Alocasia Portodora, also known as the upright elephant ear plant is one to marvel at with its large colorful foliage, veins, and general inviting look.
But this beautiful plant isn’t so easy to care for, due to its high maintenance requirements. Read on as I delve comprehensively into how to care for your Alocasia Portodora properly.
Alocasia Portodora Plant Care Details
|Scientific Name||Alocasia portodora|
|Common Name||Elephant ear plant|
|Max Growth (approx)||15 inches|
|Watering Needs||Twice a week (summer) or twice a month (winter)|
|Light Requirements||Bright indirect light|
|Humidity||60 to 70%|
|Soil (pH level)||Loose, well-drained and pest moss (5.5 to 7.0)|
|Fertilizer||Liquid fertilizer/ granules fertilizer|
|Temperature||64 to 75°F|
|Pests||Mealybugs, aphids, scales, spider mites|
|Diseases||Bacterial leaf spot, black root rot|
|Propagation||Clump or rhizome division|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and humans|
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zone||11, 10, 9, 8|
What Does an Alocasia Portodora Plant Look Like
Alocasia Portodora has attractive green and ribbed leaves with a shape that resembles the Alocasia Portodora, which is why it’s generally dubbed the Alocasia Portodora plant.
Also, Its lettuce-edged fan-like leaves are pointed upwards via strong tuber-like stems. Overall, these features add to the bevy attributes that’ll ensure your home space gets that exotic appeal.
First Steps After Purchase
So you’ve just acquired probably your first alocasia Portodora from the nursery. One thing you must understand is, do not rush to work on this new plant.
As it’s in a fragile state due to the new environment which has new factors that your Portodora must adjust to. So here are some steps to ensure your new indoor plant has a successful early growing phase:
Don’t Rush To Re-pot
Understandably, you’d want your new plant to grow on your favorite pot as soon as possible. But transplanting your Alocasia Portodora could lead to severe damage that’ll most likely affect its early growth phase.
One of the issues it may cause is damage to your new Alocasia Portodora’s fragile roots. Uprooting the plant prematurely is risky because there’s a high chance it might break.
Another problem that could arise from premature repotting is the stress, which in turn could affect further production of more foliage.
Be More Cautious About Fertilizing
If your new Alocasia Portodora plant begins to suffer, please don’t rush to add fertilizers as it could already have some from the nursery.
Instead, diagnose your new plant; find out why it’s suffering. It could be due to a lack of certain essentials such as ample sunlight, proper watering, temperature, and humidity.
Avoid Watering Immediately
One of the common reasons why plants straight out of the nursery die are due to Overwatering. This could happen with your Alocasia Portodora because you’d be adding water to already moist soil.
Thus causing the soil to be waterlogged and then punishing the roots of your Alocasia Portodora plant. What you need to do is wait for the topsoil and the roots to dry up. It is at this point you should give your Alocasia a drink.
Don’t Mix Your New Plants With Old Ones
Now that your new plant is here, try to keep it far away from your old ones; so you can avoid spreading any possible infection.
It could be your new plant (from an unlicensed plant grower) or your old plant that could have an untreated infection.
Whichever the reason may be, keep your new and old at a distance until it’s safe to allow their proximity for a more humid environment.
Avoid Applying Leaf Shining Spray or Any Chemical Treatment
Adding any chemical treatment like the leaf shining spray damages the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. How? When you spray the chemical on your plant, its green hue will be well-defined but in turn, the stomata or pores on the leaves will be blocked. Thus causing your Alocasia Portodora to suffocate till it dies.
Note: it’s safer to clean the leaves with warm water and a piece of clean cloth. Or make use of neem oil.
Keep Away From Direct Sunlight
Plants especially the younger ones react negatively to sudden changes in the environment. Your new Alocasia Portodora Will follow suit, even though it’s a “sun-loving plant”, as it can be scourged by the intensity. The best approach is to introduce your new plant to the environment gradually.
Note: the only reason why a new plant can easily adapt to full direct sunlight is that it was already thriving in such conditions before your purchase.
How to Care for Alocasia Portodora Plant
Here are practices that’ll keep your Alocasia Portodora well alive whilst maintaining its emerald green hue:
Water your Alocasia Portodora Plant properly
Like every other plant life, you should water your Alocasia Portodora according to the seasons. For instance, during the summer or spring, water your plant for a few days.
Or at least till the water dries off which occurs after a few days due to the high evaporation rate in the hotter seasons. It’s different during winter and autumn, as the soil would not evaporate readily. It would take a while before the next watering session.
Provide Ample Lighting
The Alocasia Portodora prefers bright indirect lighting. This means you get the desired growth rate if you place your Alocasia Portodora plant under a shade or near a south-facing window.
If you’re asking to grow lights, ensure it provides 400 to below 800-foot candles of light. Anything reading above would so cure your plant and any below would not be enough.
