Alocasia Odora Variegata is a cultivar of the Alocasia Odora. The biggest difference between the two is the former has heavy white variegations on its leaves while the latter has solid green foliage.
It is also worth noting that the plant goes by a few other names.
Some that I’ve come across in different shops and growers include Dwarf Alocasia Odora Variegata and Alocasia Odora Okinawa Silver Elephant Plant.
Variegated Alocasia Odora are all unique since each leaf look different. So, no two plants will ever look alike.
The plant produces beautiful, large, heart-shaped foliage that have a smooth surface.
It is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Eastern Australia.
How do you care for the Alocasia Odora Variegata? The plant likes moist soil but cannot tolerate overwatering. It does not like to dry out completely and left like that for a long time.
Due to its large variegations, bright, indirect light is essential to keep the leaves looking good and maintain the white sections.
Alocasia Odora Variegata Plant Care
The Alocasia Odora Variegata needs bright indirect light because of its heavy variegations.
The reason for this is that the white sections of the leaves have very little to no chlorophyll which is why they are white and not green.
Chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color.
But it is also the substance that absorbs light.
Therefore, the non-green sections of plants don’t contribute or contribute very little to light collection. So, while they may look beautiful in our eyes, they don’t offer as much function-wise for the plant.
The reason is that plants use light as the raw material for photosynthesis.
And photosynthesis is where they turn light into sugars (or carbs) that they use for energy.
It is this energy that they consume to grow, produce new leaves, make existing leaves bigger and maintain the health of these foliage.
So, the less green areas on the leaves means the less raw materials for photosynthesis. This in turn results in less energy to grow.
To compensate, the plant needs to stay under plenty of light.
If you don’t get a lot of sunlight into your home, you can always use artificial lights. The plant will happily grow under this.
And it has a harder time in low light compared to those with all-green or solid green leaves.
That said, too much light is also a bad thing.
That’s because the Alocasia Odora Variegata can tolerate only a few hours of direct sunlight during the middle of the day (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).
This is the hottest times of the day and the sun is very intense.
In fact it is too intense for the plant that its leaves can scorch and burn. Although, the plant will survive this environment.
Still, you end up with an ugly brown, burnt plant.
In contrast, the Alocasia Odora Variegata will happily appreciate direct sunlight during the early mornings (before 10:30 a.m.) and late afternoons (after 3:30 p.m.).
That’s because the sun’s rays are gentle and much less intense. So, it has no problems with this.
The Alocasia Odora Variegata has an ideal temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the range it enjoys most and feels most comfortable in.
It also does not mind hotter conditions reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, because it is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, it is sensitive to the cold.
It is also not frost hardy.
In fact, it will struggle once the temperature drops under 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the plant does well in warm locations and you should keep it away from anything cold.
Indoors, this isn’t much of a problem since most homes have moderate to slightly warm conditions.
However, you still have to be careful of air conditioners, open windows where cold drafts can enter and cold spots where temperature can drop at certain times of the day.
Also, check nighttime temperature in the area where you keep the plant.
If it drops more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit from daytime temperature, move the plant from there.
It does not like sudden drops or significant fluctuations.
This is why it is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. Think California, Florida and Texas as well as the southern coastal states.
These are warm to hot areas with sunshine all year round.
This is the kind of weather the Alocasia Odora Variegata enjoys most because it comes from the tropics.
Ideal humidity for the Alocasia Odora Variegata is 50% to 70%. The plant is happiest here especially in the upper part of that range.
Be careful with low humidity.
While it can tolerate room temperature depending on how dry the air gets, if humidity gets too low, you run the risk of seeing brown leaves.
This is due to lack of moisture.
Low humidity will prevent the extremities of the plant to get enough moisture.
As such, you’ll see the edges and tips of the leaves turn brown and crisp up first. This is a sign that they are dry and not getting enough moisture.
In some cases, the edges and tips of the leaves will be very brittle that they’ll crumble even if you lightly touch them.
So, if humidity is low in your home, it is a good idea to increase the moisture in the air around the plant.
You can use a humidifier, mist the plant regularly or place it on a pebble tray.
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How Often to Water Alocasia Odora Variegata
The Alocasia Odora Variegata is sensitive to overwatering.
This means you do not want to water it too frequently or allow the soil to clog with too much moisture.
That said, this can become tricky because the plant also likes consistently moist soil.
Therefor balance is very important.
In general, you only need to water the plant once a week. However, because the weather changes through the seasons, it affects how fast or slow soil dries.
This makes things even tricker.
For this reason, the best way to know how often to water the Alocasia Odora Variegata is to rely on the soil. This way, you listen to what the soil needs instead of make up your own watering schedule that you think is correct.
To know when to water the plant, allow the soil to dry at least the top 2 inches.
Never do so before then.
Following this simple rule lets you avoid overwatering since you allow part of the soil dry completely before adding more water.
You can stick your finger into the soil down 2 inches to check each time.
