How to grow and care for Alocasia wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) Indoors


Alocasia wentii, Went's Hardy Alocasia

Botanical name: Alocasia wentii
Family: Araceae
Common names: Went's Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Elephant Ear, New Guinea Shield, Purple Umbrella Plant

Description

Alocasia wentii commonly called Went's Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Elephant Ear, New Guinea Shield or Purple Umbrella Plant is a beautiful easy to grow plant which easily adapts to indoor growing conditions.

Went's Hardy Alocasia bears beautiful heart-shaped, glossy green leaves with prominent veins and purple-hued (metallic maroon) undersides.

Hardy Alocasia like the name suggests is more hardy than other Alocasia plants and will tolerate most indoor growing conditions to thrive indoors.

The common name 'Purple Umbrella' is in reference to the purple undersides which is an adaptation to the mottled light of its native rainforest floors.

Size

New Guinea Shield is a fast growing plant which grows to a height of 3 ft and about 3 ft wide. The leaves can grow to 1 ft long.

Flower

The flowers in Hardy Elephant Ear 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.

Origin

Alocasia wentii has its orgins in the warm humid tropical areas of New Guinea and hence the common name 'New Guinea Shield'.

Alocasia wentii, Went's Hardy Alocasia, New Guinea Shield, Purple Umbrella Plant

Alocasia wentii Care Indoors

Alocasia wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) indoor care is easy if the right growing conditions are provided. It thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils.

Purple Umbrella Plant also requires regular feeding for lush growth and regular grooming to keep it neat and tidy. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Alocasia wentii grows best under bright, indirect light. Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can lead to brown sunscorch marks on the leaves. It also does well under a grow light where natural light is not adequate.

Too little light for Went's Hardy Alocasia will signal dormancy to the plant 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. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Alocasia wentii 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.

Underwatering Went's Hardy Alocasia will signal dormancy to your plant which may cause the leaves to start dying in readiness for dormancy.

Hardy Elephant Ear does not like soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations.

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


Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 130C and a maximum of 300C is ideal for Alocasia wentii. Below 130C, the plant may drop all its leaves and go into dormancy stage.

Went's Hardy Alocasia also needs to be protected from draughts as it hates sudden changes in temperature. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Alocasia wentii requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or 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.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Alocasia wentii 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 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.

Repotting

Alocasia wentii 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.

Soil

The best soil for Alocasia wentii 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 Went's Hardy Alocasia from Etsy.

Pruning

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

How to Propagate Alocasia wentii by Plant Division

Carefully take out the Alocasia wentii 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 Went's Hardy Alocasia 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 wentii, Went's Hardy Alocasia, New Guinea Shield, Purple Umbrella Plant

Alocasia wentii Problems Indoors

Alocasia wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) problems indoors are brought about by cultural faults (improper care). The problems include plant death, leaf spots, yellowing leaves, drooping leaves, dropping leaves, pests and diseases. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Leaves losing color and dying

The reason why Alocasia wentii is losing leaf color and dying is too little light as it best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Move the Hardy Alocasia to a brighter spot and ensure it receives bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural light is inadequate. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Dropping leaves and plant dying

There are three possible reasons why the leaves in Alocasia wentii are dropping and the plant is dying. These three reasons signal dormancy 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 why the leaves in Went's Hardy Alocasia are dropping and the plant is dying is too little light as it requires bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Move the Hardy Elephant's Ear to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

The second possible reason why the leaves in Alocasia wentii are dropping and the plant is dying is too low temperature below 130C.

Went's Hardy Alocasia grows best in average warmth between 130C and 300C. Protect it from cold and hot draughts which cause sudden changes in temperature.

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

Maintain the soil moderately during the growing season and cut down on watering 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 wentii 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 to raise humidity or place it 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 Alocasia wentii is accumulation of salts in the soil which could have come from fertilizers or water.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil 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.

Drooping leaves

There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in Alocasia wentii. One possible cause is too little light.

Move Went's Hardy Alocasia to a brighter spot where it can get bright, indirect light but away from direct sunlight.

The second possible cause of drooping leaves in Alocasia wentii is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times 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 the yellowing and dropping leaves in Alocasia wentii especially where the indoor temperatures are very high.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

However, it is natural for the 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 wentii 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 wentii.

Pests

Alocasia wentii pests; 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 wentii toxic?

Alocasia wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) 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 Hardy Alocasia away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.

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