Your Alocasia Portodora is a tropical plant that thrives at warm room temperature. As the reading from your thermostat shouldn’t go lower than 18°C ( 64°F) nor higher than 22°C (75°F). The result is either death frost or over evaporation.
Like most tropical plant life, Alocasia Portodora thrives better in a hot and humid environment. So your plant should thrive easily when the room humidity level hits 60%.
But if you want the best out of your plant, the room’s humid level should hit 70%. You can do this with a humidifier, misting, surrounding it with more plants, or placing it over a wide and flat container of pebbles.
The best soil for your Alocasia Portodora is one that is well aerated, well-drained, loose, and porous. How? Here’s what it looks like: a single quantity of peat moss, perlite, loamy soil, and compost. It also prefers acidic soil with a pH falling between 5.5 and 7.0.
Another way to ensure the success of your Alocasia Portodora is to apply fertilizers. As they’ll boost the growth of the treated plant by nourishing the soil.
One quick fertilizer to consider is compost which should be applied only on the topsoil. Another one to consider is the water-soluble fertilizers with a 10-10-10 formula.
In the right conditions, your Alocasia Portodora will get large enough to sprout little offsets or mini copies of itself (with roots).
At this point, you should consider dividing the offset(s) from the adult plant so you can prepare to propagate several Alocasia and avoid erratic overgrowth.
Once the division is done, there are two ways you can go about completing the propagation process:
- Water propagation
- Soil propagation
How to Propagate your Alocasia
First step: Uproot and Untangle
Gently uproot your Alocasia from the pot and shake it in such a way that excess soil will be removed from the root. At this point, the roots are probably tangled or clumping up. Make use of a hose or soak the roots in a container of water to ensure they are loose enough to be straight.
Second step: Cut Offset
Now that the roots are untangled, you should locate a mini copy/offset of your Alocasia. When you do find it, get yourself a sterilized sharp knife and cut the offset(s).
Note: Alocasia offsets have roots, so you don’t need to wait any longer before you begin the propagation process.
Third step: Begin Propagation
At this point, you have to make a decision on the method you wish to adopt in propagating your Alocasia. You can go straight ahead and plant your offset on a new soil (soil propagation) given it already has roots or put it in a vase filled with clean water (water propagation).
How to Perform Soil Propagation
After cutting the rhizome clean and then plant directly on new mini-potting soil. The soil must be well-drained and should contain perlite just in case. Then place the plant where it can receive bright indirect lighting.
Note: due to the stress on the offset, it would take a while before you start to see leaves.
How to Perform Water Propagation
Wash down the rhizome to remove any excess dirt that remains. While you’re at it, prepare a transparent vase or container of tap water, so you can leave it out in the sun for 24 hours (to remove chlorine).
At this point you. Can now put the offset in a vase for propagation. From time to time remember to change the water.
Note: At some point, it’s best to add liquid houseplant fertilizer to improve its growth
How to Repot Alocasia Portodora Plant
If the roots of your Alocasia Portodora are no longer benefitting from the potting soil, it is best to re-pot your plant. Here are steps to follow (make sure to read these completely before practicing):
- Trim overgrown roots of your Alocasia at the drainage hole
- Carefully extract your Alocasia from the soil
- Wash and untangle the roots
- Trim out the dead or rotten roots
- Fill up the new pot and transplant your Alocasia
Note: make sure the topsoil is an inch lower than the edge of the soil. Also, make sure the plant stands at the same height it was before repotting. So, ensure you mark its height.
Common Alocasia Portodora Plant Problems and How to Fix Them
A spider mite infestation is quite a common problem with portodora and can be a very severe threat to your plant’s overall wellbeing.
You can easily detect them on leaves as they’ll be covered with white webs. spider mites will feed on your alocasia leaves by piercing the surface and then sucking out the sap. The aftereffect of this process leads to the yellowing and browning of the leaves.
Spider mites thrive in dry environments, so the best way to prevent its occurrence, survival, or spread is to transform the atmosphere of the room by increasing its humidity.
You can do this by turning up your humidifier (if present), surrounding your alocasia with more plants, or constantly misting it.
If the infestation persists you can simply hose the affected area down, but the water must be room temperature warm. In case the infestation is severe, make use of neem oil or insecticide.
Note: Be wary of the insecticide you use as some could damage the plant. And try not to use the same insecticide continuously so that the mites won’t develop immunity.
Just like the spider mites, they suck out the sap and can be detected on the leaves as powdery white webby substance usually found in between the stem and the leaf.
Apart from the white webby substance, you can detect its presence on the leaves, as they turn yellow or worsen to brown.
You can treat your alocasia for mealybugs by using cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl alcohol (70%) to clean the affected areas. Also, mealybug can as well hide in the soil, so if the problem persists, transplant your alocasia to a new pot.
