Exotic plants are often unusual, interesting, and attractive. The Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ meets this definition on all counts. One look at the plant and it is clear to see why the common name is the Elephant Ear Stingray.
While the leaves are not as large as the more common elephant ear plant, it can still grow to a decent size in the right conditions. The distinctive “tail” combined with the “wings” looks very much like a stingray.
The plant originates in Southeast Asia. It is relatively easy to look after provided you follow a few basic guidelines which will be covered in this article.
- 1 Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ Care
- 2 Alocasia ‘Stingray’ Propagation: Step-by-step guide
- 3 Common problems with Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
- 4 Tips to keep Alocasia ‘Stingray’ problem-free
- 5 Frequently asked questions about Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
- 6 Conclusion
Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ Care
The first step in caring for your Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ is getting the correct soil mixture. You want well-aerated soil that drains well. At the same time, you need it to retain some moisture and nutrients without being wet or soggy.
Poor drainage, as with most plants, could result in root rot. That is the last thing you want.
A recommended mix is a combination of equal amounts of peat, coarse potting sand or perlite, and quality soil.
Here is an alternative potting mix that works well for most house plants including the Alocasia ‘Stingray’.
The ‘Stingray’ prefers a soil that is slightly acidic. If you have a tester, aim for a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
The Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ likes lots of bright but indirect light. Direct sun will burn the leaves. An east or south- facing window is ideal for these plants when grown indoors. Outdoors it can grow well provided it is sheltered from the midday sun.
Take care when moving the plant from an area with relatively low light to a brighter area. This should be done slowly and in stages to allow the plant to adapt. A sudden move will shock the plant and leave it distressed for some time.
You want to water regularly but not too much. Ensure the soil and container has good drainage so that the roots do not rest in water. Use water that is at room temperature and water if you feel the top surface is dry.
The rapid growth in spring and summer will require more water. In winter, cut watering down to the minimum. It simply does not need much in this dormant period.
The ideal environment for the Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ is a hot and humid space. They do not like the cold and will not do well in areas that are not warm. They are also not happy in a draughty area or near air conditioners.
The perfect temperature range for this plant is 18°C (64.4°F) to 22 °C (71.6°F).
In addition to a warm temperature, the Elephant Ear Stingray likes a good amount of humidity. This is a reflection of its native habitat in Southeast Asia.
There are two ways to achieve this if the spot does not have sufficient humidity. The first is to simply mist the plant on warmer days.
Do not mist too often as it could result in disease when done excessively. The other method is to place a tray filled with pebbles and water below the plant container.
Home humidifiers also work well for indoor plants and offer health benefits to you and your family. What you want to avoid is placing the plant near an air conditioner or radiator.
The plant grows actively in spring through summer and a bit of fertilizer is always welcome to boost growth and ensure a happy plant. An all-purpose organic or liquid fertilizer will help the plant and give it the nutrients it needs.
If the plant is in a perfect warm and bright setting it will grow vigorously and therefore need more nutrients.
There are many ways to propagate the Alocasia Stingray and most are quite easy. It can be sown from ripe seeds, by rhizome division, offsets, and cutting from the root stem.
This is best done in the warmer months of spring and summer. See further down for more detail.
The Alocasia Stingray has a somewhat unique growth pattern. New leaves form and then split, growing from the previous leaf. They grow rapidly in spring and summer and, depending on the pot size and conditions, grow up to 15-feet (458cm) tall and 8-feet (244cm) wide.
The result of this unusual growth adds to the interest and impact of the plant. It makes an interesting focal point in the home, patio, or garden.
The plant does flower occasionally but this is rare. The flowers are small and somewhat insignificant. The beauty of this plant is in the attractive structure and foliage.
Allow your plant to settle in the pot it is in for some time. If it starts to become pot-bound you will need to move it to a bigger pot. Follow the above soil and drainage advice above.
It will experience a bit of shock for a while but will soon bounce back. Keep it gently compacted for support.
You will know when to repot if you notice surface roots in the soil or underneath the pot. Other signs that it is time to repot is when growth slows down (in the warm growing season), wilting, or the formation of salt crystals on top of the soil.
Younger plants grow quickly and might need to be repotted twice a year but this will decrease as the Alocasia Stingray matures. For best results, try to repot in autumn or early spring.
The process is fairly easy. Prepare a pot that is one size up, normally about 2cm larger than the existing pot and add the correct soil. Roughly one hour before repotting, water the plant to make it more manageable.
Take care to be gentle and not damage any of the roots. Always repot at the same depth the plant was at before. Once planted, water generously.
