The Secrets to Keeping your Alocasia’s Happy
Alocasia’s, the diva’s of the aroid world. Or are they? These plant’s which have travelled from subtropical Asia and eastern Australian forests to plant enthusiast homes are easier to look after than you think. Below I will spill all of my tips and tricks to keeping your alocasia’s happy.
First of all you’ve got to give them some time to adjust to your home. Your Alocasia will feel the same way you do after stepping off of a plane into a warmer country than the one you left, they’re going to need some time to get used to the conditions of your home. They can also look a bit droopy after being shipped but this isn’t a problem, I recommend giving them some extra light for the first 48 hours to help them stand up again. After they’ve adjusted to your home they’ll start growing and you can sit back and enjoy watching them unfurling their new leaves. What you may not be aware of is that it’s common for Alocasia’s to drop their eldest leaf while pushing out this new growth.
So if you see a yellowing leaf don’t panic! It’s a natural process the plant goes through, I’m sure a biologist out there can tell you why this is but I’m just here to reassure you that it’s not a problem. Although, you should always check yellowing leaves just in case there’s an alternative problem such as pests.
While we’re on the subject of pests I should mention that spider mites love to snack on Alocasia’s leaves as much as I like snacking on dominos pizzas and trust me I’m a big dominos fan. They’re not the only houseplant pest that are attracted to alocasia’s but they are the most common. My biggest piece of advice is to raise your humidity with a humidifier as spider mites prefer their snacks to be surrounded by dry air. So by upping your humidity you’re not only keeping your plant happy but also preventing a spider mite from wondering near your plant, if you were to find a pest on your plant then it’s nothing to panic about as there’s multiple ways to get rid of them. You can also raise your humidity with pebble trays or by placing it near other houseplant’s however I urge you to avoid misting these plants. It seems through my experience that Alocasia’s are particularly vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infections which can be caused by water droplets sitting on the leaves for long periods of time. If you get the leaves wet while watering your plant then that isn’t something to panic about, it’s only a worry if you’re routinely misting them.
I’m sure you’ll be fully aware that Alocasia’s like most plants will only need watering once a week in summer and even less than that in winter. That’s extremely good knowledge to have but it won’t help you decide which day of the week to water your plant on. A good way of telling when your plant needs a drink is by sticking your finger into the soil and if your finger comes out clean then the plant is thirsty, but if your finger comes out with wet soil stuck to it then leave it alone, it’s still soaking up the water you gave it last week! I usually put my alocasia’s into terracotta pots to reduce the chance of me overwatering mine as the terracotta will soak up the excess water. Although you may prefer to water your plants with tap water I recommend using filtered water or rainwater to water your Alocasia’s. I admit that Alocasia’s can be divas when it comes to the water you give them as high / low PH levels can cause them to abandon their eldest leaf during a tantrum.
Finally, when choosing a location for your Alocasia I urge you to keep the following in mind. Radiators can help keep your plant warm and toasty in winter however, the closer they are to a radiator the drier the air around them will be, keeping them 3-4ft away from them Is ideal. Although Alocasia’s like bright light they’re no sunbathers and direct sun can burn their leaves, unfortunately no one has invented plant sunscreen yet so it’s best to place them in a spot with bright, indirect light. If your windows are extremely sunny then you can use privacy nets to turn the direct light into indirect light
You see, they’re no more a diva than the rest of your aroids! You’ve got this plant parents.