Alocasia or also known as elephant ear plant is native to the tropical areas of Asia. Being used to growing under the shade of other plants makes this plant an excellent option to grow indoors. It is characterized by having striking and large intense green leaves, which can decorate any space very well. You will surely realize that it is vitally important to keep your leaves healthy. That is why in this post we will analyze one of the most important problems, which is when Alocasia leaves turning yellow. Among the large number of species within the Alocasia genus, Alocasia Polly is one of the most cultivated, so we will dedicate a special section to talk about it.
Also at the end we will analyze other problems in the leaves, which although they are not so frequent it is important to know. These are leaves that curl, leaves that droop, and leaves that turn white. Although we will not analyze these three cases in depth, with what we will see you will be able to diagnose and solve each of these problems.
1. Alocasia leaves turning yellow – Causes and solutions
It is really annoying to have an elephant ear plant with yellow leaves, especially since it is not so easy to find the cause at first glance. This is because there are many reasons why this problem can appear.
In this section we will look at nine of the most common reasons why your Alocasia leaves may turn yellow. For each case I will give you some tips on how to solve the problem.
Obviously, certain occasions are easier to solve than others. And in some cases there may be no solution and you end up losing your plant. This extreme is reached especially when the problem is not taken on time. So I recommend that you inspect your elephant ear leaves quite often.
1.1 Irrigation problems
Leaves are the first to report a problem with watering. Whether you water too much or too little, the first symptoms are likely to be reflected in the leaves.
In Alocasias that are overwatered, the leaves will not only turn yellow, but will also have a fairly smooth texture. If you find that the soil is too wet, stop watering for several days. You should not water again until the first 3 to 4 cm of soil is completely dry.
If you don’t solve the over-watering problem in time, your elephant ear plant may end up with root fungus. A rather difficult problem to solve, which frequently causes the death of the plant. When in doubt, you can remove the plant from the pot and check its roots. If they have a dark hue, a smooth texture and a rotten smell there is no doubt, there are rotten breeds.
Overwatering doesn’t just happen when too much water is applied. It can also occur when the pot does not have enough holes, when the soil does not have much drainage capacity, when the pot is larger than necessary, etc.
When the problem is the lack of irrigation you will see that the soil is too dry. And the texture of the leaves in this case will not be smooth. On the contrary, its texture will be somewhat crunchy. Start watering more often to avoid these types of problems.
1.2 Unsuitable soil
Although alocasias are not very demanding in terms of the amount of nutrients in the soil, if it is extremely poor it can be the cause of yellow leaves. It is not one of the most common reasons for the appearance of this problem, but it must be taken into account because it can occur. To solve it, you can carry out a good fertilization plan or something more permanent is to change the soil for a richer one.
The most important point to consider when selecting a good soil mix for elephant ear plants is not its nutrients, but its drainage ability. These plants, although tropical, suffer greatly if the soil is too wet. We already highlighted it in the previous section, a lot of humidity in the soil can be the cause of yellow leaves in your Alocasia.
Check that the soil mix you are using has a sufficient proportion of coarse material. It can be coarse sand, perlite, pumice stone, etc. Some plant soil mixes like anthuriums, jade plants, or even orchids can work quite well for alocasias.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, Alocasias are tropical plants, that is, they like heat. The temperature range in which they develop correctly is between 18 ° C and 29 ° C. When this plant is exposed to temperatures below 18 ° C for a prolonged period, yellow leaves may appear.
Therefore, you must be very careful at this point, especially in the fall and winter months. Place your elephant ears in a warm environment where you will not have to withstand low temperatures.
But it’s not just low temperatures that can cause leaf problems. If the temperature in the place where you have the plant varies a lot, it can also cause problems. Alocasias like to have a warm and fairly constant temperature. Do not place it near an air conditioner or heater, as these will cause the temperature to fluctuate greatly in short periods of time.
1.4 Bad lighting
Like many houseplants, elephant ears like to be near a window or balcony. This is because it needs a few hours of direct sunlight a day. If you place it in a room with little light this will cause you problems, and the first thing you will notice is the yellow leaves.
If you think that the lack of lighting is affecting the leaves of your Alocasia, you should change the location for a more illuminated one. But do not make the change abruptly, you should gradually expose the plant to greater lighting. A sudden change can stress the plant.
Keep in mind that if you expose this plant to too many hours of too strong sun, this will also cause leaf problems. They are problems that are seen very often. And it occurs not only due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, but many times receiving those rays through window glass increases the problem.
1.5 Existence of a plague
There are several pests that can cause the yellowing of the leaves of an elephant ear plant. Especially sap-sucking insects like thrips, mites, aphids, spider mites, etc. As all these insects are characterized by having a soft body, they can be exterminated in the same way.
Some of the most efficient ways to eliminate any of these pests are:
- Soap-based insecticide.
- Use of Neem oil.
- Insecticide for mites.
The first two methods are completely natural, while the last is to use special chemicals to kill these insects. From this website we always recommend the use of natural methods, although if you do not take the pest in time you may need to use an insecticide. If so, you should carefully read the instructions to use the product responsibly.
Make a periodic check of the leaves of your Alocasia. Look closely for any of these insects (thrips, aphids, mites, mites, etc.). It is better to take the pest always on time. In this way controlling and eliminating these annoying insects will be a much easier task.
1.6 Problems with humidity
The tropical areas where the Alocasias come from are characterized by being warm and humid. We already talked about what happens when the temperature is lower than necessary. You can imagine that if the humidity is in a lower range than the plant needs, there will be problems too.
