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Alocasia Heterophylla

Corazon Aquino, Corozon, Metallic Blue

Table of Contents

Description

Alocasia Heterophylla is a truly gorgeous plant. The photos on this page do not do it justice. It sports large bluish-green leaves that have a sort of ruffled look to them. It would be a stunning addition to any collection.

Alocasia Heterophylla may be identified in its ability to grow many more leaves than most alocasias. Its leaves are also quite distinct. It has bluish-green leaves that are arrow-shaped and long. Its veins are on the underside of the leaf and create deep indents on the upper side of the leaf.

This plant seems relatively rare, but this writer suspects that it will soon grow in popularity and become more expensive and more available. At the moment, one can be purchased for around $60.

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Care Instructions

Care Level

Because this plant requires high humidity but also soil that isn’t too wet, this plant can be a little bit fussy.

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Temperature

Alocasias, like most Aroids, will survive in temperatures from 65 to 80 degrees. They are extremely sensitive to cold weather and will shrivel if below 65.

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Toxicity

Alocasias contain oxalate crystals which cause irritation to both animals and humans.

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Water

Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before watering.

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Fertilizer

Fertilize every four weeks with diluted houseplant fertilizer in the spring and summer. Alocasias call for a 20-10-20 NPK ratio.

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Sunlight

Alocasias naturally grow on the forest floor and cannot tolerate direct light. However, they will not grow without enough of it. A bright area that protects that plant from direct light is recommended.

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Propogation

Alocasias produce what are called “Tubers”. These tubers grow underneath the soil and eventually grow into their own plant. These plants can be separated and grown. The tubers can also be grown.

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Humidity

Alocasias benefit from high humidity. Misting will work somewhat, but a humidifier will really make the difference. They thrive especially well in greenhouses or terrariums with humidifiers.

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Soil

Well-draining soil is recommended for most Aroids, and Alocasias are not an exception. A mix of equal parts houseplant soil, perlite, and peat moss should do fine.

Read more about making your own potting medium here!

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Botany

Native Habitat: The native range of the Alocasia genus is vast, as it is hard to tell if they are not native but possibly invasive in certain areas. They are found in India, Southeast Asia, southern China, and the South Pacific Islands, and Eastern Australia, where they can be found in tropical rainforests and along streams and marshes. They are most commonly found in humid temperate climates with no dry season. This means that they are not accustomed to the very high temperature that other aroids may be, and they are able to survive a winter in most of the US. They will go dormant and return in the summer. In fact, from NY to Texas, they will find the same climate that exists in their native habitats. 

Life cycle: Alocasia multiply with tubers, rhizomes, or bulbs. These can either be grown in the same pot as the original plant and separated once established or removed during repotting and planted in a new pot. They also will grow blooms and eventually seeds if they are pollinated. 

Botanical Description

Habit: Alocasias are erect herbs.

Roots: Alocaisas have fibrous roots systems.

Stem: A. Heterophylla has a dark purple herbaceous and cylindrical stem. (Sometimes the stems are green) The stem is smooth and has modifications of rhizomes and tubers that allow the plant to create copies of itself as well as store resources.

Leaves: Alocasia Heterophylla has silvery green leaves that are smooth. The leaves are sagittate with acuteapexes and sagittate bases. Its venation is very dark and reticulate. The leaves have a petiolate attachment with entire margins. The leaf arrangement of Aclocasias are very interesting because the petioles seem to emerge from the ground without any stem. In fact, they are arranged on modified stems (tubers and rhizomes) underground.

General: These plants are closely related to Colocasia. These plants require you to rotate their pots frequently otherwise they will grow towards the window instead of up. 

Supplies We Recommend

Orchid Fertilizer
While this is called Orchid Fertilizer, it is suitable for Alocasias. Alocasias call for a 20-10-20 NPK ratio. 20-20-20 is also acceptable.

 

Noot Husky Potting Mix
This potting mix is ideal for Alocasias. We highly, highly recommend this product for almost all Aroids. This soil comes dehydrated so you will need to hydrate it, (it hydrates to 2 gallons of soil if used all at once). The good news is that it is very compact and easy to store until you hydrate it, so if you only use some at a time it will last forever, while also taking up very little space. We much prefer this over a 2-gallon bag of soil sitting in our garage that ends up drying out and needing to be re-hydrated anyway.

 

LECA Expanded Clay Pebbles
These clay pebbles are called LECA. They are a great option for low maintenance but a semi hydroponic system like this does incur a larger startup cost. These cannot be used with soil, regular pots, or regular fertilizer. They require hydroponic fertilizer, a slotted pot and cache pot. However, LECA pots are watered much more rarely than soil pots. LECA is also great because it keeps pests and infections at bay, makes root rot very unlikely, and you’ll never have to deal with water-logged soil again. Alocasia are great candidates for LECA as their main way of propagating does require you to feel around in the roots for tubers. LECA makes it possible to remove these tubers very easily and painlessly.

Slotted Clear Plastic Pot
These pots can be used with LECA. Fill this pot with LECA and place in a cache pot. This pack comes with multiple sizes so you can repot all of your plant collection.

 

Self Watering Pots
These pots are great because they come with the slotted pot and cache pot.

Where to Buy!

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