The stunning Alocasia Regal Shield is a cross between an Alocasia Black Velvet and an Alocasia Odora taking its velvety blackness from one and its largeness from the other.
Giant black velvety perfectly heart-shaped leaves with slightly ruffled edges and reddish undersides – now who wouldn’t want to own this plant?
If you grow Alocasia regal shield under the right care conditions, this aroid rapidly grows to a height of 4 – 5 feet (1.2 – 1.5 meters) and spreads out laterally with the leaves supported by long and erect petioles. They are self headers that get as wide as they are tall.
Even though they may not fit into your apartment, they make great patio plants and are beautiful from above and below.
A great way to enjoy the beauty of this plant is to put it at a height. This way you can enjoy even the underside of the plant.
- 1 Alocasia Regal Shield Care
- 2 Alocasia Regal Shield Propagation Step-by-step Guide
- 3 Common problems with Alocasia Regal Shield
- 4 Tips for growing Alocasia Regal Shield
- 5 Frequently asked questions on Alocasia Regal Shield
- 6 Conclusion
Alocasia Regal Shield Care
Luckily, this plant is fairly easy to care for once you learn the dos and don’ts. They prefer bright shade, high humidity, consistent moisture, soft porous soil and warm temperatures throughout the year. In addition to all of these, they like space.
Proper Alocasia Regal Shield care required loamy, rich organic soil. The kind of soil that has a lot of earthworm action going on inside it is perfect for Alocasia Regal Shield care.
The soil needs to be very well drained, moist-retentive, nutrient rich and slightly acidic. The roots of your Regal Shield need to get oxygen or they will rot and die.
Any soil that’s wet, clayey and mucky will stick to the roots and won’t let them breathe. Pack some soil in your fist and give it a tight squeeze. If the soil forms a doughy lump it’s not the right soil to grow Alocasia regal shield.
Any soil that is too dry or sandy won’t retain enough moisture.
Alocasia Regal Shield ideally prefers a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0. The garden compost, organic manure, mulch etc. that you add to the soil helps with soil acidity.
Alocasia Regal Shield requires 70 to 85% of sunlight but never direct sunlight. They grow best in dappled light conditions. If you want to grow Alocasia Regal Shield outdoors, then a 40% shade cloth would be ideal.
If you want to grow this indoors, given its size, you’re likely to be choosing a large room to place the plant. Give it an east window or a west window spot. Just place it behind sheer drapes so that sunlight is filtered.
Alocasia Regal Shield tends to grow in the direction of light. You should keep rotating the pot on a weekly basis for well rounded growth.
In my opinion, this plant is perfect for patios rather than fully indoors or fully outdoors. The lighting in these semi-outdoor locations is generally good for Alocasia Regal Shield care.
The leaves get dull and the plant becomes slow growing in too little light.
I grow Alocasia Regal Shield in consistently moist soil. However this plant can tolerate a little bit of intermittent dryness, and a lot of growers will advise you to dry out the soil.
I personally feel that’s not entirely correct for Alocasia Regal Shield. In the summer months when the temperatures are between 25-30°C (77 – 86°F), I confidently water every other day. The plant responds well to this cycle even though it sounds like a lot. However, note that my soil is super porous and the water drains out within 20 secs.
The safe gauge is the top soil test – always a reliable method for a vast majority of aroids. When the top two inches of the soil dries out you can water again.
One Alocasia Regal Shield care hack is to watch the leaves for signs of overwatering. The leaves will droop and leave water droplets from the tips.
During cold weather I cut down the watering drastically. The plant is highly susceptible to root rot due to overwatering in winters.
Alocasia Regal Shield thrives in tropical conditions. In fact, in the tropics they rarely have an extended dormancy period. Their ideal daytime temperature is around 25°C (77°F).
Ambient temperatures of 20 – 30°C (68 – 86°F) during the day, and night temperatures no lower than 16°C (60°F) are perfect if you plan to grow Alocasia Regal Shield like a tropical evergreen. However if you expose them to frost the corms will need to be replanted in spring.
These plants become dull and slow growing with prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60°F (16°C) and may even lose their leaves.
You need to grow Alocasia Regal Shield in high humidity. If you grow them indoors in heated rooms under desert dry conditions, don’t be surprised to find leaf edges going crisp.
Anywhere upwards of 80% is good. Feel free to use pebble trays, humidifiers, occasional misting and sponging of the leaves with a wet cloth to keep the plant hydrated.
You can even go so far as growing juvenile plants by the bathroom window. They will greatly appreciate the warm mugginess in there.
Alocasias are heavy feeders. If you want to grow Alocasia Regal Shield in a pot, there will be limited soil and limited nutrients as the plant matures. So, feeding the plant is important particularly for mature plants otherwise you won’t see them grow into that luxurious size.
First of all, make the soil mix rich in organic nutrients with good quality sterile compost, animal dung manure, or any balanced store purchased organic manure.
After that on a monthly basis you can apply a dilute liquid fertilizer thinning down the concentration to a third of what’s prescribed. For proper Alocasia Regal Shield care, this routine must be observed during the growing season of spring through early fall.
A word of caution: Don’t use cheap fertilizers. They’ll result in salt buildup in the soil that can kill your plant. Also on the day you fertilize your plant make sure to water the plant deeply.
Plant division is the main Alocasia Regal Shield propagation method. You can either divide the rhizome or the clumps at the base. You’ll find a lot of plantlets at the base of mature plants which you can separate too.
In general Alocasia Regal Shield shows rapid growth given the right care. Within 2 years or so it gets quite big, about 4 – 5 feet (1.2 – 1.5 meters) when grown in a pot.
