Are you looking for a striking houseplant with big beautiful leaves and sturdy stems that is easy to care for?
If so, Alocasia Lauterbachiana is a great fit as it holds high ornamental value because of its uniquely shaped colorful leaves. Alocasia Lauterbachiana is also commonly known as ‘Elephant Ears’ because of the wavy edges of its leaves.
Yet another common name for this plant is ‘Purple Sword’ because of the purple-colored flowers, the purple-colored veins in the center, and the leaves undersides.
These plants belong to the Arum family as do the Monstera Deliciosa, the Anthurium genus itself, and Philodendron such as the Philodendron Birkin.
Other popular Alocasia are Alocasia Cuprea and Alocasia Zebrina.
The following Alocasia Lauterbachiana care guide goes in-depth about how to keep an Alocasia Lauterbachiana problem-free and thriving.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Care Guide
Keep the plant well-drained in a loose, loamy substrate and watering it as soon as the soil looks dry is best to keep your plant thriving. Alocasia Lauterbachiana requires indirect sunlight with moderately warm temperatures to grow to the best of its potential.
Now let’s look at these factors individually and see how they contribute to the optimal health of this ornamental gem.
As with many other Alocasias and many houseplants in general, Alocasia lauterbachiana prefers bright, indirect light.
Make sure that it does not get exposed to direct sunlight, as this will scorch the leaves.
Place your Alocasia lauterbachiana near an east– or west-facing window. If it should get direct sunlight like that, hang a curtain between your plant and your window, so that it only receives filtered light.
Alocasia plants like rich, well-drained soil.
You can mix some high-quality all-purpose potting soil (think some all-purpose mix from Black & Gold or Miracle Gro) with some ingredients that ensure good drainage, such as some fast-draining cactus & succulent mix, coco coir.
To hold moisture, it is also a good idea to add some perlite and maybe some peat.
As far as soil pH goes, Alocasias like it a little bit acidic, so aim for a soil pH between 5.5 to 6.5.
Conducting a good watering routine is crucial to ensure the well-being of your Alocasia lauterbachiana.
A good way to go about it is to let the topsoil (the top two inches) dry out before watering.
Use your index finger and stick it into the soil to actually verify if your Alocasia (already) needs yet another drink or not.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana is not very tolerant of temperature changes. It needs to grow at a constant temperature that is in the range of average household temperatures.
Sudden change in the temperature of the surroundings of the plant can damage it and the growth rate of the plant can get affected negatively.
The same is true if your plant does not get an adequate amount of light (remember: bright, indirect light is best for this Alocasia).
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer during growing season, In winter, feeding your Alocasia lauterbachiana won’t be necessary.
Alocasias are known to be heavy-feeders. So they can tolerate quite a bit of fertilizer.
Still, it is always recommended to err on the side of caution when fertilizing, as overfeeding can have devastating effects on your plants, whereas underfeeding is usually not that much of a deal.
Potting and repotting
When repotting your Alocasia, use fresh and free-draining soil. However, it is also beneficial to divide the plant roots at least once in a year to keep the plant in a manageable size and infuse more growth rate of the plant.
So, when repotting, you could actually also propagate your plant by rhizome division (offset division).
Repotting is best done in spring.
Alocasia lauterbachiana does best in high humidity. The optimum rate of humidity is around 70%.
That said, they can also tolerate lower humidity levels and as long as you don’t go below 45% you should be fine.
Here are a couple of ways to increase the humidity for your Alocasia:
- Place your plant on a tray with damp pebbles
- Group your plant together with other humidity-loving plants
- Regularly mist your plant
- Make use of a humidifier
Alocasia Lauterbachiana care needs regular maintenance. Cut down the unhealthy and dead leaves from the plant regularly to ensure a healthy thriving plant.
You can also cut down on a few leaves on the lower end of the stem to improve the growth rate of the plant.
The purple sword or Alocasia Lauterbachiana hardly grows high indoors.
The growth rate of the plant however is majorly dependent on the temperature, sunlight, humidity, and watering rate.
If the plant is planted outside, it can grow up to a size of about 4 feet.
However, the plant’s average height is about 3 feet and a width of 3 feet to 5 feet (0.9-1.5m) under houseplant conditions.
This plant grows large in a short period of time and is a vigorous grower.
Alocasia lauterbachiana is best propagated by rhizome division. Your Alocasia must already have reached a certain size before propagation can take place, as the root system is not yet sufficiently developed in younger plants.
Furthermore, larger plants also produce offshoots, which can easily be separated from the mother plant and then be used for propagation.
To propagate your Alocasia lauterbachiana, all you need to do is:
- Gently take your plant out of the pot
- Now, expose the roots by gently shaking off the soil. Sometimes, it is pretty tricky to untangle the roots. In that case, you can also use a garden hose to get rid of the soil
- Look for offsets. Separate them from the mother plant.
- Now, prepare new pots with fresh soil. Make sure that you only use pots with drainage holes.
- Plant the offsets in these new pots. Offsets already have a root system, so the propagation process will be pretty quick. Give these plant babies a drink after potting.
