How to Grow and Care for Alocasia longiloba Indoors


Alocasia longiloba

Botanical name: Alocasia longiloba
Family: Araceae

Description

Alocasia longiloba bears large, arrow-shaped, bluish-green leaves with silver margins and veining and light-green or purple undersides which are held on mottled brown leaf stalks.

The plant is moderately easy to grow indoors and is a spectacular addition to any houseplant collection on account of its magnificent foliage.

Alocasia longiloba is a sought after Alocasia plant that will add an exotic feel to any home or space.

Alocasia longiloba was documented in the 1800s by Fredrich Anton Wilheim Miquel in Philippines. The Latin word, 'longilobus' was used in reference to the elongated lobes of the mature leaves.

Size

Alocasia longiloba is a slow-growing, herbaceous plant which grows to a height of 5 ft and 3 ft wide in about 5-6 years. The arrow-shaped leaves can grow to about 1-2 ft long.

Flower

The flowers in Alocasia longiloba are held on a spandix which is enclosed in a green to white colored spathe and 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.

Origin

Alocasia longiloba is native to tropical forests of China and East Asia. It has a widespread distribution in Guangdong, Hainan, and southern Yunnan in China, mainland Southeast Asia, and western and central Malesia.

Varieties

Alocasia longiloba is a species complex of closely related Alocasia plants that are very similar that it is dificult to diferentiate between them.

Some Alocasia plants that were intially placed in the Alocasia longiloba species complex but are now considered as varieties or types include; 'argyrea', 'korthalsii', 'lowii', and 'watsoniana'.

Where to Buy

If you would like to add these spectacular plants to your collection, beautiful Alocasia longiloba are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Alocasia longiloba from Etsy.

Alocasia longiloba

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Alocasia longiloba Care Indoors

Alocasia longiloba indoor care requires providing it with the right growing conditions for it to thrive. It requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils in addition to regular feeding and pruning. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Alocasia longiloba grows best in bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause the leaves to be sunscorched (brown marks on the leaves). It also does well under a grow light where natural light is not adequate.

Too little light for Alocasia longiloba 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.

Watering

Water Alocasia longiloba thoroughly and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Underwatering Alocasia longiloba will signal dormancy and may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.

Alocasia longiloba does not like soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations like root-rot.

Therefore, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

Average warmth within the range of 18-250C is ideal for Alocasia longiloba. Below 150C, the plant may drop all its leaves and go into dormancy stage.

Keep the plant away from drafts as it hates sudden changes in temperature as they can cause leaf drop. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Alocasia longiloba 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 where humidity is high if the lighting is adequate. 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.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Alocasia longiloba with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soils 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.

Repotting

Alocasia longiloba prefers to be root-bound, therefore frequent repotting is not needed. Avoid frequent repotting as the plant can take long to recover from repotting shock. Repotting every 2-3 years should be adequate.

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 longiloba 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.

Soil

The best soil for Alocasia longiloba 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 longiloba from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Alocasia longiloba is easy as it only requires removal of yellow and diseased leaves as they occur to maintain the 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.

Propagation

Alocasia longiloba can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.

How to Propagate Alocasia longiloba by Plant Division

Carefully take out the Alocasia longiloba 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.

Alocasia longiloba

Photo Credit:305 Greenery, Inc.

Alocasia longiloba Problems Indoors

Alocasia longiloba problems indoors are mainly due to incorrect watering, too little light, low humidity and wrong temperature. They include plant death, yellow leaves, leaf spots, brown tips, crispy leaves, diseases and pests. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Leaves losing color and dying

The reason why the leaves in Alocasia longiloba are losing color and dying is too little light. Alocasia longiloba thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Move the plant to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light and protect it from direct sunlight or consider investing in a grow light if the natural light is inadequate. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Dropping and the plant dying

There are three possible reasons why the leaves in Alocasia longiloba are dropping and the plant is dying. These three reasons signal dormancy for Alocasia longiloba and hence the leaves die in readiness to enter dormancy.

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 for dropping leaves and dying plant in Alocasia longiloba is too little light. The plant grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Position it in 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 Alocasia longiloba leaves are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 150C.

Alocasia longiloba grows best in average warmth between 180C and 250C. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts which cause sudden changes in temperature.

The third possible reason why Alocasia longiloba leaves are dropping and the plant is dying is underwatering.

Alocasia longiloba prefers the soil to be kept moderately moist during the growing season and watering to be reduced in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Brown leaf edges

One possible cause of brown leaf edges in Alocasia longiloba is low humidity. Where the air temperatures are high, the air humidity is likely to reduce significantly.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. You can also place the plant in a bathroom or other moist areas in the home. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible cause of brown leaf edges in your Alocasia longiloba is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.

To get rid of the accumulated salts, regularly run 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.

Drooping leaves

There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in Alocasia longiloba. One possible cause is too little light. Move the plant to a brighter spot where it can receive bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Alocasia longiloba is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season.

Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Yellowing and dropping leaves

Low humidity is the reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Alocasia longiloba. Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

However, it is natural for the lower, older 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 pests and disease infestations.

Dark brown or black leaf spots

Dark brown or black leaf spots in Alocasia longiloba 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 of both the soil and the pot to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Avoid misting and wetting the leaves to keep them dry and ensure there is good air circulation for Alocasia longiloba.

Pests

Common pests in Alocasia longiloba are Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, Scales and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Alocasia longiloba toxic?

Alocasia longiloba like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets.

The plant 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 longiloba away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.

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