The alocasia lauterbachiana is also known as the purple sword because of the purple colors of its flowers and different parts of the plant.
Many people also refer to it as “elephant ears”. But not because it has large foliage. Instead, it is because of the edges of its leaves. It is also its leaves that the plant is known for. And, not so much its flowers.
This is a beautiful houseplant with a long and narrow stem and leaf structures. It stands straight up making it very visible. Indoors it can grow up to 3 feet tall, which is a shade shorter than the 4 feet size it reaches in its natural habitat.
Alocasia Lauterbachian Plant Care
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Light
The alocasia lauterbachiana thrives on bright indirect light. But, it is important to keep it away from direct sunlight which can burn its leaves. If you happen to see brown spots (without yellow rings) on its leaves, your plant is likely getting scorched by the sun’s rays.
As such, it is a sign to move it away from the sun’s path.
That said, bright light brings out the color of the plant’s leaves. As such, you want to give it enough light to make the plant’s foliage look lively and vibrant.
With this in mind, an east facing window works really well. You do want to filter the sunlight in a west or south facing window.
Outdoors, keep somewhere under shade for most of the day especially if you live in a warm region or during summertime.
A good way to improve the plant’s light absorption is to clean its leaves regularly. You can use a damp cloth to do this. Or, if you live somewhere where dust easily collect, give the plant a shower under the sink once in a while.
As long as you give it some light and air circulation after for the leaves to, dry quickly, it will be fine.
Similarly, it is a good idea to rotate the plant to keep it growth balanced.
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Alocasia Lauterbachiana Temperature & Humidity
The alocasia lauterbachiana likes relatively warm conditions. And, it is perfectly happy with average household temperatures. Ideally, you want to keep things between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
And, the more stable the climate, the happier the plant will be. It does not do well in fluctuating conditions.
One thing you want to keep in mind is that is cannot tolerate the cold. Once the temperature drops under 60 degrees, it will begin getting stressed. By the time it gets to 45 degrees, you’ll see leaves drop and its growth slow significantly.
Additionally, the plant enjoys humid conditions. it does best when relative humidity stays round 70%, which is fairly high for many households.
As such, you may need to increase the humidity in certain areas of your home to accommodate the plant. The good news is, there are a few ways to do this.
- Misting your plant a few times a week
- Group it with other plants
- Set it over a water tray with pebbles
- Keep it in the bathroom
- Using a humidifier
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Watering Alocasia Lauterbachiana
The alocasia lauterbachiana likes moist, but not soggy or wet soil. Because of this, you want to be water the plant once the top layers of the soil dry.
Here, there are two approaches I’ve seen work.
- Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry. Once it does, water the plant thoroughly and let it completely drain before returning it to its spot.
- Water more regularly, but is smaller amounts. I have a friend who uses this technique for her alocasia lauterbachiana. While it takes more experience to not to overwater it, it allows you to keep the soil constantly moist without allowing it to sit in water. This method isn’t ideal for most plants, but it is for this one because it likes moist conditions.
The plant needs the most water during the spring and summer because the weather gets hotter. Just as importantly, the plant is actively growing during this time. As such, you want to give it enough hydration to sustain its growth.
In the fall and winter cut down on watering as the seasons get colder. The plant also goes dormant later in the year.
To achieve its moisture preferences, the alocasia lauterbachiana needs soil that can retain moisture but not hold on to water for too long.
As such, a light, well draining mix is what you want to use. It also appreciates rich, fertile soil.
Thus, you can use a regular or general purpose potting mix. Then add perlite and peat. The combination will allow the substrate to retain enough water to keep the plant well hydrated. But, it will drain the excess moisture fast enough to prevent waterlogging.
You can likewise opt for cacti or succulent potting mix. Both of which are designed to be light and drain well.
Alocasia lauterbachiana, like other alocasia plants, are heavy feeders. You’ll also want to give it enough plant food to sustain its fast growth.
From above, you already know that the plant grows better in brighter conditions. As such, you’ll likewise need to adjust feeding based on how much light it receives.
The more light it gets, the faster the growth. Thus, it needs more sustenance to maintain that growth. The less light it gets, the slower the growth, As such, it won’t need as much fertilizer.
You only need to feed the plant from spring to early fall. Stop feeding in the winter when the plant goes dormant.
Apply a balanced fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength once every 2 weeks.
As always water the soil when you feed the plant. Direct fertilizer application to dry soil can cause root burn and turn your plant’s leaves yellow because of the overly high concentration of chemicals.
The alocasia lauterbachiana is a vigorous grower. Thus, it doesn’t take a long time to for its to get bigger. In its natural habit, it can grow up to 4 feet high. Indoors it is a bit shorter with a maximum size of 3 feet tall.
That said, its fast growth means you need to provide regular maintenance. Part of this will involve pruning it to control its size and shape. It can get to about 3 to 5 feet wide.
But, most of the work will be in removing dead, damaged or discolored leaves, you also want to trim off any unhealthy looking sections.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Propagation
Alocasia lauterbachiana are best propagated via division. They also produce offsets that you can separate and plant on their own. The best time to do it is during spring.
Here’s how to propagate alocasia lauterbachiana.
- Carefully take the plant out of the container.
- Dust off any excess soil and dirt to expose the roots.
- You’ll see offsets that are growing from the parent plant. Remove these. These will each grow into independent plants.
- Next, it is time to pot them. Partially fill the pot or pots (depending on how many new ones you want)) with fresh soil. If you’re repotting, also refresh the soil of the mother plant as well.
- Plant the offsets into the new containers. Because they already have roots, the offsets will grow faster than stem or leaf cuttings.
- Water the plant and keep them in warm location with bright, indirect light.
Alocasia Lauterbachiana Transplanting & Repotting
Due to the alocasia lauterbachiana’s fast growth, you’ll likely need to repot it every year. But, do check to see if the plant is rootbound first. If it isn’t, you can wait a little longer until it does become pot bound to repot.
If you just purchased the plant and it is new to its container, you want to give it more time to get adjusted. Moving it too soon will cause more shock.
Spring is the best time to repot your alocasia lauterbachiana. And, when you do, only go up one pot size bigger. You don’t want to increase the container by too many sizes at once.
Repotting is also the best time to refresh the soil. So, have some new, well-draining potting mix on hand.
Additionally, if you want to propagate the plant via division or make its size more manageable this is the best time to do it.
By taking out sections of the plant, you can grow new ones. And, it also reduces the size of the mother plant.
Alocasia lauterbachiana is toxic. As such, you want to keep it away from young children, dogs and cats.
Since it contains calcium oxalate crystals that are released into your system when you ingest it, it can cause mouth, through and digestive irritation and swelling. It can also cause breathing issues.