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Alocasia Ivory Coast Care: The Definitive Guide

Alocasia Ivory Coast Care: The Definitive Guide

The massive size and remarkable shape of the leaves have led the Alocasia Ivory Coast plant to be more famously known as the Elephant Ear plant.

The excellent contrast between the deep green leaves and their silver-green veins front the plant as one of the most loved house plants in the world.

Upon reaching maturity, the stems turn a light pink color and go perfectly with the arrow-shaped leaves.

If placed indoors, the herbaceous plant will add a lot of color and an air of drama to the room. Outdoors, the Alocasia Ivory Coast hybrid, is one of the most popular plants people like to add to their tropical theme gardens.

Know that the leaves of the Ivory Coast are more undulated as compared to the other wavy-leafed Alocasia varieties. Just like the leaves of the Arrowhead (Syngonium Podophyllum), only bigger and more colorful.
 


 

Alocasia Ivory Coast Care Instructions

The Alocasia Ivory Coast likes bright light from a window, but not too much direct sunlight. If you manage to keep it happy with moist soil that contains compost, peat, and perlite, this Alocasia will return the favor with more giant leaves! The plant likes 60-70% humidity with temperatures on the warmer side, e.g., 65-85 °F (18-30°C).

Alocasia Ivory Coast stands out when it comes to appearance. However, all Alocasias are almost the same when it comes to plant care.

When plants are loved, they love you back. But some express their gratitude louder and more visibly than others. The Alocasia Ivory Coast is one such plant.
 

Soil

As mentioned earlier, Alocasias thrive when there are adequate moisture levels present consistently. The one-sentence description for the right soil is, ‘Keep it moist, but not drowning.’

To make sure your Alocasia Ivory Coast loves the soil it’s planted in, get a mix that is rich in nutrients and retains moisture well. If you are confused between the two contradictory terms, “well-draining” and “moisture-retaining,” don’t worry.

You’re not the only one.

When we talk about a well-draining soil mix, we refer to soil that lets the roots breathe. The soil should have granules of varying sizes so that uniformly sized particles don’t stick together and compact the soil.

With well-draining soil, the water should not remain stagnant in the pot when you give your Alocasia a good watering.

On the other hand, a water-retaining mix refers to a soil mix with porous material as a portion of the mix.

The porous material soaks up water and lets the excess water flow through. After the extra water has drained from the soil, the porous material can then slowly release the absorbed water as required by the roots.

The normal potting mix for flowers, known as composted soil, is a fine mix for Alocasias. This mix is commercially available and is a good option if you don’t want to prepare the mix yourself.

If you’re more DIY-oriented, then what better than your home-prepared potting mix for your Alocasia Ivory Coast. The ideal potting mix for Alocasia Ivory Coast is

  • 1/3 part peat moss
  • 1/3 part perlite
  • 1/3 compost

All three ingredients will offer quite a bit of nutrients for the plant.

The perlite will keep the soil well-draining, aerated, and un-compacted. The peat moss and compost will do the moisture-retaining as well as keep the roots healthy and well-fed.

 

Watering

As mentioned earlier, your Alocasia Ivory Coast will thrive when the soil is kept consistently moist. You will need to carefully observe the time after which the soil seems to get dry and then water the plant.

Because everyone’s climate is a bit different, the temperature and humidity levels will determine the time after which you water your plant.

The watering routine you follow in the colder months would not be the same as in the summers. Like most tropical herbaceous plants, the Alocasia Ivory Coast will go dormant in the winters and even start to die back.

This is when you need to hold back on the watering.

The rule for keeping the soil moist stays in place. You just need to adjust for the lower temperatures, reduced transpiration and evaporation rates.

 

Light

Alocasia Ivory Coast thrives in bright, indirect natural sunlight. Being a tropical herbaceous, the natural habitat of Alocasias are the forest floor, where they receive only flecks of direct sunlight but are surrounded by bright filtered light.

Exposure to direct sunlight for more than a few hours will damage the leaves.

Indoors, your Alocasia Ivory Coast will do perfectly next to a window. But you need to be more careful when placing the plant outdoors.

Putting the plant on roofs or in front of walls that receive direct sunlight is out of the question. The best place would be under a tree that has a mature canopy or against a wall that helps shade the plant for most of the day.

Early morning and late afternoon sun rays wouldn’t do any harm. They’re just what Alocasias love.

