Boasting some of the most striking foliage in the houseplant world, the Alocasia is an increasingly popular addition to indoor plant collections due to its unmatched visual and sculptural appeal. There are around 80 species of this distinctly veined stunner native to subtropical Asia and eastern Australia, and some specimens boast leaves that can grow up to almost three feet long!
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. This plant is not tolerant of lower light conditions though, so make sure the space you’re placing yours in feels very bright. Alocasias are native to — and grow best — in humid environments, so avoid placing yours near to an A/C or a heater if possible.
If you are unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office, read our guide for how to measure light in your space.
Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.
Here’s the thing about Alocasias: They like soil a little on the drier side, but require high humidity to prosper. Counter-intuitive, we know! For your plant’s optimal comfort, we recommend frequent mistings with a misting bottle. For watering, allow the top 2-3″ to dry between watering to ensure the plant isn’t sitting in soil that is too wet. During the winter, Alocasias will go through a dormancy period and will require less frequent waterings as the soil will take longer to dry. Alocasias can be susceptible to root rot and fungal infections if their soil doesn’t have proper drainage and becomes waterlogged, so we always advise potting these plants in a vessel with a drainage hole.
These plants grow best in a humid environment and humidity can also help combat some of the Alocasia’s most common pest, spider mites. Placing a pebble tray nearby is a good way to increase the humidity around the plant consistently, and frequent misting is encouraged too. When misting, try not to get the leaves too wet as sitting water can damage the leaves and weigh the stems down. Keep the plant away from the dry air that is emitted by heaters and air conditioners.
Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.
Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Alocasia and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.