This post is about the different types of Alocasia plants, how to identify them including photos of the Alocasia varieties and some basic care tips.
Alocasia plants are known for boasting leaves with stunning veining patterns and large sizes.
Coming from the subtropical regions of Asia and eastern Australia, these types of Alocasia can be demanding due to their high humidity requirements, probability of spider mites, and the need for regular Alocasia repotting. This makes them suitable for intermediate to expert plant parents.
With almost 100 varieties of Alocasias, choosing your perfect match can be overwhelming.
From the unique silver dragon Alocasia to the gigantic but beginner-friendly taro Alocasia. These striking plants are one of the most popular house plants and will add an exotic flair to any household.
Read on to find out how many types of Alocasia plants there are and learn more about some of the most common varieties.
What is an Alocasia?
Coming from the Alocasia genus, many Alocasia varieties have similar basic traits, but can differ significantly based on size, color, and shape. They can be identified by their arrowhead-shaped leaves that sit on tall petioles.
Some varieties, like the zebrina and silver dragon, have burgundy accents on either the leaves or the stems.
Alocasia also boasts prominent veins on their leaves, ranging from green, black-green, white, and even shades of pink.
How Many Types of Alocasias are There?
There are 97 different types of recognized Alocasia plants. While these species are native to Asia and Eastern Australia, many new types of Alocasia hybrids have been created all over the world and kept as decorative houseplants.
Alocasia Vs Colocasia
Alocasia and Colocasia are often clumped together and are commonly known as elephant ear plants.
While these two are very similar, there is a key difference between them. An Alocasia’s leaves point upwards, while the Colocasia’s leaves point downwards.
What is the Largest Alocasia?
The largest Alocasia is the Alocasia macrorrhiza, more commonly called the ‘giant taro’. This plant can grow up to 8-feet wide and over 15-feet tall!
The leaves can reach 6-feet in length and 4-feet wide. While most people don’t even have a house big enough to keep them inside, they work wonderfully in the garden as a focal point or to bring more greenery to a tropical-themed garden.
Alocasia General Care
All Alocasias need high humidity levels of no less than 60%. But if you live in a temperate or dryer climate, you can still keep these beautiful houseplants in your home.
They will just require extra attention, like regular misting with a spray bottle or placing a wet pebble tray close by.
Alocasias in the wild grow under the canopies of tall trees. Therefore, they don’t react well to harsh light and prefer bright, indirect lighting. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can burn the leaves.
Even though Alocasias like humid climates, their watering needs are less than you would think. This houseplant likes its soil to dry out in between watering’s, with at least 2-3 inches of the topsoil being completely dry.
To keep the Alocasia happy and prevent root rot, make sure it has proper drainage with good soil and a pot with a drainage hole.
When you buy an Alocasia, the soil is usually packed down to ensure no movement during transit. You should aerate the soil to ensure efficient drainage.
Alocasias are prone to pests, specifically spider mites. It’s important to check under the leaves for white dots or webbing.
If you find spider mites on the leaves, isolate the plant from the rest of your collection and apply pests and mite treatment.
Types of Alocasia Houseplants
Alocasias are typically grown for their prominent, elephant ear-like appearance. Some leaves have even been reported to grow over 3-feet long. Keep reading to dive into the different types of alocasias and how to identify each one.
Alocasia Longiloba – Tiger Taro
The Alocasia longiloba can be identified by its large and dark grey-green leaves with bold white veining. A rich burgundy petiole or stem supports the leaves.
All Alocasia leaves emerge from a corm. This is the swollen base of the stem, enclosed by small dry leaves that protect it.
The Alocasia longiloba blooms green flowers known as inflorescence. These flowers grow straight upwards on a long stem.
The erect spadix is covered in small white flowers, enclosed in a spathe shaped like a boat, similar to lily plants. Spathes are often confused with petals.
