Alocasia 'Polly' 25cm
Tropical plants of the genus Alocasia have beautiful foliage that can become the focal point of a garden or room. Large rhizomes or corms produce huge heart-shaped or arrow-shaped ears, leading to the popular folk name, elephant ear.
Fast-growing Alocasia plants are usually grown as houseplants, but it is common practice to place them outdoors during the warm months, sometimes the entire pot is buried in the ground to achieve a natural look.
If you have children or pets, you may want to avoid these plants altogether, as the leaves are poisonous to humans and animals.
Even with a short growing season in northern climates, these plants can grow quickly. In the warm summer months, Alocasia plants can produce a new leaf every week, and each new leaf can be twice the size of the previous week. The leaf shapes can vary from slender arrowheads to broad heart-shaped leaves that have colorful veins and a variety of textures: thick, waxy, smooth, and glossy.
When the plant is in its dormant period (in late fall and winter ), she begins to rest. Rapid leaf growth will stop and the plant will likely remain as-is throughout the winter season. Keep caring for it, and rapid growth will return next growing season.
Light requirements range from shade to full sunlight, depending on the species and variety. Ask the grower or seller if the plant is in the sun. Leaf color tends to be better on plants that grow best in more light.
Most Alocasia species can survive in shade, but they often appreciate slightly brighter filtered sunlight. The larger varieties can be trained to handle full tropical sun.
Plant elephant ear in loose, well-drained potting soil or in crumbly loamy soil. They prefer slightly acidic soil, which a standard peat-based potting mix will provide.
Keep Alocasia plants moist all year round; they are water-loving plants. There is a fine line with these plants. You want to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. They need less water during the winter months as the plant is dormant.
Allow the top few inches of soil to become almost dry before watering. This will help keep the soil evenly moist. Soggy soil makes the plant susceptible to fungal infections.
Temperature and humidity
Elephant ear plants suffer from 15°C degrees. Some varieties will die back in colder weather and re-sprout from the rhizome. They require, and thrive in, a very humid environment. To increase the humidity around your plant, place it on a pebble-filled tray and add water until it rises to just below the bottom of the pot. Keep them away from cold drafts from windows, doors and air conditioning.
Alocasia can be heavy eaters, especially large specimens. Feed them once or twice a month with liquid fertilizer.
Botanical name Alocasia spp. Altitude 35cm Pot size 12cm Place Partial shade Water requirement Keep moist Toxic Toxic Repot Every 2 years Packaging Special plants mail box Maintenance Normal