Up to 70 different species are counted to the imposing plant, which is also known as arrow leaf or tropical root and belongs to the Araceae family. Alocasia form very decorative leaves in numerous different variations. However, some experience is required for the cultivation of the exotic plant in order to offer the arrow leaf optimal growth conditions.

Location and soil 

In principle, the arrow blade should be in a light and partially shaded location throughout the year. The plant cannot tolerate direct sunlight; only a little morning and evening sun can be allowed. It is also quite possible that the alocasia will be moved to a very shady place after an optimal acclimatization period.

During the day, alocasia feels most comfortable at 22 ° C, while temperatures of up to 18 ° C can be tolerated at night or in winter. After a certain period of acclimatization, it is quite possible to hibernate the arrow sheet at 15-16 ° C for a short time. A high level of humidity is particularly important for the plant to thrive optimally. For this purpose, the arrow sheet should be sprayed daily with fine water. It has also proven to be useful to place the alocasia in a bowl filled with water on pebbles. The humidity can be reached and controlled particularly well with the help of a plant display case or a closed flower window. Alternatively, a humidifier can also be set up; however, in this case the current room humidity should be measured before it is used. Even if high air humidity proves to be beneficial for the growth of the arrow leaf – if the room humidity is over 50% in the long term, the risk of mold growth also increases. For this reason, it is worthwhile to check the room humidity every now and then.

A warm greenhouse or winter species is ideal as a location that offers sufficient brightness and warmth as well as sufficient humidity. But the plant also thrives in a place in the apartment where both high temperatures and high humidity prevail. Optimal temperatures are often reached behind a south-facing window, for example.

In addition to the ideal location, attention should also be paid to the optimal composition of the plant substrate used, which is used in the cultivation of the arrow leaf. The earth should have certain properties:

  • slightly acidic pH
  • locker
  • stark fumes
  • wet

An optimal mixture can be made from leaf earth, a peat substitute and a small amount of sphagnum moss. Alternatively, a substrate made from clay granulate and cactus soil is suitable. In order to shift the pH value to the slightly acidic range, acidic compost or special fertilizers can be used in addition to peat moss.

Tip: Coconut humus is particularly suitable as a peat substitute, which, unlike peat, does not tend to mold even in warm and humid conditions.

Watering, fertilizing and repotting – care instructions

The arrow leaf must be supplied with sufficient fluid for optimal growth throughout the year. Keep the soil evenly moist in summer. The soil moisture should always be kept even. Low-lime, soft water is used for irrigation; rainwater or mineral water is preferably used. After watering, excess water is removed from the coaster; Waterlogging damages the plant and can lead to the development of root rot. To increase the humidity, the plant should be sprayed again and again in between. Overall, the plant needs less moisture during the winter months. However, even in the cold season of the year, it is essential to ensure that the bale never dries out completely.

Targeted fertilization is also part of the optimal care of the arrow sheet. Every two weeks, a high-quality green plant fertilizer can be added to the crop in half the concentration, which is dispensed with the irrigation water. The supply of nutrients is possible throughout the year.

If the arrow leaf has reached a certain size and grows beyond the pot, it has proven useful to move the plant. The ideal time for this measure is February or March. In any case, repotting should be completed before the summer season.

Planting and Propagating

After buying the alocasia, put it in a pot with prepared substrate and pour it on well. In order to avoid waterlogging within the pot, it has proven to be sensible to design an efficient drainage system, for example consisting of a layer of gravel.

Alocasia can be propagated using different methods:

  • by dividing the rhizome
  • with the help of foothills
  • with seeds

It is particularly easy to multiply via division. For this purpose, the rhizome is divided into several very short pieces. A sharp knife should be used for this measure so that no fibrous fragments are formed. Then the individual pieces have to dry out a little before they are planted in a pot. A mixture of peat and sand is suitable as a growing medium.

Diseases and pests

Occurring diseases with the arrow blade are often triggered by care errors. For example, overwatering, which leads to waterlogging, can increase the risk of root rot. Then the leaves turn yellow and turn pale overall. A missing drainage layer is often responsible for the formation of waterlogging; alternatively, the substrate should be checked for permeability. However, sometimes the discoloration is simply old leaves that can be cut off. However, if the leaves are colored brown, especially at the edge, the problem is usually too low a humidity. Overall brown leaves, however, can also indicate a lack of ground warmth, which can be particularly problematic during the cold season.

Tip: In order to ensure sufficient floor heat even during the winter months, it has proven useful to position a thick styrofoam sheet under the pot.

With regard to various pests, the arrow leaf is particularly susceptible to whitefly and spider mites. The infestation of whitefly is easy to identify based on a characteristic damage pattern:

  • blotchy and yellowed leaves
  • Honeydew on the leaf tops
  • Fly up when touching the plant

As a preventive measure, it has proven to be effective to ventilate frequently and, if necessary, to use parasitic wasps or spiders in the greenhouse. In addition, yellow tables have also proven to be useful. In the case of severe infestation, an insecticide that is gentle on beneficial organisms must be used.

Spider mites also occur more frequently in alocasia. From spring onwards, numerous light, tiny dots appear on the leaves as damage, which appear to be speckled. The sucking points appear silvery discolored by the penetration of the air and later merge into bronze-colored spots. Eventually the leaves will fall off. If the infestation is severe, fine webs can often be seen on the plant. Frequent ventilation and adequate irrigation are also suitable as preventive measures in case of drought. The use of ground beetles can also be worthwhile. If necessary, rapeseed oil-based insecticides can also be used.

Different types

One of the best-known and most popular species of the arrow leaf is the Alocasia sanderiana, which is also known as the “beauty of the Philippines”. The very decorative plant only develops very short shoots with large hanging leaves that show a metallic sheen. The leaf veins are held in a pungent white and immediately catch the viewer’s eye. The plant is available in different color nuances.

The two species Alocasia lowii from Borneo and Alocasia veichii, which show triangular pointed leaves of dark green, are also frequently used. The leaf veins are kept in an olive green tone; Alocasia lowii shows this color in the entire leaf base.
If a plant with a special color is desired, Alocasia metallica should be used. The tops of the leaves of this species show bronze-colored nuances and at the same time present a fine metallic sheen. The leaf veins are darker in color than the leaves, with the underside of the leaves showing a strong coloring. The shape also offers a special feature: the leaves, which are up to 40cm in size, are combined to form a heart-shaped, oval structure, with their lower lobes having almost grown together.

A specialty among the Alocasias is the Alocasia macrorrhizos, which is also called “Giant-leaved Arrow Leaf” or “Giant Taro”. It is a perennial perennial that can grow up to 2m tall and can be used in the winter garden to create a tropical atmosphere, as the plant as a whole bears a certain resemblance to palm trees.
All species can be cared for in the same way and differ only slightly from one another in terms of their requirements.

The arrow leaf is one of the most beautiful foliage plants that can be cultivated in our latitudes. The care of the quite demanding plant, however, requires a certain horticultural experience; Experienced hobby gardeners can, however, enjoy the decorative leaves of the alocasia for a long time if they are kept optimally.

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