Houseplants Published: September 17, 2012 Reprinted: Last edits:
Of all the home flowers, my favorite is plants with large, juicy leaves of original colors. Unlike many women, I don't value flowers in plants as much as leaves.
When i saw Alocasia, I realized right away - I will definitely love this plant. And buying her, I hoped that she would love me if she felt my sympathy and care. Therefore, immediately after buying alocasia, I plunged into the study of the rules for caring for it, and then, already in the process of forming our relationship, adjustments were made to these rules.
Homeland of Alokazia
The main thing from the information I have learned about this plant is that it needs conditions as close as possible to natural ones, and then caring for alocasia will be simple. And in what conditions does this flower grow in nature?
Alocasia is native to the tropics. It belongs to the aroid family and grows in the humid forests of Southeast Asia. There, its leaves grow to large sizes. There are more than 70 types of alocasia in nature.
But not all species can grow in indoor conditions. For the care of alocasia at home, the following types are suitable: Lowie's alocasia and Kalidor's alocasia. In addition, alocasia klobuchkovaya, alocasia Sander, alocasia odorous and some other species are grown as indoor flowers. I chose for my flower collection a hybrid of Sander's alocasia - Polly's alocasia (Alocasia Polly).
Indoor alocasia is often used to decorate interiors because of the dark green leaves with a metallic sheen. Their shape is very unusual and very beautiful: heart-shaped leaves, serrated along the edge, with a pointed end; clearly marked light streaks on a darker background.
Each leaf grows up to 50 centimeters long and 20 wide. Leaves are basal, not stem like in other plants. Plant height 50-70 cm.
It is easy for such a flower to find a place in the room, while other alocasia are so large that they are more suitable for growing in greenhouses.
Another advantage of Poly alocasia is that it blooms more often than other varieties. True, her flowers are small and dim, similar to spathiphyllum flowers, but smaller in size: such a small ear with a sail.
So, since alocasia at home loves humid air and abundant watering, you need to create home tropics for it. But ... there are nuances in this issue.
Since we regulate the heating in our house ourselves, I did everything so that my flowers, including alocasia, did not freeze, but also did not dry out from the heat. In summer, the room can be 22-26 ° C. In winter, it should be at least 18-20 ° C. In addition, it was necessary to ensure that the alocasia did not suffer from drafts or sudden changes in temperature.
As for lighting, alocasia loves bright light, but direct sunlight is contraindicated for it.
From the literature, I learned that home alocasia needs regular and abundant watering. It must be watered with settled soft water. The soil in the pot should be moist, but do not leave excess water in the pan - an hour after watering it must be drained. A good way to create the right microclimate for alocasia is to keep it on a pallet with damp pebbles or expanded clay.
In the case of chronic waterlogging of the soil, the root system of the plant may begin to rot, the leaves, not receiving the necessary substances through diseased roots, will dry out and fall off.
Therefore, water the alocasia often, but not too abundantly. Let the soil breathe between waterings. Spray alocasia so that the droplets are very small, like fog, and not like rain. In addition, you need to regularly, at least once a month, wash the leaves of the plant from dust. All water procedures must be carried out with soft, settled water.
Soil and top dressing
Alocasia, like all tropical plants, does not like heavy, dense soil. Most of all, the alocasia plant likes an earthen substrate of medium density. You can buy a substrate for ornamental deciduous plants and dilute the purchased soil with leafy soil, coniferous soil or peat. You need to take a spacious flowerpot, then the roots will breathe, and the leaves will be larger. In spring and summer, the plant needs feeding once every two weeks. In winter - once a month. I use potassium based fertilizers.
Transplant and reproduction
You need to transplant home alocasia every year in the spring. The main thing in this process is not to damage the roots of the plant. It is best to transplant alocasia by the transshipment method, leaving an earthen lump on the roots. Mature plants need to be replanted every three years.
Alocasia is propagated in several ways: by seeds, dividing the rhizome, daughter tubers and cuttings.
When propagating by seeds, it must be borne in mind that they, like the flower itself, die in too dry soil, therefore, after planting the seeds, they are sprayed, and the soil is regularly watered. Alocasia seedlings are dived twice, and then planted in small pots for growing. A young alocasia can be planted in a permanent place when its roots fill a small pot.
When propagating by rhizomes, tubers or cuttings, the corresponding parts are separated from the plant and planted in a separate pot. For better engraftment and germination, create greenhouse conditions for the new plant.
