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Botanical name: Alocasia cuprea
Alocasia cuprea is a small plant which bears enormous, spherical, green leaves with a metallic gloss, pronounced leaf veins and deep-purple undersides.
Alocasia cuprea is a spectacular addition to any houseplant collection and is one of the popular Alocasia plants on account of its magnificent foliage with a metallic shine.
The species name, 'cuprea', is in reference to the unusual coppery appearance of the leaves which is especially pronounced in young leaves.
Alocasia cuprea is a slow growing plant which grows to a height of 1 ft in about 2 years. The leaves are enormous and can grow to 1 ft long.
The flowers in Alocasia cuprea are unimpressive pale-colored spathes which only last a few days. To conserve the plants energy and direct it to foliage growth, cut the flowers as soon as they appear though it is unlikely to flower when grown indoors.
Alocasia cuprea has its orgins in the warm humid tropical areas of South East Asia to South America.
One common variety is Alocasia cuprea 'Red Secret' whose leaves are red with dark almost black markings.
If you would like to add these pretty plants to your collection, Alocasia cuprea are readily available at Etsy. Buy Alocasia cuprea online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: aroidsale.com
Alocasia cuprea thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding during the growing period.
Alocasia cuprea requires pruning to keep it neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only needed when the roots grow through the drainage holes. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Alocasia cuprea grows best under bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause the colorful leaves to fade (dull) and die.
Too little light will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant gets light on all sides for even growth to prevent lop-sided growth.
Alocasia cuprea also does well under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.
Water Alocasia cuprea thoroughly during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to maintain it consistently moist.
Decrease watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Underwatering will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Alocasia cuprea does not like to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations like root-rot.
Therefore, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Average warmth from 180C to 260C is ideal for Alocasia cuprea. Below 150C, the plant may drop all its leaves and go into dormancy.
Keep the plant away from frost and drafts like windy doors and windows as it hates sudden changes in temperature which can cause leaf drop and death of the plant.
Alocasia cuprea requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pests infestation.
Feed Alocasia cuprea with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) every 2-3 weeks during the growing period for a lush growth.
Do not feed during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.
Flush out accumulated salts arising from fertilizers every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes.
Alocasia cuprea prefers to be root-bound, therefore frequent repotting is not needed. Avoid frequent repotting as the plant can take upto 4-6 weeks to recover from repotting shock.
Repot into a 1 size larger pot during the growing season only if the roots have grown out through the drainage holes.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to fungal infestations.
The best soil for Alocasia cuprea should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.
Most aroids potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Buy quality Aroids Potting Mix for Alocasia cuprea online from Etsy.
Pruning Alocasia cuprea is easy as it only requires removal of yellow and diseased leaves as they occur to maintain your plant neat and to reduce chances of diseases and pests infestation.
Remove the leaves by cutting at the base with a sterilized knife or pair of scissors to avoid disease transimission. Take care not to injure the new leaves that are forming.
Alocasia cuprea can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
Water the Alocasia cuprea thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment. A well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
Carefully take out the Alocasia cuprea from its pot and gently divide the rhizome into sections by cutting through with a sharp sterilized knife. Ensure that each section has 1-2 stems.
Pot these sections in individual pots in moist free-draining soil at the same depth that they were in the previous pot.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit: aroidsale.com
Alocasia cuprea problems indoors are plant death, leaf spots, dropping leaves, yellowing leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Low humidity is the reason for the yellowing and dropping of the leaves in Alocasia cuprea. The plant flourishes in warm humid conditions.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to increase humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
However, it is natural for the old leaves to turn yellow and drop as the plant continues to grow.
Remove such leaves by snipping them off at the base with a clean sharp knife or a pair of scissors to keep the plant neat and reduce pest and disease infestations.
There are three possible reasons why the leaves of Alocasia cuprea are dropping and the plant is dying.
These three reasons signal dormancy for the plant and hence the leaves die in readiness to enter dormancy.
Naturally, this happens during the cold season (winter) when the plant undergoes dormancy. Even if the foliage may die, the underground rhizome is still alive and can regrow under favorable conditions.
One possible reason why the leaves of Alocasia cuprea are dropping and the plant is dying is too little light as it requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight to thrive.
Move the Alocasia cuprea to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
The second possible reason why the leaves of Alocasia cuprea are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 160C.
The plant grows best in average warmth between 160C and 240C. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts which cause sudden changes in temperature.
The third possible reason why the leaves of Alocasia cuprea are dropping and the plant is dying is underwatering.
Alocasia cuprea requires consistently moist soil. Water the plant liberally during the growing season to maintain the soil moist through out.
Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
One possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia cuprea is too low humidity. Where the air temperatures are high, the air humidity is likely to reduce significantly.
To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
The second possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia cuprea is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.
Flush out the accumulated salts from the soil every 2-3 months by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage holes. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes and repeat several times.
The reason why the leaves of Alocasia cuprea are losing color and dying is too little light as the plant grows best in bright, indirect light but away from direct sunlight.
Position the plant in a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate.
Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia cuprea are an indication of leaf spot disease which is promoted by soggy soil and overwet conditions.
Isolate the affected plant immediately to prevent spread to other houseplants, remove the damaged leaves and treat with a fungicidal solution.
Ensure that there is proper drainage for both the soil and the pot to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Avoid misting and wetting the leaves to keep them dry. Ensure that there is good air circulation for the Alocasia cuprea. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
Common pests in Alocasia cuprea are Mealy Bugs, Spider Mites, Scales and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.
Alocasia cuprea like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA.
It contains crystals of calcium oxalate which if ingested can numb and swell the tongue and pharynx leading to difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the throat.
Keep the Alocasia cuprea away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.