Commonly known as the ‘Hardy elephant ear,’ the Alocasia Wenii originates from the Highlands of New Guinea. The Alocasia Wentii boasts huge foliage with its green and purple arrow-head-shaped leaves achieving around 30-40cm each.
The Hardy Elephant ear has been artificially crossed between the Alocasia odora and Alocasia gageana from South East Asia. It can now be found all around the globe.
This sturdy evergreen was first represented in science in 1916. Although it is not new to the world, it is becoming increasingly popular among indoor plant lovers.
This article will give tips and information about how to care for your Alocasia wentii.
Alocasia Wentii Care Guide Overview
After investing in this beautiful new addition to your household, you may be curious about its needs and how to give it the best life possible.
The Alocasia wentii requires bright indirect sunlight and a well-draining potting mixture that remains damp. Watering once a week is necessary when the top 2 inches of the potting soil feels dry. A temperature of 60-86 degrees Farenheight should be obtained while the humidity level is best at over 60%. Fertilizing every two weeks with liquid fertilizer is sufficient during the spring and summer months.
Now that you have your plant’s basic requirements let’s look into these details closely.
As this plant is native to South East Asia, it is essential to provide your Alocasia wentii with an environment that it recognizes.
This plant favors temperatures within a range of 65-85F (16-30 Celsius) and can be kept indoors or outdoors.
Cooler temperatures will cause the plant to go into dormancy and not live through a frost. Suppose you keep your Alocasia wentii outdoors during spring and summer. In that case, bringing it into the house is best as the weather cools down.
If you are a plant lover and it is advised to keep a temperature gauge in your home to monitor the changes you experience.
Like its native habitat, the Alocasia wentii loves humid conditions. Humidity levels above 60% are recommended for this plant to thrive.
You may recognize signs of your plant lacking luster with brown leaves and dry patches if it is wrestling with low humidity.
Alocasia wentii is known to be one of the more tolerant varieties of its species when it comes to moisture. It can be challenging to keep healthy in arid climates. Some growers have reported successful growing at a humidity level of 40%, but it is not ideal.
To increase the humidity inside your home, there are various methods you can take:
- Keep tropical plants together in one space
- Situate your plant in an area that experiences a steamy environment, such as a bathroom, laundry, or kitchen
- Fill the water container under your plant with pebbles
- Install a small humidifier in your home
The Alocasia wentii is a rather thirsty plant, and understanding its watering needs is critical to its survival. They appreciate soil that is often damp but not soaking.
Daily watering may be needed if your Alocasia wentii is being kept outside during the spring and summer months.
If the soil’s surface down to the first 2 inches is dry, your plant will need a drink.
One drastic sign of the plant’s desperate need for water is that its leaves will become limp and droop down. This is not a sound stage for the plant to get to, and close observation will prevent this from happening.
It is recommended that the soil is not completely dried out but has a sufficient amount to stop the growth of fungus and disease.
Ensure the Alocasia winter is planted in well-draining soil so the water can easily pass through. Waterlogging will starve the roots of oxygen and cause root rot which can be a fatal end to your plant’s life.
Avoid watering directly at the plant’s stem, as any water left sitting can cause this fleshy area to decay.
The Alocasia wentiis’ health depends on a combination of good soil and watering. Both of these elements work together to ensure your plant has the best possible success at a healthy life.
You can find the ideal mix of Coconut coir, LECA, Perlite, Charcoal, Worm castings, and bark as a pre-made Aroid mix from most horticulture suppliers.
This mix will provide the plant with a well-draining substrate ensuring adequate oxygen to the root system and a fertile base for the plant to grow.
Some tropical plants have been known to flourish in a soilless mix, and Alocasia wentii is one of them. A soilless blend of Coco Coir, Peat moss, and Perlite can be used, providing extra nutrition is given.
Adding organic compost materials and worm castings is excellent for improving soil conditions and creating an exemplary microbial system in the soil.
Adding 10% of one of these organic materials to your potting mix is recommended to help soil fertility while assisting with drainage.
When housing any new plant, it can be tempting to position it in the sunniest place of the house as possible. The Alocasia wentii advances in bright, indirect sunlight but will burn rapidly if the rays are too severe.
Mild morning direct sunlight can be tolerated, along with the sunlight in the late afternoon.
Being a couple of feet away from the window will be the ideal spot for your plant. You are looking for a position that can provide about 6 hours of sunlight per day to keep your Alocasia wentii happy.
If your house or room lacks natural light, you can opt for an artificial source such as Led or fluorescent grow lights. These can be especially handy to have during the winter months when the hours of sunlight are reduced.
