The Alocasia Albo is also called the Alocasia Albo Variegata or the Variegated Elephant Ear. It is not common because most Alocasia varieties are known more for the shapes of their large foliage rather than variegations.
The plant is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and eastern Australia.
It is also worth noting that there are a few different Alocasia Albo varieties that you may find including:
- Alocasia marginata Albo Variegata
- Alocasia macrorrhiza Albo Variegata
- Alocasia gageana Albo Variegata
How do you care for Alocasia Albo? Keep the plant in bright, indirect light. Because of its white variegations, it needs more light than plants with solid green leaves.
Since the plant comes from a tropical region, it enjoys warm, humid conditions. Avoid leaving it in the cold. Use well-draining soil and allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Alocasia Albo Plant Care
The Alocasia Albo thrives in bright, indirect light. It will likewise do well in medium light. But I don’t recommend leaving it in low light.
That’s because the plant has a lot of variegations.
The white areas on the leaves are caused by a lack of chlorophyll, which is what causes leaves to have their green color.
Just as importantly, chlorophyll is the substance responsible to absorbing light for the plant to use in photosynthesis.
This means that because the Alocasia Albo has lots of non-green areas in its leaves, it needs more light to compensate for its decreased light absorption ability.
Thus, it is best to keep the plant in medium to bright, indirect or filtered light.
If it gets too little light, the plant will adjust to get more light. And it will do so by producing more chlorophyll. This in turn will cause the leaves to become more green and lose some of their variegations.
The more it lacks light, the more chlorophyll it will produce.
This is why some variegated plants will revert to solid green when left in dark or very dim locations.
Of course, this is not something you want to happen since the white variegations of the Alocasia Albo are what make it stunning.
On the other hand, be careful with too much light.
Direct sunlight is a no-no since the plant cannot tolerate long periods under this condition. Similarly, avoid strong sun during summertime and very intense light during mid-day.
Too much light will cause its leaves to become pale in color.
In extreme cases, they can burn as well and you’ll see black or brown scorch marks on the leaves.
This can also happen with artificial lights if the keep the bulbs too near the plant.
The Alocasia Albo is a tropical plant just like other alocasia varieties. Thus, it is used to perpetual sunshine, warm to hot weather.
It is also does not experience winters since the regions near the equator do not get snow.
That said, alocasias grow in the forest under the canopy of larger trees. Therefore, the trees offer shade and block out the heat and rays of the sun.
This is why it is used to indirect and filtered light. Similarly, the shade gives it some reprieve from the hot climates in tropical countries.
As such, Alocasia Albo prefer temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They also don’t have a problem with hotter conditions all the way to 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, the cold is a problem.
They are not cold hardy.
And it will struggle once temperature drops under 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, avoid leaving it in cold rooms with air conditioning.
Also, make sure to bring the plant indoors once the weather gets colder outdoors around mid to late fall. It will not survive the winter weather.
Instead keep it indoors in a warm spot.
For growing outdoors, the Alocasia Albo is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 since these areas do not have winters. Instead, they have warm, sunny weather all year round.
The Alocasia Albo likes moderate to high humidity that is 60% and higher. Although it won’t mind humidity of 50% (or even slightly lower).
However, avoid leaving it somewhere with dry air without giving it a hand.
Its high humidity requirement means that some homes are better suited for the plant while you need to give it extra care in others.
If you live somewhere with tropical climate or near water like a coastal area, then humidity will not be an issue.
But if you live near in a desert city, it is likely that humidity will be too low to keep the plant happy.
In this case, you’ll see the tips and edges of its leaves being to turn brown or crispy. This is a sign it needs more moisture in the air.
The best way to fix this issue is to use a humidifier.
Although, you can move the plant to the bathroom or kitchen. The two are the most humid areas in the home because we use a lot of water there.
You can likewise place the plant on a pebble tray or give it a shower every couple of weeks or so.
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How Often to Water Alocasia Albo
The Alocasia Albo needs moderate watering. It enjoys moist soil but not to the point where the soil gets wet or soggy.
Like other houseplants, this alocasia does not do well when overwatered. And it can develop root rot if the roots sit in water for too long or overwatering consistently keeps happening.
As such, the best way to water the plant is to allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry between waterings.
This will let part of the soil dry first before you give it more water. Otherwise, if you add water while the soil is still wet, the roots will drown in the liquid.
Wet soil not only can lead to root rot it will also make the plant more susceptible to fungal infections.
A simple way to know when to water is to stick your finger into the soil down to the second knuckle. If the soil feels wet wait a couple of days then test it again for moisture.
Only add water when the soil feels dry at that depth.
It is also important to do this each time before you water.
Alternatively, you can get a moisture meter and just stick the probe into the soil. The device will give you a reading and tell you whether the soil is dry, moist or wet.
This makes it easy to tell when the plant needs water.
Alocasia Albo Potting Soil
The Alocasia Albo needs loose, well-draining soil with soil pH between 5.5 to 6.5.
This kind of soil will hold just enough moisture so that the soil stays moist. It will also quickly drain excess liquid from the soil to prevent overwatering or waterlogging.
Thus, the soil will help you avoid root rot.
It can also bail you out to a degree during the times you happen to add a bit too much water.
The simplest way to make this soil at home is to get 3 ingredients and mix them with:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite
Put equal parts of the each ingredient into a bowl that will hold enough soil to fill the plant’s pot. Then mix the ingredients together with your hands.
