Alocasia (Elephant ear) – Ultimate Care Guide

Alocasia (Elephant ear) - Care & Buy - myPlant

Table of Contents

Alocasia growth habit

As an indoor plant, an Alocasia will never grow this high. The circumstances are simply not sufficient. Yet as a houseplant they can still grow quickly. In the summer months you sometimes see a new leaf every week! Below in the picture you can see how such a new leaf unfolds. If the plant is doing well, each new leaf can be twice as big as the previous one. In this way your Elephant Ear grows rapidly in height.

In the autumn this growth stops and the plant goes dormant. You will have to make do with the current number of leaves all autumn and winter. Of course, you still have to take care of the plant. Once the days get longer again the plant will resume growth.

The shape of the leaf varies per species. Some species have slender leaves with a point, other species again rather heart-shaped. Often the leaves are thick and have veins that are clearly visible. Details about the different species can be found further down this page.

Alocasia care

Habitat and light

The first step in the care of your plant is choosing the right location. The location determines the amount and type of light the plant receives. Light is very important for good growth. Too little light is not good, everyone can imagine that. But did you know that too much light can also be harmful for your Alocasia? So what is the right amount of light?

This plant needs a lot of light, but watch out for direct sunlight. Direct sunlight on the leaves can cause brown or black spots, this is called leaf burn. So put your plant in an east or north-facing windowsill. There is plenty of light there, but little direct sunlight. Do you choose a window facing west or south? Then place the plant a little away from the window. Then the sun’s rays do not touch the leaves. Incidentally, the Alocasia Zebrina can tolerate a bit more direct sunlight than other species.

Lots of light is important for healthy growth and for maintaining color. For example, for the Alocasia Polly this is important to keep the beautiful dark colors on the leaves. With too little light these colors will fade.

You will notice that your plant grows towards the light. The leaves will be facing the window. This is not a sign that the plant should be moved closer to the window, unless they are really growing at an angle (almost horizontal). You can turn your plant a quarter turn weekly to let it grow nice and symmetrical.=> Prefer something smaller? Then take a look at the Peperomia or the Fittonia.

Watering the Elephant Ear

These plants like a good amount of water, much more than the average houseplant. They consume a fair amount of water, but there is a fine line between the desired amount and too much. Watering is therefore a tricky part of caring for your Alocasia, but with the right approach you should be fine.

The basic principle: never let the potting soil dry out completely, but never leave it too soggy either. It’s a matter of relying on the needs of the plant. A simple test is to stick your finger in the potting soil. If soil sticks to it, the soil is wet and you are not watering yet. If no soil sticks to your finger, the soil is dry and you can give water.How often you water depends on several factors. In the summer this will sometimes be several times a week. While in winter this is often only once a week or two weeks.

It is a matter of trying out what the best frequency and amount is for your Alocasia. Rather start with a little too little and then build up. You will get signals from the plant as feedback. Is the Alocasia hanging limp? Then it is thirsty!

Temperature

The temperature should not be too low for these plants. Preferably not below 15 degrees. This can happen in the winter when a window is open. Then you can notice damage to the leaves. If it takes too long, an Alocasia can even die from this. Anyway, you must be careful with rapid temperature fluctuations. These can be caused by an open window, drafts, air conditioning or a heater that is on.

Humidity

These beautiful plants naturally grow in tropical areas with very high humidity. If you have ever been to a tropical rainforest you may remember that everything is always wet. This is due to the high humidity. An Alocasia, therefore, likes wet leaves

You can wet the leaves with a plant sprayer. Set it to mist mode and mist the leaves until they are completely wet. Some species really need this to stay beautiful, while others are more tolerant of drier air. Either way, it’s good to do this daily. By constantly wetting the leaves, dust doesn’t stay on them as easily and critters don’t get a chance to settle. While spraying, include other tropical plants, such as the Philodendron, in the routine.

Because of the high humidity, and heat, the bathroom can be a good place for your Alocasia. Just make sure there is enough light. Bathrooms sometimes have only a small window, which can still make this space not a good choice for this plant.

Nutrition

Some of these species are very large, others small. What the whole plant family has in common: they can grow very fast. Therefore, the need for nutrition is great. During the growing season you can apply some liquid plant food every week. Be careful because plant food is often very concentrated. Read the instructions on the packaging about how to dilute it. A surplus of nutrition in the pot can cause damage to the roots.

So, top up nutrition during the growing season, but when is this? That differs a bit per plant. You can see it because the plant starts to make new leaves. This usually happens when the days get longer. In the winter you see hardly any growth (sometimes even nothing at all), then you do not need to supplement.

Pruning

An Alocasia produces new leaves that are always larger than the previous ones. Eventually the plant sheds its older, smaller leaves. This method of growth ensures that the plant “prunes” itself. You can give the process a helping hand, by the way. Leaves that are beginning to die can be pruned off. This way you do not have to wait and the energy of the plant can go to the new leaves.

Prune this leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible. Always use sharp and clean scissors. Although the leaf is dying, there may still be sap in it. This sap can irritate the skin. So it is smart to wear gloves.

Potting soil

An Alocasia has no special requirements regarding the type of potting soil. You can use a normal potting soil for houseplants. It retains a reasonable amount of moisture and is rich in nutrients.

Pot and repotting

An Alocasia can be a bit tighter in its pot. You will notice when it is time to repot. You can see the roots growing out of the drainage hole in the pot. Always choose a pot that is a few centimeters larger than the previous one. Never immediately much roomier. Also, there should always be a hole at the bottom of the pot for drainage. When repotting, place a layer of hydro grains at the bottom of the pot and use fresh potting soil.

Alocasia species

In the wild, there are dozens of lower cultivars of the Alocasia. A large number of them are available in our garden centers. Unfortunately, not all are equally good. For example, many Elephant Ear species are very rare. These are real collectors items. Below is a list of the most common types. Some of them are popular, some are less well known. All are equally unique.