It is no wonder that the Alocasia wentii is a heavy feeder, with the fantastic foliage they showcase and the water they require. Still, like most plants, they can suffer from over-feeding too.
You can use a granulated fertilizer of 20-20-20 to give your plant good nutrition. You can add granular fertilizer to the base of the plant about 6 inches into the soil. Ensure the fertilizer isn’t coming into contact with the stem or the flesh of the plant.
Signs of overfeeding can be the burning of the tips of the leaves- this will be seen as a yellowing edge before destroying the whole leaf. This discoloration results from the root system failing to grow because of the excess nutrients in the soil.
Excess nutrients can be flushed out of the soil by giving a heavy amount of water and letting it drain out the bottom of the pot.
To ensure you have the proper feeding regime in place for your plant, it is best to feed monthly with a solution half diluted to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Take into consideration the organic matter that was added to the soil when potting your plant.
Below is a short video on using a granular fertilizer on your Alocasia wentii plant:
Replacing your plants’ pots and soil can be regarded as similar to the stress we experience when moving house. Like us, when we move to a new home, we require some time to settle in.
Many people will confuse this stage with the failure of a poor transplant. If done with ease and care, this procedure can be successful and extend the life of your plant.
Luckily the Alocasia wentii is happy to live with a dense root system in its pot and doesn’t require re-potting that often. Some signs to look out for when deciding when to report are:
- Roots coming out of the drainage holes of the pot
- Reduced growth or no new leaves forming
- Constant dehydration – too many roots in the pot will inhibit the plants’ ability to soak up the water
As mentioned, the Alocasia doesn’t require re-potting that often, especially when it becomes more mature. You can expect to re-pot the mature plant once every few years.
When you decide that the Alocasia wentii needs potting, please choose a time during spring or summer when the plant is at its strongest. There will be less shock to its system.
When deciding the size of the pot to re-pot your plant into, it is recommended not to re-pot into a size an inch or two larger than its previous one.
By re-potting into an oversized pot, you are slowing down the plant’s top growth and causing interruptions in the water requirements.
Being aware of the growth habit of your Alocasia wentii is essential. It will help you understand if the plant needs something during its life with you.
Most of the growth of the Alocasia wentii is done during spring and summer when the climate is at its best. You can see a new leaf appear each week when it is at its peak, and it has the capacity to grow around 3 feet high and wide.
If you are in a climate similar to its homeland and are growing outside, you can expect a growth rate of 3-5 feet per year. An outdoor plant grown in rainforest-like conditions will likely reach a maximum height of 10 ft tall.
Suppose your Alocasia wentii is growing indoors under your controlled environment. In that case, you will see a likely growth rate of approximately 1-2 feet per year.
Your Alocasia will reach its maximum height in a pot indoors when it is 3-5 feet high.
During the winter months, they can become dormant and stop growing but don’t worry; as soon as the warm weather returns, your plant will return from its hibernation stage and begin its growth stage.
The new guinea shield is not favored for its flowering and will rarely flower if it is grown in a pot indoors. The flower is a typical aroid with a white to green spathe, surrounded by cream or white spadix.
When the flower produces globular berries, you will find seeds inside.
Suppose you are interested in producing another plant for your collection. In that case, you can have a go at propagating your Alocasia wentii. This can be done with ease and minimal damage to the mother plant if done correctly.
The propagation method for the Alocasia wenti is done through the root division method.
Because they are grown from a tuber-central rhizome, baby bulbs will grow connected to the mother bulb and can later be divided. The most suitable time to carry out the process is during re-potting, which causes the root system’s slightest disturbance.
Take a look at the step-by-step guide below to help you through the process:
1. Prepare the pots
Prepare two pots with the right amount of potting soil based on the mix you used for your mother plant. This will ensure that the baby bulbs will have the same conditions they were produced in.
Double-check that your pots have the correct drainage holes in place before filling.
2. Remove the mother plant from the existing pot
To remove the mother plant from the current pot, tap the edges of the pot to loosen up the root ball. Once you feel the root ball is loose in the pot, you can place your hand over the bottom part of the stem.
Try to cover as much topsoil as possible with your hand to prevent gravity from taking all the soil.
3. Remove old soil from the root ball
You want to be left with a clean root ball on the mother plant.
After removing it from the pot, make sure you shake off any soil to prevent transferring any disease to the new pot. Take a hose with a shower spray on it and use low pressure to wash the root ball.
