Looking for an Alocasia that grows to a decent height and flourishes in lower than average temperatures compared to other Alocasia varieties? Look no further than the Dark Star.
This hybrid plant, created from four other Alocasia variants, is able to deliver on size, deep green color, hardiness and appearance. But, it’s also a bit fussy. Let’s review how to care for it together.
- 1 Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ Care
- 2 Common Problems with the Alocasia “Dark Star”
- 3 Frequently asked questions about Alocasia Dark Star
- 4 Conclusion
Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ Care
Requiring temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ likes bright but mostly indirect sun. It requires a well-drained soil, but the soil itself should be kept lightly moist at all times. Watering should therefore be light but frequent. Humidity levels should be higher than average, and you may wish to artificially humidify the room to keep the plant happy. The Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ will benefit from a light fertilizer every couple of weeks during the spring and summer.
Light conditions for the Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ can be quite specific. The Alocasia plant in general is found under the rainforest canopies in tropical regions in Asia. So, the “Dark Star’s” comfort zone would ideally be dappled light.
Of course, this is hard to recreate in the home environment. For houseplants, keep the Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ in indirect but bright sunlight. The stunning deep green leaves are large enough to cope with darker environments.
In more northerly climes, where the temperatures are lower, your Alocasia ‘Dark Star’ may tolerate light direct sunlight now and again without issue. However, be sure in general that the plant is not exposed to strong rays – this would lead to sunburn on the beautiful leaves.
By watering the Alocasia “Dark Star”, as with light, you will want to recreate the conditions the original Alocasia finds in its native habitat. Found generally along the river beds in moist soil in the tropics, you will need to keep a certain level of dampness to the soil.
So, water the Alocasia Dark Star frequently and lightly, so that the soil is constantly slightly moist. Be careful however to not drench the soil so that the water becomes pooled in the pot. In the winter, dormancy may occur. Ease up on the watering at this point and pick up your normal schedule in the spring.
As stated in the watering section, the soil needs to be lightly damp, continually. However, the Alocasia “Dark Star”, like other variants, can still be affected by conditions such as root rot.
This is caused by the roots sitting in waterlogged soil. That is why it is not only important to not overwater the plant, but also to ensure the soil is a well-draining mix.
A potting soil mixed with peat and sand will be close to the conditions the Alocasia plant species finds itself in the wild.
The “Dark Star” Alocasia requires temperatures in the region of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but it really thrives in temperatures of around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Especially in the summer, the Dark Star will seek warmth.
Try not to let it get into temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Whilst this is a hardier breed of Alocasia, it is still a tropical plant and whilst it may survive in lower temperatures it will likely cause some damage or at least will have a bad impact on the overall appearance of your plant.
In winter, the “Dark Star” Alocasia will put on a flowering display, usually in yellow or white. However, generally, Alocasia collectors don’t keep this plant for any blooms.
In fact, letting your Alocasia bloom will generally cause a little bit of distress to the leaves, as it has to divert energy to the flower.
For that reason, you may prefer to remove any initial signs that flowering is about to begin. If you do decide to let your “Dark Star” flower, you will get around 4 weeks from each flower.
This is a plant that enjoys a humid environment. It will be particularly happy in the areas of your home that experience more water in the air. So, areas like the kitchen and bathroom are usually the best places in which to house your Alocasia “Dark Star” comfortably.
Ideally, the plant will be at its happiest in humidity levels of 60-70%. You can help your plant adapt a bit better to the more arid environments in some artificially heated homes by misting the leaves daily or even purchasing a humidifier. Certainly you do not want to let the levels drop anywhere below 55%.
The Alocasia actually grows underground from rhizomes. These look like clumps of ginger and are basically the plants underground stem system.
They generally grow horizontally below the surface in the wild. In the tropics you may see several plants – they could actually be growing from the same rhizome.
Propagation of the Alocasia “Dark Star” is usually achieved by breaking up this underground rhizome system. We would recommend you do this towards the end of the dormancy period of the plant.
This means acting immediately to propagate when you see the first signs of spring approaching. Don’t bother to take a cutting from your plant – it simply won’t work. So, save the hassle and follow the propagation by rhizome method.
In the potted house plant variety your rhizomes will not be large, and you should be able to propagate pretty easily
Lift your Alocasia Dark Star out of the pot carefully, taking care not to damage the roots or the rhizome tubers.
Gently shake out the soil so that the roots become freed up. You will see the distinct different clumps of each rhizome, and probably already notice that there are some offshoots growing as well, and they will have their own independent root system. Use a clean knife to separate the rhizomes, and carefully untangle any offsets.
Repot your offsets or rhizomes in their own little pot, with a potting mix suitable to the soil conditions described in this guide – that is, well-draining and moist.
A mixture of standard potting soil and coco coir works especially well. Once placed in the pots, water lightly and place them in an area that gets bright but indirect sunlight.
In the spring, or even the autumn if you prefer, you should check if your Alocasia “Dark Star” needs repotted. Definitely, if you see the roots already coming out of the drainage holes, that’s a sure sign your plant has outgrown its tub.
