Whether it’s their size, color, or texture, the leaves of the Alocasia Lauterbachiana are known to dazzle, with many homeowners growing the plant for its ornamental value.
The shape of its otherwise green leaves featuring a purple-colored underside, combined with other beauty elements, helps to make it the ideal houseplant.
Together, all these elements create a unique blend of texture, shape, and color, making the Alocasia Lauterbachiana plant really stand out in a home.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Care Guide Overview
- How To Plant (when & where)
- How To Grow (staking, watering, fertilizing, humidity, mulching)
- How To Trim And Prune
- How To Pot And Repot
- How To Propagate (when & how)
- And Pests and Diseases, Plant Species, Companions, Toxicity
|Indoor or Outdoor plant:||Indoor and Outdoor Plant|
|Height and Structure:||Maximum Size Three Feet Tall, and Two Feet Wide|
|Temperature:||18 to 22 °C|
|Flower Color||Green Leaves, with an underside that varies between red and brown.|
How to Plant an Alocasia Lauterbachiana
If you’re in the market for an easy-to-care plant with a distinguishable value, the Purple Sword may be just what is needed to help spruce up your home. The best time to plant is during the spring and summer seasons, also known as the ‘seasons of growth.’
It grows rapidly and becomes healthier during these two seasons. The Elephant Ears begin to undergo a period of stunted growth during the winter season when the temperatures fall below 45°F.
Don’t worry if the plant begins to grow at a slower pace and even shed its leaves during this period, as the Alocasians are known to contain a dormant trait. It should resume normal growth once the weather becomes warmer.
When growing in its natural habitats, the Alocasia Lauterbachiana can grow to an impressive height of four feet in width and depth. A single leaf can easily span two feet in length. When grown indoors, the size of the pot will typically determine its size (generally, one to three feet).
Nonetheless, it can still act as a scene-stealer. Every sword-like leaf on the plant will emerge from its petiole. The stalks will combine as it continues to mature, helping to provide it with added strength and stability.
Try to grow every plant on its own pot to allow it enough room to spread out.
The Elephant Ears does best in bright, indirect light, as is the case with other houseplants. Ensure it doesn’t get any bright sunlight as this can burn its delicate leaves. Insufficient sunlight will cause it to experience stunted growth.
Alocasia Lauterbachianas need bright lighting to grow colorful leaves. You could also consider exposing them to a few hours of direct sunlight every few days. Signs that the plant needs more light include:
- The emergence of brownish, yellowing spots on the leaves
- Withered leaves
While these signs may not mean that the plant has started to die, providing it with enough light will allow it to resume normal, healthy growth.
The Purple Sword grows best in free-draining and properly aerated soil. It’s a type of soil that helps in protecting it against rhizome and root rot. Free-draining soil has large particles that allow it to dry out in between the watering.
Consider using a general or regular potting mix. Make sure to include some peat and perlite before planting. It’s a blend that will allow your substrate to retain enough water to ensure the plant will not dry out while retaining enough moisture to prevent waterlogging.
Other viable alternatives include a succulent or cacti potting mix.
How to Grow an Alocasia Lauterbachiana
Alocasia species generally grow fast at a very short period. Nonetheless, the conditions present can also influence their growth habits. It shouldn’t take too long to mature if the right conditions are maintained and the plant is offered the right type of care.
It may take between six to eight years to attain its ultimate height.
You need to water the Alocasia Lauterbachiana frequently. It prefers to grow in wet moist soil, but not one that’s soaking. Always leave the top third of the growing soil to dry out before watering it again. It’s a good rule of thumb for the growing seasons.
As it goes through a dormancy period during the winter season, the plant will require less watering. Most people recommend using a pot with drainage holes to allow for proper draining. Remember that overwatering may lead to root rot, while underwatering may cause wilting.
The Alocasia Lauterbachiana is a vigorous grower, and fertilizing helps it grow strong and healthy and develop impressive-looking foliage. Fertilize every four watering sessions during the spring and summer season, and leave it alone during the winter season.
It doesn’t require any extra nutrients when it’s not growing. Only use a liquid-based fertilizer diluted to fifty percent strength to prevent fertilizer burn and mineral burn. Alternatively, use a ‘General Plant’ feed diluted to half of its normal strength.
The Elephant Ears plant is among the few houseplants that aren’t affected by dampness in the air surrounding it. However, its growth habits can significantly benefit from reducing humidity levels during its growing and dormancy periods.
The optimal humidity level required by the plant is 70%. Don’t allow these levels to drop below 45%.
