Growing Alocasia (Elephant's Ear, Asian Taro)

Latin Name Pronunciation: al-oh-kay'-shah

Add drama to the summer garden with tropicals. Alocasia is a tender perennial (hardy to Z9-10) that will contribute size and an unexpected visual jolt to any mixed planting. Use it in a container or in a border, and you'll be surprised how effectively its oversize foliage changes the entire look and feel of the space. Large, arrow-shaped leaves come in a variety of green hues overlaid with splotches of black, purple, or aged copper.

Light/Watering: Grow in partial shade with average to ample water. If gradually introduced to sunny locations, they will adapt to more light. Don't let plants dry out between waterings. 

Fertilizer/Soil: Plant in a humus-rich soil that is moist but well drained, 4-6ft apart. Alocasia enjoys high humidity and higher temperatures.

Pests and Diseases: Not many problems, but Alocasia is sometimes bothered by mealy bug and scale with bacterial fungus occasionally affecting the leaves.

Companions: Plant among Coleus, Plectranthus, Begonias or other annuals and perennials for partial shade.

End of Season Care: Outside of zones 9-10, Alocasia needs to be lifted and stored for the winter. The tubers can be dug and stored in a frost-free environment until the following spring. Just cut the foliage back after the first frost, clean off the soil, and store the tuber in a wooden crate or plastic tub, covered completely with lightly moistened peat moss or sand. If you have more than one variety, label each tuber. Store at a cool temperature (40-50°F).

You can also continue to grow Alocasia as a houseplant. Bring it indoors prior to temperatures dropping below 60°F and place it in a warm room with indirect light. Cut back on watering during the winter.

Late Spring: When night temperatures are above 60°F, transfer indoor plants outside for the summer season.

 

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