The Alocasia Nebula Imperialis is also known as the Alocasia Nebula. It is a rara alocasia plant that is best known for thick, dark silver green leaves with wide dark green veins.
This makes it unique to look at especially since its leaves attain a good size. However, the plant does require some maintenance especially when it comes to humidity and watering.
How do you care for the Alocasia Nebula Imperialis? Give the plant medium to bright, indirect light. It enjoys warm temperatures (65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and high humidity (60% or above).
Give it fertilizer monthly during its growing season. Together, these will allow it to grow optimally. However, don’t forget to let the soil dry between waterings and use well-draining soil.
Alocasia Nebula Imperialis Plant Care
The Alocasia Nebula Imperialis will thrive when kept is a well-lit spot with indirect light. It can likewise tolerate low light but I suggest supplementing that with artificial lights.
Low light conditions will work but below a certain threshold, you’ll see the plant grow slower. Also, its leaves won’t reach the size they normally do. Plus, it will produce fewer foliage.
This would be a shame.
As such, if you don’t get a lot of natural light to your home, you can use fluorescent bulbs to help it out. It will do well there. In fact, you can use fluorescent lighting on its own to keep the plant healthy and happy.
On the other hand, please avoid leaving the plant in direct sunlight.
Its leaves are delicate and too much intense light will eventually damage them.
Initially, they will get discolored either turning yellow or brown. But in extreme intensity or duration, the leaves can get scorched leaving you with burn marks on foliage.
As such, an east facing window is the best choice for optimal growth.
A northern exposure can work. However, make sure there is enough light to keep the plant growing well. How much light you get from this side will depend on how your home is positioned.
Also, monitor to see how much light the north side or window receives during winter since light significantly decreases during that time of year.
Other options include the west and the south.
In both of these, check until where the sun’s rays hit the surfaces. And keep your plant away from those areas.
That’s because the south and the west receive sunlight between late morning to mid-afternoon. That is when its rays are the most intense.
And the Alocasia Nebula cannot tolerate that. Therefore, position enough to avoid direct exposure.
The Alocasia Nebula is a tropical plant. As such, in its native habitat it gets warm to hot weather the entire year round. Just as importantly, there are no winters in the tropics.
Thus, the Alocasia Nebula Imperialis enjoys temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit the most. And it prefers conditions to stay fairly consistently throughout the year.
Because it is used to tropical climate, it can tolerate temperatures as high as 90 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit without any issues.
However, the opposite it not true.
It is not cold hardy.
And it will struggle once conditions drop under 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, it is important to make sure to bring the plant back indoors (if you take it outside during summers) once the climate drops around fall.
The plant will not get through winter and it will die back if left in the cold. However, the tubers will be okay so they will start growing again come spring.
However, the plant will have to start from scratch and grow shoots before you’ll see any leaves.
Indoors, you want to keep it in a warm, cozy spot as well. That’s because if the conditions are too cold, it will drop leaves.
Also, it can go dormant. Although once spring comes back around, it will be bounce back along with the warm weather.
So, in case it does go into dormancy, don’t worry.
Instead, just leave it in a warm location and cut down significantly on watering. However, don’t allow the soil to completely dry out.
The Alocasia Nebula Imperialis likes moderate to high humidity. And it is happiest when humidity is 50% or higher.
This makes it perfect for greenhouses or a terrarium, if you have one or want to grow it that way.
If you don’t, you’ll need to make sure that humidity around the plant is high enough to keep the plant happy. Otherwise, its leaves will turn brown and crispy on the edges and tips.
I like to keep a hygrometer near my plants to make it easy to tell what the humidity it. You can also carry it from room to room to see where’s the best spot for the Alocasia Nebula in terms of humidity.
If the air is too dry in your home for the plant’s liking, you have a few options.
You can get a humidifier. Or you can mist the plant every 2 or 3 days.
I prefer to set up a humidity tray which is just a tray that can hold water. So, it cannot be too shallow. Then fill the tray with water and place some rocks in the water.
Make sure the top of the rocks are about the water line. And the surface of the rocks are fairly flat and steady.
This way you can place the pot on top of the rocks.
As the water evaporates, the resulting vapor will increase moisture in the air which in turn ups humidity.
And your only job is to fill the tray once the water gets depleted.
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How Often to Water Alocasia Nebula Imperialis
The Alocasia Nebula Imperialis enjoys slightly moist soil. However avoid wet or soggy soil.
This means that you want to keep soil moisture in the soil but not a lot of it.
And this is where it can become tricky.
Watering is actually the more challenging part of caring for this plant. And once you get the hang of it, all the others are simple and straightforward.
The reason why you don’t want to just add water is because the plant is susceptible to overwatering. Therefore, wet soil can cause a lot of problems.
That’s because the plant enjoys moisture. But its roots also need to breathe.
The problem is when there is too much water, it clogs all the air pockets preventing oxygen to reach the roots.
This is when problems happen.
If this lasts for too long or happens too often, root rot will eventually occur.
Therefore, the best way to know when to water is to wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried before you add more water. This way, you avoid leaving the roots in too much moisture.
Alternatively, if you want to play is safe, you can wait until the top third of the soil is dry before you add water.
Alocasia Nebula Imperialis Potting Soil
The best soil for the Alocasia Nebula is light, well-draining soil with soil pH of 6.1 to 6.5. The plant will also appreciate rich organic soil.
Soil becomes very important for this alocasia plant because of its susceptibility to overwatering.
Thus, it needs to have good drainage.
This way, it will drain excess water quickly so the roots don’t end up in too much moisture. Doing so allows enough air to get to the roots.
