Apartment plants

Elephant ears - Alocasia

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Alocasia

A few dozen rhizomatous plants belong to the alocasia genus, originating in Malaysia and other tropical areas of Asia, generally cultivated in Europe as houseplants. From the fleshy rhizomes sprout long petioles, which carry very large leaves of various colors and according to the species; the most widespread species have dark-colored foliage, variously variegated with white or silver veins; some species have green foliage, others purple or with metallic reflections. There are also numerous hybrids. Over time, the petioles of the leaves can begin to generate a kind of stocky stem, even if it rarely happens in specimens grown "in captivity"; in nature these plants produce flowers similar to calla lilies, white in color, but flowering rarely occurs in the apartment.


Easy to grow

These plants commonly find space in the house, where they can grow at their best even in a not too bright corner; to develop better they need a fairly large space, otherwise they will tend to lose the foliage in the parts close to the walls. As is the case with many other rhizomatous plants, even the alocasias (also called elephant ears) in autumn and winter go through a period of vegetative rest; this period can be characterized by the presence of foliage, if the plants are grown indoors in the heat, but it can also happen that the rhizome goes into complete vegetative rest, losing all the leaves until spring. If this happens, we avoid watering the plant until the days start to get longer, in February-March, otherwise the rhizome could rot; therefore we water the soil when it is dry, between February-March and September-October, perhaps adding some fertilizer for leaf plants to the watering water, every 12-15 days. For the remaining months we water only if the leaves are present, and only sporadically.

To recreate at home the tropical climate from which our alocasias come, we remember to often vaporize the foliage, especially when home heating is active, and also during the hot summer days. In this way we will also remove mites and mealybugs, which often nest on the underside of large leaves.

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