If you grow Alocasia Regal Shield straight in the ground you shouldn’t be surprised if it grows to the size of a tall human with each leaf measuring 2 feet (60 cm) long.
The leaves of this plant drop as fast as they produce new ones. When a new leaf emerges in a whorl it unfurls and gets big quite fast.
This plant doesn’t need pruning, but trimming away old bottom leaves is helpful to keep the surroundings clean.
If you grow Alocasia Regal Shield in a pot the plant gets quite top heavy very soon. So use a stable base. Since the roots like to breathe I use a terracotta pot for this plant. It lends the plant a bit of stability at the base too.
The plant does need repotting every 2 years or so if you want it to keep getting bigger in size. However after a certain size it may not make sense as an indoor plant. At this stage consider taking it outdoors to a shaded spot or to your tropical greenhouse.
Alternatively, just keep thinning the plant down through base separation. This should help in size management to some extent.
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Alocasia Regal Shield Propagation Step-by-step Guide
I recommend you propagate your Alocasia Regal Shield plant during the mid-spring or summer season when the plant is growing actively. You can propagate Alocasia Regal Shield by clump or division method.
Propagate Alocasia Regal Shield with root clump division
- Please prepare a potting mixture with the right soil-mix and add some water to it.
- Next, remove the Alocasia Regal Shield parent plant from its pot and wash off the soil sticking to its roots with a hose
- You will also notice the roots are organized in multiple clumps. Carefully separate the clumps with the roots using your fingers or use a sterile knife to separate them
- Put each clump in a separate container and water them
- Care for the pots as usual. The clumps’ root systems will immediately start growing
Propagate Alocasia Regal Shield with plantlets
- Regal Shield grows plantlets at the base of the plant attached to the mother plant by way of a stem
- Separate the plantlet with a sterile knife right at the base
- Immediately plant it in a starter potting mix that’s evenly moist. 50:50 peat and perlite or evenly wet sphagnum moss are good starters for the plantlet.
- Moisten the mix regularly with lukewarm water and place the pot in a warm place
- In two weeks the plantlet will establish itself with new roots in the new pot
- The mistake you shouldn’t make is to let the pot be in a cold place or let the substrate go dry
Common problems with Alocasia Regal Shield
Leaves dropping all of a sudden
If the plant is exposed to a cold draft in your greenhouse for being next to the entrance or window, that could cause all the leaves to droop.
Sudden wilting or drooping of leaves
The most common reason for this is root rot caused due to waterlogging. Check the plant’s roots. They should be white and healthy. If they look brown and slushy then it’s a root rot.
There’s little that you can do to save the plant. Just look for plantlets that you can save and repot in better soil.
This may start with the lower leaves first, before spreading to all of the leaves. One of the common reasons for this is salt buildup due to over fertilization.
Water deeply three or four times, each time letting all the water drain out. This should help wash off the salts. These plants are sensitive to excessive chlorine too.
If you have a system of rainwater harvesting in your garden then that’s the best watering hack for Alocasia Regal Shield care.
But most home gardeners don’t have that option. The next solution is to sit the water in a bucket for 2 days before using it to water your Regal Shield.
Dusty looking webbings on the underside of the leaves
This is how an aphid attack on the plant looks like. Alocasia Regal Shield care is quite easy when it comes to pest control. These are hardy tropicals that are naturally pest resistant. However, occasionally you may find sucking pests and most commonly aphids.
The easiest way to get rid of aphids is to blast them off the leaves with a strong stream of water. An insecticidal concoction made from neem oil and horticultural soaps is safe to use on your Regal Shield to keep it free of sucking pests.
Another Alocasia Regal Shield care hack is to use a solution of vinegar diluted with 3x the water. and spraying the underside of the leaves. All of these measures must be carried out on the morning of a sunny day.
If you find damp waterlogged discolored blotches on the leaf this is the result of chronic overwatering causing disease in the plant. Change the soil and make it a very loose aerated one. Get rid of the diseased leaves.
Wet brown spots on the leaf
If the spots have a foul smelling ooze to them then it could be bacterial leaf spot disease common in Alocasia Regal Shield. It is important that you get rid of the affected leaves immediately. The bacterial spreads through water droplets on leaves. Cut down the watering and mainly stop getting the leaves wet.
Tips for growing Alocasia Regal Shield
- Place the plant in bright dappled sunlight and keep turning the pot around
- Use well-draining soils with good aeration fortified with organic manure
- These plant like warmth but are not frost tolerant in the least
- Avoid under and overwatering the plant
- Use the plant’s soil to assess when to water it. Dry it out partially before watering
- Avoid chlorine buildup in the soil by using rainwater or distilled water
- Limit water to the roots by using a breathable terracotta pot that is slightly small in size relative to the plant
- Use sterilized or disinfected equipment on the plant
- You’ll need to repot the plant every two years
Frequently asked questions on Alocasia Regal Shield
Can you propagate Alocasia Regal Shield in water?
The Alocasia Regal Shield can be propagated in water because the roots receive the oxygen they need in water. However, ensure that the plant is not kept in direct sunlight as it may promote algae growth. Change the plant’s water regularly and mildly fertilize it twice every month.
Is Alocasia Regal Shield toxic for humans and pets?
Yes, this plant is toxic and best not consumed by pets or humans.
While I am a sucker for large tropical plants like the Alocasia Regal Shield, I must warn you of the practical difficulties of growing such a plant if you live in a compact NY style apartment. If such is the case I’m afraid this plant is not for you.
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.