Alocasia plants or ‘elephants ear plants’
Alocasia or ‘elephant ear plants’ are fantastic foliage plants with huge leaves up to 1m long. Alocasia macrorrhizos is known as the giant taro, giant elephant ear or upright elephant ear and is a popular species. Alocasia x Amazonica ‘Poly’ is pictured right.
They do differ from the close relative Colocasia, mainly in the direction the leaf faces, which is upwards, Colocasia leaves generally face downwards.
Plant Care and Growing Hints
- Alocasia pefer some protection from direct sunlight this is a plant that grows well in a part shaded but light position.
- A warm climate and a well drained potting mix is best. All species are really a tropical plant that require warmth and humidity throughout the year. All varieties do well as potted plants indoors.
- Watering – Water regularly, usually once a week during the growth period, spring through summer. Always allow the soil to dry a little between waterings and never allow the plant to sit in saucers of water.
- Fertilizer – Use a liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks from spring through summer. Cut back on fertilizer during winter months.
- Toxicity – Like many plants Alocasia are toxic to cats and dogs as well as humans if eaten.
- Improving humidity – Fill a saucer with pebbles and then with water. Sit the pot on top of the pebbles, raised above the water. Mist spraying is a short term fix for humidity best used sparingly and then during hot dry periods.
- Yellow Leaves – Usually due to overwatering, or excessive exposure to light. Yellow leaves can also be caused by over fertilizing.
- Drooping Leaves – Again caused by overwatering and root rot. Also caused by under watering (wilting)
Species and varieties
- A. macrorrhiza var. brisbanensis is native to the coastal rain forests of QLD and NSW . Valued in landscaping for its large glossy green heart shaped foliage. This is an understory plant and grows well in moist dappled shade, reaching around 1m – 1.5m with small white scented flowers.
- A. wentii is regarded as a cold hardy species and more suited to southern states, large green leaves shaped like an elongated heart or arrow head are green on the top and a bronze / purple underneath. It will go dormant when the temperatures drop, and does require a moist but free draining soil.
- Alocasia x Amazonica is the ‘African Mask plant’ and has deeply veined foliage, dark with pale green, this one does require warmer climates and is usually ‘indoors only’ in cooler areas.
- A. Moroco – Deep green foliage with silvery markings, the reverse is a deep maroon, stems are an attractive deep red.
- Alocasia cucullata with its dark green to grey foliage and large broad lance shaped leaves that point upwards grows well in part shade in warmer climates and also indoors.
- A. Green Velvet – Large arrowhead shaded leaves, heavily veined with white and also know as A. micholitziana ‘Frydek’
- Alocasia sarawakensis – This is an interesting variety with darker foliage than most. Alocasia sarawakensis has leaves can be 1m deep green on the upper surface and and dark chocolate brown to red underside, the stems are a similar colour to the underside. Also known as the giant taro.
A range of Alocasia are available for sale from the following nurseries
Indoor Plant specialists for Melbourne. - Ph : 0435 677 428
"Indoor potted house plants & plant gifts delivered throughout Melbourne.
Delivering quality indoor plants with convenience every time. Easy online plant purchasing, gift wrapping and delivery Melbourne."
Australia's finest bamboo display gardens. Non-invasive clumping varieties at competitive prices for screens, windbreaks, garden ornamentals, timber and shoots. Small suburban garden right up to the commercial growers. Can ship to anywhere in Australia. Hervey Bay, QLD. OPEN 7 DAYS
685 Mickleham Rd, GreenVale,Vic 3059
Grass trees, palms, ferns, bromeliads, cycads, cordylines, yucca, bannanas, birds of paradise, succulents, dracaenas, ponytails, for all gardens sizes from small to large landscaped gardens. Advanced Date Palms available.
PO BOX 150 El Arish Qld 4855
Largest online selection of tropical exotic plants in Australia. Heliconias, gingers, cordylines and brugmansias. Retail center open by appointment only.