Alocasia Zebrina

Of all the types of Elephant Ear plants, this is by far the most popular. The Alocasia Zebrina can be found in many living rooms. It is a real diva to take care of, but you get a lot in return. The nickname comes from the stems, which are reminiscent of the pattern of a zebra

Alocasia Black Velvet

This is a dwarf galocasia and usually grows no higher than 15 centimeters. The color of the leaves varies between dark green and deep black. The leaves have a velvety texture, hence the name. Continue reading about the Alocasia Black Velvet?

Alocasia Polly

Officially this is the Alocasia Amazonica, but this variety is mostly known as Alocasia Polly. Another well-known nickname is Skeleton Plant. This nickname is based on the distinctive white veins against the dark leaves. These leaves are dark green, but can sometimes be black.

Alocasia frydek

The Alocasia Frydek is somewhat of a combination of the previously mentioned varieties. The leaves are reminiscent of those of the Polly, but without the serrations. The velvety layer is again reminiscent of that of the Black Velvet. All this together makes it a unique plant. The shape of the leaf also makes you understand the nickname Elephant Ear.

Alocasia Cucullata

The Alocasia Cucullata is completely fresh green in color and has heart-shaped leaves that end in a narrow point. The leaves are shiny which gives the plant a luxurious look.

Alocasia Macrorrhiza

The Alocasia Macrorrhiza is one of the larger Alocasia species. In their natural habitats these plants reach an impressive height. Also as a potted houseplant they can become very large. They are often used in homes or office buildings with high ceilings.

Alocasia Silver Dragon

Are you looking for a unique houseplant that stays small? Then the Alocasia Silver Dragon is for you. This dwarf galocasia has beautiful, silvery leaves. Deep, dark veins run across them. This species is somewhat reminiscent of the Alocasia Black Velvet.

Alocasia Pink Dragon

After the Silver Dragon we get the Pink Dragon. In this case the name was not given because of the color of the leaves. The Alocasia Pink Dragon was given this name because of the color of the stems. As you can see in the picture below, they are pink in color.

Alocasia Stingray

Why this Alocasia species has the nickname Stingray, becomes clear when you know what a stingray is. In English, this is called an arrowtooth ray. This fish has exactly the same shapes as the leaves of this Alocasia!

Alocasia Lauterbachiana

Actually, this Elephant Ear is a bit of an exception to the rest. The leaf is oblong and almost entirely green. Only the veins are a slightly lighter shade. Continue reading about the Alocasia Lauterbachiana.

Alocasia Red Secret

If you are looking for a really special plant, then this Alocasia Red Secret is for you. The leaves are burgundy shiny in the light. This species can reach a height of one meter, but it usually doesn’t reach that.

Alocasia Cuprea

This Alocasia also has a unique color. The colors of the leaves seem to alternate between bronze, purple and yellow. This depends on the age of the leaf and the angle of light. At the same time, the deep veins have a darker color that gives an effect of shadow.

Alocasia Sanderiana

This Elephant ear plant is somewhat similar to the Alocasia Polly. It has the same dark leaves on which the white veins stand out beautifully. The big difference is the edges. These are not jagged here, but straight.

Alocasia Azlanii

This Dwarf Alocasia is very dark, almost black. Unfortunately you will hardly find this species in our garden centers. If you find one, buy it immediately because it is rare! Continue reading about Alocasia Azlanii.

Alocasia Variegated

Actually this is not a specific Alocasia species. It’s all about the colors on the leaf. Variegated means varied and is also called “variegated leaf”. Many species can have this. For example, below you can see the Alocasia Macrorrhizos “Variegated”. Continue reading about the Alocasia Variegated.

Buy Alocasia?

You’ve decided: you want to buy an Alocasia. But where is the best place to do that? Online there are many suppliers of these popular houseplants. We are currently working with the website Bol.com. On this website other online stores offer their products, including many houseplants. This way you don’t have to compare all kinds of websites, but find everything in one place.

Is Alocasia poisonous?

Unfortunately, an Alocasia is poisonous. Maybe you have broken a stem (by accident or with pruning), and you have seen that it contains a whitish juice. This sap is very irritating to the esophagus when ingested and can also burn on the skin. So it is a good idea not to put these plants down if you have small children, cats or dogs. Even better is to choose a houseplant that is not poisonous. Think of a Pancake plant or an Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea).

It is a bit odd to mention, then, that stems of these plants are sometimes eaten in parts of Asia. Those who do this prepare these stems in a special way and know what they are doing. Our advice: an Alocasia is there purely for decoration!

Can you take cuttings from an Alocasia?

This is certainly possible. It should be noted that it is not an easy plant to take cuttings. However, with the right approach it should work. We have a page about it where you can find a step-by-step plan. Continue reading about Alocasia cuttings.

Alocasia Elephant ear hangs limp

If Elephant ear has drooping leaves, it means the plant is thirsty. Check this again before watering. Stick your finger into the soil. Is there no soil sticking to it? Then the soil is dry and you have to water. Give small amounts of water every hour until you see that the leaves are standing straight again.

Can an Alocasia flower?

Yes, if you are really lucky you will see your Alocasia bloom. This happens very rarely because the conditions in our country are not as perfect as the natural growth environment. You can also see from the flowers that the Alocasia belongs to the Arum family. The flowers are similar in structure. Below in the picture you see such a flower.

The leaf turns yellow

Yellow leaves do not need to be a reason for panic. It is normal for the old leaves to be shed at some point. Because the new leaves are larger, and the older leaves fall off, the plant will eventually become larger. These older leaves often turn yellow first and fall off.

