Alocasia not doing so well, have questions, please help....

giggles00May 16, 2010

Hi, I bought a Alocasia about a month ago from a big dept store, and it has not been doing well. When I purchased it the soil was very dry, and it was peat moss entirely. Through looking at the websites, they recommended I replant into a soil mix, so I did, adding more perlite. I did not remove all the peat moss from the root ball though, since I did not want to damage it. When I checked the roots, they were not well, some were mushy. I removed those that I could. I have been careful with watering it, until it dry, so about 8-10 days or some between waterings, since I want to allow the roots to get better. But i dont think its working. The yellowing of the leaves stopped, but now the stems of the plant are shrinking, so instead of being nice and plump and are getting wrinkled, like they are loosing too much water. But the soil is still moist. Not sure what I should do. Should I try repotting again? Any help appreciated. I wanted to include pictures, but dont know how to add them to the site. Thanks.

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cmwren(Mid-Atlantic Coast, z7)

To the best of my limited knowledge, alocasias are high (high) humidity lovers and fall into the "not a houseplant; only greenhouse or terrarium" category...?

Hopefully someone with alocasia experience can help!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 10:51AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If the soil is moist, but the plant is wilting...I'd assume that the roots are not functioning.
This is probably due to the root-rot that you described.

Incidentally, I just helped a friend re-pot a pair of Alocasias. I'll link to the Thread.

I recommended a bark-based mix, with perlite and peat moss. This is essentially the mix
known as the 5-1-1.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:15PM
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I've only heard of one person having success with these indoors outside of a greenhouse. Don't feel too bad about it ;)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:22PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Whoops! ;)
Forgot the link!

Here is a link that might be useful: Elephant Ear

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 2:26PM
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cmwren(Mid-Atlantic Coast, z7)

amccour wrote... "I've only heard of one person having success with these indoors outside of a greenhouse."

And yet they show up all the time at local retail stores, because they are gorgeous and just beg you to buy them. I should know, I fell for the ploy once.

What's the trick to keeping these beauties alive, Josh???

Here's hoping giggle's will pull through!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:42PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I've never heard that they're difficult...

My buddy has one, which he grows in the kitchen.
He lives at about 2300' elevation, and the plant sits in a window with western exposure.
We re-potted his plant in the bark-based mix because the old soil was looking terrible.
I can only assume it'll do even better!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:32PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

I kept an Alocasia Amazonica indoors last winter. The humidity was only 25-30%, but it did fine, even put out a couple new leaves. I think people tend to blame insufficient humidity for their plants' winter decline when the real problem is an overly water retentive soil. I grow mine in Al's gritty mix (equal parts fir bark, granite grit, and Turface). It's also in a shallow bowl shaped pot, so it dries out a lot faster than a standard pot full of peat based soil.

These may be tropical plants, but I've found that (when growing them indoors anyway) the real trick is ensuring they dry out quickly. I also grow mine in a south window where it gets a few hours of direct sun in the winter.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 8:14PM
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Weird question.

When I've seen these die around here -- and it's not just the one I owned. That was a few years ago. I'm talking about the ones I see in stores, mostly -- they're usually dying because the leaves are turning into orange mush. Which looks more fungal than humidity-related to me.

For the plant I personally had, overly water-retentive soil may have been the problem; however, the corms were fine and even sent up some new leaves during the summer.

Additionally, most of the alocasias I've seen with this leave rot problem I'm pretty sure were from the same supplier. Which does make me wander if there's something going on with whoever's growing them for the stores around here.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 9:45AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I too agree that these don't seem to have much chance in ordinary home settings. I too lost one badly a few years ago. Subsequently found out they seem to be semi-aquatic plants. Apparently growing them in bog conditions helps.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 6:10PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

Apparently growing them in bog conditions helps.

