Collection: Alocasia

Alocasia is an ornamental plant grown for the large heart- or arrow-shaped foliage that resembles elephant ears, hence the common name. Also known as African mask plant, alocasia is most commonly grown indoors as a houseplant, though it can also be grown outside during warmer months in beds, borders and containers. Alocasia varieties occur in many different leaf colors, sizes and shapes. 

Native to tropical regions of the South Pacific, Asia and eastern Australia, these captivating tropical plants can reach 10 feet tall, though will remain smaller as an indoor houseplant. Alocasia grows from tubers or rhizomes and goes dormant in winter. Though alocasia can be somewhat finicky, it will thrive indoors when given the right growing conditions.


How to plant:  Plants prefer to be slightly pot bound. Wait to transplant until roots are visible in the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Repot in spring when plants begin putting on new growth. 

  1. Choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter and slightly deeper than the previous pot.
  2. Remove the plant from its current pot and check for any signs of root rot. Tease out roots if compacted and cut out any visibly rotted or damaged sections. Divide rhizomes as needed and plant extra rhizomes in separate containers.
  3. Place fresh potting soil in the bottom of the new pot.
  4. Set rhizomes in the pot at the same level as they were in the previous container.
  5. Add fresh potting medium around the sides of the root ball up to the base of the stem.
  6. Press down soil gently to remove air pockets and water well. Avoid fertilizing for the next 3 months. 

Light:  Alocasia plants grow natively under a dense rainforest canopy with bright shade or dappled sunlight. Place indoor plants in a location that receives bright indirect light such as a window with eastern or western exposure. Outdoors, grow in a spot that receives open shade. Avoid direct sun exposure to prevent leaf scorch. Alocasia light needs can be supplemented with artificial grow lights. 

Temperature:  Alocasia does best in temperatures between 60 to 85 degrees F. Don’t allow temperatures to drop below 60 degrees F. Keep plants away from cold drafts and heating vents, and avoid any sudden change in temperature.

Humidity:  Alocasia is accustomed to high humidity in its native habitat. Plants can be grown in a bathroom,  kitchen or other humid environments. To increase the humidity around the plant, use a room humidifier or place plants on a pebble tray filled with water. To prevent root rot, don’t allow the bottom of the pot to sit in water. 

Soil:  Grow in a well-draining potting mix that retains moisture. Use a potting mix specially formulated for alocasia, or a high-quality all-purpose potting mix with additional amendments to improve drainage such as orchid bark, perlite, peat moss, vermiculite or coco coir. 

Watering:  Keep alocasia soil evenly moist. Dry or soggy soil can cause plant stress. Water when the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil is dry to the touch. Allow water to flow into the pot until you see liquid coming out of the drainage hole. As plants are susceptible to root rot, discard any standing water in the saucer beneath the pot. Reduce alocasia watering in fall and winter when plants go dormant, keeping the soil slightly moist. Plants may be sensitive to tap water that contains excess minerals or chlorine. If plants develop spots on the leaves, switch to distilled water or allow tap water to stand for 24 hours before using. 

Fertilizing:  Feed once or twice a month during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer formulated for houseplants diluted to half strength, or use a slow-release fertilizer. 

Pruning:  Trim off any yellow, damaged or diseased leaves as needed. Wear gloves when pruning alocasia to avoid possible skin irritation. 

Additional care:  Alocasia plants will likely go dormant during winter months. Keep plants in a warm place and cease fertilizing. Reduce watering but don’t allow the container to completely dry out. Resume normal feeding and watering when plants begin to show new growth in spring.