However, if many leaves turn yellow at once, it is a problem. The cause of this is usually in excessively boggy soil. Boggy soil is caused by giving too much water and not being able to remove this excess from the pot. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and check if the soil is indeed boggy. If it is very bad, you should replace the entire soil. After that, make sure you have a drainage hole in the pot to avoid this problem in the future.

The Alocasia leaks water / drops on the leaf

If you have never seen drips on the leaf of a plant, it may look a little strange. Fortunately, we can mention that this is not a problem at all. These drops are the result of a process called “Guttation”. A number of tropical plants, including the Alocasia, but also the Banana plant and the Homalomena, do this.

The normal process of plants is to absorb water through the roots and evaporate through the leaves. At night, no moisture can be evaporated through the leaves, so some plants have come up with a different solution for that. So, through some sort of pores, the water comes out through the leaves.Some would describe this process as a “crying Alocasia,” but it is not harmful and the droplets are not toxic either.

Is this an air-purifying plant?

Ultimately, all plants create healthier air in your home. The Alocasia does this too, but there are plants that do this better/more. If you are really looking for an air purifying plant you might consider the Grass Lily or the Calathea, for example.

The Elephant ear plant has brown spots

When you have brown spots on the leaves, there are two things that could be going on:

  • The brown spots are a reaction to too bright direct sunlight. This can happen if your plant is behind glass and sees a lot of the hot afternoon sun. If so, move the plant water farther away from the window.
  • If it is more the edges of the leaf that are turning brown, it is a case of too low humidity. This dry air causes the damage. Mist the leaves daily with a plant sprayer. This should prevent the problem in the future.

FAQCan this plant go in the garden?

Actually, no. These plants naturally grow in very warm areas. You often see that in our living rooms they do not grow nearly as big as they could. If you really want to, you could look at the Alocasia Macrorrhizos. This species is very strong and can be placed outside in the summer. It is important to winterize it indoors, because it absolutely cannot withstand frost.

There are flies in the earth

These are mourning flies. They like to live in moist soil. They can be irritating, but fortunately they are easy to control. Read more about mourning flies.

Elephant ear loses leaves

It is normal for the plant to lose a leaf now and then. These are normally the lower leaves. These lower leaves are the oldest on the plant and are shed as soon as there are enough new leaves in the middle. However, if you see a lot of leaf loss it is important to look closely at what is going wrong. This could be due to too low a temperature, draughts or a shortage of nutrition and water. Read about the right approach to care on this page and see if you need to improve anything.

The leaf curls

If the leaves curl, this is a signal that the air is too dry. Dry air is something this plant family does not tolerate well. You can do something about this in several ways. You need to make sure the leaves are wet. The simplest way is to spray the leaves with a plant sprayer. Another solution is to use a humidifier. This is something that many other houseplants, including the Strelitzia, can benefit from.

Summary

Botanical nameAlocasia
Also known asOlifantoor
Light requirementsLots of light needed
Water requirementsKeep soil a little moist
OriginTropical Asian regions
Toxic?The juice is toxic

 

Is Alocasia easy to care for?

Alocasia are semi-demanding plants that grow well in indirect light with temperatures of 60°F to 80°F and 60-70% humidity. Water once per week during the warm months and once every few weeks during the winter. During active growth, fertilize once per month. They are not hard to grow.

Can Alocasia survive without sunlight?

Alocasias need bright, but indirect light. This is due to the plant’s natural habitat, on the forest floor beneath the tree canopy. Direct sun will cause the leaves to burn, so avoid placing your Alocasia in a spot where it’ll be exposed to direct sun for a prolonged period.Mar 10, 2020

Is Alocasia good for indoors?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Can Alocasia be kept indoor?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Where should Alocasia be placed indoors?

Alocasia houseplants thrive when they receive lots of humidity which makes sense given their subtropical origins. Placing the houseplant in an area with high humidity is ideal. If you live in a drier climate or just don’t have an area with enough humidity, then consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.

Alocasia (Elephant ear) - Care & Buy - myPlant

Alocasia growth habit

Alocasia growth habit

As an indoor plant, an Alocasia will never grow this high. The circumstances are simply not sufficient. Yet as a houseplant they can still grow quickly. In the summer months you sometimes see a new leaf every week! Below in the picture you can see how such a new leaf unfolds. If the plant is doing well, each new leaf can be twice as big as the previous one. In this way your Elephant Ear grows rapidly in height.

In the autumn this growth stops and the plant goes dormant. You will have to make do with the current number of leaves all autumn and winter. Of course, you still have to take care of the plant. Once the days get longer again the plant will resume growth.

The shape of the leaf varies per species. Some species have slender leaves with a point, other species again rather heart-shaped. Often the leaves are thick and have veins that are clearly visible. Details about the different species can be found further down this page.

Alocasia care

Habitat and light

The first step in the care of your plant is choosing the right location. The location determines the amount and type of light the plant receives. Light is very important for good growth. Too little light is not good, everyone can imagine that. But did you know that too much light can also be harmful for your Alocasia? So what is the right amount of light?

This plant needs a lot of light, but watch out for direct sunlight. Direct sunlight on the leaves can cause brown or black spots, this is called leaf burn. So put your plant in an east or north-facing windowsill. There is plenty of light there, but little direct sunlight. Do you choose a window facing west or south? Then place the plant a little away from the window. Then the sun’s rays do not touch the leaves. Incidentally, the Alocasia Zebrina can tolerate a bit more direct sunlight than other species.

Lots of light is important for healthy growth and for maintaining color. For example, for the Alocasia Polly this is important to keep the beautiful dark colors on the leaves. With too little light these colors will fade.

You will notice that your plant grows towards the light. The leaves will be facing the window. This is not a sign that the plant should be moved closer to the window, unless they are really growing at an angle (almost horizontal). You can turn your plant a quarter turn weekly to let it grow nice and symmetrical.=> Prefer something smaller? Then take a look at the Peperomia or the Fittonia.

