Commonly known as ‘Elephant Ears’ or 'African mask plant', Alocasias are rhizomatous or tuberous plants native to subtropical Asia and eastern Australia, and are increasingly becoming popular as houseplants. Not to be confused with Colocasia, the Alocasia leaf tips point up - whereas Colocasia leaves point down.
Known for their large, beautiful leaves, Alocasias are ideal for creating an exotic vibe either indoors, out on the patio or in the garden. Their oversized, lush foliage makes for a fantastic focal point, coming in an impressive array of colours, patterns and interesting shapes.
The Alocasia wentii is known for its unique green leaves with contrasting bronze-purple undersides, while the unusual form of Alocasia Stingray has to be seen to be believed. Its leaf shape does in fact look like a Stingray, with fish-like wings and a long tail!
Even though Alocasias can grow to be a sizeable evergreen plant, dependant on species, they can still look airy and elegant thanks to tall, smooth stems that grow out of a tuber. Their stems can also be plain, striped, or display stunning contrasting colours.
The spectacularly wide, heart-shaped leaves of Alocasia macrorrhiza or ‘Giant Taro’ are huge!
By comparison Alocasia zebrina Sarian is typically a taller and more slender looking plant, with familiar arrowhead-shaped leaves. Similarly, the Alocasia lauterbachiana has stiff, tapered leaves with burgundy undersides and purple mottled stems.
Alocasias can grow rapidly, often producing a new leaf almost every week in the warm summer months.
For optimum growing conditions, they need bright, indirect light. Alocasias’ natural habitat is on the rainforest floor underneath a tree canopy, therefore they thrive amongst ferns and other shade-loving plants. Position in a partly-shaded, warm and humid part of the garden, or in a well-lit, protected spot indoors. Misting the leaves in areas of low humidity is also recommended to maintain the lush foliage.
Create an instant jungle feel by planting Alocasia under low windows, as an accent in a mixed bed, grouped in a focal area, alongside a courtyard or patio, or surrounding a palm or tree.
Learn more about these and other Alocasias in our online plant library.