Alocasia or also popularly known as elephant ear plant is in great demand today for interior decoration. It is probably because of its exotic and beautiful leaves, because of its intense green color or because of the relative simplicity in its cultivation. Regardless of the cause, the truth is that it is among the most used plants to grow indoors. In this article we will take care of analyzing everything about the propagating Alocasia. From what are the tools you need, what methods are the most used, when you should do it, to some tips to propagate the most popular species of Alocasias.
Depending on the bibliography you consult or the web you read, you will see that they do not always use the terms Alocasia and elephant ear in the same way. Perhaps where you live you call certain species of Alocasia like elephant ear plant. But this is something that changes depending on where you live, so for simplicity we will use both terms as synonyms.
1. Propagating Alocasia – What tools do you need?
On this website we always like to start at the beginning, as it should be. Therefore, the first thing we will do is list what are the tools and elements that you must have on hand to carry out this task. If you don’t have them, it may not even make sense to keep reading the post. 😉
- An Alocasia plant, which is old enough to divide.
- Cutting tools such as scissors or a sharp knife.
- One or more spare pots. The number will depend on the number of new plants you want to make.
- Soil mixture suitable for Alocasias.
Remember that whenever you use tools on your plants it is good that you disinfect them correctly. This will always be avoiding a possible spread of pests or diseases between the different plants that you have at home.
2. How to propagate Elephant ears
There are several ways to carry out the propagation of Alocasias. In this section we will analyze the three most used methods. They are very simple and with a high probability of success.
2.1 Dividing Alocasia plant
Alocasias or elephant ear plants have the characteristic that they grow in groups. This detail makes these plants very easy to propagate by plant division. Since when you remove an Alocasia from the ground you will not have a single plant but a complete set of multiple plants.
Let’s see now how you should propagate these plants step by step by division:
Step 1: If the soil in the pot has almost no moisture, it is good that you apply abundant watering. This will moisten the soil and make it easier to divide each specimen once we remove them from the pot.
Step 2: proceed to remove the plant from inside the pot. If you can get the whole root ball out of the whole soil, without damaging the roots, so much the better. To do this, it can be helpful to run a knife around the edge of the pot. This will “strip” the soil from the edge of the pots, allowing the root ball to detach more easily.
Step 3: Once you manage to remove the plant from the interior of the pot, you will be able to observe all the groups of plants that compose it. Take a sharp knife or pruning shears and divide the groups of plants. Divide as many groups as the number of new plants you want to generate.
Step 4: Put soil suitable for Alocasias in the new pots and plant the new seedlings. Accompany with a good watering and that’s it. Each group of plants already has a good root system, so with some basic care the plant will begin to develop without problems.
This method of propagation is very efficient and fast to carry out.
2.2 Planting Alocasia bulbs
When elephant ear plants are already a certain age at their base, they begin to generate tubers, from which we can generate new plants. As we will see below, the procedure to follow is quite similar to that of the division of plants, let’s see step by step how to do it.
- Step 1: Water the soil to moisten it and to be able to remove the bulbs more easily. Once done, remove the plant from the ground and look for tubers that look healthy. If you notice that the tuber is soft, it may have fungus, so it is not a good option for propagating your Alocasia.
- Step 2: Take as many bulbs from the original plant as there are new plants you want to generate. Once this is done, re-plant the mother plant carefully, we do not want to damage it. This transplant of the mother plant, if it is in a pot, can be a good time to change the soil for a new one.
- Step 3: Once the best bulbs have been selected, it is time to place each one in a container of water. Do not add more than an inch or two of water. You should not completely cover the tuber with water. Cover the container so that moisture does not escape so easily.
- Step 4: when you notice that the water has fallen add more water, never let it dry out. After a month or month and a half you will begin to see how new white roots begin to be generated that will develop quite quickly. Days later you will see how the first leaves also begin to appear.
- Step 5: Once you see the first leaves appear, it is time to transplant them. Find a potting mix (for example, an anthurium mix works well) and plant these seedlings in a pot. Take good care of these new plants, do not lack moisture, but do not overdo it with watering.
2.3 Propagating alocasia from leaf
In general, it is very common for people to try to propagate Alocasias or elephant ear plants simply from leaves. In other words, it is a propagation from cuttings, a very common system in many types of plants. That is, we cut a leaf from a plant and we give it the right conditions to start generating roots and thus be able to have a new plant.
If you wanted to propagate your Alocasia using this method, I have bad news for you. Propagation by cuttings on this plant does not work. There is no special type of care that makes the leaf of an alocasia begin to generate new roots.
The good news is, you can go for bulb propagation or simple plant division. These methods are quite simple and effective. So you don’t have to complicate your life trying to propagate your elephant ear plant from cuttings.
3. Propagation of the most popular species
You should know that Alocasias is a genus of plants, within which there are dozens of different species. Some of the most recognized are Alocasia polly, Alocasia black velvet, Alocasia zebrina, Alocasia Frydek, Alocasia Dragon Scale, etc.
Since it is very difficult in a single post to analyze each and every one of the species, leaving specific advice on how to propagate it. We select three of the most popular species, which we will talk about in this section.
To energize the article, we have searched for a specific video for each case. I have to clarify that from our website TheGardenPlants.com we have not created the following videos, I leave you the link to the YouTube channel of each of the creators in case you want to take some time and visit it.
3.1 Propagating Alocasia polly
You can visit the channel by following the following link —> Good Growing.
3.2 Propagate Alocasia black velvet
You can visit the channel by following the following link —> Frenond’s Adventure
3.3 Propagating Alocasia zebrina by Bulb
You can visit the channel by following the following link —> Family Garden Adventures
4. When to propagate Elephant ears
The right time to propagate Alocasias is something that goes hand in hand with the climate where you live. If the place where you live is a tropical area, that is to say that during most of the year the days are hot and humid, the propagation can be carried out at any time of the year. But if where you live the autumns and / or winters are quite strong, the subject changes.
In temperate or cold areas, it is best to propagate elephant ears during the first days of spring. Therefore, cold days and the possibility of frost have been left behind, making propagation much more likely to be successful. And your new plants develop quickly.
In the cold days of winter or autumn the Alocasias are in a stage of lethargy. Then it will be difficult for new plants to grow and develop roots and leaves. Being very likely that they end up dying.
- Elephant Ears (Colocasia, Alocasia, and Xanthosoma) – wisc.edu.
- ALOCASIA POLLY Alocasia sanderiana – plantshed.com.