Watering the Elephant Ear

These plants like a good amount of water, much more than the average houseplant. They consume a fair amount of water, but there is a fine line between the desired amount and too much. Watering is therefore a tricky part of caring for your Alocasia, but with the right approach you should be fine.

The basic principle: never let the potting soil dry out completely, but never leave it too soggy either. It’s a matter of relying on the needs of the plant. A simple test is to stick your finger in the potting soil. If soil sticks to it, the soil is wet and you are not watering yet. If no soil sticks to your finger, the soil is dry and you can give water.How often you water depends on several factors. In the summer this will sometimes be several times a week. While in winter this is often only once a week or two weeks.

It is a matter of trying out what the best frequency and amount is for your Alocasia. Rather start with a little too little and then build up. You will get signals from the plant as feedback. Is the Alocasia hanging limp? Then it is thirsty!

Temperature

The temperature should not be too low for these plants. Preferably not below 15 degrees. This can happen in the winter, when a window is open. Then you can notice damage to the leaves. If it takes too long, an Alocasia can even die from this.Anyway, you must be careful with rapid temperature fluctuations. These can be caused by an open window, drafts, air conditioning or a heater that is on.

Humidity

These beautiful plants naturally grow in tropical areas with very high humidity. If you have ever been to a tropical rainforest you may remember that everything is always wet. This is due to the high humidity. An Alocasia therefore likes wet leaves

You can wet the leaves with a plant sprayer. Set it to mist mode and mist the leaves until they are completely wet. Some species really need this to stay beautiful, while others are more tolerant of drier air. Either way, it’s good to do this daily. By constantly wetting the leaves, dust doesn’t stay on them as easily and critters don’t get a chance to settle. While spraying, include other tropical plants, such as the Philodendron, in the routine.

Because of the high humidity, and heat, the bathroom can be a good place for your Alocasia. Just make sure there is enough light. Bathrooms sometimes have only a small window, which can still make this space not a good choice for this plant.

Nutrition

Some of these species are very large, others small. What the whole plant family has in common: they can grow very fast. Therefore, the need for nutrition is great. During the growing season you can apply some liquid plant food every week. Be careful because plant food is often very concentrated. Read the instructions on the packaging about how to dilute it. A surplus of nutrition in the pot can cause damage to the roots.

So, top up nutrition during the growing season, but when is this? That differs a bit per plant. You can see it because the plant starts to make new leaves. This usually happens when the days get longer. In the winter you see hardly any growth (sometimes even nothing at all), then you do not need to supplement.

Pruning

An Alocasia produces new leaves that are always larger than the previous ones. Eventually the plant sheds its older, smaller leaves. This method of growth ensures that the plant “prunes” itself. You can give the process a helping hand, by the way. Leaves that are beginning to die can be pruned off. This way you do not have to wait and the energy of the plant can go to the new leaves.

Prune this leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible. Always use sharp and clean scissors. Although the leaf is dying, there may still be sap in it. This sap can irritate the skin. So it is smart to wear gloves.

Potting soil

An Alocasia has no special requirements regarding the type of potting soil. You can use a normal potting soil for houseplants. It retains a reasonable amount of moisture and is rich in nutrients.

Pot and repotting

An Alocasia can be a bit tighter in its pot. You will notice when it is time to repot. You can see the roots growing out of the drainage hole in the pot. Always choose a pot that is a few centimeters larger than the previous one. Never immediately much roomier. Also, there should always be a hole at the bottom of the pot for drainage. When repotting, place a layer of hydro grains at the bottom of the pot and use fresh potting soil.

Alocasia species

In the wild, there are dozens of lower cultivars of the Alocasia. A large number of them are available in our garden centers. Unfortunately, not all are equally good. For example, many Elephant Ear species are very rare. These are real collectors items. Below is a list of the most common types. Some of them are popular, some are less well known. All are equally unique.

Alocasia Zebrina

Of all the types of Elephant Ear plants, this is by far the most popular. The Alocasia Zebrina can be found in many living rooms. It is a real diva to take care of, but you get a lot in return. The nickname comes from the stems, which are reminiscent of the pattern of a zebra

Alocasia Black Velvet

This is a dwarf galocasia and usually grows no higher than 15 centimeters. The color of the leaves varies between dark green and deep black. The leaves have a velvety texture, hence the name. Continue reading about the Alocasia Black Velvet?

Alocasia Polly

Officially this is the Alocasia Amazonica, but this variety is mostly known as Alocasia Polly. Another well-known nickname is Skeleton Plant. This nickname is based on the distinctive white veins against the dark leaves. These leaves are dark green, but can sometimes be black.

Alocasia frydek

The Alocasia Frydek is somewhat of a combination of the previously mentioned varieties. The leaves are reminiscent of those of the Polly, but without the serrations. The velvety layer is again reminiscent of that of the Black Velvet. All this together makes it a unique plant. The shape of the leaf also makes you understand the nickname Elephant Ear.

Alocasia Cucullata

The Alocasia Cucullata is completely fresh green in color and has heart-shaped leaves that end in a narrow point. The leaves are shiny which gives the plant a luxurious look.

Alocasia Macrorrhiza

The Alocasia Macrorrhiza is one of the larger Alocasia species. In their natural habitats these plants reach an impressive height. Also as a potted houseplant they can become very large. They are often used in homes or office buildings with high ceilings.

Alocasia Silver Dragon

Are you looking for a unique houseplant that stays small? Then the Alocasia Silver Dragon is for you. This dwarf galocasia has beautiful, silvery leaves. Deep, dark veins run across them. This species is somewhat reminiscent of the Alocasia Black Velvet.

