Alocasias have been abundantly adorning our homes and gardens for ages. We are going to add another pretty Alocasia for our beloved readers. Alocasia lauterbachiana is a tender, upright perennial, suitable for both indoor and outdoor environment. This evergreen plant originally belongs to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and New Guinea in particular.
The long, spear-shaped, and glossy dark-green to purple leaves with scalloped edges and reddish undersides stand on tall petioles of purple to brown shade. You can easily get an illusion of an artificial plant due to the thin and stiff leaves with dual shades. Furthermore, each leaf may get as long as 2 feet and make the plant look like one of its own kind. Interesting? Let us share the important facts about the classification, care, and propagation of the Lauterbachiana plant.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Classification And History
Species: A. lauterbachiana.
The plant got many different names before reaching its current classification;
- Initially, the plant was included in some genus, the Schizocasia. It was first described in 1898 by Heinrich Gustav.
- Then, in 1968, the plant got added to the genus Xenophya by Dan H.Nicolson.
- Alocasia wavriana is also one of the synonyms, mentioned in the Garden Chronicles 3.
- Finally, in the year 1990, the plant was renamed and described with its proper classification. This was done by the botanist Alistar Hay in New Guinea.
Alocasia is a genus of more than 79 recorded species of perennial flowering plants. They originally belong to the tropical and sub-tropical rainforests of Asia and Australia. A common feature of the plants is their prominent broad-leafed foliage and rhizomatous root system.
Hybridization and cultivation are extensively performed on these plants, resulting in unique new plants. These plants are commonly known as ‘African Masks’ or the ‘Elephant-ear plants’. This is in reference to the particular shape of the leaves.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Common Name
- Elephant Ear lauterbachiana.
- Purple Sword.
- Silver Sword.
- Baroque Sword.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Plant Features
Height and Structure
- The average height of the plant is variable according to the growth habitat.
- In the wild, the plant may reach a height and spread around 4 feet.
- Howbeit, the height of the Alocasia lauterbachiana indoor plant usually ranges between 1 to 3 feet.
- Each leaf grows on an individual stem or petiole. These stems combine and form the plant body.
- The length of a mature leaf ranges between 8 to 24 inches. While the width is about 2 inches.
- The undersides of the leaves are red to brown in color.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Flowers
- The plant produces green or purple, insignificant flowers with typical Anthurium-like structure.
- The finger-like spadix pops out of a clasping spathe.
(Spathe is the modified leaf covering the spadix and numerous tiny flowers of the plant.)
- People frequently ask about the flowering season of this plant. Surprisingly, in a favourable atmosphere and circumstances, you can see the Alocasia lauterbachiana Flowers throughout the year.
Toxicity is the major trait of the Alocasia plants. Ingestion is highly risky. Moreover, it may lead to a severe allergic reaction towards the eyes and skin. Thus, keep your kids and pets away from these plants.
These plants usually grow fast.
Season of Dormancy
Dormancy is a common trait in the majority of the Alocasians, including the Lauterbachiana. You may get worried about the plant if it is the first winter of any Alocasian baby with you. When the temperature falls below 45 F, you may notice stunted growth and leaf-shed in your plant. Just relax because the plant is not dead. It is just ‘sleeping’ and will be back as soon as the spring arrives. This whole process is popularly named ‘dormancy’ in the botanical world.
On the other hand, the plant grows rapidly and gets healthy in spring and summer. Thus, these warm days are termed as the season of growth.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana For Sale
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Alocasia Lauterbachiana Care
The plant needs frequent watering in medium quantity. In summer, keep the soil moist and water until it retains at least 10% moisture. While, in winter, let the soil get completely dry between consecutive watering.
We suggest an estimate of watering frequency as well. Thus, you can water without needing to check the soil for moisture level. In summer, water the plant about thrice a week. Howbeit, in fall and winter, reduce it to once or twice a week in lower quantity.
Avoid over-watering and never keep the soil soggy. This may lead to issues like fungus and root rot.
The plant goes well along with bright indirect sunlight. Moreover, these plants can survive pretty well in artificial light. Make sure you keep the light source at least 40 cm away from the plant body.
Importantly, exposure to the direct sun is harmful to the delicate foliage of the Purple Sword Alocasia.
These plants prefer a warm environment. The optimal temperature range for Alocasias ranges between 18 to 22 °C.
The Baroque Sword plants don’t do well in cold and frost. We usually suggest transferring the pots to warmer places, as soon as the winter arrives.
Just like other Alocasians, the Baroque sword plants like a well-drained growing medium with large particles. Mixtures of Loamy or Sandy soil show great results. If you are considering packed options, you can easily select a standard jungle or an aroid mix.
The Purple Sword Alocasias are humidity lovers. About 70% moisture in the air is an optimum humidity level. On dry days, consider mild misting, a room humidifier, or a pebble-water tray under the plant pot.
Please note that keeping the foliage wet for long hours may lead to fungus and other plant issues.
These plants love additional nutrition, preferably in liquid form. Just use a suitable fertilizer once a month in spring and summer. However, the dormant plant doesn’t need any kind of composting.
This vigorous grower needs regular maintenance. You can cut a few leaves from the lower side, preferably the unhealthy and dead ones.
The rhizome does not show a quick increase in size. Thus, you don’t need to repot the plant until the rhizome grows out prominently. Experts recommend an estimated repotting time of about 2 years.
The purple Sword Alocasia is hardy indoors or in USDA zones 9b to 11.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Propagation
Just like other Alocasias, the Purple Sword Alocasia grows from underground rhizomes. You can easily split up the rhizomes to propagate the plant.
Spring and summer are the ideal time for propagation.
- Select a healthy mature plant and loosen the soil around. Now, gently take it out of the soil.
- Cut about 1/3rd of the parent rhizome with the help of a sharp knife.
- Plant both of the rhizomes in the moist prepared substrate.
- Plane the pot in a moist and warm place with indirect light.
An estimated growth pattern is shared to help you get the idea after the propagation. However, keep an eye on the plant and keep adjusting the care accordingly.
- Day 1 to Day 30: At this stage, the plant needs mild frequent watering, a warm humid place with indirect light. Avoid overwatering.
- Day 30 to Day 90: Root development starts at the end of the first month. Moreover, you will see the tiny shoot coming out after about 50 days. The requirements are similar to the previous stage.
- Day 90 Onwards: No extra care is required after the three months. Just follow the regular care explained above.
Time to enjoy the growth of your new Alocasia plant!
The Alocasia lauterbachiana is a classic perennial Aroid, adapted to both indoor and outdoor environments. The leaves are dark-green to purple in shade with brownish undersides, scalloped edges and may get around 2 feet long. These plants are low-maintained and easy to propagate. Alocasia lauterbachiana Care includes warm and most place, bright indirect light, and frequent watering. Importantly, keep your kids and pets at a bay from these toxic Alocasian babies.