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ALOCASIA princeps

Image of Alocasia princeps

Family

Araceae

Botanical Name

ALOCASIA princeps

Plant Common Name

Malaysian Elephant Ear

General Description

Beautiful leaves are the shining glory of Alocasia princeps. This taro is a tropical elephant ear native to the forested regions of Malaysia. This tall, evergreen perennial is grown for its large, beautiful dark green leaves with purple undersides. Each arrow-shaped, or sagittate, leaf has two basal lobes that extend beyond the point where the stem attaches at the leaf's edge. Throughout the year, it produces anthurium-like flowers with a finger-like floral column (spadix) surrounded by a pale green petal-like leaf (spathe). The plant spreads by rhizomes (underground lateral stems) and sucker to form dense clumps.

Alocasia impart a lush tropical feeling wherever planted. They grow best in locations with partial to full shade and fertile, organic-rich, well-drained soil. Most Alocasia tolerate moist conditions but not standing water. Like most forest-dwelling tropical species, elephant ear is sensitive to frost and wind. Where not hardy, it can be planted in a large container that can be taken outdoors in summer. Those growing in homes require bright, filtered light and organic potting medium. Outdoor specimens grown in zone 10 or warmer, tend to spread and can form dense clumps that may need regular division, especially if grown in a smaller garden space.

There are potential health concerns regarding this plant. To learn more go to http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Alocasp.htm

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, Polynesia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes