is important to help keep the temperatures consistent. This can be achieved with a fan or open window.

Light

The Alocasia Elephant Ears requires bright indirect sunlight, but will tolerate partial shade. The more light your plant gets, the more water it will require. Too much light may burn the leaves of your plant, not enough can affect the colouring of its leaves.

Watering

Water using room temperature water in regular amounts to achieve moist, but not soggy soil. Don’t let the soil dry out completely. The roots do not like to be left wet so ensure that your pot and soil have good drainage. Water your plant in the morning, allowing it to dry out by night time to reduce their susceptibility to disease. Water from below to allow leaves/stems to remain dry.

Soil

The Elephant Ears prefers soil which is not too heavy, yet can hold a degree of moisture.

Fertilizer

During spring and summer using an all-purpose liquid plant food diluted with water to aid your plants new growth. It is important to increase the amount of fertiliser used if your plant is kept in brighter or warmer conditions as an increase in your plants growth will require additional nutrients. Reduce the amount of fertiliser given during winter months to allow your plant to rest.

Toxicity

Alocasia’s are toxic plants as their leaves contain Oxalic acid. Digestion of the leaves can cause swelling and irritation of the mouth, throat or skin and vomiting. Keep out of reach of both children and pets.

Maintenance

Your Alocasia needs clean leaves to photosynthesis in order to feed itself. Regularly wipe your plants leaves with a damp soft cloth to remove any dust that has accumulated. Regular rotation of your plant will also ensure your plant grows relatively symmetrically. Remove any leaves that are deteriorating, these should be the older leaves on your plant.

Re-potting

Due to the rate of your Elephant Ear’s growth do check if it has outgrown its current pot size? While re-potting is not recommend when you purchase your new plant as it needs to become accustom to its new environment, always ensure your plant has enough soil and space to feed and grow.

Potential Problems

Browning spots on the leaf: This can be an indication of several issues; your plants environment is not humid enough, your plant has been burnt by direct light, or it is unhappy about being exposed to cooler temperatures. You may ultimately loose this leaf, but by changing the environmental conditions you should prevent further leaves from dying.

Yellowing or loss of leaves: Over watering will cause your Alocasia to have yellowing leaves and it eventually loose it. Leaf dropping can also occur due to under watering. Alter your watering regime and check your plant has good air circulation. Once this is corrected your plant should grow new healthier leaves. The yellowing of one smaller, older, leaf can also be a sign that your plant is simply reinvesting it’s energies into its new growth. Check to see if a new leaf is present at the same time as the yellowing of the older leaves are found. If this is the case it is part of your plants normal process.

Spider Mite: Is a bug that tends to be drawn to Alocasia’s. A key indicator to keep an eye out for is a grey discolouration on your Alocasia leaves.