 

Temperature

Alocasias are tropicals, and they don’t like the cold. Your plant will have a hard time surviving if it is exposed to temperatures below 60°F or 16°C. 65-85 °F (18-30°C) is the ideal temperature range.

Summers are perfect. In winters, you need to protect the plant. The plant will grow almost all year round in USDA zones 9-11 and can be kept outdoors.

But for colder areas, the plant will go dormant in the winters, and you need to bring it inside.

Bringing your Alocasia Ivory Coast indoors is not enough. Put it in a place that is kept warm all day round, probably your living room. Don’t place it too close to the window.

 

Humidity

The right humidity levels are one of the more complicated requirements of Alocasia Ivory Coast.

It would be best if you place the plant away from any ACs, heaters, and drafty places in your home. If you feel like the humidity might be a little too low (below 60%) for the big-leafed beauty, there’s a range of solutions for you.

  1. Misting: Misting the leaves once a week is an excellent practice. Not only does misting mimic the right humidity and maintain the glossy appearance of your Alocasia’s foliage, but it also helps clean out any dust that accumulates on the leaves.

 

The fairly large leaf size means a lot of dust can settle onto the leaves and make the plant look neglected for ages. Misting and lightly wiping the leaves with a cloth or piece of foam would do the trick.

  1. Filling the saucer with pebbles and water: Filling the planter tray with pebbles or smaller rocks and adding a glass of water will do the same job as a regular misting. This will create an artificial high-humidity area around the plant—sort of like a protection shield.
  2. A humidifier: If you feel the humidity levels are too low and can feel the lack of moisture in the air yourself, a humidifier can do good service to you and your Alocasia Ivory Coast.

 

Fertilizer

With the monster leaf size, Alocasias also have a monster appetite. The bigger your plant is, the more nutrients it will need to thrive and maintain a healthy look.

So to feed your plant, use a liquid houseplant fertilizer, only from early spring to late-summer. As soon as summer ends, don’t add any fertilizer.

For Alocasia Ivory Coast, liquid fertilizers do better than granular fertilizer or organic compost.

 

Repotting

To repot an exotic beauty as beautiful as the Alocasia Ivory Coast, you must choose a planter that suits it well. If you’re buying a pot, bear in mind that the plant will grow both upwards and horizontally, and to balance, the roots will have to grow respectively.

First things first, make sure a drainage hole is present. I know the drainage hole precaution is the most repetitive and boring thing in the world, but there’s always a novice plant parent that is completely unaware of this critical piece of knowledge.

Next up, get a saucer or tray for the pot. Most pots don’t come with a saucer, although it’s an essential thing for houseplants.

This is because if there’s no tray to hold that extra water that flows from the bottom of the pot, people tend to water their plants less so that no water seeps out and messes up the floor.

When placing your Alocasia in its pot, make sure you ample soil at the bottom of the pot. Don’t just put the plant into an empty planter and dump all the soil over it.

Alocasia roots need to grow downwards in order to settle into their new home and grow.

Carefully plan the planting by first adding soil into the pot. When the soil is up to the right height, shake the pot so that air pockets are filled, and then add some more soil.

Finally, place the Alocasia so that the beginning of the root system, where the stems turn brown, is leveled with the soil surface.

Place the Alocasia pot in its tray and make sure you give it a good watering.

 

Pruning

When your Alocasia Ivory Coast is growing rampantly, and it’s only the middle of the growing season, you should be expecting a lot of growth until late autumn.

While it is a wonderful thing, a vigorous growing season can sometimes lead your Alocasia to take up a lot more space.

With a very heavy heart, you might need to prune back the size of your Alocasia to keep it manageable. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to throw those beautiful leaves away.

If you know how to propagate your Alocasia Ivory Coast, pruning only means new baby plants.

Herbaceous plants do not react in the same way to pruning as hardwood plants do. You should not expect vigorous foliage growth if you prune back your Alocasia hard. The only time you will need to prune the plant is to remove old, yellowing leaves.

To prune Alocasia Ivory Coast, cut the stem from the base of the plant, where it is originating from the clump.

 

Propagation

It’s important to note here that unlike other houseplants (Monsteras or Pothos), Alocasia Ivory Coast cannot be propagated from cuttings.

If you take the plant out of its pot and explore the root system, you will find that it grows in a clumping style.

