Are you looking for a medium-height Elephant-ear plant? Here we are with another Alocasia, the Alocasia Imperial Red plant. The large and shiny, dark-green elephant-ear or arrow-head leaves grow on bright reddish stalks. The plant somewhat looks like a compact bush or a bouquet of greenish leaves with the new reddish ones in the center.
Moreover, a mature plant can get about 4 feet tall. Coming towards the lineage, they belong to the highly moist tropical and subtropical areas of Asia and Australia. This love of humidity is what makes them an ideal plant for humid areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
Want to know more? Keep reading to enjoy a summarized guide about the care and propagation of the Imperial Red Alocasia Plant.
Alocasia Imperial Red Classification
According to popular opinion, this is a hybrid cultivar plant with no very clear origin. Due to its close resemblance with the sister Aroid genus, it is commonly misnamed as Philodendron Imperial Red.
Around 97 accepted species join to constitute the genus Alocasia. These plants have Large, deep-green elephant-ear-shaped leaves grown on stalks with rhizomatous or tuberous bases. Coming from the tropical and sub-tropical areas of Asia and Australia, these peeps need bright indirect sun and high humidity.
Features of Alocasia Imperial Red Plant
The leaves of the mature plant get somewhat bigger for the stalks they are standing on. This gives the plant an overall compact and bushy look.
Alocasia imperial red gets about 4 feet tall in an indoor environment. However, their native humid lands used to grow them slightly bigger than this.
A mature leaf gets about a foot long. These are shiny green in the shape of elephant-ears or arrow-head-shaped. A prominent central vein divides into numerous smaller veins which branch out and run throughout the leaf surface.
Alocasias are notorious for their toxicity to us and animals. Close contact causes skin allergies and itchiness. Also, ingestion may lead to inflammation of the eyes, mouth, and oesophagus. So, make sure your Alocasias are not in the reach of your kids and pets.
Don’t get worried when your Alocasia ‘sleeps’ in winter. No, it is not dying. The falling temperature of winter makes these plants show poor growth along with minimal water requirements. This state is popularly known as Dormancy.
Just keep the plant warm and minimize the water to about once in three weeks. Wait for the spring and your Alocasia will start growing out healthy again.
Alocasia Imperial Red Care
As mentioned earlier, these plants come from tropical and subtropical lands. This gives an idea about the warmth, bright indirect sun and high humidity they need to stay happy.
Light: Bright indirect light
Humidity: Likes high humidity
Fertilizer: Mild doses in spring and summer
Let us have a better understanding of ‘how to take care of Alocasia Imperial Red’?
The leaves of these plants are pretty sensitive and delicate. So, they should be placed away from strong drafts and winds. The plant should never be placed too close in front of fans, air conditioners, and heaters. Moreover, avoid placing them in front of drafty windows especially in fall and winter.
Alocasia Imperial Red Water Requirement
It would not be wrong to say that watering this plant is somewhat confusing. A drought-tolerant plant still needs to be watered regularly! Let us discuss this in detail.
These plants show a good level of tolerance for droughts in their natural wild environment. However, indoor and domesticated peeps somewhat minimize this ability and need consistent watering.
The basic Alocasia watering strategy works very well here. Water the soil thoroughly and wait for the upper 3 inches to get dry before watering again.
The watering frequency depends upon different factors like temperature, light, and humidity. However, in an average atmosphere, once to thrice a week is enough for spring and summer. On the other hand, the cold days of fall and dormancy don’t need you to water more than once in three weeks.
Although they need consistent watering, soggy and over wet soil is still a big No for them. As it attracts issues like fungus and root rot. So, be vigilant to avoid over-watering.
Secondly, it is better to use lukewarm water in winter. The reason is that the colder one can cause a further temperature drop for the roots. This can stunt the roots showing negative effects on the health of the plant.
The bright indirect sun is what alocasia imperial red loves to stay in. So, outdoor plantations need you to select their place accordingly. On the other hand, a well-lit corner is good to go for the indoor plantation.
These peeps will love to soak some bright morning or evening sun. However, longer hours of direct sun can scorch out the delicate foliage. So, make sure you avoid the fierce sun.
On sun-less days, it is necessary to compensate the natural light with fluorescent ones. The plant must stand in about 12 hours of growing lights placed at a suitable distance.
These tropical plants prefer to stay in a good warm environment. An ideal temperature range for the majority of the Alocasias stands between 65 to 80 F. So, a pleasantly warm room for you is good enough for your Alocasia too.
