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The characteristics of alocasia
- Type: ornamental plant, tropical plant
- Height: up to 5m
- Flower color: white, green
- Exhibition: partially shaded
- Interview : moderate
- Type of soil: humus
- Foliage: persistent
Origins and characteristics of alocasia
The alocasia is part of the Araceae family, and includes around 70 varieties. The plant is native to Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, introduced to Madagascar). Among the most popular species areAlocasia sanderiana which is today an endangered species. In France, alocasia is often known by its nickname: elephant ears. It forms a sort of erect tuft from which rise long petioles terminated by thick and gigantic leaves inclined towards the outside.
In its original habitat, alocasia grows in tropical forests, in the shade of tall trees. In the wild, alocasia can reach imposing heights of 3 to 5m. In pots, it rarely exceeds 2m.
It is a plant that can live a very long time, if the growing conditions are adequate. It is however complicated to keep it for a long time in our interiors because it needs a tropical, fairly humid atmosphere. It is therefore ideal to install it in a greenhouse all year round or in a winter garden.
If you have children or pets, be careful: the sap of alocasia can cause skin reactions. Any part of the raw ingested plant can also cause stomach upset.
Native to tropical countries, alocasia needs heat all year round. The temperatures must be between 15 and 25 ° C (15 to 18 ° C in winter and 20 to 25 in summer). It can withstand a drop in temperature up to 10 ° C. It needs rich and draining soil, and requires a lot of moisture.
In most of our regions, it is recommended to grow it in a pot, on a veranda, in a greenhouse or in a winter garden. It will thus be able to find heat, humidity and light there, necessary for its growth. However, be sure to filter the sun's rays at the hottest hours of the day.
If you want to plant it in the ground, it is recommended to plant alocasia in the spring, when all risk of frost has passed. For an alocasia bought in a pot or a bucket, repot it immediately.
To plant alocasia, just follow a few tips:
- Use a large container for planting. Create a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot with clay balls or gravel.
- Prepare a rich mixture with 30% of a good commercial green plant or leaf mold, 20% decomposed manure, garden soil and sand in equal quantity, and a little perlite.
- In the ground, bring an organic amendment such as compost or decomposed manure.
Culture and maintenance of alocasia
The alocasia is a plant that has a constant need for humidity. To maintain high humidity, place the pot on a bed of clay balls or on a tray. This will keep the watering humidity.
Watering should be regular and generous, especially in summer. It is important never to let the root ball dry out, without soaking it.
Regularly spray the foliage with lukewarm, non-calcareous water. In winter, reduce watering and allow the substrate to dry before watering again.
Between the months of May and October, fertilize the plant once a month, with a low nitrogen fertilizer. In winter, stop applying fertilizer.
Diseases, pests and parasites
The sagging of the foliage can be caused by too moist soil or too cool temperature in winter. Weakened plants can be attacked by red spiders or mealybugs.
To fight against mealybugs, prepare a natural solution: 1 teaspoon of liquid black soap, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of alcohol or beer diluted in 1/2 l of water. For 3 to 4 days, spray this solution, then detach the mealybugs with a cloth or cotton.