Alocasia Varieties: Everything You Need to Know

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Alocasia plants come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and even colors, but they all have two things in common – they’re beautiful and make for fantastic houseplants!

These low-maintenance, tropical plants are excellent whether you’re looking to liven up a dull corner or make a show-stopping statement. The problem is, there are so many alocasia varieties that choosing one can be a confusing task.

I’ve put together a list of popular varieties of alocasia to help you pick the perfect plant for your needs. Today’s guide also covers the characteristics of alocasia plants, how to care for them, and how to select the right one for you.

Different Types of Alocasia Varieties 

Part of the Araceae family, alocasia is a genus containing more than recognized 110 species. They’re native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia as well as eastern Australia.

Alocasia species are quite diverse with many different combinations of plant size, leaf shape, and foliage color. 

The genus has a plant to offer everyone no matter their taste, so let’s take a closer look at some of the most stunning alocasia varieties you don’t want to miss!

1. Polly Plant

Polly Plant

 

  • Botanical name: Alocasia amazonica
  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial
  • Size: 1 to 2 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 10 to 11

Highly resilient and very easy to grow, the leaves of this variety have an arrow-like shape and dark green color with a glossy finish.

The leaves are decorated in contrasting white veins running through the center and along the edges.

2. Black Magic

2. Black Magic

Image source: Pinterest
  • Botanical name: Alocasia infernalis
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 20 to 22 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 12

Offering a striking display, this variety has extremely dark purple leaves that appear black. The leaves are oval and tapered upwards with thick veins and an intense shine.

3. Red Secret

3. Red Secret

Image source: Google
  • Botanical name: Alocasia cuprea
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 3 to 4 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9 to 11

Showing off an intriguing color scheme, this variety has reddish-orange to dark-green leaves with purple hues. The veins are almost black, adding extra dimension to the leaves.

4. Night-scented Lily

Alocasia odora

  • Botanical name: Alocasia odora
  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial
  • Size: 4 to 8 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 7 to 10

This variety carries leaves shaped like an elephant’s ears directed upward. They’re quite large and multi-colored with hues of green and cream – almost like abstract art.

5. Malaysian Monster

5. Malaysian Monster

Image source: Google
  • Botanical name: Alocasia portei
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 4 to 8 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9 to 11

Specifically native to Malaysia, this variety has interesting-looking vibrant green leaves.

Unlike most alocasia leaves featuring straight edges, this plant has serrated, narrow, and thin leaves with long teeth along the edges.

6. Purple Umbrella

6. Purple Umbrella

  • Botanical name: Alocasia wentii
  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial 
  • Size: 10 to 16 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 7 to 8

Despite its name, this plant doesn’t have purple foliage. Instead, the oval leaves possess a gray-green underside that shows a red-to-purple hue in the sunlight.

7. Silver Plant

7. Silver Plant

  • Botanical name: Alocasia nebula
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 26 to 35 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 9

This rare variety has silver-colored leaves with blue undertones that make the plant seem artificial. The leaves are also puffy and thick, adding to the “unnatural” look.

8. Alocasia Rugosa

8. Alocasia Rugosa

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia melo
  • Plant type: Tender perennial 
  • Size: 1 to 2 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9

Looking surreal, this variety has dark green leaves with a bluish hue that instantly captures your attention. Sitting on top of stocky stems, the leaves are oval with intense veins and a velvety texture.

9. Corazon

9. Corazon

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia heterophylla
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 2 to 15 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9

Also called the blue metallic plant, this variety carries oversized yet narrow bluish-green leaves with a shield-like outline and a lustrous finish.

10. Jewel Alocasia

10. Jewel Alocasia

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia reverse
  • Plant type: Tender perennial 
  • Size: 27 to 35 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 9 and higher

Extremely popular and low maintenance, this alocasia variety boasts glossy leaves. It’s instantly recognizable due to the inverted colors of the leaves; dark green veins against a grayish-silver surface.

11. Pink Passion

11. Pink Passion

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia brancifolia
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 18 to 24 inches
  • Hardiness zone: 10

Native to New Guinea, this variety is characterized by intensely lobed leaves with scooped and pointed edges. They’re a bright green shade with a smooth texture and a silky finish.

