To the genus alocasia belong a few dozen rhizomatous plants, originating in Malaysia and other tropical areas of Asia, generally grown in Europe as indoor plants. From the fleshy rhizomes come out long petioles, which carry very large leaves of various colors and depending on the species; the most common species have dark foliage, variously variegated with white or silver veins; some species have green foliage, other purple or metallic reflections. There are also several hybrids.
With the time, the petioles of the leaves can begin to generate a sort of stocky stem, even if it happens rarely in the specimens cultivated “in captivity”; in the wild, these plants produce flowers similar to the callae, of white colour, but the blooming happens rarely in apartment.
Easy to grow
These plants commonly find room in the house, where they can best vegetate even in a not too bright corner; to develop at best they need a fairly large space, otherwise they will tend to lose the foliage in the parts close to the walls.
As it happens for many other rhizomatous plants, also the halocesias (also called elephant ears) in autumn and winter go through a period of vegetative rest; this period may be characterized by the presence of foliage, if the plants are cultivated in the house in the heat, but it may also happen that the rhizome goes into complete vegetative rest, losing all the leaves till spring.
If this happens, let’s avoid watering the plant until the days start to get longer again, in February-March, otherwise the rhizome could rot; then let’s water the soil when it is dry, between February-March and September-October, maybe adding also some fertilizer for leaf plants to the water of the watering, every 12-15 days. For the remaining months we water only if the leaves are present, and only sporadically.
To recreate the tropical climate from which our halocesias come at home, remember to vaporize the foliage often, especially when the domestic heating is active, and even during the hot summer days. In this way, we will also remove mites and cochineals, which often lurk on the underside of the large leaves.
It is a family of about 60-70 rhizomatous shrubs from the rainforests of Borneo, Malaysia and mainland Asia. Alocasia macrorrhiza plants have a fleshy stem… this genus includes about three hundred species of succulent plants, originating in southern Africa; there are species that can reach conspicuous dimensions, such as species of very small size…
Some additional care
As it happens for many other plants with big leaves, also the halocesias tend to accumulate all the dust and the greasiness present in the air; this real smog with the time, besides making the leaves unpleasant, tends to make the plant deteriorate; to avoid that the dirt accumulates on the foliage, let’s clean it periodically, using a slightly moistened microfibre cloth.
Every 3-4 years let’s remember to repot the plants as well; the elephant ears they do not like to live in excessively large containers, therefore we look for a pot sufficiently large and heavy to be able to keep the bulky foliage upright, and we try to always use the same pot even when we repot our halocarynx, replacing, however, all the soil it contained, now exhausted.
Elephant Ears – Alocasia: And if we were growing them outdoors
As mentioned before, halocesias can also lose their foliage in autumn and winter; and they are cultivated at minimum temperatures over 12-15°C. For these two reasons we can think of creating an aiola of elephant ears in the garden, placing them at the feet of other shrubs, or in any case in a semi-shaded corner, sheltered also from the wind, which might damage the foliage.
Let’s remember, however, that in autumn we should let the foliage dry up and extract the rhizomes from the ground, for cultivating them at home or for storing them till the following spring in a cool, dark and completely dry place.
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- It is a family of about 60-70 rhizomatous shrubby plants, coming from the rainforests of Borneo, Malaysia, and the United States.
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