How to care for an Alocasia (African Mask, Elephant's Ear)

The Alocasia plant family is simply beautiful. Alocasia's go by many different names such as Elehant's Ear, Giant Taro and African Mask plant. Pseudonyms aside, the entire family of plants has one thing in common: they all look stunning. All of them have giant leaves and some of them can grow up to a metre in size! WOW!

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  • Frequent
  • Once every two years
  • Bright, no direct sunlight
  • Toxic!
  • Occasionally in summer

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  • Het thuisland van de Alocasia is voornamelijk Borneo en omliggende gebieden in Zuid-Oost Azië. Hier wordt de plant zelfs gebruikt in gerechten, waarbij de wortel wordt gekookt en opgegeten. In de natuur wordt deze plant vaak gebruikt als een natuurlijke paraplu en kan je veel dieren en soms zelfs mensen eronder zien schuilen. Mocht je ooit last hebben van een plaatselijke regenbui binnenshuis weet je dus wat je te doen staat.
  • The Alocasia is not your most air purifying plant but the giant leaves certainly help. The more leafy surface a plant has, the better it is at purifying the air.
  • Be especially careful with pets and kids on this one. The Alocasia plant is known to cause serious diarrhea and vomiting. Some pets may even die as a result from eating leaves, stems or roots of Alocasia plants. The sap of an Alocasia can also give some light irritation to the skin. Be mindful of that when you're repotting yours or when cutting dead leaves. Keep your cuttings away from pets and children and dispose of them directly.
  • Alocasia's are native to tropical rainforests which means they like a more humid environment. We recommend to keep the soil slightly moist at all times. Of course that doesn't mean you should water every day but try to do so once a week. In winter you can even make do with a little less water. Oh and one more thing, keep your Alocasia away from areas that are typically low in humidity such as near heaters or fireplaces and mist the leaves about once a week if you can.
  • Alocasia's prefer a bright spot but don't need any direct sunlight. They will also do just fine in a bit of a darker spot but you will find your Alocasia growing towards the light. If that happens, twist the pot every now and then to prevent your Alo from leaning too much to one side. East- or West-facing windows are ideal but a South-facing window works too. Just keep your Alocasia away from direct sunlight.
  • You may provide some extra plant food in summer. Once every two weeks is more than enough. Don't add any in winter as your Alocasia is in hibernation mode!
  • Alocasia's can grow up to two metres tall. If you want yours that size you'll have to repot it about once every two years. Find a pot that's about 20% bigger to give it room to grow.
  • Alocasia's are known for how fast they grow their leaves and shed old ones. Old leaves turn brown first and will simply fall off. If you're not seeing any new leaf growth you are probably not giving enough water. Add some more water to your routine and put your Alocasia in a brighter spot to give it a boost.
  • Alocasia's are prone to getting spider mites when they are in low humidity environments. If yours contracts spider mite you can usually get rid of it by spraying some water on the leaves and stems. If it keeps happening you may want to put your Alocasia outside for a little bit. That usually does the trick. Make sure its not freezing!

Gosh this was great info. Want to keep it within arms reach?
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