You need to cut off parts of the plant with a sharp, sterile instrument. Work with gloves, away from children and animals, as the sap of this plant is very toxic and can cause severe irritation if it comes into contact with the skin.
Diseases of alocasia
If alocasia flower gets sick, you will notice it right away: fresh, bright leaves will begin to fade, become stained and dry.
There may be several reasons: lack of lighting or low temperature in the room, drafts and improper watering - non-observance of the rules of agricultural technology for alocasia weakens the plant and leads to its disease. Sometimes a weakened plant becomes an easy prey for parasites - spider mites, scale insects or aphids. A diseased plant must be treated. For spider mites, spray the plant twice with a soap-tobacco solution at intervals of seven days. Aphids can be treated with a solution of nicotine sulfate in soapy water. Ready-made insecticides can also be used.
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Types and varieties of alocasia for growing at home
In nature, there are about 70 plant species. But only some types of alocasia are cultivated for home cultivation.
Shrub about 0.5 m high. It has smooth leaves with smooth edges, 30 cm long. In indoor conditions, it almost does not bloom.
A popular species for home breeding. The plant is about 0.7 m high. Elongated leaf plates, about 0.5 m long, have notched variegated lobes. Border and lateral veins are almost white.
A plant with large, tree-like stems up to 1.1 m high. The leaf plates have deep indentations, the edges are almost even. The length of the leaves reaches 70 cm, the color is bright green.
Blooming is rare. Only specimens with powerful stems and a large number of leaves bloom.
This is a hybrid of Sandera. But the leaves are serrated. The stem of the plant is short. Basal rosette consists of large thyroid leaves of a dark green color. Large white veins are carved on them.
The bush is 30-40 cm high. The leaves are almost round, pointed at the tops, up to 30 cm long. The top is copper-green, glossy, the wrong side is with a reddish, purple tint. At the site of petiole attachment, characteristic swellings appear.
A low-growing species with a height of 10 cm. The petioles grow up to 15-25 cm. The leaf plates are cordate-oval, velvety. The veins form a characteristic pattern. The inside of the leaves is dark green. In indoor conditions, the culture does not bloom.
Short-stemmed species no higher than 1 m. Leaves are arrow-shaped or oval. The color is green, with white veins. The inside is purple-violet.
We transplant alocasia into a new pot, when there is confidence that the old one is already small for him. It is believed that a young plant should be transplanted correctly once a year, and an older one - once every two years.
We begin the transplant of alocasia with preparatory work. To do this, you need to perform the following steps:
- prepare a pot: we select a size larger than the one in which it grew, but not much, it is enough for the diameter to be 10-15mm larger. If the pot has already been used to grow other flowers, it must be disinfected with a pink solution of potassium permanganate for at least 30 minutes.
- prepare drainage, which is disinfected together with the pot. Drainage can be expanded clay, which is sold in flower shops, or you can collect pebbles.
- it is necessary that there is a crushed activated carbon powder nearby - during transplantation, the possibility of damage to the root system of the flower is not excluded, therefore, it will immediately be necessary to sprinkle the wound with this powder. To do this, I crushed the pharmacy activated carbon, put it in a small bag and I always have it at the ready when transplanting any flower.
- prepare the soil into which we will transplant our alocasia. The soil is best bought ready-made, suitable for the aroid family, you can universal.
If this is not possible, then you can cook it yourself. To do this, you need to take an earthen mixture of leafy earth, coniferous soil of peat and sand in a ratio of 1: 1: 1: 0.5 or humus, leafy earth of peat and sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 2: 1: 1. It is better to steam such an earthen mixture in the oven for 20-30 minutes at a temperature of 200⁰С.
Homemade alocasia, how to rejuvenate
The normal development of alocasia is considered if the old leaves, in turn, begin to die off, and new ones appear higher, and therefore gradually the main stem becomes bare and the flower becomes ugly. There is a desire to root it by growing roots on the stem.
I conducted such an experiment, trying to grow such roots, it turned out to be successful and now I share how I did it.
- I made shallow notches around the stem with a sharp knife.
- Moistened a little sphagnum moss with a solution of any root-forming agent (root, heteroauxin).
- I put wet moss around the stem, cover it with plastic wrap on top and leave it until white roots appear.
- Be sure to monitor the moisture content of the moss, regularly moistening it, I did this from a syringe, piercing the foam and adding water.