12. Tiger Taro

12. Tiger Taro

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia longiloba
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 1 to 5 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 8 to 9

This gorgeous plant has dark green leaves with highly contrasting cream or white veins down the center and along the edges, creating a unique striped appearance. The narrow leaves form bushy foliage that grows pretty quickly.

13. Brina Plant

13. Brina Plant

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia zebrina
  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial 
  • Size: 2 to 3 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9 and higher

Also known as the alocasia tiger, leopard alocasia, and zebra plant, this variety gets its name from the brown spotted pattern running along its leaves’ stems. The heart-shaped pointed leaves are solid, deep green.

14. Green Velvet

14. Green Velvet

  • Botanical name: Alocasia micholitziana frydek
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 2 to 3 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9

Untrue to its name, the leaves of this plant have a silky-smooth texture with a lustrous finish. The velvet green refers to the rich green shade of the leaves which is contrasted by cream intervening.

15. Nigra Plant

15. Nigra Plant

  • Botanical name: Alocasia plumber
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 3 to 6 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9 to 11

Native to Indonesia, this plant boasts a dark green color all over its leaves and stems. Also known as the black metallic taro, this variety is excellent for those seeking a monochromatic look.

16. Dragon Scale

16. Dragon Scale

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia bagindas
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 3 to 6 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9 to 11

Right out of a mythical world, this variety has massive leaves with a silvery color and dark green veins. The leaves look bloated and fleshy, further contributing to the plant’s unusual appearance.

17. Yucatan Princess

17. Yucatan Princess

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia sarawakensis
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 2 to 5 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 9

Sporting a majestic look, this plant has broad leaves that extend horizontally like a canopy. They’re deep green with a metallic hue, sitting on top of reddish stems.

18. Hooded Dwarf

18. Hooded Dwarf

Image source: Google

  • Botanical name: Alocasia cucullata
  • Plant type: Tender perennial
  • Size: 2 to 3 feet
  • Hardiness zone: 7 to 9

Last but not least, this variety is characterized by the cascading appearance of its foliage resulting from leaves growing to different sizes. Also called the Buddha hands plant, the leaves are heart-shaped and painted a brilliant green.

Features and Characteristics of Alocasia Varieties 

Now that you’re familiar with the top alocasia varieties you can get your hands on, you’re ready to find out more about the general characteristics and features of the genus.

Leaf Shape and Size 

The leaves of alocasia have an outline ranging from a heart to an arrowhead shape. They always feature prominent veining and sometimes show variegation.

Alocasia leaves don’t typically share one stem. Instead, they emerge right out of the soil with each leaf sitting on top of a succulent stem.

Leaves of alocasia vary in size depending on the species, but they’re never shorter than 6 inches. They extend between 8 to 36 inches long.

Leaf Coloration and Patterns 

The most notable attribute of alocasia varieties is their breathtaking foliage, so it’s no surprise when I describe their leaves as showy. A single plant may not possess more than five leaves and still steal the show – that’s how impressive they are.

Of course, some species are more dramatic than others, but generally, they’re all incredibly eye-catching.

The colors, patterns, and textures of alocasia leaves differ across species.

They can be dark green, light green, red, purple, black, silver, or orange. They can possess prominent bright veins, contrasting variegation, or a solid shade all over.

Alocasia leaves can be thick or thin. They can be heavily textured like velvet or glossy and sleek like leather.

The diversity in the appearance of alocasia plants’ leaves is astonishing. Each species has something unique to offer – you can’t help but admire them all!

Plant Size and Growth Rate 

Alocasia varieties can also differ widely when it comes to plant size. Depending on the species, your plant can become as tall as 2 to 10 feet and reach a width between 1 and 10 feet.

The growth rate of alocasia plants is generally fast, particularly in summer. When grown indoors, they can gain around 1 to 2 feet of height per year compared to 3 to 5 feet per year when grown outside.

Soil and Water Requirements 

Since members of the alocasia genus are native to the tropical rainforest, their water and soil requirements should match that environment.

