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Botanical name: Alocasia wentii
Common names: Went's Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Alocasia, Hardy Elephant Ear, New Guinea Shield, Purple Umbrella Plant
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.
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.
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.
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) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Purple Umbrella Plant requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations. Repotting is only need when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
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.
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.
Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.
Where natural lighting is not adequate, consider investing in a grow light to supplement it.
Water Alocasia wentii liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to maintain the soil moderately moist.
Cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
If Went's Hardy Alocasia is underwatered, it may drop its leaves in readiness for dormancy.
Do not allow Hardy Elephant Ear to sit in soggy soil as it is prone to fungal infestations.
Always empty the saucer after watering and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
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 frost and draughts as it hates sudden changes in temperature.
Alocasia wentii requires high humidity inorder to thrive. To elevate humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or place it in a bathroom and other moist areas in the home. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.
Occasionally clean the leaves by damp wiping them with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pests infestation.
Feed Alocasia wentii with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
Withhold feeding 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. Repeat the process several times.
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.
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 wentii 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 Went's Hardy Alocasia from Etsy.
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 minimize 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 wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) can be propagated by plant division at the beginning of the growing season.
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.
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 and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges after which routine care can begin.
Alocasia wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) problems indoors are brought about by cultural faults and include plant death, leaf spots, loss of leaf color, yellowing leaves, drooping leaves, dropping leaves, pests and diseases. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
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.
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.
Position the Hardy Elephant's Ear in a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light.
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.
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 and 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.
To get rid of these 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.
There are two possible causes of drooping leaves in Alocasia wentii. One possible cause is too little light.
Place the Went's Hardy Alocasia in 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.
Decrease 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 the yellowing and dropping leaves in Alocasia wentii especially where the indoor temperatures are very high.
To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.
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 in Alocasia wentii are an indication of leaf spot disease which is promoted by soggy soil and overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.
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.
Common pests in Alocasia wentii are Mealy Bugs, Red Spider Mites, Scale Insects and Aphids. 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 wentii (Went's Hardy Alocasia) like other Alocasia Plants is toxic to both humans and pets as indicated 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 Hardy Alocasia away from the reach of children and pets to avoid any mishaps.