Alocasia ‘Stingray’ Propagation: Step-by-step guide
The easiest way to propagate the Elephant Ear Stingray is by rhizome division. Once the plant has matured, rhizomes will develop. To start new plants from these could not be easier.
Gently remove the plant and clear away the soil. You can rinse the roots with water to make everything easier to see. You will notice several offsets and clusters. Allow the roots to dry for a while.
With a clean sharp knife or blade that has been sterilized, separate these rhizomes. Plant these out into individual pots with fertile soil and water well.
As always, ensure the soil has good drainage. Keep the soil moist for a few weeks without overwatering.
Repot the original plant and water thoroughly. Ideally, this process should be done in the warmer months of spring and summer. This is when the Stingray grows most vigorously.
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Common problems with Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
Provided you follow all the care instructions above you should not experience too many challenges with your Alocasia Stingray. There are, however, several things to keep an eye out for.
An unhealthy plant is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. Whitefly and thrips could also pose a threat although this is rare.
Provided you spot these early they will not do too much damage and are relatively easy to treat.
Also, watch out for browning leaves. This could indicate a number of potential problems. It could be as a result of cold temperatures, too much direct sun, or a lack of humidity.
Evaluate the environment in which the plant is positioned to determine the solution to this problem. You might need to trim off the affected leaves but if you improve the conditions the plant will recover quite quickly.
Yellowing leaves or leaf loss are often the result of too much water and this is a big risk for any plant. Root rot is a common problem and can kill the plant if not addressed quickly. By the same token, dropping leaves could also be caused by too little water.
Follow the watering tips above and ensure good drainage. The plant also needs decent air circulation and the right amount of light. This should make it healthy and resistant to pests and disease.
Tips to keep Alocasia ‘Stingray’ problem-free
The tips to keeping the Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ problem-free are fairly straightforward. They do however need to be applied and monitored to ensure the health of the plant. They are relatively hardy so if you get the conditions right and maintain them, you should have a happy healthy plant that is easy to look after.
The first step is to get the right pot or container. Don’t use one that is too big for the plant. Getting the soil mix is critical but not complicated. Don’t forget the importance of drainage.
Find a warm spot that has a bit of humidity or “create” humidity as described above. Don’t move the plant too often as it does not like rapid changes in light.
Keep it in an airy spot but away from radiators and air conditioners.
Water as necessary without overdoing it. It needs more in the warmer months and less in winter.
Feed during the growing seasons of spring and summer but again, don’t overdo it. A mild general liquid plant food or organic fertilizer is ideal.
Get these basics right and you will be rewarded with a lush plant that will look great and create a lot of interest due to the unusual leaf structure.
Frequently asked questions about Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
Is the Alocasia Stingray toxic?
Yes, if digested by people or pets, the plant is toxic. It will cause mouth irritation and swelling. While it is not lethal it is still best to keep it out of reach from pets and children.
Why the name “Elephant Ear”?
The Stingray part of the name is fairly obvious given the shape of the plant but the term Elephant Ear refers to the size the leaves of some of these plants can grow to. While the leaves of the Alocasia Stingray are not that big, some varieties of Elephants Ears have massive leaves.
Does the Alocasia Stingray go dormant?
In warmer environments this is unlikely but as a defense mechanism, the plant can go dormant if it gets too cold. The plant will drop all of its leaves and appear to have died down.
The good news is that it is still very much alive if it has gone into dormancy. You can tell by feeling the roots with your finger. If they are still firm and solid, it is merely waiting for the warmth to return.
Nature will bring the plant out of dormancy as temperatures rise. To speed up the process, you can place a plastic bag over the pot and keep it in a warm area indoors or in a hothouse. Keep the soil slightly moist but avoid too much condensation from the packet.
After a few weeks, you should start to see new growth and before long it will be happy again. As soon as spring comes around you can water a bit more and fertilize. It will grow back with enthusiasm.
Is the Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ difficult to care for?
No, not at all. Many people might say this, probably because it is exotic and a bit different. The truth is that it is easy. Our care guide above will give you all of the information you need to ensure your plant thrives.
The basic guidelines are easy to follow and provided you follow them you should have little to no problems growing an impressive Alocasia Stingray.
It is always a pleasure to have something a bit different in your plant collection and the Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ will make a perfect addition. It is not that common so is sure to get visitors asking about it.
If you prepare the plant correctly and position it in the right place it is an easy to grow plant that will give you many years of trouble-free pleasure. Invest the effort in getting the soil and other basics right and you should have a stunning plant that will be the envy of friends and neighbors.
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.