So you’ve bought your first rare plant to add to your collection - congratulations! You may have received some weird looks from your friends and family (“who spends that much $$$ on plants?!”), but they don’t understand the life-long investment of plant parenthood the way we do. Now that you are in possession of such sought after amigos, it is essential that you learn how to really give them what they need (and to save yourself from the collective eye rolls of other plant enthusiasts).
What are Alocasias?
Hailed from the tropics of Asia and Eastern Australia, Alocasia houseplants are famous for their unique and gorgeous foliage and textured leaves with distinctive, contrasted veining. This striking quality makes them something of a demanding presence - and will add charm to any corner of your home. Don’t be intimidated, though! They are actually very easy to care for (especially with the help of this blog)!
Yes, we said they would look good in every corner of your home. However, you do need to keep in mind that these amigos are tropical babies, and they thrive in bright, but indirect light and humid environments - so forget about placing by the window or near your A/C or heater! Your bright living room or office space would work great!
Alocasia plants love warmth (don’t we all), so the optimal temperature condition for them is between 60-80℉. During the winter months when temperatures drop below 60, they become dormant. But during the warmer months, alocasia plants grow rapidly and can produce a new (and bigger) leaf every week! Isn’t that something!
Before committing to a watering schedule, make sure to check your amigo’s soil first to see whether it is too moist. Before watering, allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry out and try to keep the soil evenly moist. You can check how dry your soil is with Peter the Moisture Meter! Keep in mind too, that alocasias are susceptible to root rot and fungal infections, so making sure that they have proper drainage is super important! We recommend that you keep these amigos in their nursery pots and place in a decorative pot so that water can drain right through.
Alocasias like their soil to be a little dry but at the same time, they LOVE humidity (we know, high maintenance *eye roll*, but they are beautiful so they get to be a little picky). To increase the humidity, you could also place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water or invest in a small humidifier to place near your amigo!
Spraying with warm soapy water every few weeks can help fight against spider mites and common houseplant pests. If your amigo is already infested, you should firstly isolate the plant from the rest of your collection (so quarantining is becoming a trend we hear!), rinse the leaves with soapy water and spray with a commercial insecticidal oil or Neem oil. Pests like spider mites thrive in dry conditions, so keep the environment humid to avoid the bugs and their eggs from coming back!
Spring and summer are the best time to fertilize houseplants, so you can start fertilizing every month from the start of Spring until Fall. In the winter, avoid fertilizing.
Still confused about how and when to fertilize? Learn about Fertilizing 101 here!
Now that you’ve been equipped with the knowledge of how to sustain alocasias - don’t you dare let the Prada's of the plant world down, and keep them healthy and thriving!