All 80 varieties of Alocasia come from rainforests, but they are adorning our greenhouses, living rooms, and gardens as a houseplant since the fifties.
Today’s plant goes by many names, including Dwarf Elephant Ear, Alocasia Gageana California, and Dwarf Taro.
It’s a Southeast Asian native that can grow several feet high in the natural habitat.
Although it does not grow to that extent as an indoor plant, it still needs lots of space to grow and showcase the giant leaves. The roots for this plant were used in recipes in the native region.
This evergreen perennial is a statement piece for containers, conservatories, and decoration. It grabs the attention of most plant lovers for its big leaves and air purifying properties.
The huge elephant ear-shaped leaves rest on green petioles that grow from a non-woody base.
This flowering species belongs to the Araceae family, and it hails from Myanmar. It can act as a deer and rabbit repellent in your garden.
This article gives in-depth information about the growing environment and plant care requirements of Alocasia Gageana. We have also shared some extra tips to keep your Alocasia happy.
Alocasia Gageana Care
This sub-tropical beauty can withstand any growing conditions, making it a big hit as a houseplant. All it needs is an aroid soil mix with coco coir, perlite, worm castings, and orchid bark. To prevent dormancy, avoid keeping this plant in a room with a temperature below the 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) mark. The optimal temperature range is between 64.4 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 25 degrees Celsius).
Your potting mix should be rich and fertile. Alocasia Gageana needs an aroid soil mixture.
The soil pH should be between 5.5 to 6.5. You can follow the aroid recipe given below.
- Coco Coir – this is an eco-friendly option for soil drainage
- Worm Castings or a fertilizer with worm castings – added to enrich the soil with organic matter
- Orchid bark – added to increase airflow
- Perlite – helps in drainage and avoids compacted soil
- Horticulture Charcoal – mainly added to reduce impurities in the soil mix but also helps with aeration
- Vermiculite – helps in retaining water in the soil
Mix all these ingredients in a good-quality potting mixture of your choice.
This plant cannot tolerate soggy soil; all it needs is moist soil that is watered regularly. Let the extra water collect in the bottom tray.
Make sure you empty the tray after few minutes; otherwise, the soil can turn soggy.
I would recommend checking the soil on a weekly basis. You can either test the soil moisture by installing a moisture meter or with your fingers.
Don’t water too much in winter and fall.
Grow this plant with adequate light if you want the big leaves to stay green. Alocasia Gageana needs bright filtered sunlight to grow the biggest leaves you’ll ever see.
Keep your Alocasia Gageana away from direct sunlight as it burns the leaves and ruins the beauty of this houseplant. To protect it from sunburns, keep it at least 3.2 ft or 1 m away from the window.
This Alocasia variety does not like low light conditions; therefore, position it accordingly in your house.
Alocasia Gageana will thrive indoors with temperatures ranging from 64.4 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 25 degrees Celsius).
Don’t let the temperatures plummet to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). This variety is suitable for outdoor gardening in USDA hardiness zones 9, 10, and 11.
Alocasia Gageana loves the moisture in the atmosphere, and it will struggle in a dry climate. Mist the leaves every three or four days to keep high humidity levels around this plant.
Humidity levels of 60 to 70% can help in creating a natural environment for this plant. I have kept mine in the bathroom, where it gets high humidity throughout the day.
But you can keep a humidifier near the plant to maintain consistent high humidity.
This Alocasia plant should be fed with a liquid fertilizer in the growing seasons (spring and summer).
This Alocasia variety grows well when the root system is compacted. But you should repot it after 1 or 2 years to let the root system expand.
Another scenario where repotting is necessary is when the soil remains moist for more than two weeks. This indicates a lack of drainage. If you fail to repot on time, your plant will fall prey to root rot.
The foliage of Alocasia Gageana is pruned to
- Get rid of yellow or brown foliage
- Force it to grow more leaves
You can also trim the spent flowers and damaged roots.
Roots are inspected while repotting, and flowers are trimmed at the end of the blooming season.
If you want to multiply your Alocasia collection, do not skip this section of the article.
Propagation allows you to grow more plants or resize your plants by using leaves, stem cuttings, or root sections from the mother plant.
Alocasia Gageana grows from a rhizome, so you can divide these rhizomes to grow more plants.
This method is easy and effective as each section will develop its own root system.
- Carefully remove the Alocasia Gageana from the soil and brush away the dirt. You can soak the root ball in water to loosen the soil.
- If you examine the root system carefully, you will see clumps and offsets. Use a clean knife to separate these clumps.
- Repot each clump in a separate container, and you will have mature plants within weeks. I would recommend using the aroid mix mentioned earlier in this article.
- You can also try propagating the clump in water for a different experience.
The inflorescence for this plant has a spadix and a green spathe. The spadix is covered with tiny flowers.
According to most growers, the spathe is boat-shaped, and it measures 2-3 inches in length.
The showy white flowers appear in spring and are about less than an inch in size.
The glossy green leaves are the most attractive part of this plant. Its leaves’ undersides are light green.