These are also sap-sucking pests, but instead of sucking the sap directly from the leaves, they attack the stems. This in turn causes the leaves to yellow, brown, and curl up. You can detect them on your plant’s leaves or stems, as they leave behind honeydew.
The easiest way to remove them is by hand; you flick them into a container of soap and water. You can also spray your leaves and stems with a soap and water mixture or neem oil.
When you see a cluster of round shell-like bumps on your Alocasia’s stem or leaves, it means your plant is most likely suffering from scale infestation.
You can also identify them from the sooty mold on the leaves or stem, which is the byproduct of the scale’s honeydew excrete and any attracted fungal organism.
If you don’t test your plant on time, your leaves will be drained of sap, and the leaves will turn yellow in the process. As the scale infestation worsens your leaves could curl up and shed.
If the infestation isn’t so severe, you can pick them off the stem by hand or by stabbing the affected area with alcohol or neem oil leaf shine. But if the problem is severe, prune all affected leaves and stems.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
This is a common disease to most plant life because they’re bacteria pathogens that arise from the soil. You can detect this disease as a black moist spot on the leaves with a yellow ring surrounding it.
It takes a warm and humid atmosphere to trigger the bacterial pathogens from their dormancy in the soil.
Once you notice the symptoms of this disease just trim out the affected areas and try to control its spread. How?:
- Spray baking soda solution
- Apply natural soap or olive oil
- Water the roots directly
- Remove any rotten debris from the soil
Now that you’re able to control its spread, here are some remedies that should prevent its survival:
- Make use of copper spray
- Use plant activators
- Apply product microbial product
Note: Applying chemicals should be controlled, prevent excessive damage to your leaves.
Pythium Rot is a common root and Stem disease which arises from a fungal pathogen known as Thielaviopsis basicola. It is usually present in untreated soil but in the dormant state.
Once you overwater your Alocasia plant, the pathogen becomes active and then attacks its rotten roots. Over time you’ll begin to nice these symptoms:
- Discoloration of leaves
- Blackening of roots and stems
- Limping plant
Treating Pythium root rot is a virtually impossible task. It’s even difficult to cure when you catch it early. This is why practicing preventive measures is the best action to take. And there are two of them:
- Don’t overwater your alocasia
- Treat the soil that formerly housed your affected Alocasia plant before transplanting
How to treat it – if you’re able to catch it early, you should uproot your Alocasia, trim off the affected root and apply a good fungicide. This would reduce any further loss of your Alocasia. Also, you must treat your potting soil before replanting your Alocasia.
Note: Heat the soil in an oven/microwave for 30 minutes at 200°F.
Alocasia Portodora Plant Drooping
If your alocasia leaves are drooping it could mean it is suffering from pest infestation, improper watering, poor lighting, or lack of ample nutrients and the soil.
You can correct this problem with the appropriate watering practice, proper pest control, bettering lighting, or careful fertilization of the soil.
Alocasia Portodora Plant Leaves Turning Yellow or brown
Your Alocasia Portodora could have yellow leaves due to improper watering, improper lighting, or lack of ample nitrogen in the soil.
You can stop the yellowing and the browning by monitoring your watering rate (prevent over or under watering). If the discoloration is due to a lack of light then you should place it closer to a south or west-facing window. Also, there’s a chance the problem could be caused by a lack of nitrogen, so apply compost to the soil.
Alocasia Portodora Plant Leaves Curling
Apart from pest infestations, improper watering, and lighting, your alocasia portodora could be curling up due to several reasons. Such as low temperature (frost), excess fertilizers (too much magnesium), and low humidity.
In terms of low temperatures, bring your plant into the warm indoor, where the atmosphere must be humid. But if the curls occur due to excessive fertilization It is best to re-pot your Alocasia Portodora.
Is Alocasia Portodora Plant toxic to pets
Alocasia portodora contains toxins that have the potential to cause severe damage to your pet or cause it to die. This toxin is known as calcium oxalate. Here are the following symptoms that confirm this poisoning (without ingestion):
- Excessive Drooling
- Swallowing becomes difficult
- Burning sensation around the mouth
- Severe stomach upset
- Renal failure
- Possible death
After you notice any earlier symptoms, please take your car to the nearest vet for immediate treatment. Here are the Side effects after recovery:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
Alocasia Portodora Plant Care Tips
Here are tips to keep your Alocasia Portodora plant in shape for a long time:
- Water your plant properly
- Fertilizer carefully
- Trim or propagate the plant
- Keep away from direct sunlight
- Raise humid levels
- Look out for pest
- Keep rotten plant or fruit away from the soil
- Prevent placing your alocasia in a drafty area
- Maintain the soil pH between 5.5 and 7.0
- Try to use less leaf shine