Trimming and Pruning
The Purple Sword needs routine maintenance and care, and there are many reasons you shouldn’t overlook its trimming and pruning. One major sign that time has come to prune it includes the yellowing of leaves.
Yellowing doesn’t mean that the plant has a severe problem. It merely shows that you need to groom the plant by removing the dying or yellowing leaves. When done correctly, grooming can assist in boosting the plant’s growth rate.
Trimming also helps to reduce and prevent the spread of fungal infections. Make sure to use a clean and properly sterilized pair of pruning shears to avoid further spreading the diseases (bacterial or fungal).
Pot and Repotting
Potting and repotting need to happen once a year. When repotting, ensure the new pot is larger and has free-draining soil. Remember to divide the roots before repotting. The division of the roots ensures the plant remains manageable in size.
It also dramatically boosts its growth rate. The best time to repot is in spring.
Rhizome division is the best propagation technique for Alocasia Lauterbachiana. Allow it to attain a certain size before propagating. Trying to propagate earlier than this may cause it to fail as the root system in younger plants may not have developed sufficiently.
Moreover, you can also remove the offshoots that develop in larger plants and use them for propagation purposes. To propagate the Purple Sword correctly, you need to follow these steps:
- Carefully remove the fully-grown Elephant Ears from its original pot
- Shake it off to expose its roots. There are instances when it may prove challenging to untangle its roots. When this happens, use a garden hose to remove the soil.
- Try to locate the offsets/offshoots and gently remove them from the mother plant.
- Use fresh soil to prepare a new set of growing pots. Confirm that the pots have enough drainage holes to guarantee growth.
- Take the offsets and plant them in the new pots. Water the new plants immediately after potting.
- Choose a location with bright, indirect sunlight. They need warmth to continue growing.
- It shouldn’t take too long to begin noticing growth.
- Ensure you care for the new plants in the same manner, you would for their mother plant.
Pests and Diseases
Although the Purple Sword is fairly pest resistant, several types of pests are known to cause its issues. These include:
- Mealy Bugs: They are silvery insects known to tunnel into any plant crack they come across. Once burrowed into the plant, they lay their eggs in a cotton-like cocoon woven inside the plant. The bugs generally feed on the flowers, stalks, leaves, and stems, causing the plant to wither. Use your hands to remove all their traces. Additional steps to take will include the complete removal of the top layer of the soil. You may also want to power spray your Purple Sword to get rid of any unseen critters. Complete the elimination process by spraying the plant with a powerful insecticide.
- Spider Mites: These are tiny red dots that appear on the lower side of the leaves. They prefer dried-out soil where they can lay eggs. As such, please don’t allow the soil to dry out to prevent their emergence. Water the plant consistently to deter them from infesting the plant. Use insecticidal oil or soap to eliminate live insects and their eggs.
When it comes to diseases, root rot is the most prevalent disease in Alocasia Lauterbachiana plants. It’s a problem caused by overwatering.
The Alocasia species is an excellent patio and indoor plant that you can grow for its awesome leaf patterns and color displays. It’s a species that makes the home look beautiful and helps add a tropical vibe to your backyard garden.
Noteworthy species include:
It’s a cross between Alocasia Sanderiana and Alocasia Longiloba and is widely considered an exotic houseplant characterized by fabulous-looking leaves.
It resembles the Alocasia Polly and is commonly referred to as the Alocasia Green Velvet because of its velvety-textured green leaves.
It features arrow/shield-shaped leaves without white veins. Its stalks have patterned black and yellow markings. (more on Alocasia Zebrina)
The Elephant Ears grow well with other tropical-themed plants like coleus, cannas, caladiums, and variegated tapioca. A combination of these plants would help make the perfect summer jungle garden.
You can always move the Elephant Ears to hide any space left behind by bulbs that bloom in spring.
The Alocasia Lauterbachiana is a highly poisonous plant. It contains varying concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals in and around its body. Eating any parts of this plant would cause:
- A loss of appetite
- Uncontrolled vomiting
- Mouth and throat irritation
- Digestive irritation
- Breathing issues
If eaten in large amounts, ensure that this gets addressed immediately. Consider consulting a doctor for more information on how to deal with its symptoms. Make sure to keep it far from cats, dogs, and young children.
The Elephant Ears does well in both indoor and outdoor environments, provided its growing conditions are met. Its leaves vary between dark green to purple and have a brownish-looking underside.
They require moderate care and are quite easy to propagate. Its care calls for bright, indirect sunlight and does well in a warm, moist environment. The plant requires regular watering during the growing season (spring and summer).