The ideal is a humidity of 70%, although problems can only appear when it is below 50%. If you see the leaves start to lose color, turn yellow, and their edges turn brown, low humidity may be to blame.
The easiest and cheapest way to increase humidity is by placing trays of water near the plant. This will increase the humidity. Another very effective method is the use of humidifiers.
1.7 Excess fertilization
It is very common for us to damage our indoor plants by the excessive application of fertilizers. Yellowing of the leaves on elephant ear plants may be due to an improper fertilization plan.
In case you suspect that over-fertilization is the problem, you should stop applying fertilizers. You can also apply several irrigations to wash the fertilizer from the soil, this can be quite effective especially if you have applied liquid fertilizer.
If you want to know more about the fertilization of these plants, you can visit the following post, in which there is a detailed analysis of how and when you should fertilize an Alocasia.
1.8 Acclimatization to a new location
As we mentioned in previous points, sudden changes do not like Alocasias. Whether the lighting, the temperature, or both are abruptly changed, this plant will get stressed. And a symptom of that stress can be seen reflected in its leaves.
In case you suspect that the sudden change of location has affected your elephant ear plant, do not make the mistake of changing it again. First analyze the place where you have located it. If this place offers good lighting and a temperature and humidity in the necessary ranges, leave it where it is. Moving the plant again to fix the problem will only make the situation worse.
1.9 Leaf aging
Although we have put this point last, you should be the first to analyze. As with any plant, the leaves have a life cycle, at which point they begin to die. Thus, little by little they take a yellowish color to end up falling off the plant.
If the yellowish leaves are the oldest, you don’t have to worry. This is only part of the natural cycle of the plant. Some leaves will die to make way for new ones. Now if all the foliage turns yellow, that is, both the old and the young leaves, then it is not a matter of natural aging.
2. Alocasia polly leaves turning yellow
Within the genus of Alocasias, Alocasia polly is one of the most sought after, this is surely due to the incredible beauty of its intensely green leaves in which the intensely white nerves stand out. Like all Alocasias, they also suffer from yellowing of their leaves.
The reasons why this small plant can suffer from yellowing of the leaves are the same as those detailed in the previous section. There is no special cause for these plants. The most common are watering problems, inadequate temperature or humidity, pests and lack of lighting.
3. Others leaves problems on elephant ear
The leaves are the most important thing in elephant ear plants so we must be vigilant and always take care of them. Unfortunately, yellowing of the leaves is not the only problem that can appear on the leaves of this plant. There are several other problems.
In this section we will quickly analyze three of the most common problems that usually affect Alocasia leaves.
3.1 Alocasia leaves curling
Leaf curling in Alocasias is almost as common as yellowing. And as we will see below, it responds to quite similar causes. The most common causes of sheet curling are the following:
- Presence of some plague: again pests such as thrips, aphids, spider mites can cause leaf curl. The same treatments we saw earlier will work for your Alocasia Polly.
- Irrigation problems: irrigation reappears. Leaf curling is a more common symptom when watering is insufficient.
- Lack of potassium in the soil: although it does not need many nutrients to live, if the potassium is too low it can cause the curling of the leaves. Above all, the most affected are the oldest leaves. Apply a high-potassium fertilizer to correct the problem.
- Temperatures too low: again if you have your Alocasia exposed to low temperatures (less than 18 ° C) problems may appear on the leaves.
- Excess fertilization: among the many symptoms that can appear when you use fertilizers is the curling of the leaves of your elephant ear plant. Check the post that we left you previously to know how to fertilize your Alocasia.
3.2 Alocasia leaves drooping
Leaf fall is a very common problem in practically all the plants in our garden. Although in plants like elephant ears this problem is more noticeable, since the leaves are the most important element of the plant. As soon as a couple of leaves fall, we are already alert and wondering why the leaves of our Alocasia are falling.
First you need to observe which leaves fall. If they are the largest and oldest, it may be that the fall is due to the simple reason of the old age of the blade. As we already mentioned, all leaves have a certain life cycle, after that time they will begin to lose color, wither and finally fall.
If you see that the leaves that fall are not due to their old age, it is time to analyze other options. You will see that we will repeat the same causes that we have mentioned in the other problems that we already analyzed:
- Lack of lighting.
- Low percentage of environmental humidity.
- Low temperatures.
- Sudden changes in temperature.
Be careful not to expose your Alocasia to any of the above causes, and this will protect it from having problems with its leaves.
3.3 Elephant ear leaves turning white
To finish this post we will analyze a not so common problem but that usually appears in Alocasias leaves. This is when the leaves begin to turn whitish or, in some cases, almost transparent. This is almost certainly due to a lack of chlorophyll in the plant. Remember that chlorophyll in any plant is the “culprit” for the green color of the leaves.
If the plant is lacking in chlorophyll, chances are your plant is not getting the amount of sunlight it needs. You should expose it to more hours of sunlight. But don’t do it all of a sudden. That is, do not go from having it in full shade one day and the next you take it to the garden and leave it exposed to the sun’s rays all day. This will stress her out and cause even more problems.
It will be enough to bring it closer to a window or balcony. In the first few days, put it near the window or balcony for a couple of hours a day. Then, little by little, leave it more time in that place. Remember that elephant ears do not like sudden changes. So it allows you to gradually adapt to the new location.
Cover Image Source: Reddit