Photo Credit: growjungle.com
Botanical name: Alocasia cuprea
Common names: Mirror Plant, Jewel Alocasia
Alocasia cuprea commonly called Mirror Plant or Jewel Alocasia, is a small plant which bears enormous, spherical, green leaves with a metallic gloss, pronounced leaf veins and deep-purple undersides.
The common name, 'Mirror Plant', is in reference to the plastic-like look on the surface of the leaves. The plant is a spectacular addition to any houseplant collection.
Alocasia cuprea 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, beautiful Alocasia cuprea are readily available at Etsy. Buy Alocasia cuprea from Etsy.
Photo Credit: aroidsale.com
Alocasia cuprea is easy to care for indoors when the right growing conditions are provided. African Mask requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with regular feeding. 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. It also does well under a grow light where natural light is not adequate.
Too little light will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant gets light on all sides for even growth to prevent lop-sided growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Water Alocasia cuprea thoroughly and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Reduce 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, ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to water houseplants.
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 draughts as it hates sudden changes in temperature. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
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. You can also place it in a bathroom or other moist areas in the home. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.
Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pests infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed Alocasia cuprea with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) every 2-3 weeks during the growing period. Do not feed during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.
Regularly 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. Repeat the process several times. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
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.
The best soil for Alocasia cuprea is a rich, free-draining soil inorder to ensure that it does not retain excessive moisture which can lead to rotting.
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 multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for the plant. Buy quality Potting Mix for Alocasia cuprea 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.
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.
Plant the 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 due to cultural faults in watering, humidity, temperature and lighting. They include 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.
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. The plant 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. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
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 but water less 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.
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.
Regularly 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. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
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.
Low humidity is the reason for the yellowing and dropping of the leaves in Alocasia cuprea. The plant flourishes in warm humid conditions.
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.
Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia cuprea are an indication of leaf spot disease which is enhanced 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.
Alocasia cuprea like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets.
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.