How to Grow Alocasia Mickey Mouse (Xanthosoma Variegata Mickey Mouse)

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse is often called the Mickey Mouse Alocasia. It also has many other names including:

  • Alocasia Xanthosoma
  • Alocasia Xanthosoma Variegata
  • Xanthosoma Mickey Mouse
  • Mickey Mouse Taro
  • Elephant Ears Mickey Mouse

You might notice that there are many interesting names included in the list.

And the reason is that the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is not a real Alocasia plant. Instead, it belongs to another genus that’s in the Aroid family, which is Xanthosoma.

Thus, its scientific name is Xanthosoma sagittifolium ‘Variegatum Monstrosum’. Yes, it is a handful.

And it goes by Xanthosoma albomarginata or Xanthosoma atrovirens ‘Variegatum Monstrosum’ if you want to be more formal about it.

But most growers will still call it the Alocasia Mickey Mouse or Mickey Mouse Alocasia.

This can make the plant a bit confusing.

In any case, the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is rare plant that features very beautiful bi-lobes leaves which are variegated. This is how it got the nickname Mickey Mouse due to the shape of the leaves resembling the ears of the famous cartoon mouse.

Note that the Alocasia Mickey Mouse or Xanthosoma Mickey Mouse is different from the Mickey Mouse Plant (or Mickey Mouse Shrub).

The former is the plant in this guide. On the other hand, the Mickey Mouse Plant refers to another plant, the popular Ochna serrulate.

How do your care for the Alocasia Mickey Mouse? Bright, indirect light is ideal. Also, warm temperature and high humidity are what that plant enjoys. Always allow the soil to dry between waterings. Then water thoroughly. Use well-draining soil to avoid waterlogging. And fertilize the plant once a month during spring and summer.

Alocasia Mickey Mouse Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse is a variegated plant which means that it needs more light that similar plants with solid green leaves.

What this means is that it cannot tolerate as much low light as the those with all green foliage. Therefore, you want to avoid low light as much as possible.

If you leave it there, you’ll notice that it will slowly lose its variegations depending on how little light there is.

That’s because it will revert to having more green leaves in order to collect more light (and thus, survive)

As such, the ideal lighting for the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is medium to bright, indirect light.

This means a well-lit location in any room works well. And if you don’t get  a lot of natural light, you can supplement it with artificial lighting as well.

On the other hand, too much light is likewise bad for the Alocasia Mickey Mouse. That’s because the plant has poor tolerance to direct sunlight especially that during mid-day and summer when the sun is the hottest.

If you leave the plant in intense light, its leaves will become pale. Even worse, the intensity could scorch the leaves and cause brown burn marks on the foliage.

Therefore, balance is important.

While good lighting is key, too much is just as bad as too little light for this plant.

 

Temperature

The ideal temperature of the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is between 55 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You want to avoid temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit as well since this is too cold for it.

If you leave it there, its growth with slow and it will experience stress which makes it prone to pests and diseases.

Even worse, it if stays there for long or the temperature drops further down, it can sustain cold injury.

Therefore, try to keep it within its ideal range.

Luckily, this is easy to do since most homes fall into about the middle of the plant’s ideal temperature range. So, more often than not, you don’t have to do anything.

The only exception is if you live somewhere that gets very cold during the winter. Here, you’ll want to keep the plant in a cozy spot.

Also, don’t leave it outdoors past fall or in the winter as it cannot withstand the snow and freezing temperatures.

Instead, it prefers USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 where the whether is consistently warm and sunny all year round.

 

Humidity

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse prefers humidity between 70% and 80%. This is where it feels more comfortable and will grow optimally.

The plant likes high humidity because it is native to the tropics.

This also means that it can tolerate humidity down to about 50% without any issues (and a bit lower than that).

However, the lower you go below 50%, the more careful you want to be and more monitoring you want to do.

That’s because if the air is too dry, the plant’s leaf tips and edges will turn brown and become crispy. This is the main sign that it needs moisture. And to help stop this progression, you’ll need to move it to a spot with higher humidity.

Unfortunately, the brown sections of the leaves won’t turn green again. Therefore, you’ll need to prune the affected areas.

But the most important thing is to solve the cause which is low humidity.

If you don’t, more leaves will turn brown. And it will spread from the tips and edges and take up more of the leaves.

The simplest way to increase humidity is to get a humidifier. However, it also costs money which not everyone wants to spend one.

So, here are a few free options that are effective:

  • Move the plant to bathroom
  • Place the Alocasia Mickey Mouse on a pebble tray
  • Mist the plant
  • Give it a shower every 2-3 weeks

 

How Often to Water Alocasia Mickey Mouse

How often you water the Alocasia Mickey Mouse will depend on where you live, how much light you give it, the kind of soil it is in and the time of year among other things.

So, it is not a good idea to use a fixed watering schedule.

Instead, always check the soil to know when to water the plant.

You can do this by sticking your finger into the soil down about 2-3 inches deep from the surface. If the soil at that depth is completely dry, it is time to water.

If there is any bit of wetness or the soil still feels moist at that level, wait 2 days then test again.

This is very important because you want a part of the soil to dry between waterings.

The reason is that like other aroids, the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is susceptible to overwatering. If the soil stays wet or there’s too much water, the plant will suffer.

Excess water also attracts fungal infections and makes the plant prone to root rot.

Thus, the most important thing about watering the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is to wait until that top layer of 2 to 3 inches of soil feels dry before adding any more water.

 

Related

 

Alocasia Mickey Mouse Potting Soil

The best soil for the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is well-draining soil that allows that roots to breathe. Again, this is important because the plant is susceptible to overwatering (and root rot).

Root rot is a very serious problem because it can eventually destroy your plant.

Thus, you want to do everything you can to avoid it.

Good draining soil will prevent this as it reduces the risk of waterlogging and overwatering.

Note that well-draining soil does not mean that the soil will just quickly drain all the liquid you pour into it. If it did, the plant’s roots will not get the moisture it needs to stay hydrated.

Instead, well-draining soil has some water-retention properties.

It holds just enough water to keep soil moist and the plant happily hydrated. But it will quickly drain excess liquid so the roots don’t end up swimming in water for long periods of time.

In doing so, you avoid overwatering and waterlogged soil.

Fortunately, it is easy to achieve the kind of potting soil the Mickey Mouse Alocasia needs. All you need are 3 ingredients. And mix them this way:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part coco coir
  • 1 part perlite

You can replace coco coir with peat moss as well. Although coco coir is a more eco-friendly and sustainable option since it is made from coconuts.

Similarly, you can swap out perlite for coarse sand, pumice or vermiculite depending on which one you have at home.

 

Fertilizer

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse likes added nutrition. And it will reward you by growing faster and producing more foliage if you feed it.

Since it is a foliage plant, you want to make sure that the product you use has enough nitrogen to help it grow. You can use a balanced water soluble fertilizer to get this done.

Make sure you use high quality fertilizer and not the cheap or low-end stuff just to save money. That’s because cheap, low quality fertilizers tend to leave more salts and excess minerals that become toxic to the plant once they build up in the soil.

So, use a high quality product and don’t feed the plant more than it needs.

Both the first and last part of that statement is very important.

Apply only when the plant is actively growing.  The Mickey Mouse Alocasia grows the fastest during the warm months. Thus, spring and summer is when you want to feed it to sustain this growth.

Stop feeding by fall and don’t give it plant food in winter.

The plant does not grow much and can go dormant in cold weather. Thus, it does not need fertilizer.

Make sure to dilute the application each time you feed as well (by half the suggested strength). You can use water to dilute it.

Also, never fertilize the plant when the soil is dry.

 

Pruning

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse is able to grow up to 6 feet high. Although most of the time, a well-cared for indoor Mickey Mouse Alocasia will settle between 3 to 5 feet tall.

This makes it more manageable indoors.

Although, its leaves can spread out to as much as 5 feet from side to side.

Thus, you may need to prune it depending on how much room you have in your home or how much space you’ve allocated for the plant.

Pruning lets to shape the plant and decide how bushy it will be.

But you can also use it to encourage the plant to grow more.

As always, remove any dead, dying, discolored or damaged foliage. Also, cut off the yellow, brown and infected leaves as well.

 

How to Propagate Alocasia Mickey Mouse

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse is usually propagated from offsets (pups) or by division.

Of the two division is more reliable since you have control when you want to do it. Of course, you need a healthy, mature plant that is big enough to be divided into smaller plants.

On the other hand, while propagating from offsets is the easiest method of propagation, there’s no telling when the plant will produce these plantlets. It could be this month, it could be next year. Thus, you are at nature’s mercy.

In any case, here’s how to do both.

 

Propagating Alocasia Mickey Mouse by Division

To propagate the Alocasia Mickey Mouse by division, you’ll need to unpot the plant and separate it. Here’s how:

  • Take the plant out of its container.
  • Remove excess soil and you’ll see the multiple clumps of the tuber. This is what you’ll be dividing.
  • Select the divisions you want to make. However, make sure that each segment has roots as well as leaves and stem on top.
  • Take a sterile knife and divide the plant.
  • Plant each division into its own pot with fresh potting soil.

That’s it!

Now all you need to do is take care of it like you would its parent.

Since the plant has roots, it will be able to sustain itself. You also don’t need for it to root like you would cuttings.

Similarly, because it has leaves, you already have a semi-grown plant will just continue t keep sprouting more.

 

Propagating Alocasia Mickey Mouse from Offsets (Pups)

Propagation from offsets is another method. And this is the simplest since you don’t need to do a lot of work.

But there has to be offshoots or plantlets there. The plant will produce these whenever it feels it like. So, all you can do is check.

But if you see plantlets, it means you can propagate.

Here’s how.

  • Check the base of the plant for pups or offshoots. These plantlets are baby versions of the plant. And they can grow into the same plant the parent is if allowed to.
  • But don’t take all the plantlets you see. You just want the bigger once. Ideally, I like to take those that are at least 3 inches or longer. The bigger ones have a better chance of surviving on their own.
  • Leave the smaller offshoots to grow bigger before you take them away.
  • Once you’ve selected the offshoots to get, take a sterile knife and cut the offshoot where it connects to the parent. You may need to dig a bit. You can use a trowel or your hands.
  • After removing the plantlets, you can plant them into their own pot with fresh, well-draining potting soil.

In time, they will grow into clones of their parent.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Mickey Mouse

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse does not need frequent repotting. It often takes 2-3 years before you need to repot.

Although, the exact time will vary based on how fast the plant grows. This in turn is determined by how much light it gets, the temperature, humidity, watering and fertilizer it gets among other things.

The best way to tell when to repot is once the plant has become root bound.

And the easiest way to confirm this is to check the bottom of the pot. If you see roots coming out from the holes at the bottom, it means it is time to repot.

Similarly, if roots pop out from the surface of the soil, it means that they are looking for more room to grow.

Thus, move the plant to a larger pot come spring. That’s the best time to repot.

Don’t overpot the plant as this puts it at risk of overwatering. Instead, go up one pot size or 2 inches bigger.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

While very beautiful, the Alocasia Mickey Mouse is toxic. So, keep children and pets away. Or put the plant out of their reach.

Touching or playing with the plant is not toxic. But once ingested, the plant will release insoluble calcium oxalates which can cause pain, swelling and irritation.

If this happens, call your pediatrician or veterinarian immediately.

 

Alocasia Mickey Mouse Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Alocasia Mickey Mouse does not have serious pest issues. But like all houseplants, these bugs can still come and attack it if it is weak, stressed or sick. These instances make it more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Spider mites, aphids and mealybugs are the most common problems here.

You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

 

Diseases

Root rot is the number one thing to watch out for here. It is caused by overwatering the soil, waterlogged soil and poor drainage. Therefore, it is preventable.

To avoid having to deal with root rot, always allow the soil to partially dry between waterings. Use well-draining soil and make sure the pot you use has drainage.

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