As such, alocasia varieties generally thrive in moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH. The soil should stay evenly moist, so water when the top few inches of the soil are dry or almost dry.

I’ll explain more thoroughly in the care section below.

Lighting and Temperature Needs

Due to their tropical origins, alocasia varieties do best when exposed to bright but indirect sunlight. They also thrive in higher temperatures with little to no tolerance for cold weather.

Additionally, alocasia plants require elevated humidity levels similar to those present in the rainforest environment.

I’ll get further into these aspects of care in the upcoming section.

Caring for Alocasia Varieties 

Being closely related, most alocasia varieties need similar growing conditions. When placed in the proper environment, they’re pretty easy to maintain even if you’re a beginner.

Generally, you’re trying to mimic the conditions of alocasia plants’ native habitat. The following care tips will put you on the right track:

Soil and Watering Requirements 

Alocasia plants need soil that can retain moisture without allowing too much water to stay in the pot for too long. This is where well-draining soil comes in.

Alocasia varieties don’t appreciate wet feet. If the soil holds excess water for extended periods, these plants become prone to water damage and fungal diseases such as root rot.

At the same time, you don’t want soil that drains too fast. If the moisture in the soil dries up prematurely, the plant’s roots won’t be able to take up enough nutrients for healthy growth.

Alocasia varieties prefer slightly acidic soil of pH 5.5 to 6.5.

You’ll find all these soil requirements are accommodated in potting mixes designed specifically for alocasia plants. You can also make a custom potting mix for your plant by mixing equal parts of standard all-purpose peat-based soil with perlite or orchid bark.

When it comes to watering frequency, you should rely on the feel of the soil instead of a schedule.

While alocasia plants love water, you need to watch out for overwatering that makes them vulnerable to root rot and other fungal infections.

You can know if watering is due by checking the top of the soil using your finger. Dip it about two to three inches deep and if it comes out dry or almost dry, then you should add water.

When watering, do it thoroughly; you should see water dripping out of the drainage holes. 

You’ll notice that the watering frequency increases in summer since it’s in the middle of the growing season. In winter, however, alocasia plants are dormant so you should water less often.

Use distilled or rainwater for watering instead of tap water to avoid the development of spots on the leaves. Alocasia varieties are sensitive to the chlorine, fluoride, and chemicals usually present in tap water.

If you have nothing but tap water to use, then be sure to let it sit in an open container for a day before watering. This should be enough time for most of the minerals and chemicals to dissipate.

Fertilizing and Pruning 

Alocasia plants, especially the larger varieties, are heavy feeders. They love a good fertilizing round once or twice per month during their growing season from spring through fall.

Use a houseplant 20-20-20 fertilizer as it contains equal amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These minerals promote the healthy growth of strong roots and lush foliage.

If you’re using liquid fertilizer because it’s easy to apply, be sure to dilute it to half-strength to minimize the risk of root burn.

Alternatively, you can use slow-release fertilizer granules that release nutrients gradually into the soil, which can be more convenient.

Also to avoid root burn you should take care not to over-fertilize your alocasia plant. Additionally, don’t add fertilizer to the soil during winter since it’s the dormant season for this genus.

As for pruning, you don’t need to do much to keep alocasia plants looking neat as the leaves naturally grow with an aesthetically pleasing outline.

Trimming is only necessary if you notice any discolored, dead, damaged, or old leaves. Removing them promotes new growth and better health while preventing the spread of plant diseases.

When pruning, cut the stem of the problematic leaf at the plant’s base using a sharp knife or scissors. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid skin irritation due to alocasia toxicity.

For the best results, reserve the pruning task for spring or summer as the plant is actively growing.

Lighting and Temperature Needs 

Generally speaking, alocasia varieties require plenty of exposure to sunlight. Most of them prefer bright shade or filtered sunlight as it resembles the type of light the plants receive under the rainforest canopy.

In a room facing north or east, a spot near a window is an excellent place to receive bright, indirect sunlight. Make sure there’s a sheer curtain between the window and the plant if the room is facing south or west.

If you’re parking your alocasia outside, choose a location with open shade. Don’t leave your plant in direct sunlight to avoid plant stress and leaf burns.

