How to Care for Alocasia Odora Variegata

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Alocasia Odora Variegata, also known as Elephant’s Ear, is a member of the Araceae family. There are over 80 different species within the Alocasia genus, which vary widely in shape and size. However, they are all foliage plants with inconspicuous blooms, often hidden behind the leaf petioles. They are perennial plants and like bright, indirect light, making them ideal house plants for year-round color and form.

Alocasias are native to tropical and subtropical East and Southeast Asia, as well as the Eastern parts of Australia.

Alocasia Odora Variegata will grow as tall as 1.6 m high. The large, wide, blade-shaped leaves of this variegated species are characterized by marbled mottling of green and white. Each leaf will be different and display different color mix variations, with some leaves having solid white areas, deep green areas, and a blend of speckled and mottled green in other areas. They are strikingly beautiful plants and add interest and form to any room.

Dwarf Alocasia Odora Variegata 

Alocasia Odora Variegata is not naturally a dwarf cultivar and in the right conditions they will grow more than a meter high. However, buying a small plant and keeping it in a small pot will slow the growth and keep it from growing into a giant plant. These plants also shoot new sprouts around the base, which can be separated and potted into a little pot so you will never run out of small plants for your indoor space. 

Alocasia Odora Variegata Care

Caring for Alocasia Odora Variegata can be a little tricky, but in the right position, with sufficient light, humidity, and warmth, they will thrive with only consistent watering and occasional feeding. Read on to learn how to care for Alocasia Odora Variegata.

The ideal conditions for Alocasia Odora Variegata

(Location, Space, Light, Containers and Potting Mix)

Each plant is unique and needs particular conditions to thrive in an indoor setting. Alocasia Odora Variegata is no different, and putting some thought into the initial setup, to get the right conditions will save you endless trouble in the long run.

Alocasia Odora Variegata is a standing plant, with huge leaves on widely spreading stalks. As such, they need room to grow both vertically and horizontally. They need bright, indirect light and prefer warm, humid conditions.  Please do not place your plant near a heating system or air conditioner as it will dry out the air too much, and the constant air movement will stress the plant.

To get the initial set up just right, follow the following guidelines, and adjust as needed. Your plant will tell you if it’s not entirely happy, so keep a close eye on it in the beginning and adapt as you see fit.

Experiment and see what works better, but in general, the following will be a good starting point:

Space and Location

As a tall and widely spreading plant, your Alocasia Odora Variegata will need ample space to grow. Fully grown, they can be as tall as 1.6m and almost as wide. They don’t grow excessively fast, though, so you don’t need a huge space if your plant is still small. Just make sure it has enough space around it to get enough light and air circulation and that other plants do not crowd it.

Light Requirements

Alocasias do best in bright, indirect light. Alocasia Odora Variegata, with its variegated leaves, will need brighter light (for longer periods each day) than other Alocasias, as the white portions of the leaves do not contain chlorophyll and will not photosynthesize to produce energy. This means that the green parts of the leaf need to work a little harder and a little longer to meet the plant’s energy requirements.

However, do not place the plant in direct sunlight. The light needs to be bright but indirect or filtered through a curtain or shade cloth to prevent leaves from scorching and burning.

Temperature and Humidity

These plants like a warm and slightly humid environment. Temperatures between 15 and 30 Celsius (59 to 86 Fahrenheit) will work well. They do not tolerate the cold very well and will need to be moved away from windows, air conditioning units and fans during the year’s colder months.

Alocasias do well in moderate to high humidity (around 70 is ideal). In very dry climates, a humidifier nearby and occasional misting with a spray bottle will keep the leaves happy.

A pebble tray also works well for localized humidity around that particular plant. You can make a pebble tray with a waterproof tray slightly wider than the base of the pot. Put pebbles in the tray and place the pot on top of them. Add water to the tray but make sure they sit above the waterline, on top of the pebbles. Water will evaporate from the tray, adding a little humidity just around the plant.

Choosing the right container

Alocasias do not need too much space for their roots to spread. They will do well in a pot that is a snug fit for the root ball, without being so small as to become root-bound. When re-potting, go up a size smaller than you would for other plants. Usually, a pot one inch bigger than the current pot will be fine. However, if the plant is very root-bound and you have long roots coming out the bottom of the current pot, you can go up by two inches.

The container must drain well and be a suitable size and weight to support the plant’s height and width, without toppling over. As a top-heavy plant, it is important to make sure the container is heavy enough to support it without being too big.

As long as they drain well, pots made from ceramic, terracotta or other heavy material will work best. Use a heavier material and keep the size appropriate, rather than using a much larger pot made from a lighter material. Large pots tend to have too much potting medium in them in relation to the root system’s volume and will become waterlogged, even in a well-draining container.

The best potting soil for Alocasia Odora Variegata

The best potting medium for Alocasia Odora Variegata is a “5:1:1 mix” made by mixing 5-parts bark, 1-part potting soil or peat moss, and 1-part perlite. This creates a light, airy, well-draining mixture that still retains some moisture for slow release and provides a little organic nutrient. Look for a pH of 5.6 to 7.5 (acidic to neutral).