Also don’t forget to use a pot with drainage holes.
This is just as important because the water that drains from the soil needs some way to get out of the pot. If not, it ends up collecting at the bottom of the container which still keeps the soil wet.
Alocasia Albo will become a large plant. And as it grows in size, it will need more plant food.
Fertilizer is an important part of caring for this plant because it allows it to grow faster, produce more foliage and bigger ones at that.
With fertilizer, you have a few options. Although most home growers will use water soluble fertilizer because it is easy. All you need to do is follow the instructions.
If this is what you have, apply a balance formulation (20-20-20 N-P-K works really well for Alocasia Albo) once a month during the spring and summer. Dilute it to half the suggested strength each time.
Stop feeding by fall and don’t fertilize the plant in winter.
Once the cold weather comes in, the plant’s growth will slow down. If temperature stays consistently cool, the plant may also go dormant.
Thus, it will do very little growing through the cold months.
As such, you do not have to feed it since you’ll just end up adding fertilizer salts to the soil more than feeding the plant nutrients.
Don’t worry about dormancy.
If this happens, just keep the plant warm and cut back on water as well. But don’t let the soil completely dry out.
Come spring, the plant will come back to life.
The Alocasia Albo will become a tall, large plant mostly because of its huge leaves. This means that you want to give it enough space to grow since the bigger the leaves get, the more majestic the plant looks.
The large leaves also means that you don’t need to prune the plant.
Alocasia Albo won’t grow a ton of leaves. So, you’re not going to 20 or 30 of them.
Instead, it focuses on fewer leaves with amazing size and color. In short, quality over quantity.
So pruning is mostly reserved for leaves that have faded or get infections. If some leaves get damaged or have some minor problems, you can just reshape the leaves by removing the affected area and leaving the rest of the leaf.
How to Propagate Alocasia Albo
The Alocasia Albo is usually propagated through division. Although you can also take its offsets and grow them into separate plants.
The plant grows from rhizomes. As such, its root system looks different from many other houseplants. However, this also makes it easy to propagate via division.
That said, the Alocasia Albo will produce offsets from time to time. These will grow near the base of the plant. and when they do, you can remove them from the parent and plant them separately in their own containers.
These offsets will grow into carbon copies of the parent plant in time.
The downside to propagating with offsets is that you’re relying on nature’s timing.
The plant will produce offsets when it wants to. This means you have no power over when this will happen. And it can take a few years for offsets to appear.
As such, it isn’t a reliable way to propagate the plant.
For this reason rhizome division is the most common way of propagating Alocasia Albo.
Here’s how to do it.
- Use a trowel and dig around the plant. Don’t get too close to the roots as you can dig right into them and damage them.
- Once out remove excess soil so you can see the roots.
- You can then select the rhizomes you want to divide. The bigger the plant the more rhizomes there will be. Although potted plants don’t usually have as many of them as the same plant that’s grown in the ground outdoors.
- Once you’ve selected how many divisions you want to make, use a sterile knife and cut the sections apart. The rhizomes will have roots which will allow each division to sustain the plant above.
- Plant each division into a pot with fresh potting mix.
Eventually, each of these divisions will grow to as large if not larger than the mother plant.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Albo
The Alocasia Albo only needs repotting every 2 or 3 years. Therefore, there it no hurry to do it.
Also, you don’t have to repot annually.
Instead, wait until the plant outgrows its pot. You’ll be able to tell when it gets root bound as you’ll see quite a few roots coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
This is your cue that it is time to repot.
Move the plant to a pot that is one size larger. Eventually, you’ll need a large pot since the plant will get big.
However, don’t jump sizes. Repot gradually.
While it is more work, it also prevent overwatering which happens when you overpot the plant.
In case, the plant has gotten to a point where it is getting too big for the space you have for it, you have 2 options.
- Divide the plant
- Prune the roots
Dividing the plant allows you to propagate the parent. It will give you 2 or more smaller plants from the mother plant since you will divide the larger plant.
On the other hand, pruning the roots will keep the plant from growing much bigger. Although, you’ll need to do this every time it gets root bound.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes. Unfortunately, the Alocasia Albo is toxic to humans and pets. But it only become poisonous when ingested.
Therefore, it is safe to touch or move.
However, once any part of the plant is chewed, swallowed or consumed, it will cause pain, swelling and irritation beginning in the oral area including your lips, tongue and throat.
It also can produce other side effects including excessive drooling and difficulty breathing.
Alocasia Albo Problems & Troubleshooting
Mealybugs, spider mites, scale and aphids are the most common pests that will attack the Alocasia Albo.
These are sap suckers which will feed on the plant’s internal juices. As such, it is important to get rid of them before they become an infestation.
The best way to keep pests away is to keep the plant healthy. Also clean its leaves ass they tend to gather dust.
Pests are attracted to dust.
You can likewise spray the plant with soapy water every couple of weeks to keep the bugs away. Doing so also clean the leaves.
That said, regular inspection is still necessary.
This way, you can spot any insects soon after they develop.
You can use neem oil to get rid of these bugs.
While the Alocasia Albo is gorgeous, it can be susceptible to diseases.
Rotting is a big issue. This can happen to the roots, crown or stem.
Therefore, avoid excess moisture.
Don’t overwater the plant, use well-draining soil and make sure the pot has drainage as well.
Similarly, bacterial and fungal infections can happen as well.
Again, too much water is the culprit. So, always allow any moisture be it on soil or the leaves to quickly dry.