Giant Taro – Alocasia Macrorrhizos
Giant Alocasia taros are one of the biggest and fastest growing amongst the Alocasia genus. As mentioned, these huge plants can grow up to 15 feet tall.
Their arrowhead-shape and fan-like folded leaves can help identify this Alocasia. Their flowers are light yellow-green and bloom regularly throughout the year.
Alocasia Cuprea – Red Secret
The Alocasia originally comes from South East Asia but was commercially grown in Hawaii, where it got the name “Alii”, meaning ‘king.’
This Alocasia grows no more than 3 feet tall. While it is a slow grower, your patience will be rewarded with stunning, iridescent and metallic-looking leaves.
Jewel-like shades of green and purple draw attention to this plant. But be careful, Alocasias are poisonous and are best kept away from pets and kids.
This plant is relatively easy to care for, but like all varieties, it loves humidity. Be sure to keep a wet pebble tray close by or group plants close together next to a humidifier.
Alocasia Morocco – Pink Dragon
The Morocco Alocasia has a light pink stem that grows straight up, supporting dark green, shiny foliage with bolded white veins. It also has a distinctive slender tip—having a similar look to a beetroot plant.
This Alocasia plant and all others can be fed with half-strength fertilizer every few weeks in the spring. But don’t feed them in winter as this can lead to an accumulation of salt and ultimately damage their foliage.
Alocasia Amazonica -Polly Alocasia
The Polly plant reminds some of the traditional African mask patterns because of the adorned leaves with ribs in a light green white. The edges of the leaves have a white wavy border and a split at the top of the leaves, emphasizing their arrow shape.
These tropical plants can grow up to 18 inches tall, making them stunning and compact ornamental plants.
They love warmth, humidity and water, but like to dry out between waterings. They also go dormant in winter and therefore need to be watered less frequently during this season.
Alocasia Micholitziana – Frydek Alocasia
Contrasting to the metallic and shiny leaves of the cuprea, the Alocasia micholitziana has soft velvet foliage.
You can see the distinctive white veining of the genus, complemented with the arrowhead shape. This plant will add elegance and glamour to your home.
The frydek Alocasia is a rare plant that is medium sized compared to other Alocasias, growing around 1-2 feet tall.
Alocasia Zebrina – Zebra Alocasia
This Alocasia variety can be recognized for its funky, striped, purple, and green stem. The Zebrina is guaranteed to steal the spotlight in any home.
It has large glossy leaves in bright green. This plant starts small but will grow to be rather big. Larger plants can be placed on the floor, while smaller ones make for a striking table topper.
Repotting an Alocasia zebrina isn’t difficult and should be done every 12-18 months. You always want to choose a new pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter to allow room for growth.
The Dragon Scale Alocasia
This Alocasia dragon scale, commonly known as the dragon scale, is noteworthy because of the scale-like textured foliage. Rightfully so, this plant is the trendiest and most insta-worthy out of all the Alocasias on this list.
It has large green foliage with a glossy finish. Instead of the typical white veins, the dragon scale was dark magenta veins that appear shadowed in their indented ridges.
The Macrorrhiza Stingray Alocasia
This plant has uniquely shaped foliage, where the tips narrow to a string size and the base remains round in shape, representing the outline of a stingray.
The stem of the Macrorrhiza stingray is striped, similar to the Alocasia zebrina, but less brightly colored.
These leaves appear to float about the base of the plant, like stingrays swimming in the air—a truly unique sight.
Alocasia Melo – Alocasia Rugosa
The rugosa Alocasia has the thickest and most heavily textured leaves out of all the species. They have large greenish-blue leaves that grow between 10 and 20 inches long.
They have a rough-looking matte finish that can have them easily mistaken for a fake plant.
While this plant is just one color, the deep grooves and texture of the plant give a geometric look and an oomph to the overall feel of the plant.
Alocasia Reginula – Black Velvet
The reginula species has been given the nickname of queen or Alocasia black velvet. While the leaves aren’t actually black, they are so dark green that they appear black.