Remove it carefully from the pot and shake out the soil. This is a good time to check for any signs of disease and to remove old soil. Repot the plant into a new mixture, water it and place it in an area of bright but indirect sunlight.
The Alocasia “Dark Star” has been specifically created in order to achieve great heights. But you may not be prepared for just how tall it can grow! In fact, 6 feet is not an unusual height for the dark star. It can also grow leaves in optimal conditions that reach 5 feet wide!
If you are not keen on the plant getting that big, you will need to regularly divide out the rhizomes and tubers.
Make sure you keep the Alocasia “Dark Star” somewhere that has enough space! A hallway or a double height room will be ideal, otherwise the sheer size of the plant can become overwhelming!
The Alocasia “Dark Star”, like other variants of the plant, is toxic to both animals and humans. The calcium oxalate crystals can get lodged in the airways of both animals and humans.
Exposure to the skin can cause irritation, so for that reason always use gloves when handling the plant, especially during propagation.
If consumed, initial symptoms will likely be strong burning of the lips, mouth and throat. More severe symptoms can include restrictions of the airways, or burning in the eyes if the contact point occurred there.
If you suspect your animal or child has come into contact with any part of the plant and is exhibiting symptoms, seek medical or vet care immediately.
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Common Problems with the Alocasia “Dark Star”
The Alocasia “Dark Star” can be a fussy plant. Requiring specific conditions in which to thrive, it can quickly lose its beautiful glossy leaves if neglected or exposed to sub-optimal conditions.
So, soil, water, light and humidity levels need to be specifically controlled in order to help the plant thrive. Still you can try everything you can and still the Dark Star may struggle in its new environment. Let’s take a look at some of the common problems that the Alocasia “Dark Star” can experience
Drooping Leaves – Light levels
Since the Alocasia “Dark Star” is purchased and grown mainly for its stunning foliage, problems with the leaves can cause disappointment. One reason you may find the leaves beginning to wilt can be due to lighting.
Whilst you are not meant to put the Alocasia “Dark Star” in direct sunlight, and indirect lighting is recommended, too little exposure will cause the stalks to droop downward as they search for more light.
Drooping Leaves – Under watering
Drooping leaves coupled with crisping edges are likely due to under watering. Luckily, this is usually an easy one to fix, especially if you have not been paying the watering schedule enough attention.
However, it can also be caused by the roots being tangled and not being able to absorb as much water as required, so check that is not the case.
Root Rot and Overwatering
Whilst the Alocasia “Dark Star” requires moist soil in which to thrive, too much water will expose the plant to the risk of root rot. If the oxygen pockets in the soil become waterlogged, it is likely that the roots will be unable to breathe.
This gives rise to fungal infections that can destroy the root system and cause the plant to lose grip in the soil. Unfortunately, you will likely only realize this when the problem begins to cause symptoms above the surface, in which case it is usually too late.
Protect your plant from root rot by ensuring the soil is the right consistency and you have sufficient drainage holes in the pots.
Discolored, crispy and curling leaves
There are many reasons your leaves could begin to discolor, crisp up, droop and become misshapen. We have detailed some of the causes above – over or under watering, and low levels of light
However, curling leaves can be a sign of low humidity for the indoor Alocasia houseplant. If you are in a home where the humidity is approaching 50% or less, then you will likely see the plant showing signs of stress through the leaves.
You can help by misting the leaves lightly daily, or even by buying a humidifier.
Pests and unwanted visitors
The Alocasia “Dark Star” can suffer its fair share of unwanted visitors. You will need to check frequently for pests to ensure an infestation doesn’t take hold.
Mealybugs and spider mites are common, but you may also find aphids, amongst others. Look for the physical presence of an infestation, or signs of damage to the leaves and stems including yellow spots, holes or discolored patches.
If you do find signs of any pests, isolate the plant immediately from any others. A light mixture of soap and water, sprayed to the leaves and the stem, is usually enough to remove them. You could also try using a hose to rinse them off. These are both methods that are preferable to more aggressive treatments such as pesticides or oils.
Frequently asked questions about Alocasia Dark Star
Why are my Alocasia “Dark Star” leaves drooping?
There are multiple reasons why the Alocasia plant droops its leaves. You need to ensure that you are meeting all the requirements of the plant in order to stop this.
Make sure the indirect sunlight the plant is getting is adequate – it should be closer to the window than further away.
Make sure the soil is moist, not soggy, and not dry. And check the humidity levels in the home – they need to be over 60% ideally.
How often do I need to fertilize the Alocasia “Dark Star”?
The Alocasia “Dark Star” will benefit from an organic fertilizer, usually applied once a month. Stop fertilizing in the early autumn and pick up the regimen again after the plants natural dormancy period.
The Alocasia “Dark Star” is the plant for those who want dramatic size and a gorgeous emerald green jungle appearance in their home!
Look after this plant according to this guide and you will be sure to get plenty of enjoyment.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.