I don't know about outdoors, but that is the best way to kill them indoors. My first winter with this plant I used a big pot and a soil that took a couple weeks to dry out in winter. I got the same discolored, rotting leaves that others mention. This last winter I changed the pot and soil such that it dries out much more quickly. And I allow it to dry out pretty thoroughly before watering. I had no spots and several new leaves, so that was a definite improvement.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 6:53PM
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Mine was doing well, for a while that is, then it started to lose a few leaves to yellowing. Instead of keeping the soil moist like peace lilies, I decided to let the soil dry down much more closer to dry, BUT, not completely dried out yet.
It was also moved to a brighter location where it gets a little bit of direct sun and brighter indirect light. It's
now putting out a couple of brand new leaves that's I'm very happy about:0)
The pot is only about an inch bigger around then the root-ball. It's in reg potting soil with perlite and orchids bark chips added which makes for really good drainage.
Alocasia's will also grow happily in water like for instance, peace lilies and pothos.
If the roots are rotting, you will need to cut those bad ones off, leaving only healthy ones, and maybe use a better draining soil that won't stay suffocating wet for to long.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:58PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Thought I was losing my alocasia after the first summer I had it until I discovered it was going dormant. Kept it outside on a porch and didn't bring it in until temps dropped to about 40. Well, at about 45 F they start to shut down (and may take a year to fire up again). Fortunately mine put up a new leaf in a month. Still summer it on the porch and in an east window in the house in winter and water when dry-ish. Three years and counting.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2010 at 7:46PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Not an easy plant. I have it in a mixed pot for the patio.
I thought mine was dead but because it was in a pot with a begonia I did not dig it out. When I put the pot outside for the Summer it started to grow.

I kept the begonia moist all winter in a sunny window (as much sun as you can get in the winter in PA) next to the radiator. It was treated like my begonia since it is in the same pot. I have had it 3 years.

Conclusion: In my climate what works for me has been just give it as much sun as possible in the winter and keep it extremely warm.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:50PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Below is what I found and the websites with more info....

Even though some websites claim Alocasia Amazonica is difficult to grow, in fact it is easy. The trick is you must provide the plant the conditions it requires. This hybridized specimen will not do well as a "house plant" on the interior of a home unless it is receiving at least moderately bright light. You also cannot fail to water the plant on a regular basis. This is a hybrid of rain forest specimens and requires damp (not muddy) conditions to prosper. However, like many Alocasia sp., if planted out doors Alocasia Amazonica will often go dormant when the temperatures drop below 12.75C (55 degrees F) and you may not see it for some months until spring and warmer weather returns. In most cases the specimen will grow again once the temperatures rise and stabilize again. But the specimen will not tolerate a freeze! ... %20pc.html ... zonica.htm

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 5:21PM
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bobmark226(5 Woodstock, NY)

I'm a little puzzled by all the negatives about Alocasia Amazonica indoors, because I've had one thriving indoors for nearly five years! It was bought at a supermarket, it gets indirect diffused light in a large west window which has a roof overhang that virtually eliminates direct sun excepting late in the afternoon when the sun is low. It adds two or three new leaves each year,,,,did it already for this year, I hope maybe more to come? I keep it relatively moist and the only setback it ever had was when a nursery person told me to let it dry out, which turned out to be a bad idea because the bigger leaves crisped up on the edges.

And while I have a lot of houseplants, mostly ferns and begonias, I'm not exactly a houseplant whiz. But in this case, apparently I'm doing something right! :-)


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:19PM
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I have an alocasia cucullata that I bought at the dollar store of all places. At the time, it was in a tiny pot not much bigger than the corm, and had one leaf. I watered it every other day last summer, and by autumn two new leaves had appeared. I pretty much only watered it in winter when the stalks the leaves live on were no longer turgid. every day i'd give them the "bounce test", as I like to think of it. lift the leaf gently and see how it falls. when they were a wee bit floppy, a drink.

come spring, i repotted it into a larger pot, fresh potting mix, and water every couple days and fertilized with some dollar store 'foliage fertilizer' of unknown composition. after repotting, it shot out 4 new leaves, one of them freakin' huge.