Good drainage also will bail you out during times you happen to add too much water or water sooner than needed.
I like to use a simple combination of 3 ingredients for the Alocasia Nebula Imperialis potting mix. Just mix:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part peat (you can use coco coir instead as well)
Together, the soil will be able to retain some water to keep the roots hydrated. The peat also contains organic matter to give the plant some nutrient.
Meanwhile, the perlite will keep the soil light, aerated and provide the drainage.
Fertilize your Alocasia Nebula Imperialis once a month using liquid fertilizer. A balance formulation works well. And you can use 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 N-P-K.
Only feed the plant during spring and summer which are its growing seasons. This is when you’ll see it grow the fastest.
So, in addition to giving it plant food then, make sure it gets sufficient light, humidity, adequate (but not too much) water.
Stop feeding by fall. And there is no need to fertilize it in winter.
Don’t forget the dilute the fertilizer by half strength. And never apply when the soil is dry. This will leave you with an overly high concentration that leaves a lot of excess salts in the soil.
Fertilizer is important for the Alocasia Nebula to grow optimally.
But you want to be careful with over fertilizing it because this damage the roots of the plant due to too much salt. As such, don’t use a larger dose than the instructions state, dilute the application and only apply when needed during the plant’s growing season.
The Alocasia Nebula will grow up to 3 feet high. Its leaves can each between 14 to 18 inches.
Also the plant can grow quickly with the proper care and sufficient sunlight and fertilizer. As such, it has the potential to get quite bushy is when it looks stunning.
However, I’ve also noticed that once it gets bushy, some leaves can look messy or out of place. So, when this happens, you can prune one or two leaves.
This will allow new ones to grow in a different direction giving your plant a better look.
Similarly, you can also prune the Alocasia Nebula Imperialis to encourage it to get denser or thicker.
But out outside of these, the only trimming you’ll need to do is to remove any dying, yellow, brown or damaged leaves.
How to Propagate Alocasia Nebula Imperialis
The best way to propagate the Alocasia Nebula Imperialis is by division.
This is fairly straightforward although some people are intimidated by it. If you are don’t be. It is similar to propagation by cuttings. Unfortunately, stem cuttings don’t work for this plant.
The downside to division is that the plant’s overall size gets reduced with every division you make. As such, there’s a limit as how many new plants you can grow from one parent at any given time.
In any case, here’s how to propagate the Alocasia Nebula by division.
- Carefully take the plant out of its pot.
- Remove any excess soil on the roots so you can see everything clearly.
- You’ll notice that the plant grows from rhizomes. These clumps are connected by their roots. Therefore, by taking a clump or segment of clumps, you get roots with the plant. This will allow it to survive on its own. Also, make sure there are enough stem and leaves above.
- Once you’ve decided on how many divisions you want to make and where the separations will be, use a sterile knife to cut the mother plant into divisions (or segments).
- This will give you 2 smaller plants. Of course, you can make 3 or 4 divisions depending on how big your plant is.
- Plant each division into its own individual pot that’s filled with well-draining potting mix.
Since the new (smaller) plants already have roots, you don’t need for them to root anymore. Instead, they will continue to grow new shoots and leaves in addition to what each already has.
All you need to do is take care of each of the new plants like you did their mother.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Nebula Imperialis
The Alocasia Nebula usually needs repotting once every 2 years. However, it enjoys being snug in a pot.
So, what I’ve noticed some growers do is keep the plant in a smaller pot.
They do so by choosing a container that’s just right to fit the plant’s roots. In doing so, they’re forced to repot every year. But the plant grows better.
Therefore, you can try this if you want and are willing to take on a bit of extra work. It will reward you with a better looking Alocasia Nebula Imperialis.
On the other hand, the more traditional way it to repot when the plant has become root bound. Then, move the plant to a pot that is 2 inches (or one size larger).
This gives the plant more room to grow. And you only need to repot every 2 years or so.
Either way, both methods work. You can try each one and see which one your plant responds to better and go with that one.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
Yes, the Alocasia Nebula is toxic. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep it out of reach of young children, cats and dogs who may accidentally or playfully chew or consumer the leaves or stems.
The plant become toxic once ingested as this is when the calcium oxalate crystals in the plant are released.
Because they crystals are like miniscule sharp needles, they will pierce through inner tissue and linings. This results in pain, swelling and irritation.
It will begin in the oral cavity including the mouth, lips, tongue and throat. But once swallowed the esophagus and stomach also experience side effects.
Alocasia Nebula Imperialis Problems & Troubleshooting
As beautiful as this plant is, it is susceptible to pests. Spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and scale like to go after its delicate, fleshy leaves.
As such, you need to be on the lookout for any of these bugs. Once you see them, immediately begin treatment.
I like to just spray the insects off with water using a hose or showerhead. But be careful not to use too strong a stream as it can damage the fragile leaves.
The goal is to spray away all the pests. You can do this 3 to 4 times every few days until there are no more bugs left.
Another options is to use neem oil or insecticidal soap spray.
Root rot and leaf spot are common issues that you can encounter. Again, it is important to be aware of them.
Although, you have more power over this because they are caused by excess moisture. So, by limiting water and making sure the plant stays on the dry side, you can actually avoid these issues.
Root rot happens due to overwatering and waterlogged soil.
Thus, avoid adding water before the soil has dried. Similarly, use well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging.
With leaf spot and other infections, good lighting and air circulation are important. This allows excess moisture to dry faster.
Also, don’t water late in the day since there will be no sun, and the weather is cooler at night. This will prevent the moisture from drying quickly.