4. Remove the baby bulb from the mother plant
After locating where the new baby bulb is attached to the mother plant, take a sharp, sterile knife and divide the bulb across the join.
Take care not to cut into any of the mother plants’ root systems, as you want to keep as much as possible.
5. Transplanting the mother plant and baby bulb into new pots
The pots you prepared earlier make a hole big enough for the new baby bulb to be planted.
You want to plant the baby bulb with the root facing downwards. The mother plant’s root ball can be implanted into the new soil and backfilled as required.
6. Watering in and positioning
Now water your new pots, making sure that they are draining correctly. You can put your newly potted plants in the same position they were growing. Keep an eye on their conditions and follow the same care routine as you have for your mother plant.
You can expect to see the top growth of the bulb emerge after 3-4 weeks.
Take a look at this video to see the propagation in more detail.
Common Problems With Alocasia Wentii
Like all life forms, the Alocasia wentii will encounter some problems during its lifetime.
Having an understanding of what these are will help you to find the solution and possibly save your plants future.
Pests and Diseases
Spider bugs and Mealy bugs are a couple of the most common pests you will find on your Hardy Elephant ear plant.
Spider mites are micro size, and a few can go unnoticed. Once they start to multiply, their damage to your plant can be upsetting.
Mealybugs are soft-bodied and have a fluffy look to them. They are covered in a material similar to cotton. They will mainly be seen in clusters on your plants where they hang out together.
Their primary purpose in life is to reproduce; they do this with the energy they gain by sucking out the sap from your plant.
Control methods will be the same whether you have encountered mealy bugs or spider mites on your Alocasia wentii. You can create a neem oil spray at home by diluting neem oil in a bottle with Castille soap and warm water.
Here is a short and simple video to show you how to make your own neem oil spray:
As mentioned earlier in this article, root rot is one of the most common problems people encounter when growing Alocasia Wentii.
Root rot occurs from over-watering and poorly draining soil. Usually, the Alocasia wentii will have lush green leaves when it is healthy; one of the signs of root rot is the leaves turning yellow and then brown.
To remove root rot from your plant, you must take the root ball out of the pot and shake the soil off. Locate the rotting roots and with a sharp pair of disinfected scissors, trim away the rotting roots.
Prune back the damaged foliage, leaving some leaves available for photosynthesis. Bleach the original pot to ensure any fungus and bacteria have been removed, and re-pot the root ball.
To prevent root rot from happening in the future, it is best to follow a regular water regime.
Excess Salts (Over-Fertilizing)
Over-fertilizing plants can cause excess mineral and salt build-up in the soil, contributing to poor drainage and causing compacting of the soil.
After following the instructions on fertilizing the Alocasia and your plant still appears to be showing signs of over-fertilizing, you can follow the simple step of flushing the soil to remove any excess minerals that the plant has not taken.
Other preventative measures may be using balanced fertilizers and low-chlorine water.
Suppose the water in your area is naturally high in chlorine. In that case, you can leave a bucket in the sun for a day to evaporate the irrelevant amount.
Alocasia is toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and horses and can be fatal if consumed.
If it comes into contact with the skin the Alocasia wentii may lead to skin irritation. The entire plant is poisonous and the calcium oxalate crystals found in the plant have sharp edges which will irritate everything they come into contact with.
You can wear gloves when handling your Alocasia and if your skin does make contact with the plant ensure you wash your hands immediately. Avoid touching your mouth or eyes are contact with the plant has been made.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Alocasia wentii difficult to grow?
Alocasia wentii can be particular about what it needs. Still, it is one of the most tolerant plants within its family, to grow.
Once you have mastered what the plant needs to thrive, it will take a little of your time, and you can sit back and enjoy its beauty.
Why are my Alocasia wentii leaves yellow?
The leaves on your Alocasia wentii may turn yellow due to over-fertilizing or over-watering.
If the leaves have yellow or brown spots, this can be due to insufficient light.
How big will my Alocacia wentii grow?
Its leaves will grow approximately 1 foot, and the mature plant is expected to reach 2 ft high with a width of 1.6 ft when grown in the right conditions.
How often should I water my Alocasia wentii?
Keeping a regular water schedule is essential. Your Alocasia wentii prefers damp, not soaking wet soil, so ensure there is proper drainage to let the excess water out.
Watering should be done when the top 2 inches of soil is dry.
Overall, the Alocasia wentii is a highly desired plant to have in your home and showcases beautiful foliage. Although it’s not the easiest of plants to grow in a non-tropical environment, by correctly following its care requirements, you will be able to appreciate its beauty for years to come.