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ALOCASIA

Image of Alocasia

James H. Schutte

Family

Araceae

Botanical Name

ALOCASIA

Plant Common Name

Alocasia, Elephant Ear

General Description

Alocasia is a genus of about 70 huge-leaved species of tropical plants native to the warm, moist areas of southern Asia. They are usually perennial evergreens and have large rhizomes (underground lateral stems) or bulbs. The leaves are roughly oval with lobes at the base. Some are arrow-shaped and all have the petiole (leaf stem) attached inside the leaf edge. Large, prominent, variously colored veins often decorate the leaves. The leaves top long, variously-hued petioles which grow directly from the rhizome, bulb or compressed stem.

Anthurium-like flowers consist of a finger-like floral column (spadix) surrounded by a white or pale green petal-like leaf (spathe). The female flowers are usually at the base of the spadix and the male flowers are towards the top. The flowers are held on short stalks, often hidden in the foliage. Red to orange berry-like fruit follows the flowers.

Alocasias are beautiful and imposing garden plants for frost-free areas, containers and greenhouses. Popular species include Alocasia macrorrhiza or giant taro, which is grown for edible (if properly prepared) rhizomes. Alocasia plumbeahas purple or dark green wavy leaves and the hybrid Alocasia X amazonica or African Mask Alocasia has very dark green leaves marked with pale green, thick veins.

Lush, beautiful plants, Alocasia impart a tropical feeling where ever planted. Choose locations with part shade to full shade and organic, well drained soil. These elephant-ear plants will tolerate moist to very wet conditions, deep shade and a few species will take full sun. They are frost and wind sensitive. The plants spread and can form dense clumps which should be thinned regularly. Some species are considered invasive in various areas. Plant Alocasia for their beautiful leaves and the tropical effects they impart. 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

    3'-20' / 0.9m - 6.1m

  • Width

    3'-20' / 0.9m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Green

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Yellow, Green, Blue Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, Striped/Striated

  • 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

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Container, Feature Plant, Tropical, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes