The Alocasia Melo is a rare plant that is commonly called the Alocasia Rugosa because of its very distinct foliage. Its leaves are large and green in color. They are likewise thick and have a rough texture.
The plant is native to the tropical forests of Asia, particularly Indonesia. Just as importantly, the plant only grows on rocky terrain, which makes it very different from other alocasia varieties.
How do you care for Alocasia Melo? To maintain its beautiful foliage, give it medium to bright indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight or very intense light which can burn its leaves.
The plant enjoys warm and humid environments but does not like wet feet. Therefore, allow the soil to dry between waterings and use well-draining soil.
Alocasia Melo Plant Care
Alocasia Rugosa Light Requirements
The Alocasia Melo will produce a quite a few leaves that will eventually grow into huge foliage. As such, it needs sufficient light so support this kind of growth.
This is why the plant requires medium to bright, indirect light to thrive.
Just as importantly, while it can tolerate a bit of low light, I don’t suggest leaving it there as you’ll end up with either even fewer leaves and definitely much smaller ones.
As such, it is important to place the plant in a well-lit spot whether you are growing it indoors our outdoors.
That said, its thick, leathery leaves may look tough. But they cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
This means that indoors, it cannot stay under the direct rays of the sun. Outdoors, avoid full sun.
As such, the best option for the Alocasia Melo indoors is near an east facing window. This will give it a lot of bright morning sun that is gentle.
In contrast, you need to protect the plant when you keep it near an south or east facing window. That’s because the sun that enters through these directions are that during noon and mid-afternoon. This is when the sun is most intense.
And the Alocasia Melo cannot withstand the strength of the sun during that time for more than 1-2 hours a day.
Otherwise, you’ll see its green leaves get discolored. In a worse situation, they will experience scorching, which will leave brown burn marks on the leaves.
Alocasia Rugosa Temperature
The Alocasia Melo is a tropical plant. Therefore, it enjoys warm. Balmy weather all year round. This is what it is used to.
It is also why the plant prefers temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important to be aware that the plant will start struggling once temperatures go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, this is the cold threshold you want to watch out for indoors or outdoors.
Indoors, this is less of a problem since our homes are designed to regulate temperatures. Thus, they limit the heat when the days get very hot and the reduce the cold outside during winter.
In most cases, homes keep temperatures somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit because that is where people are most comfortable.
Therefore, the plant will generally be happy indoors.
But be careful of appliances that affect temperature. These include air conditioners, heaters, radiators, fireplaces and stoves to name a few.
Keep it away from these items.
Also avoid leaving it near open doors or windows where cold drafts can enter and chill the plant.
Outdoors, it means that you need to bring the plant indoors once the weather gets colder than 60 degrees later in the year.
It prefers USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 11 which have warm climates throughout. There, you can keep it outdoors 365 days a year. Otherwise, make sure to take it back inside once things get cold.
The Alocasia Melo prefers humidity of 60% to 75%. However, it will tolerate humidity as low as 50%. But that’s about it.
Below that, it won’t be too happy if the conditions stay that way for long periods of time.
And you’ll know this because it will give you symptoms.
The most obvious are dry foliage. What will be more visible are its leaves turning brown and crispy on the tops and edges.
When you see this, it means the plant is not getting the humidity it needs.
Therefore, you’ll need to help by increasing moisture in the air.
The simplest way to fix lack of humidity is to move the plant to somewhere that is more humid. Indoors, this will usually mean the bathroom or kitchen.
However, you may not always want to take these locations as they hide the beautiful plant.
- So, other options are:
- Use a humidifier
- Mist the plant 2-3 times a week
- Set up a pebble tray
- Group your alocasia with other plants
- Give it a shower about once every 2 weeks
The effects of these strategies will vary except for the humidifier which you’ll be able to control. Thus, for the others, you’ll need to do some trial and error to try to get humidity around the plant up to about 50%.
How Often to Water Alocasia Melo
The Alocasia Melo has moderate wearing needs. But it very important not to overwater the plant because its roots do not like a lot of moisture.
More importantly, they will not be able to sit in water for long periods of time without developing root rot.
As such, the most important thing to remember when watering your Alocasia Melo is to allow the top 2 inches of soil dry out first before you add any more water.
If you water before then, there’s a good likelihood that you will give the plant too much water. And this will result in root damage because they will suffocate due to too much moisture (which prevents them to get air).
In addition to waiting until part of the soil dried between watering, the other important part of watering the plant is to drench and drain.
This means that when you water you Alocasia Melo, soak the entire root ball by adding water until the bottom of the pot starts dripping.
Then, allow the soil to completely drain before returning it to its original spot.
This two-step process works because,
- The drenching allows the roots to get their fill of water. Thus, they are well hydrated.
- But soon after the soil will drain out, so the roots don’t sit or drown in water.
This leaves you with moist soil after all the excess has drained.
By doing so, the plant is happy that it gets the water it wants and needs. And you quickly get rid of the excess to prevent overwatering or waterlogging.
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Alocasia Melo Potting Soil
Because of the plant does not like watering (and it can be dangerous to it), the best soil for the Alocasia Melo is well-draining soil that is loose and porous.
An easy way to make this is to combine:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat
- 1 part perlite
This gives you some water retention ability while the perlite gives you good drainage. Therefore, there’s enough moisture for the roots but not too much as to drown it (since you drain the excess).
Using the right kind of soil is important because even if you get your watering schedule right, if the soil holds too much water or does not have enough draining, the moisture ill just stay there.
This will give the roots wet feet.
For this reason, it is important to avoid heavy soils like clay or those that tend to hold a lot of moisture. if you do opt to go with commercial potting mix, make sure to look for one with sufficient drainage.
Many regular potting soils will hold on to too much moisture for the plant’s liking. Therefore, you will need to add something like perlite, pumice, vermiculite or orchid bark to increase drainage.
Alocasia Rugosa Fertilizer
The Alocasia Rugosa needs fertilizer to grow at its best. This will allow it to grow faster, produce more leaves. And allow the leaves to get big as well.
But the thing with fertilizers is that you always need to be wary of overfeeding the plant.
That’s because commercial fertilizers contain salt which gets left behind once the roots absorb the nutrients and the water evaporates.
Unfortunately, these salts become toxic to the plant as they build up.
Of course, the more you use fertilizer the more salts will eventually build up.
Therefore, it is important not to use too much fertilizer, too often or without diluting its concentration.
With that in mind, you only need to feed the Alocasia Rugosa during its growing season (spring and summer), stop feeding by fall and don’t give it plant food in winter.
You can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer like a 10-10-10 N-P-K product. Dilute to half strength when you use it and don’t feed the plant when the soil is dry.
Once a month feeding is all it needs as the Alocasia Rugosa is not a heavy feeder.
Finally, to make sure you avoid salt build up in the soil, flush it with water every few months. This will allow the water to carry out the salt along with other minerals and debris from the soil.
Alocasia Rugosa Pruning
The Alocasia Melo is considered a small plant at least relative to other alocasia varieties. That’s because it grows to 23 inches high. But as a houseplant it will usually a reach a maximum size of 15inches tall.
However, it will get bushy and produce a good about of leaves that layer one another.
This makes It stunning to look at once you have a lot of leaves that are somewhat crowded above and around the pot.
That said, the plant can get to the point where there are too many leaves or the leaves are overgrowing out to the sides f the pot.
This is when you can prune the plant.
But in general, it rarely needs any pruning unless you regularly want to shape it.
On the other hand, if you want to encourage it to grow more foliage, you can likewise prune some leaves to stimulate growth.
How to Propagate Alocasia Melo
The best ways to propagate Alocasia Melo is through division. Unfortunately, stem and leaf cuttings don’t work for this plant.
With division, you’ll be dividing the rhizome.
As such, the first step is to unpot the plant. Then remove and brush off excess dirt and soil so you can clearly see the roots you are dealing with.
Now, select the areas you want to divide.
If you have a small or medium sized plant the best would be just to divide it into 2 sections. But for bigger ones you can split them up to a few more.
However, note that the more divisions you make, the smaller each division/new plant will be.
Make sure that each division has stems and leaves coming out from the soil above. And sufficient roots below the soil.
A section without any roots will not grow into a new plant as it won’t be able to sustain itself.
Once you’ve decided on the divisions, sterilize a sharp knife and cut to separate the parent into two plants.
Plant each of the divisions into their own containers with well-draining soil.
Water the soil until moist and keep the plants in bright, indirect light.
It will take about 2 months from propagation for new shoots to develop. And about 3 months out you should begin to see leaves emerging from each new plant.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Melo
The Alocasia Melo only needs repotting every few years. Therefore, you don’t need to do so annually.
It is also worth noting that the plant like being slightly root bound.
Therefore, you can wait a while and allow the plant to stay in its pot.
That said, once your see roots coming out from the drainage holes, it means the plant needs a larger container.
Another way to tell is to take the plant out f the pot and see if the roots are circling around the root ball. In some cases, the rhizome will be noticeably big enough that it will get crowded in the pot.
Any of these will tell you that it is time to repot.
The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.
Choose a pot that is one size larger and replace the potting soil with fresh, well-draining soi.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
This alocasia plat is toxic. Therefore, if you have you g children or pets running around the house, it is a good idea to place the plant somewhere out of their reach.
Alocasia Melo Problems & Troubleshooting
Like many houseplants, the Alocasia Melo can experience pest problems. The most common pests it will deal with are mealybugs, spider mites, scale and aphids.
These are all sap sucking insects. As such, they don’t pose much of a threat when there are only few on them.
However, once they grow in number, they can severely harm your alocasia plant.
Therefore, it is important to inspect the plant for bugs regularly.
This way, you can get them before they begin to populate and damage your plant.
If you do spot them, you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of these pests.
The biggest issue to look out for with your Alocasia Melo is rotting. This can happen to the roots or stems of the plant.
And the main cause is overwatering.
Root rot is occurs when you overwater the plant or the soil gets waterlogged. As a result, the roots end up sitting in water for extended periods of time.
This causes them to suffocate as they need air. As a result the rot.
Therefore, the best way to avoid this from happening is to wait until the soil dries between watering. Also, use well-draining soil. And make sure that your pot has drainage holes.