A variegated alocasia plant has leaves ranging from solid green to beautifully mottled in greens, yellows, and reds. Growing variegated alocasia plants can be a rewarding hobby, as they are stunning to look at and easy to care for indoors or outdoors.
There are few better choices for those looking to add excitement and interest to their plant collections than variegated alocasia (Alocasia sanderiana). These stunning plants, also known as elephant ears or taro plants, comprise succulent leaves with colorful streaks that give them an exotic appearance that’s hard to match with other plants.
If you’ve always wanted to grow one of these gorgeous plants, you’ll want to read this guide on growing and caring for variegated alocasia plants.
What is a Variegated Alocasia?
Alocasia macrorrhiza Variegata (variegated alocasia) is a rare tropical household plant recognized for its spectacular leaf. Its jaw-dropping white and green variegated leaves often called Elephant Ears, make it a favorite indoor house plant for tropical gardeners and collectors. The variegated alocasia’s heart-shaped foliage comprises glossy, thick green leaves with ruffled edges and white blotches.
Each leaf is as distinctive as a fingerprint; if you’re lucky, your Variegated Alocasia will produce an all-white leaf! Choose a spot in your house that receives partial shade when cultivating this plant. It grows best in bright, indirect light; however, direct sunlight can burn the variegated leaves.
Variegated Alocasia is from the Araceae family, including plants such as philodendron, Anthurium, Monstera deliciosa, Spathiphyllum, and Amorphophallus titanum. Variegated Alocasia comes in all shapes and sizes, some being large climbers while others stay shorter at under 2 feet tall. The variegated species are one of the most sought-after alocasia plants and are sought after by decorators and interior designers.
Growth and Size
One of the most striking characteristics of Variegated Alocasia is its size. It grows slowly, taking around ten years to reach its maximum height and width of 11-15 feet and 3-6 feet, respectively. Variegated Alocasia’s rigid stems do not require staking to maintain its vigorous vertical growth.
The beautiful foliage of Variegated Alocasia is its greatest attraction. Each leaf on a mature plant can grow up to 3 feet long, and they are shaped like a shield or an arrow and have ruffled edges. New leaves sprout every week or so during the spring and summer growing seasons.
On both sides, the variegated leaves exhibit a random color pattern ranging from white to deep green. Each leaf develops from an erect, rigid stalk and arches beautifully outward. The thick leaves have a glossy texture that is best maintained by washing them regularly to keep dust at bay.
Variegated Alocasia blooming can occur after the plants have matured, which might take years. Alocasia macrorrhiza Variegata blooms are most likely seen in early summer or late spring when plants are most active.
Each blossom lasts around five days before setting seeds and producing crimson fruits. The fruits, on the other hand, are toxic. Some farmers remove the flowers before they blossom to focus the plant’s energy on leaf formation. They do, however, generate a lovely scent that you’d like to savor.
Where to Find Them
You can find variegated Alocasia at your local garden center or nursery. They are usually found in the tuber section as they grow as a tuberous perennial. You may also be able to find them at plant stands or in pots if you’re growing them indoors. Most people who grow the variegated alocasia purchased theirs from their local gardening center.
The Ideal Conditions for Variegated Alocasia
Each plant is unique and requires certain conditions to grow indoors. The variegated alocasia is no exception, and putting some consideration into the initial setup to acquire the appropriate circumstances will save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run.
Space and Location
Your variegated alocasia will require plenty of space to thrive because it is a tall and widely distributed plant. They grow slowly, so if your plant is still tiny, you don’t need a lot of room. Don’t crowd it with other plants; allow it enough space to receive adequate air circulation and light.
Humidity and Temperature
Variegated alocasia thrives in conditions ranging from medium to high humidity. In arid areas, spraying the leaves with a spray bottle and keeping a humidifier nearby will keep them happy. You can also use a pebble tray to create localized humidity around a plant. By placing pebbles in the tray, setting the pot on top of them, and adding water, the water evaporates, creating a little humidity only around the plant.
Selecting the Best Container
Variegated alocasia requires little area for its roots to grow and develop. They will thrive in a container that is a tight fit for the root system but not so tiny that the roots become root-bound. When re-potting, choose a smaller pot size than you would for other plants. A pot one inch larger than the present pot is usually sufficient. You can go upwards by two inches if the plant is severely root-bound and has lengthy roots growing out of the bottom of the existing pot.
Propagating Variegated Alocasia
Root division is the only way to propagate variegated alocasia, not leaf cutting or stem cutting.
The steps are as follows:
- Water your plant for 24 hours before propagation.
- Carefully loosen the dirt and remove the plant from its container.
- Separate the dirt from the roots and mark the root divisions.
- Cut the roots away from the primary stem.
- Place the root division in its pot and water it.
- Position the pot in an area with indirect light.
Caring for variegated Alocasia
Variegated alocasia is a popular plant choice because they are so beautiful. One of the best parts about these plants is that they are low-maintenance and easy to care for, making them the perfect houseplant. If you’re thinking about planting variegated alocasia in your yard or garden, we recommend these few steps:
The first step in caring for variegated Alocasia is watering them once a week. It’s important not to over-water variegated Alocasia as this could lead to root rot or root death. Slowly pour water into the pot until it drains out the bottom to water your variegated alocasia, and ensure not to leave the pot in the water.
You can meet the light requirements for the variegated alocasia by planting them near an east or north-facing window with morning sunlight exposure. Keep them out of direct sunlight since the bright afternoon light can harm the plant and its leaves. Use a small curtain to shelter your variegated alocasia from direct sunlight if necessary.
Trimming variegated alocasia is typically only required when the leaves become damaged or die. Clip each leaf as it wilts to inhibit the rise of diseases or pest infestation and maintain your plant looking its best. Use a sharp, sanitized pair of scissors or a knife to prune the leaves.
Regular fertilizing will promote the growth of the enormous leaves of variegated alocasia. A balanced 5-5-5- or 10-10-10 fertilizer ratio is ideal. Fertilize after thoroughly wetting the soil to encourage uniform dispersion in the roots. Nutrients will go directly through the dirt if the soil is dry. You do not need to fertilize the plant when it is dormant in the fall and winter.
What to Do If Your Variegated Alocasia Starts Losing Its Color
Your variegated alocasia may lose color because it is getting too much sun or water. You can check this by looking at the leaves. If they are starting to turn brown, it means that your plant needs more water. If the leaves turn yellow, you should ensure that your plant gets more sunlight. To give your plants a boost of energy, you can also try adding some fertilizer. This should help your plants regain their full color in no time!
Common Problems of Variegated Alocasia
Just like other plants, variegated alocasia are also prone to pest infestation from spider mites, mealy bugs, white flies, thrips, and aphids. The leaves are also more susceptible to attack from slugs, snails, or other garden pests that the variegation may attract to the foliage. They drain the plant’s glucose and drain it of nutrients. To get rid of pests, clean your variegated alocasia with insecticidal soap and tap water, or spray it with neem oil.
If the leaves of a gorgeous variegated alocasia suddenly turn yellow. This indicates that there is an issue in the root zone. Excessive water in potting soil encourages the growth of root fungal bacteria. These bacteria consume and harm plant roots. Roots that have been damaged cannot transmit water and nutrients to all regions of the plant. This causes yellow leaves, which is an early warning indicator. The golden leaves eventually turn brown and begin to rot.
Brown Crispy Leaves
Crispy brown leaves suggest a lack of water in the potting soil or low humidity. If the soil is dry, ensure to water your plant immediately. If you don’t want to deal with this issue, stick to the usual watering schedule and keep the room humidity over 45%.