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How to Care for Alocasia Odora Variegata

(Watering, Feeding, Pruning and Disease Control)

Now that you have created the perfect situation for your Alocasia Odora Variegata, you can relax a little and enjoy those stunning marbled leaves!

Please pay close attention to your plant, especially in the beginning, to see what it likes best in regarding watering frequency and volume. Over or under watering will lead to drooping stems and slightly burnt looking leaf edges.

Play around a little, see what works for your plant, in your climate and location, and do more of that!

In general, however, you can use the following as a guideline:

Watering

Alocasia Odora Variegata needs to be kept consistently moist, but not wet. They do not need to dry out completely between watering and should be allowed to retain a small amount of moisture at all times. That said, they must not stay too wet either, or they will develop root rot.

A general rule to follow is to allow the top 2.5 cm to dry out between each watering (stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle to test this). It is a good idea to look at the bottom of the pot too, sometimes the top will be dry, but the bottom is still wet. If the bottom is wet, hold off a little longer before you water the plant again.

Avoid overwatering, as it will lead to root rot, where the roots rot and die, often killing the plant too. If you notice that the plant has become waterlogged, allow it to dry out entirely or re-pot it and cut away any dead roots before replanting it into a pot (and potting mix) that drains very well.

Pruning

Alocasia Odora Variegata does not require pruning in the traditional sense. They do not die back in the winter and regenerate in the spring/summer, but they may go dormant and stop producing new leaves in the winter (depending on the conditions in your home).

They are perennial and evergreen, so you will need to clean up any straggly leaves or stems as and when you need to. The best time to do this is at the beginning of spring when temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. This allows the plant to focus its resources on new growth rather than maintaining old, unhealthy leaves.

Feeding

Alocasia Odora Variegata does not require a lot of feeding. Using a liquid fertilizer, which contains a more or less equal ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (look for equal NPK numbers on the bottle) as a foliar feed, will work best.

Water the plant with diluted (about half the recommended concentration on the bottle) liquid fertilizer about once every six weeks in the growing season (spring and summer) and once every eight to twelve weeks in the autumn and winter.

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Alocasias are not particularly prone to pests and diseases. Keeping them healthy, clean and correctly watered is usually enough to keep them safe and happy. The following are good practices to keep in mind:

  • Water from the bottom (unless you are doing a foliar feed) and allow it to dry out well before you water it again.
  • Keep the temperature and humidity as low as possible without damaging the plant. Bacteria and fungi thrive in hot, wet conditions. Keep as much air circulation as possible to allow oxygen to the plant.
  • Do not overcrowd your plants. Infections can spread from plant to plant, so keeping them further apart will prevent this.

However, even the best-kept plants may occasionally suffer from diseases and pests. Alocasias are prone to the following:

  1. Xanthomonas Bacterial Leaf Spot is a common problem in Alocasias. The spots appear on the leaves as dark lesions, which sometimes have a yellow halo around them. They can appear anywhere on the leaf. Treatment is tricky, but copper fungicides and bacterial sprays can work. The best method to use is to cut away affected leaves as soon as the lesions appear to prevent the bacteria’s spread. Dispose of the infected leaves away from other plants and sterilize your tools.
  2. Root Rot will occur in overly damp conditions. Make sure the plant dries out between watering and that the soil drains well. If the plant isn’t looking well and there are no obvious pests or infections, pull the root ball and soil away from the pot and check to see how wet the soil is at the pot’s bottom. If the soil is wet, check the roots to see if any have rotted and died. Cut these away and re-pot the plant. Water it once and allow it to dry out completely.
  3. Rust is a fungal infection characterized by brown spots and a red powdery substance that looks like rust on metal. The brown spots develop first, and the powdery substance develops later on. Rust occurs when there is not enough sunlight for a warm, humid climate. However, increasing the amount of light/sun once the disease is established will not help, and it will progress further, killing off the leaves and damaging the plant further. The best treatment method is to remove the affected leaves as soon as you see them and dispose of them away from other plants. Allow the plant to dry out before watering it again, and water it from the bottom when you do.
  4. Mealybugs, Scale, Aphids, and Spider Mites – These pests are commonly found on foliage plants, and Alocasia Odora Variegata is no exception. The best way to treat these is by cleaning them manually off the leaves with a damp cloth and warm, soapy water. Natural remedies, such as Neem Oil, are another safe and effective method. Spray the leaves and stems with the Neem Oil mixture and then wipe them down gently with a washcloth to remove the insects.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Alocasia Odora Variegata is a beautiful and striking evergreen plant with large, marbled green and white leaves. They are large, upright plants that do well indoors, provided the necessa conditions are right. Once they are established, they do not require a lot of maintenance, although it can be tricky to get the watering and feeding schedule right. Once you have found the right routine for them, they are easy to care for and rewarding to keep.

It must be noted that Alocasia Odora Variegata, unlike some other species of Elephant Ear, is not edible. The plant cells contain sharp, needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. Ingestion by people and animals will lead to a severe reaction where the tongue, mouth, and face swell and itch.

Where to Buy the Alocasia Odora Variegata

The Alocasia Odora Variegata is available for sale on Etsy. Click below to check prices.

Check Price on Etsy

 

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