Poor resistance to cold and frost is the legacy of this genus. A temperature below 55 F can freeze and even kill the alocasia imperial red plant. So, try to bring these peeps indoors before the winter. This is a must for the people in frosty regions.
Rich, loosely packed and well-draining soil is what you need to grow these plants. You can simply use a packed houseplant mix for an indoor plantation. Furthermore, anything porous and chunky like perlite, crushed bark, coco chips, and river sand also work well.
To your surprise, the first nature of these epiphytic plants is surviving on organic debris. So, organic content is a constituent to be a part of the growing mixture. To be precise, the ratio of organic to inorganic constituents should be around 1:1. This will not only add soil drainage but also increase the nutrient content of the soil. Using peat moss, coco peat, dung manure, and compost are good options.
However, before adding any organic product, just be sure that it is well-decomposed and sterile. In other cases, you will only add an infection that may even kill your plant.
High humidity is the ideal condition to see your Imperial Red Alocasia healthy. Strictly speaking, a minimum moisture range of 50 % is required to keep them alive. Also, 70 % and above is the best, rather ideal for these peeps.
These plants are best suited for humid places like pantries and bathrooms. However, the ones in living rooms will need you to adjust moisture on dry days.
To combat dryness, you can use any method. Popular methods include misting, pebble-water trays, and using room humidifiers. Whatever strategy you follow, just make sure the plants stay at a well-aerated place. This is important to avoid attracting fungus and pests due to the possible sogginess of foliage.
Mild doses of graded fertilizer used once a month in spring and summer is an ideal fertilization plan. The important thing to avoid here is over-fertilization. The reason is, it can scorch out the foliage and even kill the plant. So, besides using mild preferably half of the stated doses, it is also essential to stop fertilizing after the end of summer.
The pruning here is not like the common one. You can cut the older and damaged ones preferably from the outer sides. This will help the plant to look healthy and get rid of unhealthy leaves.
We never encourage pruning the head of the Plant. The only possible case is when the plant is years old with several heads developed at the base.
Alocasia imperial red likes to grow root-bound and don’t need frequent repotting. Two to three years or when the base becomes prominently bigger for the pot is when you need a newer one. Roots getting out from the drainage holes are also another sign that the plant needs a bigger pot.
Spring and summer are the only seasons for repotting. Remember not to disturb sleeping or about to sleep plant, i.e. in fall and winter. Otherwise, it is widely possible that you may end up losing your plant.
To repot, loosen the soil thoroughly and take the whole plant out along with the roots. Make sure you are careful and gentle enough to save the roots from damage.
Just like the other Alocasias, these too are hardy in USDA growing zones 10 and 11.
Alocasia Imperial Red Propagation
Unlike the noded plants, these self-headers are not very easy to propagate. Many of the beginners found it a little tricky to propagate these peeps. The reason being you can not simply plant a node and wait for it to grow.
However, the division of pups is a common method adopted successfully by the majority of domestic growers. These plants produce small plants around the base of the mother. You can separate them and replant them at your desired place to get some new Alocasias.
Propagation of Alocasia Imperial Red By Division:
The plant must be propagated on warm and humid days. To be precise, spring and summer are the ideal and the only seasons to be precise. Never try it otherwise or you will get nothing except disturbing a dormant or about to be a dormant plant.
- You can divide when you notice some plantlets growing around the plant in the growing season. These are only seen after the maturity of the plant. Also, plants in brighter lights are likely to grow pups quicker than the others.
- Just wait until the small base develops a few leaves. These small ones are known as puppies or chicks. You can see them at the place where the old leaves fall off and the stem becomes visible.
- The plantlet or pup with the most aerial roots is best for propagation. You can also air-layer an aerial root to help it grow quicker.
- Loosen the soil around the pups and cut the connecting root with the help of a sterilized knife.
- Take out the plantlet/pup and plant it in your desired pot. Use well-draining rich soil and place it in some warm and well-lit place.
- For the initial week, it is better to avoid drenching the soil. Once it gets firm in the new soil, you can simply follow the care as explained in the previous section.
Alocasia Imperial Red is a hybrid cultivar coming from tropical and subtropical regions. The large green elephant-ear-shaped leaves grow on reddish stalks. Also, the stalks are arranged in somewhat rosette patterns, making the plant look like a giant bouquet.
Warmth, humidity, and frequent watering are what you need to keep your plant happy. Moreover, don’t forget that these peeps are toxic. So, keep kids and pets away from your Imperial Red Alocasia. Secondly, don’t ignore contacting emergency medical help in case of ingestion or skin allergy.