- After the appearance of delicate roots, carefully, so as not to damage the delicate roots, on top of the moss I added a moistened soil for indoor flowers, also covered it with a film and left it for a while for the development of the root system of alocasia.
- Within a month, the root system of the flower has strengthened, grown and it is possible to transplant it into a new pot.
- With a sharp knife, cut off the process from the main stem, be sure to sprinkle it with crushed coal and plant it.
Alocasia rejuvenation process.
Caring for large-root alocasia at home
If a large-rooted alocasia appears in an apartment, its owner will not have to pay too much attention to the new tenant, but forget that the plant is a native of the tropics. First of all, a comfortable atmosphere is important for alocasia, therefore the air in the room:
- in summer should be warmed up to 22-28 ° C
- in winter it cannot be colder than 18–20 ° C.
All alocasia, including the large-rooted variety, do not like drafts, so the plants are placed away from balcony doors and transoms. A resident of the rainforest, alocasia thrives best in partial shade. At the same time, young plants react more sharply to adults both to direct sunlight and to a lack of lighting in the winter months.
Variegated varieties that have become popular today are more in need of light than plants with even green leaves.
If caring for large-root alocasia at home does not meet the needs of the culture, you will not be able to get beautiful contrasting foliage. In the shade, even white areas gradually turn green.
No less than the temperature of the air, its humidity is also important. In nature, the plant is constantly in a warm, humid climate. Therefore, getting into home conditions, large-rooted alocasia can seriously suffer from excessively dry air. In the summer, especially on hot days, alocasia must be irrigated with warm, settled water. In winter, when spraying, you should be very careful, since carrying out such a procedure in cool air is fraught with the development of fungal and putrefactive diseases.
It is much safer to wipe the leaf plates with a damp cloth, which will improve the appearance of the plant, as well as facilitate its breathing process. When caring for large-root alocasia at home, do not use chemicals that prevent dust from settling.
Alocasia is hygrophilous and very demanding for watering. Plants react extremely sharply to lack of moisture, irregular or scanty watering. A large volume of green mass requires a lot of water and nutrients. And if alocasia experiences discomfort, the leaves wither and may even fall off. But even with excessive watering, especially in winter, you should not expect the plant to feel good.
Drops of water on large-rooted alocasia are a signal of a small overflow.
If the plant is poured systemically, the earthen lump constantly retains a large amount of moisture, alocasia reacts with the appearance of yellow and then brown spots on the leaf plates, loss of foliage and decay of the root system.
In summer, alocasia is watered often and abundantly, making sure that the top layer of the soil dries out noticeably between waterings. 30-40 minutes after the soil is moistened, all excess water must be drained. On hot days, it is reasonable to put a pot of alocasia in a tray filled with water, into which expanded clay or crushed stone is previously poured. So, the roots of the plant will not come into contact with the moist environment, but the soil will not dry out either. In winter, alocasia is slightly limited in moisture, watering 2-3 times a week.
It is in winter that it is very important to monitor the state of the foliage - an indicator of the health of this culture. Watering the plants is reduced as soon as drops of water become visible on the large-rooted alocasia. If the leaves are covered with spots, we can already talk about a disease of the plant or the presence of rot on its underground part.
To maintain a large plant, alocasia must be fed. It is best to apply fertilizers during the period from early spring to mid-autumn. The composition of fertilizers for tropical crops includes both organic and mineral additives. If desired, these components can be alternated.
The reason for the slow development of alocasia, wilting of foliage and rotting of underground stems and roots can be an incorrectly selected composition of the soil mixture.
The indigenous inhabitant of the tropics requires a loose, nutrient-rich soil with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction. In a pot intended for large-rooted alocasia, a good drainage layer must be provided. And as a soil, a mixture of:
- 2 parts humus
- 1 part sand
- 1 part peat
- 2 pieces of garden land.
To retain moisture, the soil surface can be mulched with fine pebbles, sand or wood chips.
Plants are transplanted in the spring, transferring the alocasia together with the soil clod into a more spacious pot.
It is important to remember that by planting a culture in a very spacious container, you can provoke the growth of alocasia. And here you need to take into account the possibility of placing a grown plant in the room.
Adult bushes require transplanting no more than 3-4 years later, and young alocasia can be transferred to a new container annually.The procedure is carried out in the spring, when the plants acclimatize faster and easier.
