Stingray Alocasia


Top Tips

  • Keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the top third to dry out in between waters. Avoid water-logging or extended periods of soggy-soil.
  • Mist the foliage or introduce a humidity tray whilst the heaters are operating.
  • Bright indirect light is best, avoiding exposure to the summer sun. An hour or two of winter sunlight is highly beneficial, though.
  • Fertilise fortnightly during the spring and summer and monthly for the rest of the year.
  • Keep an eye out for Spider Mite that'll form webs on the under-leafs of the plant.
  • Especially if its kept in a dark location, wash or dust the foliage monthly, to increase the light capturing efficiency.
  • Repot biannually, using Houseplant soil or a general purpose compost with some perlite. Introduce some grit for larger specimens, to strengthen their root system.

•Water - 🔸🔸

Allow around a third of the soil dry out in between irrigations during spring and summer, with monthly waters in the cooler months. Alocasia are usually situated in a well-draining medium, meaning that standing water could be an issue beneath the pot. Use tepid water if possible; many houseplants' root systems are super sensitive to temperature change, so don't get caught out by this as it could result in yellowing leaves. Under-watering symptoms include wilting, little to no growth and greying leaves - these issues are commonly down to too much light/heat, or forgetfulness. Alternatively, over-watering symptoms include rapidly yellowing lower leaves, wilting (root rot), brown spots on leaves, and a rotten stem. Do not situate an Alocasia in dark locations with much water as root rot and leaf spot disease will quickly arise. For more information on how to address this issue, hit the link below.

Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


•Humidity - 🔸🔸🔸

Alocasia originate from South East Asia, meaning high humidity is mandatory for quality growth. Mist both sides of the leaves once a week in summer and twice in winter; browning leaf-tips are a big sign that the surrounding air moisture is too low. A quick hose down once a month will hydrate the leaves, eliminate dust particles and help reduce numbers of pests, most notably spider mite.


•Location & Light - 🔸🔸

Although bright, indirect sun is ideal, throw in some morning or evening sun if possible. If it's situated in a shady location, dust the leaves from time to time to improve light-capturing efficiency. Never allow an Alocasia to sit in strong sunlight for extended periods, as too much light will result in a pale, washed out appearance with possible brown patches forming on the leaves. 


•Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Twice a month in the growing period and monthly in winter to replicate its dormancy period. Either use houseplant feed or a general plant fertiliser at half strength. Never apply 'ready to pour' feed without a quick drink of water beforehand as this will cause the roots to burn.




Common Issues with Alocasia

Regular irrigations are key. Periods of droughts will quickly slip the Alocasia back into its dormancy period, causing stunted growth and a bewildered plant owner. If it hasn't repotted in a while, there may be too many roots and not enough soil to retain moisture, thus leaving the soil to dry out quicker. Click on this link to learn more about a transplant.

Pest damage can also cause issues down the line. Spider mite and mealybugs tend to be the usual inhabitants; check the leaves' undersides and along the leaf's central archway (midrib) for possible colonies. Spider mite are minute, almost transparent critters that roam around the leaf faces in search of chlorophyll, whereas mealybugs are white and are quite noticeable after a while. Both have an 'HQ' for their colonies that must be destroyed in order to reduce the overall population. Click on this link for more information.

Dust the leaves regularly. Although this isn't too much of an issue, a build-up of dust particles can clog up the plant's pores, causing lowered light capturing-efficiency. Wipe the topside of the leaves down once a month to keep levels down and improve growing conditions.

Yellowing leaves - it's difficult to accurately pinpoint why this is happening as it could be due to many different reasons. If the lower leaves are yellowing in quick concession, it could be over-watering. Do not allow the soil to become soil or waterlogged; failure to do so will cause root rot and possible death. For severe cases, take the plant out of rot pot to examine for root rot - a transplant may have to be performed. The second reason why its leaves are yellowing could be due to either too much sunlight or not enough water. As mentioned above, under-watering can cause an Alocasia to slip into its dormancy period, but persistent droughts with direct sunlight will cause further damage in the likes of yellowing leaves, stunted growth and wilting.

Too low humidity can cause browning leaf tips with yellow halos. Although this won't kill the plant, increase humidity to prevent new growth adopting these symptoms. Either mist weekly while the heaters are on, or create your humidity tray.



Origins

Alocasia is a genus of around seventy species, originating from tropical locations forests in Southeastern Asia and northern Australia. Unfortunately, not much is known about the Stingray Alocasia; some botanists believe that it is an interspecific hybrid, with others leaning towards the idea of it being an artificial cultivar.

Temperature

10°C - 30°C   (50° - 86°F)
H1b - can be grown outdoors in summer in a sheltered location, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as this will burn the leaves. Regularly keep an eye out for pests.


Spread

Over 0.7m in height and 0.5m in width once they reach maturity. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 10 years to achieve.


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and all-round growing conditions. When removing dying flowers or leaves, use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases, and remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.


Propagation

Via seed or Corm Offset Division.

Corm Offset Division - Your plant will produce several basal offsets that can be separated once they have a sufficient root system, and surpass 25cm in height. If possible, water the soil 24hrs before the main event to reduce the risk of transplant shock, when its dry root systems are over-fingered. Take the plant out of its pot and place your fingers close to the nodal junction - soil may have to be removed for better access. Push the chosen offset downwards until you hear a snap. Separate the foliage and its root system away from the mother plant, mentally noting the high risk of damage. Transplant in the appropriate sized pot with a fresh batch of houseplant soil. Maintain evenly moist soil and situate it in a bright, indirect location away from any direct sunlight. After eight weeks, treat it like a normal specimen following the care tips above!


Flowers

As Alocasia is part of the Araceae family, their flowers aren't showy. Much like a Peace Lily's flower body, their flowers consist of a white or green spathe (the spoon-like shell) with the spadix being the site of pollination. Blooms can last up to five days and is usually visible during late spring or early summer around 30cm+ from the soil line.


Repotting

Repot every two years using Houseplant Compost and the next sized up pot. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant. 


Disease & Pests

Alocasia is susceptible to leaf-spot disease, botrytis & root or rhizome rot. Keep an eye out for aphids, spider mite, & mealybugs under the leaves, most notably along the midrib (central underside column). Click here for more information about how to identify and address any of these issues.


Toxicity

Members of the Araceae family typically contain poisonous calcium oxalate crystals, with Alocasia being no exception. Other members of this family include Philodendron, Zamioculcas (ZZ Plants) and Spathiphyllum (Peace Lilies). If eaten, vomiting, nausea with a loss of appetite could occur and consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly.


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