This means you will find that the plant exists as a group of multiple clumps, each healthy clump growing its own offset. Here is a step-by-step guide for propagation:

  • Pull the root ball out of the pot and gently rake the roots to expose the separate clumps.
  • You can easily remove a clump and pot in a separate pot. The best thing about propagating Alocasia is that you don’t have to wait for it to root. The baby plant will already have its well-developed root system.
  • Plant the separated clump in the same potting mix as the mother Alocasia plant. You will notice the plants reacting to the transplant shock. The plant needs time to adjust to its new home, so no need to panic.
  • Make sure there are no air pockets in the soil when your plant the clumps back. Water the plant and place it in the shade.

Always be mindful of the time of the year propagation can take place. If you try to propagate your Alocasia Ivory Coast in the winters, you might just end up killing your plant altogether. Spring and summertime are the best for propagation.
 

Blooms

As it is a flowering species, your Alocasia Ivory Coast will flower. However, this will be a once in a blue moon occasion.

Alocasia blooms result in unique seed pods hanging from the plant. Although it is a rare sight in gardens and among indoor plants, well-established plants can develop male and female flowers, and in turn, Alocasia seeds, which take months to mature.
 

Growth

In the right temperature and humidity conditions, Alocasias can grow a new leaf every week. And as the growing season progresses, the leaf size might double in just one week.

The remarkable leaves of this variety will grow between 7-35 inches (20-90 cm) in length, while the whole plant can go from 1.5 – 3 feet in height.

Unlike most other tropical species, Alocasia Ivory Coast grows vertically rather than horizontally. The new leaves in each clump will be higher than the previous one while remaining in almost the same position horizontally.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Common Problems for Alocasia Ivory Coast

 

Toxicity

Alocasia Ivory Coast is toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. So to avoid running into a problem, ensure that children and pets are well aware not to mess around with the plant.
 

Pests

Pests like spider mites love devouring Alocasia Ivory Coast foliage. Although adequate humidity levels are a good enough way to keep these pests at bay, you might need to spray mild insecticide in case things get out of hand.

Spider mites usually hide on the lower surface of Alocasia Ivory Coast leaves.

If you notice tiny white webs on the foliage, the culprit is most likely spider mites. The best way to get rid of these insects is to remove the highly infected leaves and treat the plant with an overall mild soapy water spray.

 

Diseases

Alocasia Ivory Coast is vulnerable to common houseplant diseases such as rhizome rot, stem rot, and leaf spot. All of these diseases essentially take root when you’re not watering your plant the right way. Proper watering practice is an excellent way to keep diseases at bay.

Rhizome rot is the most dangerous disease.  If black or brown spots with a yellow halo appear on the leaves of your Alocasia Ivory Coast out of nowhere, the plant may be suffering from rhizome rot. Make sure the soil and the clump are not overly damp and regulate watering sessions.

 

Tips to Keep Alocasia Ivory Coast Problem-free

A well-maintained plant seldom throws a problem your way.

If you manage to consistently maintain the following aspects for your Alocasia Ivory Coast, not only will your plant look healthy, but it will stay healthy because of the plant’s strengthened immune system.

  • Always maintain consistent soil moisture.
  • Ensure adequate humidity levels (60-70%)
  • Make sure your plant receives adequate light (400 Foot Candles for good growth, minimum requirement: 200 Foot Candles).

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Alocasia Ivory Coast

 

Why is my Alocasia Ivory Coast dying?

If winter has arrived and you’re in a USDA hardiness zone below 9, it is natural for Alocasia to die back. All parts of the plant above soil can die, and this is entirely normal. New growth will sprout in spring. However, if you see your plant wilting at the wrong time of the year, then you might be looking at a potential problem.
 

Why does my Alocasia Ivory Coast have brown leaves?

Brown leaves can be an indicator of an overwatered plant. However, this can also be a symptom of cold or low humidity. Try placing the plant in a warmer place, or wrap the pot with an insulating material like coco choir, cling film, jute, or straw. Mind you, only wrap the pot, not the whole plant.

Conclusion

The Alocasia Ivory Coast is a delightful plant to have. Relative to other houseplants, it asks for an extra bit of care from you but reciprocates your efforts with magnificent foliage.

The extra effort means having the additional knowledge to care for your Alocasia Ivory Coast the right way. This detailed article gives all the knowledge about this tropical beauty.

Happy Alocasia ‘Ivory Coast’ parenting!

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