As for the temperature requirements of alocasia varieties, the ideal range falls between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 29 degrees Celsius).

These plants like it warm and can suffer damage if temperatures drop below 60 degrees F. A spot near air conditioning vents and cold drafts is unsuitable for alocasia.

Additionally, keep your plant away from sudden temperature changes.

Humidity is also a big deal when caring for alocasia varieties. High levels of humidity are a staple of their native habitat; at least 50 percent is necessary if you want your plant to thrive.

Here are some techniques to help you boost humidity around your alocasia:

  • Mist the plant a few times per week
  • Keep the plant in a bathroom or kitchen
  • Group it with other plants
  • Place the plant on a water-filled pebble tray
  • Invest in a humidifier 

Pest and Disease Management 

Alocasia varieties are generally healthy plants with high resistance to diseases. They don’t commonly fall victim to pest infestations, but they’re vulnerable to spider mites’ attacks.

These tiny insects can be black, brown, or red. They weave protective silk weaves for protection, hence the name.

Spider mites cause yellow spots on the leaves as they feed on plant sap. If present, they’ll reside on the underside of leaves.

To deal with spider mites, try spraying with neem oil or insecticidal soap/water. You may also have to cut off the infected parts.

Repotting and Propagation Techniques

You should report alocasia varieties when you notice roots starting to poke out of the drainage holes. The best time for this task is spring as the plant enters its growth season.

Choose a larger pot (by about two inches) that’s slightly deeper than the current one. Use a fresh potting mix for the new pot and check the roots for any signs of rot. Once transferred, water the plant thoroughly.

As for propagating alocasia, you can easily do so by rhizome division preferably in the spring. Here’s how:

  1. Gently dig up the plant out of its pot using a trowel.
  2. Look for larger root clumps as they’ll have a lot of rhizomes for division.
  3. Cut off pieces of the rhizomes using a clean knife and place the mother plant back in its pot.
  4. Use moist soil to pot the cuttings in new containers.
  5. Maintain optimal growth conditions.
  6. Once the new growths have enough roots to resist your tugs, they’re ready for potting.

Choosing the Right Alocasia Variety 

After getting familiar with the most popular alocasia varieties, you may still be unsure which one to add to your plant collection. To help you decide, keep the following points in mind:

Considering Indoor Conditions 

How’s the environment inside your house? Is it accommodating for the plant?

Can you find a spot that gets enough sunlight? Can you provide proper temperature and humidity levels for the plant indoors?

Are there children or pets who may be at risk of the plant’s toxicity?

Personal Preferences and Style 

The alocasia genus offers a wide variety of plants with just about every shape, size, and color you can imagine.

Before choosing one, think about your preferences and indoor decor. Do you want something extravagant or on the subtle side? Are you into exotic colors or do you prefer a monochromatic green?

Availability and Price 

Depending on your location and the rarity of the variety, alocasia plants differ in price and availability. As such, your choice may be limited by your budget and whether or not you can readily find the plant.

Compatibility with Other Plants 

If you have other plants, how does the alocasia fit in?

Do the other plants also prefer the tropical-like conditions of warm temperatures, high humidity, and filtered sunlight?

If not, your plants don’t have matching needs, chances are one of them will end up suffering.

Care Requirements

Finally, consider your readiness to care for the alocasia plant.

Are you up for regular watering, fertilizing, pruning, and so on? Can you maintain the proper temperature and humidity levels year-round?

Conclusion 

Any of the alocasia varieties is a stunning addition to your houseplant collection. They’re a treat to the eye and will instantly transform your indoor scenery with a touch of the tropics.

The best part is that once you’ve established the plant, maintenance becomes a breeze. With dozens of cultivars to choose from, nothing should stop you from enjoying this beautiful plant.

The key to successful alocasia growth and care is mimicking its tropical habitat. Today’s guide should help you do just that.

Claire S. Allen
Claire S. Allen
Hi there! I'm Claire S. Allen, a vibrant Gemini who's as bold as my favorite color, red. I'm a fan of two cool things: strolling the streets in a red jacket and crafting articles that connect with readers. With my warm and friendly personality, Claire is sure to brighten up your day!
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