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Botanical name: Alocasia longiloba
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
If you would like to add these spectacular plants to your collection, Alocasia longiloba are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Alocasia longiloba online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Alocasia longiloba thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils in addition to regular feeding during the growing season.
Alocasia longiloba requires regular pruning to keep it neat and also reduce pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound. Continue reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.
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).
Too little light for Alocasia longiloba will signal dormancy which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Occasionally rotate the pot to ensure that the plant gets light on all sides for even growth to prevent lop-sided growth.
Alocasia longiloba will also thrive under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.
Water Alocasia longiloba thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist through out.
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 to the plant and may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.
Do not let the plant sit in soggy soil as it is susceptible to fungal infestations like root-rot and leaf spot.
Always, ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
Average warmth within the range of 18-250C is ideal for Alocasia longiloba. Temperatures below 150C may signal dormancy and cause the plant to drop all its leaves.
Keep it away from drafts as the sudden changes in temperature can cause leaf drop, reduced growth and death of the plant.
Alocasia longiloba requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To increase 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.
Feed Alocasia longiloba with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Stop feeding during the cold season as the plant undergoes dormancy during this period and growth is minimal at this time.
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 to get rid of most of the accumulated salts.
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.
Make sure 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 longiloba 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 longiloba online from Etsy.
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.
Alocasia longiloba can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
Water the Alocasia longiloba thoroughly at least one day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment as a well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.
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.
Pot 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 away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which routine care can begin.
Photo Credit:305 Greenery, Inc.
Alocasia longiloba problems indoors are mainly due to incorrect watering, too little light, low humidity and wrong temperature. The problems 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.
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.
Place the plant in 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.
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.
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.
Allow the stream of water to run for a few minutes. Repeat the process several times.
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.
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.
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.
Low humidity is the reason for yellowing and dropping leaves in Alocasia longiloba.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to increase humidity. 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 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.
Confirm 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. Read more on how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.
Common pests in Alocasia longiloba are Aphids, Mealy Bugs, Spider Mites and Scales. Isolate the affected plant to prevent further spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests.
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.