Alocasia Pink Dragon

After the Silver Dragon we get the Pink Dragon. In this case the name was not given because of the color of the leaves. The Alocasia Pink Dragon was given this name because of the color of the stems. As you can see in the picture below, they are pink in color.

Alocasia Stingray

Why this Alocasia species has the nickname Stingray, becomes clear when you know what a stingray is. In English, this is called an arrowtooth ray. This fish has exactly the same shapes as the leaves of this Alocasia!

Alocasia Lauterbachiana

Actually, this Elephant Ear is a bit of an exception to the rest. The leaf is oblong and almost entirely green. Only the veins are a slightly lighter shade. Continue reading about the Alocasia Lauterbachiana.

Alocasia Red Secret

If you are looking for a really special plant, then this Alocasia Red Secret is for you. The leaves are burgundy shiny in the light. This species can reach a height of one meter, but it usually doesn’t reach that.

Alocasia Cuprea

This Alocasia also has a unique color. The colors of the leaves seem to alternate between bronze, purple and yellow. This depends on the age of the leaf and the angle of light. At the same time, the deep veins have a darker color that gives an effect of shadow.

Alocasia Sanderiana

This Elephant ear plant is somewhat similar to the Alocasia Polly. It has the same dark leaves on which the white veins stand out beautifully. The big difference is the edges. These are not jagged here, but straight.

Alocasia Azlanii

This Dwarf Alocasia is very dark, almost black. Unfortunately you will hardly find this species in our garden centers. If you find one, buy it immediately because it is rare! Continue reading about Alocasia Azlanii.

Alocasia Variegated

Actually this is not a specific Alocasia species. It’s all about the colors on the leaf. Variegated means varied and is also called “variegated leaf”. Many species can have this. For example, below you can see the Alocasia Macrorrhizos “Variegated”. Continue reading about the Alocasia Variegated.

Buy Alocasia?

You’ve decided: you want to buy an Alocasia. But where is the best place to do that? Online there are many suppliers of these popular houseplants. We are currently working with the website Bol.com. On this website other online stores offer their products, including many houseplants. This way you don’t have to compare all kinds of websites, but find everything in one place.

Is Alocasia poisonous?

Unfortunately, an Alocasia is poisonous. Maybe you have broken a stem (by accident or with pruning), and you have seen that it contains a whitish juice. This sap is very irritating to the esophagus when ingested and can also burn on the skin. So it is a good idea not to put these plants down if you have small children, cats or dogs. Even better is to choose a houseplant that is not poisonous. Think of a Pancake plant or an Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea).

It is a bit odd to mention, then, that stems of these plants are sometimes eaten in parts of Asia. Those who do this prepare these stems in a special way and know what they are doing. Our advice: an Alocasia is there purely for decoration!

Can you take cuttings from an Alocasia?

This is certainly possible. It should be noted that it is not an easy plant to take cuttings. However, with the right approach it should work. We have a page about it where you can find a step-by-step plan. Continue reading about Alocasia cuttings.

Alocasia Elephant ear hangs limp

If Elephant ear has drooping leaves, it means the plant is thirsty. Check this again before watering. Stick your finger into the soil. Is there no soil sticking to it? Then the soil is dry and you have to water. Give small amounts of water every hour until you see that the leaves are standing straight again.

Can an Alocasia flower?

Yes, if you are really lucky you will see your Alocasia bloom. This happens very rarely because the conditions in our country are not as perfect as the natural growth environment. You can also see from the flowers that the Alocasia belongs to the Arum family. The flowers are similar in structure. Below in the picture you see such a flower.

The leaf turns yellow

Yellow leaves do not need to be a reason for panic. It is normal for the old leaves to be shed at some point. Because the new leaves are larger, and the older leaves fall off, the plant will eventually become larger. These older leaves often turn yellow first and fall off.

However, if many leaves turn yellow at once, it is a problem. The cause of this is usually in excessively boggy soil. Boggy soil is caused by giving too much water and not being able to remove this excess from the pot. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and check if the soil is indeed boggy. If it is very bad, you should replace the entire soil. After that, make sure you have a drainage hole in the pot to avoid this problem in the future.

The Alocasia leaks water / drops on the leaf

If you have never seen drips on the leaf of a plant, it may look a little strange. Fortunately, we can mention that this is not a problem at all. These drops are the result of a process called “Guttation”. A number of tropical plants, including the Alocasia, but also the Banana plant and the Homalomena, do this.

The normal process of plants is to absorb water through the roots and evaporate through the leaves. At night, no moisture can be evaporated through the leaves, so some plants have come up with a different solution for that. So, through some sort of pores, the water comes out through the leaves.Some would describe this process as a “crying Alocasia,” but it is not harmful and the droplets are not toxic either.

Is this an air-purifying plant?

Ultimately, all plants create healthier air in your home. The Alocasia does this too, but there are plants that do this better/more. If you are really looking for an air purifying plant you might consider the Grass Lily or the Calathea, for example.

The Elephant ear plant has brown spots

When you have brown spots on the leaves, there are two things that could be going on:

  • The brown spots are a reaction to too bright direct sunlight. This can happen if your plant is behind glass and sees a lot of the hot afternoon sun. If so, move the plant water farther away from the window.
  • If it is more the edges of the leaf that are turning brown, it is a case of too low humidity. This dry air causes the damage. Mist the leaves daily with a plant sprayer. This should prevent the problem in the future.

FAQ

Can this plant go in the garden?

Actually, no. These plants naturally grow in very warm areas. You often see that in our living rooms they do not grow nearly as big as they could. If you really want to, you could look at the Alocasia Macrorrhizos. This species is very strong and can be placed outside in the summer. It is important to winterize it indoors, because it absolutely cannot withstand frost.