Alternatively, if you don’t like getting your hands dirty, you can get a moisture meter. Just stick the probe in and read that the screen tells you.
Alocasia Odora Variegata Potting Soil
The Alocasia Odora Variegata does best in loose, well-draining potting mix rich in organic matter content.
Keep soil pH between 5.6 to 7.3 (acidic to neutral).
Soil plays a very important role in what happens to water after you wet the soil. This makes it essential to use the right soil for the plant.
And you want to avoid both extremes, too heavy and too sandy soils.
Heavy soils will retain more moisture than the Alocasia Odora Variegata wants. So, even if you water correctly, the soil will just hold onto all the water causing the roots to stay wet for too long.
This will result in waterlogging which in turn leads to overwatering and possibly root rot.
Meanwhile, very sandy soils will drain too much water too quickly.
So, the plant’s roots won’t be able to get enough to drink. As a result, they’ll end up dry and underwatered.
Instead, use well-draining soil.
Well-draining soil holds some moisture but not a lot. Also, it quickly drains excess water so the roots don’t end up sitting in water for extended periods of time.
Therefore, the roots get the drink they want and don’t end up drowning.
To create this kind of potting mix, you can combine:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part peat moss
This simple soil mix recipe will keep the plant happy and healthy.
To develop its large leaves and their vibrancy, I suggest using fertilizer.
The Alocasia Odora Variegata needs nutrients. But it is not a heavy feeder. So, be careful not to over fertilize the plant.
You can use a complete or all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
Only apply once a month during spring and summer. Stop once fall comes around and only restart feeding next spring.
Don’t forget to dilute the fertilizer each time by half the recommended strength. And never apply fertilizer if the soil is dry.
Similarly, you use slow-release fertilizer instead.
These are granular so you’ll need to distribute them around the soil. But because they release nutrients at different intervals it reduces the risk of over fertilizing the plant.
The Alocasia Odora Variegata can grow to between 3 to 8 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Of course, it can grow much bigger as well if you keep it outdoors.
Bulk of the plant’s size comes from its stunning foliage.
These have the potential to grow into very huge leaves.
In fact, the biggest I’ve see had leaves that spanned the top of your head and reach your waist. Plus, it was very vide able to cover almost 2 people’s heads and torsos behind it.
The plant won’t produce tons of leaves through.
So, it focuses more on quality than quantity of foliage.
Therefore, there’s no pruning really needed unless the leaves have sustained damaged, are old, dying or turned yellow or brown. Also remove any diseased foliage.
How to Propagate Alocasia Odora Variegata
The Alocasia Odora Variegata can be propagated through division.
It cannot be propagated from stem cuttings. So, dividing the plant is your best bet.
Since division requires splitting up the mother plant, make sure that your original plant is big enough before you propagate it.
Otherwise, you end up with very small new plants.
The process is fairly simple and straightforward.
- Unpot the plant and remove excess soil so you can see the clumps. These clumps have roots and are attached to stems and leaves above the soil.
- Decide how many new plants you want to split the parent into It can be 2 or more. And find the areas you want to separate them.
- Divide the rhizomes but make sure that each set of stems and leaves have enough roots under the soil to support it.
- Plant each of the divided rhizomes into their own pots and fill with well-draining potting mix.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Then leave the new plants in bright, indirect light.
In about 6 to 8 weeks, you should see new shoots develop.
The biggest benefit of dividing the plant is you don’t need to wait for the new plants to root. Instead, they already have leaves.
This makes them look good and they can grow from there instead of starting over.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Odora Variegata
Repot the Alocasia Odora Variegata every 18 to 24 months. Spring to early summer is the best time to repot the plant.
And move the plant to a container that is 2 to 3 inches larger.
Avoid overpotting the plant just to reduce the times you have to repot over the years. This is a recipe for disaster as overly large pots increase the risk of overwatering.
When repotting, change the soil as well.
Replace the spent soil with fresh, well-draining potting mix. This will ensure the soil has good drainage, is not compacted and has nutrients.
Old soil changes in texture and has been depleted of nutrients.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Alocasia Odora Variegata is toxic as it contains calcium oxalate crystals.
These crystals get activated when ingested. So, there’s no risk until parts of the plant are chewed, consumed or swallowed.
But when this happens, it will cause pain, inflammation and swelling in the mouth area and digestive tract.
So, avoid leaving the plant near young children, dogs and cats.
Alocasia Odora Variegata Problems & Troubleshooting
Spider mites and mealybugs are common pests that like attacking the Alocasia Odora Variegata. As such, it is important to go regular checkups.
This will let you spot any pest problem early before they turn into an infestation.
You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to eradicate these bugs.
Rotting and infections are the big issues you want to watch out for.
Stem and root rot are both very dangerous as they can kill the plant if not treated early enough. Additionally bacterial and fungal leaf diseases including leaf spot can damage the Alocasia Odora Variegata.
Since overwatering is usually the culprit, make sure to be wary of when you water and how you water the plant.
This included the soil as well as getting the leaves wet.