So, i'm growing it indoors, and not having any trouble, despite the "this isn't going to live inside" camp. (shrug) I'm just lucky though.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 6:37AM
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I was just thinking of saying the same as Bob, I have had my alocasia over 2 yrs. Was purchased from Home Depot, I also keep mine moist , never put outside, my book says semi shady to shady, but I have it in a west window so it gets defused light,sometimes a little sun thru sheer curtains, it just loves this spot, getting new plants on the bottom which I will probably repot.
Sure is a beautiful plant, one of my favorites,
good luck with yours, everybody, Carol

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 11:12PM
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hookilau(long island NY)

While I realize this is an old thread, I was wondering how everyone's Alocasia is doing. I bought one recently, enamored by it's growing habit 8)

It's still in the original mix it was shipped to me in. Currently I'm planning on re-potting into the gritty mix for winter, I'm in zone 7a, LI, NY.

It's outside on my patio & it gets full afternoon sun from about 3pm to sundown, which is about 8pm during the summer. I just noticed a severe mealy bug infestation (thank you ebay ;/ seller). Too late, I already left + feedback, but whatevs. I peeled back the leaves & peered down the stalks where there was a large population. Shot it up with soapy water & I guess we'll see where it goes.

If it gets too bad, I guess I'll just cut off the stalks.

Anyhow, I was interested in hearing how everyone's indoor by winter, outdoor by summer container grown Alocasia is doing =)


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:55PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi Antoinette,

Generally folks will start a new thread rather than resume such an old one (more than 2 yrs.) but anyway. (I don't grow these, but have seen some over the yrs.)

I'd encourage you to post it again as a separate thread & particularly to check on the ID. This doesn't look like an Alocasia to me. I could be wrong, but it reminds me more of Anthurium or some kind of Philodendron. I'd wish for the rest of the group to see it & weigh in, I think they're likelier to do that on a new thread.

Looks pretty good, quite nice on the striped chaise, actually. Guess you'll see how it goes as you said, good luck.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:29PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Colocasia close enough? That's a full size carpet petunia bloom being used to get a feel for the size of the leaf. This is the first year for this plant, so I expect even larger leaves next year - the leaves this year are currently at their largest so far and running in the 45" range. It's from a "Thai Giant" start I got from a friend. The wind, you can see, is really hard on this plant - it needs more protection, and it's soo hard to keep up with this plants N needs. Itsa huge nitrogen hog!


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:12AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Second year for this plant in the same pot & soil. I actually over-wintered this plant in my attached but unheated garage. I was astounded that it made it through the winter. It too, needs a shot of N. I used to mix a healthy portion of high-N slow release lawn fertilizer (27-3-3 or something close) into the soil when I potted these plants, and it was very helpful. I didn't do that this year, but I'll go back to the practice next year.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:20AM
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I'd agree with Pirate Girl, it does look like an Anthurium (although not a philodendron).

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 8:06AM
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Hey all, I'm new to this board, though I am a big fan of this forum, having found it very useful and informative in the past. I'm from New York, my name's Tommy, and while I love plants of all kinds, my focus right now is on collecting Aroids. I also love succulents, especially those from South Africa, as well as cycads and caudicaforms, though I don't get enough light in my apartment to keep many, and I don't have enough room for many of the larger growing specimens. However, despite being an avid Aroid enthusiast, I'm no expert on Alocasias, nor do I have much experience with them, so hopefully someone who knows more than I do about this subject will chime in.

I just picked up my second Alocasia recently, and though it has bloomed twice since I got it, it's starting to show some signs of stress, and has a wilting leaf that will need to be removed which worries me, so I'm trying to read up on my new plant and I thought I'd share my insights. One of my biggest problems with plants is correctly identifying their problems, since my apartment is filled to the brim with houseplants, aquariums, ripariums, terrariums, and emersed bins with rare Aroids from Borneo.

