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ALOCASIA odora

Image of Alocasia odora

James H. Schutte

Family

Araceae

Botanical Name

ALOCASIA odora

Plant Common Name

Asian Taro, Giant Alocasia, Giant Upright Elephant Ear, Hardy Elephant Ear

General Description

Massive, arrow-shaped leaves make the giant alocasia a must-have for a tropical rainforest garden. A native of India, southern China, and northern Myanmar, the large rhizome gives rise to huge herbaceous and fleshy stems and leaves growing grows into a non-invasive clump with time. It also loves moisture, heat and humidity. Perhaps no other taro, even Alocasia macrorrhizos, is larger than this species. It will die back to the rhizome after a frost, and will return in late spring provided the winter cold never reaches any part of the rhizome. The flower, which consists of a spathe and spadix, is fragrant.

Giant alocasia can prosper in a wide range of soils, provided it remains moist and is warm. Sandier soils must have organic matter incorporated. It can grow in muck, and in water, but the water line shouldn't rise any higher than 6 inches/15cm above the rhizome. If winters are cool, reduce watering and stop fertilizing to avoid root rot. Giant taro is most magnificent as specimen or specimen groves with low growing plants around their bases. This provides ample space and scale for the massive leaves to stretch up and out and dominate the landscape. Cultivar 'California' is a sun-tolerant, seemingly smaller and readily-clumping variety. Juice from cut leaves can be a skin irritant on some individuals.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 1b, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    8'-15' / 2.4m - 4.6m

  • Width

    6'-20' / 1.8m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Southeastern Asia, India, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Green, Dark Green, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Lime Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No