Once mature, the leaves can reach a maximum length of 2.9 ft (0.8 m). As an indoor plant, it has an average height of 3 to 4 ft (0.9 to 1.2 m).
This is a fast grower, so do not panic if it sheds the old leaves. The plant is making room for new growth by shedding the old foliage.
The leaves are heart-shaped, and you can see veins popping on the leaf surface. They look extra dramatic with the wavy edges.
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Common Problems for Alocasia Gageana
If the leaves are usually droopy in between watering, it means you need to increase the watering frequency for the Alocasia Gageana.
Check the soil regularly; do not wait for the whole potting mixture to dry out. If the top few inches are dry, your plant’s ready for watering.
Brown Leaf Edges
If your plant is droopy with yellow leaves and brown tips, the indoor air is too dry for it. Increase humidity through a humidifier or a pebble tray.
Too much sunlight exposure can also cause the foliage of the Alocasia Gageana to turn brown. If your plant is sitting in a very bright spot with direct sunlight, relocate it.
Tips for Growing Alocasia Gageana
- This plant needs aerated soil for healthy growth. You can poke the potting soil with a wooden stick to allow some air to flow through.
- To make sure the plant is never overwatered, allow the top 2-3 inches (5 -7.6 cm) of the soil to dry out before adding water.
- Since Alocasia Gageana loves higher humidity compared to other common houseplants, you should mist the leaves every now and then to create a perfect growing environment.
- Frequently droopy leaves mean your plant is under-watered. This plant does not tolerate drought, so water it well when the topsoil surface is dry.
- Water and fertilize the young Alocasia Gageana well when it’s growing actively since it needs lots of energy and nutrients for new growth.
- Avoid changing the location of a newly bought Alocasia Gageana every other day. This will make it difficult for the plant to acclimate to the new growing conditions. It can also cause excessive leaf shedding.
- You need to change the soil if the water drains slowly, remains on the surface for too long, or your plant has droopy growth. These are all signs of overwatering.
Dormancy for Alocasia Gageana
This plant does not like cold weather. In fact, a combination of low temperature with low light can force it to enter dormancy.
I would not recommend placing your Alocasia Gageana near doors or windows in winter if there is a risk of cold damage.
For winter, you can shift it to a cozy, warm corner of your house to prevent it from entering dormancy.
Once this plant drops all the leaves, it has entered dormancy. But the underground corm remains alive and firm.
But before assuming that the plant has entered dormancy, check the corm. If it’s firm, your Alocasia is dormant, but if it is squishy or rotten, your plant is probably dead.
Try to maintain the indoor temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius during winter if you want to enjoy the green display of Alocasia Gageana.
You can force the plant to end dormancy by propagating the corm or the bulb.
Wrap your pot in a plastic bag and move it to one of the hottest locations in your house. Make some holes in the plastic bag for airflow and water the soil regularly to maintain moisture.
After about two weeks, you will start noticing new growth from the corm or bulb. Your plant can be moved to the old location once there are a few leaf buds.
Moving Alocasia Gageana Outdoors
Many growers like to show off their big-leafed Alocasias in their gardens or porch. But this should be done after acclimating the plant to the new location for one or two weeks.
The biggest change for the plant will be sunlight exposure. Outdoor plants certainly receive more sunlight compared to the ones growing inside the house.
If you move your Alocasia Gageana outdoors without hardening, the beautiful leaves will be bleached under the sun. In the worst case, all the leaves will have sunburns.
The best way is to move the plant outdoors for about two hours for the first few days. Slowly increase this time period to build the plant resistance.
I would also recommend placing the pot in a partially shaded spot. If you don’t have shaded spots in your garden, you can use shade cloth to make sure no direct sunlight reaches the foliage.
Your plant can tolerate few hours of direct sun exposure in the morning and evening but never leave it in the hot afternoon sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions about Alocasia Gageana Care
Does Alocasia Gageana purify the air?
The Alocasia Gageana can purify the air by breaking down harmful toxins and releasing more oxygen.
What causes yellow leaves on Alocasia Gageana?
Yellow leaves on this plant are mostly the result of over-watering. Create a consistent watering schedule for your plant and never let the excessive moisture remain in the soil.
My Alocasia Gageana is showing signs of leggy growth, what should I do?
Your plant is suffering from low light, and as a result, it has started leaning towards the light source. I would recommend moving it closer to the light source or the window. If there is a lack of sunlight, you can install artificial lights above the plant.
I have recently bought an Alocasia Gageana from a nursery, but it started dropping leaves right after bringing it home. Why is that?
There is nothing to worry about as your plant is trying to adjust to the new environment of your house. Make sure you follow a good plant care routine during this adjustment period, and soon your plant will start producing new leaves.
Are the leaves of Alocasia Gageana toxic?
The foliage of this Alocasia variety is toxic for humans and pets. Hence, keep it away from kids and pets at all costs.
This is a fast-growing Alocasia variety, so nurseries often recommend it for summer beds and landscapes.
If you follow the instructions in the article, this plant will produce lush green foliage and beautiful inflorescence with little care.
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.