Anyway, back to Alocasias. I think this genus is too broad to speak in generalities, and you really have to try and figure out what type of Alocasia you have first, as best you can, before you can determine its needs.

There's no doubt, Alocasias can be a tricky bunch, but imo they are well worth the effort, and to those that say they can't be grown as houseplants, well I say, it depends on which species of Alocasia you have! I mean some of them won't even fit indoors! (Unless you're rich and have an atrium or something like that...) When happy, they are, (again, imo), some of the most beautiful houseplants around. Although before purchasing one, I'd definitely suggest doing a little reading on the different types of so-called Elephant Ear and/or Taro plants, since there is a lot of confusion. These types of plants grow literally all around the world, back to back from the jungles of Brazil to Borneo. Alocasias can be easily confused with Colocasias, Xanthosomas, and even other members of the family Araceae. For instance, Antoinette, I believe the plant you have is what is known as a Homalomena 'Emerald Gem,' but again, speaking as an avid Aroid enthusiast, these plants can be very tricky to identify for a number of reasons which I will delve into.

There are several factors which make identifying Aroids especially tricky. First of all, there are literally thousands of Aroids that are not yet taxonimically described, with new varieties being discovered on a near daily basis. To further the difficulty with Aroids, they are usually taxonomically identified and described based on their inflorescence. However, if you take a look at the genus Bucephalandra, and/or Cryptocorne, you will see that many different varieties of the same "species," are endemic to a certain region or even a single stream, and their appearance can be drastically different. Not to mention the occasional hybridization that can occur naturally. And furthermore, based on their growing conditions, the same plant can appear like a totally different plant. This is especially the case with aquatic Aroids, which have immersed and emersed leaves. And that's not all, take for instance, a common Philodendron vine. You know, the kind with the "heart" shaped leaves you typically see. Well, in nature, they can grow larger and develop pinnate leaves!

Plus, botanists are constantly revising different genera of Araceae and re-naming plants, so a plant you might have bought under the name "X" may have since changed to "Y" and again to "Z" and so on and so forth.

And that's just dealing with plants grown in nature! Depending where your plant was purchased from, it was most likely grown in cultivation, such as the common Alocasia 'Polly.'

Now, if you look at the genus Aglaonema, another one of my favorites, (sidenote: these were some of the first plants grown as ornamental house plants, with records showing them being kept hundreds of years ago by the Chinese), there are new hybrids and cultivars created constantly, further adding to the confusion. And they also produce many different looking cultivars in Thailand, which tend to be very colorful and smaller, versus the larger greener ones being developed in Florida. Though to me, this shroud of mystery is part of the allure of Aroids, and is probably why I'm so obsessed with them. It's like Pokémon, gotta catch 'em all!

Bottom line, try and figure out what type of habitat your plant would grow in naturally, and try and mimic those conditions to the best of your abilities. In general, I have found Aroids to be very adaptable, and very forgiving, though I do not know if this is the case with Alocasias. Sorry for such a long post! If you made it this far, shoot me an e-mail or message and let me know what type of plants or Aroids you collect, and if you have any plants for sale or anything you could send my way, or even just something to look for, I'm always on the hunt for cool new plants. Unfortunately, my severe case of collectoritis has rendered me quite broke right now lol, oh well...

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:33PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi TrailMix & Welcome,

Am a bit confused, you say you're new here, but your Member Page says registered in June '13; guess maybe you've been at other Forums (like Aroids). Interesting, your Birthday is 2 days before mine.

Well anyway, just a caution & suggestion that you pls. read the Rules & Terms of Service, as the end of your post mentions SALE which is prohibited here.

If you go to the Exchange Page (at the top of many of these forums), that's the designated place for Swaps & Trades, sale or even the mention of money is prohibited. One needs to list what one wants & what one will trade for it or point folks to a trade list.

Personally, I don't try Alocasias anymore, am in an apartment, w/ dry heat & they didn't like my environment. But grow other Aroids including ZZs which I've grown from single leaves & enjoy doing.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:46PM
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