The leaves are also velvety in texture and don’t reflect light, making them appear darker than they are.
True to the Aolcasia’s appearance, their large foliage also has bolded silver veins and is propped on erect petioles. They also bloom anthurium-like flowers of no more than three at a time.
Alocasia Amazonica – Ivory Coast
This Alocasia variety usually offers more stems and, therefore, a fuller-looking foliage compared to others in the genus. They are a deep green leaves with complementing silver veins. As this plant matures, its stems turn light shades of pink, adding that needed pop of color and flair of drama into your home.
Alocasias work well when grouped together to give a fuller and even more striking appearance.
Hooded Dwarf – Alocasia Cucullata
The hooded dwarf Alocasia is also commonly known as the ‘buddha’s hand’. This is because the plant is native to Thailand, where it is believed to bring great fortune. The plant is placed at Buddha temples all over the country.
Unlike the Alocasia Cuprea, this species grows fast but won’t reach over 2,5 feet in height. Alocasias pair really well with Monstera Deliciosa for a tropical feel in your home. That is, if you’re up for the challenge of caring for their high humidity needs.
Alocasia Portodora – Elephant Ear
The Alocasia portodora can grow to be quite large. This plant boasts gigantic crimped-looking leaves on very long magenta stems.
Since the portodora can grow to 4-5 feet, it is best for full-partially sunny areas in the outdoors or on a patio. This type of Alocasia is easier to maintain, a lot harder and more resilient than smaller ones.
The Alocasia Triangularis
As its name suggests, this Alocasia type’s leaves are in the shape of triangles. With three distinct points and wavy edges, the ruffled dark green foliage tends almost to curl inwards.
This plant is medium height. It can reach up to 3 feet and is easier to grow than other Alocasias.
Like the Alocasia portadora, it has a hardiness zone 11, meaning the plant can withstand temperatures down to 40°F before entering dormancy.
The Alocasia Sanderiana
This Alocasia variety is native to the Philippines. While their original form is endangered, the houseplant variety is trendy.
The Alocasia sanderiana is similar to the polly species, showing off shiny dark green foliage with emphasized creamy-white veins and a thin outline.
This plant blooms all year round, but more commonly in the summertime. The flowers are small and white and surrounded by a light green spathe.
Alocasia Rubra – Alocasia Wentii
This plant reminds you of the Calathea varieties with its dark green foliage and contrasting bright reddish-purple underside. Despite the fact that it belongs in the tropics, this plant is hardy and easy to grow. This plant will be an impressive statement in your home and bring an exotic feel.
Besides keeping the soil moist, regular misting and keeping a close eye for spider mites and mealybugs, this plant is suitable for most level gardeners.
Purple Sword Plant – Alocasia Lauterbachiana
Vastly different from other Alocasia’s arrow-shaped foliage, the purple sword Alocasia gets its name from the long slender leaves that point towards the sky.
Instead of an arrow, its foliage is described as sword shaped, with each Alocasia leaf reaching almost 2-feet. The leaves have a red underside which is easily seen because Alocasia tips and leaves face upwards.
Alocasia Baginda – Silver Dragon
This alocasia is by far one of the flashiest and most unique out of them all. Similar to the black velvet Alocasia, but like you’ve put the inverted filter over it.
The leaves are silvery-white with a dark green and almost black-looking outlined vein.
The silver dragon Alocasia has a soft velvet feel and matte finish. They are more difficult to tend to than the hardier and larger Alocasias, but their breathtaking foliage is totally worth the extra TLC.
Last Words on Alocasia Varieties
There are many varieties of plants to choose from to spruce up your home or patio area. The bold markings and large stature of the elephant ear plant varieties are sure to do just that.
The large and hardier Alocasia are perfect for beginner to intermediate gardeners, like the taro or the portodora.
While if you’re looking for a challenge with a big reward, the silver dragon or black velvet Alocasias are perfect for you.
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