There are flies in the earth

These are mourning flies. They like to live in moist soil. They can be irritating, but fortunately they are easy to control. Read more about mourning flies.

Elephant ear loses leaves

It is normal for the plant to lose a leaf now and then. These are normally the lower leaves. These lower leaves are the oldest on the plant and are shed as soon as there are enough new leaves in the middle. However, if you see a lot of leaf loss it is important to look closely at what is going wrong. This could be due to too low a temperature, draughts or a shortage of nutrition and water. Read about the right approach to care on this page and see if you need to improve anything.

The leaf curls

If the leaves curl, this is a signal that the air is too dry. Dry air is something this plant family does not tolerate well. You can do something about this in several ways. You need to make sure the leaves are wet. The simplest way is to spray the leaves with a plant sprayer. Another solution is to use a humidifier. This is something that many other houseplants, including the Strelitzia, can benefit from.

Summary

Botanical nameAlocasia
Also known asOlifantoor
Light requirementsLots of light needed
Water requirementsKeep soil a little moist
OriginTropical Asian regions
Toxic?The juice is toxic

 

Is Alocasia easy to care for?

Alocasia are semi-demanding plants that grow well in indirect light with temperatures of 60°F to 80°F and 60-70% humidity. Water once per week during the warm months and once every few weeks during the winter. During active growth, fertilize once per month. They are not hard to grow.

Can Alocasia survive without sunlight?

Alocasias need bright, but indirect light. This is due to the plant’s natural habitat, on the forest floor beneath the tree canopy. Direct sun will cause the leaves to burn, so avoid placing your Alocasia in a spot where it’ll be exposed to direct sun for a prolonged period.Mar 10, 2020

Is Alocasia good for indoors?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Can Alocasia be kept indoor?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Where should Alocasia be placed indoors?

Alocasia houseplants thrive when they receive lots of humidity which makes sense given their subtropical origins. Placing the houseplant in an area with high humidity is ideal. If you live in a drier climate or just don’t have an area with enough humidity, then consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.

Alocasia (Elephant ear) - Care & Buy - myPlant

Alocasia growth habit

Alocasia growth habit

As an indoor plant, an Alocasia will never grow this high. The circumstances are simply not sufficient. Yet as a houseplant they can still grow quickly. In the summer months you sometimes see a new leaf every week! Below in the picture you can see how such a new leaf unfolds. If the plant is doing well, each new leaf can be twice as big as the previous one. In this way your Elephant Ear grows rapidly in height.

In the autumn this growth stops and the plant goes dormant. You will have to make do with the current number of leaves all autumn and winter. Of course, you still have to take care of the plant. Once the days get longer again the plant will resume growth.

The shape of the leaf varies per species. Some species have slender leaves with a point, other species again rather heart-shaped. Often the leaves are thick and have veins that are clearly visible. Details about the different species can be found further down this page.

Alocasia care

Habitat and light

The first step in the care of your plant is choosing the right location. The location determines the amount and type of light the plant receives. Light is very important for good growth. Too little light is not good, everyone can imagine that. But did you know that too much light can also be harmful for your Alocasia? So what is the right amount of light?

This plant needs a lot of light, but watch out for direct sunlight. Direct sunlight on the leaves can cause brown or black spots, this is called leaf burn. So put your plant in an east or north-facing windowsill. There is plenty of light there, but little direct sunlight. Do you choose a window facing west or south? Then place the plant a little away from the window. Then the sun’s rays do not touch the leaves. Incidentally, the Alocasia Zebrina can tolerate a bit more direct sunlight than other species.

Lots of light is important for healthy growth and for maintaining color. For example, for the Alocasia Polly this is important to keep the beautiful dark colors on the leaves. With too little light these colors will fade.

You will notice that your plant grows towards the light. The leaves will be facing the window. This is not a sign that the plant should be moved closer to the window, unless they are really growing at an angle (almost horizontal). You can turn your plant a quarter turn weekly to let it grow nice and symmetrical.=> Prefer something smaller? Then take a look at the Peperomia or the Fittonia.

Watering the Elephant Ear

These plants like a good amount of water, much more than the average houseplant. They consume a fair amount of water, but there is a fine line between the desired amount and too much. Watering is therefore a tricky part of caring for your Alocasia, but with the right approach you should be fine.

The basic principle: never let the potting soil dry out completely, but never leave it too soggy either. It’s a matter of relying on the needs of the plant. A simple test is to stick your finger in the potting soil. If soil sticks to it, the soil is wet and you are not watering yet. If no soil sticks to your finger, the soil is dry and you can give water.How often you water depends on several factors. In the summer this will sometimes be several times a week. While in winter this is often only once a week or two weeks.

It is a matter of trying out what the best frequency and amount is for your Alocasia. Rather start with a little too little and then build up. You will get signals from the plant as feedback. Is the Alocasia hanging limp? Then it is thirsty!

Temperature

The temperature should not be too low for these plants. Preferably not below 15 degrees. This can happen in the winter, when a window is open. Then you can notice damage to the leaves. If it takes too long, an Alocasia can even die from this.Anyway, you must be careful with rapid temperature fluctuations. These can be caused by an open window, drafts, air conditioning or a heater that is on.

Humidity

These beautiful plants naturally grow in tropical areas with very high humidity. If you have ever been to a tropical rainforest you may remember that everything is always wet. This is due to the high humidity. An Alocasia therefore likes wet leaves

You can wet the leaves with a plant sprayer. Set it to mist mode and mist the leaves until they are completely wet. Some species really need this to stay beautiful, while others are more tolerant of drier air. Either way, it’s good to do this daily. By constantly wetting the leaves, dust doesn’t stay on them as easily and critters don’t get a chance to settle. While spraying, include other tropical plants, such as the Philodendron, in the routine.

Because of the high humidity, and heat, the bathroom can be a good place for your Alocasia. Just make sure there is enough light. Bathrooms sometimes have only a small window, which can still make this space not a good choice for this plant.

Nutrition

Some of these species are very large, others small. What the whole plant family has in common: they can grow very fast. Therefore, the need for nutrition is great. During the growing season you can apply some liquid plant food every week. Be careful because plant food is often very concentrated. Read the instructions on the packaging about how to dilute it. A surplus of nutrition in the pot can cause damage to the roots.

So, top up nutrition during the growing season, but when is this? That differs a bit per plant. You can see it because the plant starts to make new leaves. This usually happens when the days get longer. In the winter you see hardly any growth (sometimes even nothing at all), then you do not need to supplement.

Pruning

An Alocasia produces new leaves that are always larger than the previous ones. Eventually the plant sheds its older, smaller leaves. This method of growth ensures that the plant “prunes” itself. You can give the process a helping hand, by the way. Leaves that are beginning to die can be pruned off. This way you do not have to wait and the energy of the plant can go to the new leaves.

Prune this leaf as close to the base of the plant as possible. Always use sharp and clean scissors. Although the leaf is dying, there may still be sap in it. This sap can irritate the skin. So it is smart to wear gloves.

Potting soil

An Alocasia has no special requirements regarding the type of potting soil. You can use a normal potting soil for houseplants. It retains a reasonable amount of moisture and is rich in nutrients.

Pot and repotting

An Alocasia can be a bit tighter in its pot. You will notice when it is time to repot. You can see the roots growing out of the drainage hole in the pot. Always choose a pot that is a few centimeters larger than the previous one. Never immediately much roomier. Also, there should always be a hole at the bottom of the pot for drainage. When repotting, place a layer of hydro grains at the bottom of the pot and use fresh potting soil.

Alocasia growth habit

Alocasia species

In the wild, there are dozens of lower cultivars of the Alocasia. A large number of them are available in our garden centers. Unfortunately, not all are equally good. For example, many Elephant Ear species are very rare. These are real collectors items. Below is a list of the most common types. Some of them are popular, some are less well known. All are equally unique.

Alocasia Zebrina

Of all the types of Elephant Ear plants, this is by far the most popular. The Alocasia Zebrina can be found in many living rooms. It is a real diva to take care of, but you get a lot in return. The nickname comes from the stems, which are reminiscent of the pattern of a zebra

Alocasia Black Velvet

This is a dwarf galocasia and usually grows no higher than 15 centimeters. The color of the leaves varies between dark green and deep black. The leaves have a velvety texture, hence the name. Continue reading about the Alocasia Black Velvet?

Alocasia Polly

Officially this is the Alocasia Amazonica, but this variety is mostly known as Alocasia Polly. Another well-known nickname is Skeleton Plant. This nickname is based on the distinctive white veins against the dark leaves. These leaves are dark green, but can sometimes be black.

Alocasia frydek

The Alocasia Frydek is somewhat of a combination of the previously mentioned varieties. The leaves are reminiscent of those of the Polly, but without the serrations. The velvety layer is again reminiscent of that of the Black Velvet. All this together makes it a unique plant. The shape of the leaf also makes you understand the nickname Elephant Ear.

Alocasia Cucullata

The Alocasia Cucullata is completely fresh green in color and has heart-shaped leaves that end in a narrow point. The leaves are shiny which gives the plant a luxurious look.

Alocasia Macrorrhiza

The Alocasia Macrorrhiza is one of the larger Alocasia species. In their natural habitats these plants reach an impressive height. Also as a potted houseplant they can become very large. They are often used in homes or office buildings with high ceilings.

Alocasia Silver Dragon

Are you looking for a unique houseplant that stays small? Then the Alocasia Silver Dragon is for you. This dwarf galocasia has beautiful, silvery leaves. Deep, dark veins run across them. This species is somewhat reminiscent of the Alocasia Black Velvet.

Alocasia Pink Dragon

After the Silver Dragon we get the Pink Dragon. In this case the name was not given because of the color of the leaves. The Alocasia Pink Dragon was given this name because of the color of the stems. As you can see in the picture below, they are pink in color.

Alocasia Stingray

Why this Alocasia species has the nickname Stingray, becomes clear when you know what a stingray is. In English, this is called an arrowtooth ray. This fish has exactly the same shapes as the leaves of this Alocasia!

Alocasia Lauterbachiana

Actually, this Elephant Ear is a bit of an exception to the rest. The leaf is oblong and almost entirely green. Only the veins are a slightly lighter shade. Continue reading about the Alocasia Lauterbachiana.

Alocasia Red Secret

If you are looking for a really special plant, then this Alocasia Red Secret is for you. The leaves are burgundy shiny in the light. This species can reach a height of one meter, but it usually doesn’t reach that.

Alocasia Cuprea

This Alocasia also has a unique color. The colors of the leaves seem to alternate between bronze, purple and yellow. This depends on the age of the leaf and the angle of light. At the same time, the deep veins have a darker color that gives an effect of shadow.

Alocasia Sanderiana

This Elephant ear plant is somewhat similar to the Alocasia Polly. It has the same dark leaves on which the white veins stand out beautifully. The big difference is the edges. These are not jagged here, but straight.

Alocasia Azlanii

This Dwarf Alocasia is very dark, almost black. Unfortunately you will hardly find this species in our garden centers. If you find one, buy it immediately because it is rare! Continue reading about Alocasia Azlanii.

Alocasia Variegated

Actually this is not a specific Alocasia species. It’s all about the colors on the leaf. Variegated means varied and is also called “variegated leaf”. Many species can have this. For example, below you can see the Alocasia Macrorrhizos “Variegated”. Continue reading about the Alocasia Variegated.

Buy Alocasia?