At home, large-root alocasia is propagated by vegetative methods by dividing an adult plant, layering or cuttings. And in this case, spring is also the best time. In order for a seedling to take root and quickly acquire a good root system, it needs a temperature of at least 20-22 ° C. It is better to root alocasia in a light mixture of equal proportions of peat and sand. When the cuttings give roots, they are transplanted into the soil for mature plants.
Alokazia is unpretentious and grows without any problems even among gardeners with little experience. If home care for large-root alocasia is insufficient, the plant is affected by both diseases and pests. Luscious greenery attracts many dangerous insects. Most often, spider mites, mushroom gnats, scale insects, aphids and mealybugs can be found on large petioles and leaves.
When identifying pests, one must not hesitate. The plant must be treated with insecticides, which are selected depending on the type of insect found. When alocasia is infected with fungi, fungicides are used in the fight against them.
The owner of large-root alocasia, caring for a plant at home, needs to remember the toxicity of its juice and do not forget about safety measures. In homes where there are children and pets, alocasia is placed out of their reach.
Regarding the reproduction of alocasia tubers. These bulbs or bulbs are best germinated at 100% moisture. I do this: I put all the kids in a transparent glass, pour literally a drop of water into it (the bottom of the glass is just slightly covered), and cover the whole thing with another glass, sometimes fix it with tape. This creates 100% humidity. However, they do not rot. After three to four weeks (sometimes even earlier) roots begin to appear, when the roots reach about 3-4 cm, I plant them, but the soil must be as loose as possible, alocasia do not like swamps, it is necessary to pour expanded clay on the bottom of the planting tank, I I even add fine expanded clay to the ground. I cover the top of the head with a glass, until the first leaf appears. This method of raising children is more acceptable to me, I tried other methods, nothing worked. And regarding the overflow of alocasia, I think this is a delusion, from my own experience I can say that overflow is not terrible for them, in essence, alocasia are marsh plants, but dense soil, and even with waterlogging, is destructive for them.
Alokazia is very moody in changing location. Better not to carry it from place to place. I have alocasia in one stable place (I don’t even twist it), all conditions are constant, and it produces two leaves with great difficulty in a year. Sometimes there was one. This is the norm for her.
Recently, I got used to propagating alocasia with small onion children. To do this, I clean the purchased plant completely from the earth and separate the bulbs. They are usually found on the roots closer to the stem. I plant the bulbs in the greenhouse so that the top looks out a little to the surface (the small tail is the top, the longer one is the root). Bulbs start to grow in different ways, from a month to six months, each leaf is larger than the previous one. Such alocasia are much easier to care for, as they initially get used to room conditions.
I make alocasia a looser soil than other Aroids (philodendrons, monsters). And I water it only after the soil is completely dry. I don't spray the leaves, I just remove the dust with a damp cloth, otherwise there will be spots on the leaves. Basically, alocasia die from the bay or heavy soil that does not dry out, and the result is again rotting of the roots. In my opinion, alocasia are very tenacious.
I have already bought a second alocasia, and I just can't find a common language with her. Transplanted into soil for palm trees, added sand, vermiculite, sphagnum, drainage to the bottom. Everything she loves. But again the leaves turn yellow and dry. I dig it up - the roots rot. I'm already afraid to water it. And so I already pray for her. I had to change the land again. Now standing, neither alive nor dead. Until it gives new leaves, I cannot be calm for her.
Alokazia was given to me for my birthday at work. There were 2 leaves. Now the beauty has grown, she even wanted to bloom! I don't make any special efforts to grow it, only I don't put it in the sun and try not to flood it. It is imperative to spray, especially during the heating season, otherwise the leaves will turn yellow and dry. I fertilize with ordinary fertilizer Humus, when I don’t forget. When I transplanted into a larger pot, I put the drainage on the bottom. Sometimes I arrange a shower flower. The interior looks great, an unusual plant and very beautiful.
I am very pleased with alocasia. The plant won me over with its beautiful leaves. They are of unusual shape and bright juicy colors. In leaving, alocasia is completely unpretentious. Like all plants, it needs light, periodic watering, spraying, feeding. She does not need any special conditions of detention. For me, the only difficulty is to dilute a large number of leaves. As soon as a new leaf begins to crawl out, the old one begins to die off. The maximum number of leaves I have is six. In November-December, my alocasia begins to bloom. 1-2 flowers come out and bloom for about a month. The flower, of course, is not so hot, it looks like an ear of corn, for an amateur, but I like it. The only minus of the plant is that it has poisonous leaves and roots. You need to be careful when transplanting. And protect the flower from children and animals.