- Make sure to keep your new plant babies in a rather warm location. Choose a location where they can enjoy bright, indirect sunlight
- After some time has passed, you should see new growth
- Now, care for your new plants just as you would for the mother plant
Alocasia Lauterbachiana has beautiful green and purple colored flowers. There is no particular flowering season. If the plant is kept in favorable conditions, it can flower throughout the year.
Foliage and stem
The foliage surface of the plant is dark green and purple from the underside along with patchy stems. It has multiple underground rhizomes and stems that resemble the trunk of a tree.
The plant stems combined form the plant body, and each leaf grows on an individual plant stalk. The leaves of the plant are upstanding, evergreen with solid, dull, and waxy green leaves.
With the fall in temperature below 45F, stunted growth and leaf-shed is experienced. The spring and summer seasons ist mostly responsible for a more rapid and healthier growth rate.
Alocasia Lauterbachina is a poisonous plant. The leaves of the plant contain oxalate crystals. The leaves’ consumption would lead to the release of the crystals.
It can cause swelling and irritation in the mouth and the GI tract, and it can also cause severe breathing problems. It must be kept away from the reach of your kids and pets.
If you are looking for cat-friendly houseplants, Alocasia lauterbachiana is certainly the wrong choice. But don’t worry, Plantophiles got you covered. Just have a look at our article 18 cat-friendly houseplants and you will know which houseplants go well with your kitties.
Keep some insecticide or alcohol in a spray bottle to regular spray on the plant to prevent pests from infesting your Alocasia Lauterbachiana.
Spraying insecticides also works as a cleaner for the dust on the leaves. You can also use a simple damp cloth to clean the leaves and take out dust or spider webs.
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Tallest (and busiest) amongst my alocasias is my alocasia lauterbachiana which I couldn’t fit on the frame at all. ? It is by far the fastest grower amongst my alocasia collection. It has 6 flowers plus 2 new big leaves growing at the same time and I know plant people would understand how big a task that is for plants. ? I was told before that alocasias couldn’t hold more than 5 leaves – – that, my friend, is a myth! This big boy has 16 leaves in total and has only lost 3 old leaves. Enough sunlight, proper watering and good potting mix is the key! And occasional dusting of leaves is necessary! Believe me. They catch all the dust ??? #alocasia #bighouseplants #alocasiaaddict #aroidlover #alocasialauterbachiana #alocasialover #greenthumb
Common problems with Alocasia Lauterbachina
For some, the Alocasia plant is easy to look after, but for others, it may not. Let’s look at the common problems with Alocasia plant:
- Droopy leaves is one of the most common problems with Alocasia lauterbachiana. There are many possible reasons for this issue. It could be due to under or overwatering of the plant, too much sunlight, low temperatures, or low humidity.
- Pests like aphids, mealybugs & spider mites are another problem that you have to look out for during your regular care routine.
- Brown patches on the leaves indicate that your plant suffers from sunburn. You can avoid this problem by keeping the plant away from direct sunlight.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana is quite a sensitive plant that can quickly develop common diseases like stem or root rot.
Luckily, we have two in-depth articles on the topic of root rot:
Leaf spotting is easily noticeable by dark black spottings on the surface of the leaf and the growth of yellow rings around these spots.
If you are seeing any such spots, your Alocasia needs proper air circulation around it and fewer waterings to cure this problem of bacterial leaf spots.
Dryness in general is beneficial to cure the plant in such a condition.
Pests commonly attack the plant such as spider mites. A soap solution such as Castille soap is one of the best ways to get rid of an identified pest attack.
Spray this solution on the plants every 3 weeks. Not only does it keep your plant safe if it is not yet infested by bugs, but it also keeps it dust-free.
In case of any infestation, you can also use a neem oil spray or alcohol spray to protect your plant from the pests and the mites’ attack.
Before you apply these kinds of sprays & remedies, you should always make sure to isolate your plant first, as you certainly don’t want these pests spreading over to your other precious houseplants!
Frequently asked questions about Alocasia Lauterbachiana
What are the brown spots that grow on the leaves of the Alocasia plant?
The brown spots on the Alocasia’s leaves could be because of it being in the direct sunlight (sunburn). If the spots are black or dark brown along with yellow rings around the spots, then it might be because of fungal or bacterial infection. Regular care is a must to keep the plant away from the diseases, allow the top layer of the soil to dry out before watering it again. Remove the yellow leaves and ensure to keep the leaves dry.
Why does the new growing Alocasia plant lose a leaf with the growth of a new one?
It can happen if it is an immature plant. A young and small plant is mostly unable to carry more than a few leaves. It is mostly because the stalk of the plant is constantly expanding. Thus with the expansion of the stalk, the smaller leaves tend to drop off. A large and stouter stalk can maintain more leaves.
Is Alocasia lauterbachiana poisonous to cats & dogs?
Yes. Keep this plant out of the reach of both cats & dogs. Also, keep it away from small children.
Alocasia Lauterbachina is a stunning plant. It has vibrant looking leaves with a beautiful shape and color scheme. Y0u can use them in formal and informal settings to add a bright and colorful touch to any space.
These plants are not only beautiful to look at but are also easy to grow and maintain.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.