You’ve decided: you want to buy an Alocasia. But where is the best place to do that? Online there are many suppliers of these popular houseplants. We are currently working with the website Bol.com. On this website other online stores offer their products, including many houseplants. This way you don’t have to compare all kinds of websites, but find everything in one place.

Is Alocasia poisonous?

Unfortunately, an Alocasia is poisonous. Maybe you have broken a stem (by accident or with pruning), and you have seen that it contains a whitish juice. This sap is very irritating to the esophagus when ingested and can also burn on the skin. So it is a good idea not to put these plants down if you have small children, cats or dogs. Even better is to choose a houseplant that is not poisonous. Think of a Pancake plant or an Elephant’s Foot (Beaucarnea).

It is a bit odd to mention, then, that stems of these plants are sometimes eaten in parts of Asia. Those who do this prepare these stems in a special way and know what they are doing. Our advice: an Alocasia is there purely for decoration!

Can you take cuttings from an Alocasia?

This is certainly possible. It should be noted that it is not an easy plant to take cuttings. However, with the right approach it should work. We have a page about it where you can find a step-by-step plan. Continue reading about Alocasia cuttings.

Alocasia Elephant ear hangs limp

If Elephant ear has drooping leaves, it means the plant is thirsty. Check this again before watering. Stick your finger into the soil. Is there no soil sticking to it? Then the soil is dry and you have to water. Give small amounts of water every hour until you see that the leaves are standing straight again.

Can an Alocasia flower?

Yes, if you are really lucky you will see your Alocasia bloom. This happens very rarely because the conditions in our country are not as perfect as the natural growth environment. You can also see from the flowers that the Alocasia belongs to the Arum family. The flowers are similar in structure. Below in the picture you see such a flower.

The leaf turns yellow

Yellow leaves do not need to be a reason for panic. It is normal for the old leaves to be shed at some point. Because the new leaves are larger, and the older leaves fall off, the plant will eventually become larger. These older leaves often turn yellow first and fall off.

However, if many leaves turn yellow at once, it is a problem. The cause of this is usually in excessively boggy soil. Boggy soil is caused by giving too much water and not being able to remove this excess from the pot. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and check if the soil is indeed boggy. If it is very bad, you should replace the entire soil. After that, make sure you have a drainage hole in the pot to avoid this problem in the future.

The Alocasia leaks water / drops on the leaf

If you have never seen drips on the leaf of a plant, it may look a little strange. Fortunately, we can mention that this is not a problem at all. These drops are the result of a process called “Guttation”. A number of tropical plants, including the Alocasia, but also the Banana plant and the Homalomena, do this.

The normal process of plants is to absorb water through the roots and evaporate through the leaves. At night, no moisture can be evaporated through the leaves, so some plants have come up with a different solution for that. So, through some sort of pores, the water comes out through the leaves.Some would describe this process as a “crying Alocasia,” but it is not harmful and the droplets are not toxic either.

Is this an air-purifying plant?

Ultimately, all plants create healthier air in your home. The Alocasia does this too, but there are plants that do this better/more. If you are really looking for an air purifying plant you might consider the Grass Lily or the Calathea, for example.

The Elephant ear plant has brown spots

When you have brown spots on the leaves, there are two things that could be going on:

  • The brown spots are a reaction to too bright direct sunlight. This can happen if your plant is behind glass and sees a lot of the hot afternoon sun. If so, move the plant water farther away from the window.
  • If it is more the edges of the leaf that are turning brown, it is a case of too low humidity. This dry air causes the damage. Mist the leaves daily with a plant sprayer. This should prevent the problem in the future.

FAQ

Can this plant go in the garden?

Actually, no. These plants naturally grow in very warm areas. You often see that in our living rooms they do not grow nearly as big as they could. If you really want to, you could look at the Alocasia Macrorrhizos. This species is very strong and can be placed outside in the summer. It is important to winterize it indoors, because it absolutely cannot withstand frost.

There are flies in the earth

These are mourning flies. They like to live in moist soil. They can be irritating, but fortunately they are easy to control. Read more about mourning flies.

Elephant ear loses leaves

It is normal for the plant to lose a leaf now and then. These are normally the lower leaves. These lower leaves are the oldest on the plant and are shed as soon as there are enough new leaves in the middle. However, if you see a lot of leaf loss it is important to look closely at what is going wrong. This could be due to too low a temperature, draughts or a shortage of nutrition and water. Read about the right approach to care on this page and see if you need to improve anything.

The leaf curls

If the leaves curl, this is a signal that the air is too dry. Dry air is something this plant family does not tolerate well. You can do something about this in several ways. You need to make sure the leaves are wet. The simplest way is to spray the leaves with a plant sprayer. Another solution is to use a humidifier. This is something that many other houseplants, including the Strelitzia, can benefit from.

 

Alocasia growth habit

Is Alocasia easy to care for?

Alocasia are semi-demanding plants that grow well in indirect light with temperatures of 60°F to 80°F and 60-70% humidity. Water once per week during the warm months and once every few weeks during the winter. During active growth, fertilize once per month. They are not hard to grow.

Can Alocasia survive without sunlight?

Alocasias need bright, but indirect light. This is due to the plant’s natural habitat, on the forest floor beneath the tree canopy. Direct sun will cause the leaves to burn, so avoid placing your Alocasia in a spot where it’ll be exposed to direct sun for a prolonged period.Mar 10, 2020

Is Alocasia good for indoors?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Can Alocasia be kept indoor?

Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly.Jul 3, 2021

Where should Alocasia be placed indoors?

Alocasia houseplants thrive when they receive lots of humidity which makes sense given their subtropical origins. Placing the houseplant in an area with high humidity is ideal. If you live in a drier climate or just don’t have enough humidity, then consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.

Admin and IT consultant and blogger, I love my Greenhouse and Indoor Plants