How to Grow & Care for Alocasia Odora

Alocasia Odora

The Alocasia Odora is a rhizomatic plant that is native to Southeast Asia. It known for beautiful, large green arrow shaped leaves and strong stem. This makes it resemble members of the Elephant Ears family. Although it stands more upright compared to the more droopy, leaning stature of Elephant Ears.

The plant is also known by a few common names including nigh scented lily, giant upright elephant ears and Asian taro. The latter because it is related to the taro.

Like most plants, its size varies depending on the conditions it is provided. Outdoors, the plant can grow to anywhere from 8 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 15 feet wide. Indoors, its size will be more manageable at about 4 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Because of its lovely looks and low maintenance, the plant is popular among owners who want to a add a bit of a jungle or tropical accent to their indoor décor, patio or garden.

As such, you’ll see it growing indoors near windows as well as porches, garden beds and under trees.

Alocasia Odora Plant Care

Alocasia Odora Light

The Alocasia Odora thrives most when it gets bright, indirect sunlight. To achieve optimal growth, they need a lot of light, especially gently morning light, then filtered light during the afternoon.

If you grow it outdoors a partially shaded spot or in a shade garden. However, make sure that it doesn’t get too much direct sunlight or too little light, both of which will affect how it grows.

In ideal conditions where it receives a lot of bright light, its leaf colors will be most vibrant. The plant all also become a bit more compact in shape.

In lower lighting conditions, you’ll notice its leaves become lighter in color. Similarly, its foliage smaller than normal. In dimmer areas or when the light is too little, its will begin dropping leaves.

As such, the best place to put it is near an east facing window. In contrast, in a west and south facing window, it will need some protection from direct sunlight. You can likewise distance it from the window away from direct sunlight.

But, you’ll need a little more experimenting here to find the right distance that doesn’t have too little light. This is likewise the case for a north facing window.

 

Related Articles

 

Alocasia Odora Temperature & Humidity

Alocasia Odora can temperatures up to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. But, you need to offer it protection from the cold using mulch or leaves at the lower levels.

As such, it is hardy to USDA zones 7b to 11. But, it does best in zones 9 to 11 where it can stay outdoors all year without a lot of extra help from you. In zones 7b to below zone 9, you’ll need to keep it warm when the winter arrives. Otherwise, its leaves will sustain damage.

If you want to grow it under zones 7b, it will be better off in containers. this allows you to bring it outdoors during the summer and take it indoors when things start to get really cold in the winter.

However, it is worth noting that the plant doesn’t get as big in containers as it does in the ground. That said, it will still grow up to about 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. So, you’ll want to position it somewhere there is enough room for it to grow and spread out.

Similarly, the plant needs shelter from strong winds. Thus, it is a good idea to keep it away from breezes be it indoors or outdoors.

In the same manner, the night scented lily likes high humidity. If you need to increase humidity, there are a few options you can try.

  • Mist it regularly
  • Set it above a pebble tray
  • Use a humidifier

 

Alocasia Odora Watering

alocasia odora

The Alocasia Odora likes living is moist conditions as long as the soil doesn’t stay wet or soggy. This is one of the most challenging things with growing alocasia plants. Their need for damp conditions and susceptibility to root rot means that you need to find the balance between too much and too little.

Similarly, they aren’t fans of drying out. As such, while your night scented lily can tolerate a few days of low water, it won’t be happy if this happens for extended periods of time.

Also, it is worth noting that the plant goes dormant during the winter. Along with the cold weather, this makes it water demand much lower than it normally would be during its active growing season.

So, scale back on you watering routine when the weather gets cold. And, keep the soil moist during the warmer months of the year.

The best way to do this is to always check before watering. And, check the top 2 to 3 inches of soil each time. If that depth is dry or almost dry, it is time to water. Otherwise, wait a couple of days before doing so.

As much as the plant loves moisture, overwatering can damage it. Excess moisture makes your plant susceptible for fungal infections. And, it the odora sits in water for too long, it becomes prone to root rot, which can eventually kill your plant if not discovered early.

 

Soil

Your Alocasia Odora thrives in rich, moist, well draining soil. It is key that you use loose not heavy soil since the latter will retain too much moisture for too long. This makes your plant susceptible to root rot.

As such, peat moss is perfect for it. It not only improves air circulation but also prevents the soil from getting compacted. This lets water easy get to the roots. Similarly, it allows the excess moisture to drain.

But, it doesn’t drain overly quick like sand. This gives your plant enough time to absorb the liquid and nutrients.

You can likewise use perlite to increase drainage if the potting mix you have looks like it is holding too much water.

The combination of peat and perlite allow you to retain enough moisture while being well draining. This makes it well-suited for Alocasia Odora.

 

Fertilizing

During its growing season from March to September, feed your Alocasia Odora using a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to 50% the recommended concentration. This will give it enough to grow.

Also, if you’ve just repotted the soil or used fresh potting mix, check how much starter fertilizer there is. Most will contain some initial nutrients to help the plant get going. If this is the case, don’t feed your plant because you’ll just be doubling the dose.

Instead, wait until the dose in the potting mix is used up before you add fertilizer.

Similarly, you don’t need to feed it during the winter when it is in its dormant state.

Too much plant food is worse that not giving it enough. That’s because they leave salt residue that can build up in the soil. This will cause fertilizer burn which will damage your plant.

 

Alocasia Odora Pruning

Alocasia Odora grows just as wide as it grows tall.

  • In containers, you can expect it to reach a breadth of about 3 feet wide.
  • When grown in the ground it can get as wide as 10 to 15 feet depending on the conditions it gets.

As such, you’ll want to leave enough space when planting it alongside other plants.

The good news is, despite its somewhat big size, it doesn’t get out of control like vines and other climbers do. This means you only need to do low maintenance pruning.

Most of the trimming you will need to do is remove dead, dying, damaged or discolored leaves. Yellow, brown and leaves with spots are all to be trimmed off to help the plant stay healthy.

 

Propagation

The Alocasia Odora is a rhizomatic perennial. As such, it grows out of a rhizome. This makes division the best way to propagate the plant. To do so, you want to split the rhizome and replant them. This gives you a semi-grown plant right off the bat.

The difference between root division and tuber division is that in the former, you’ll be separating a section of roots form the mother plant. This is what most plants go through, where you take part of the root ball and plant it separately.

With tuber division, you’ll be separating part of the rhizome instead. The process is similarly but you’ll be holding different parts of the plant.

The best time to propagate your Alocasia Odora is during the spring or summer. You’ll also want to do so while repotting. That way, you put less stress on the plant from the trauma of being moved (which it despises).

How to Propagate Alocasia Odora via Division

  • Take the plant out of its container carefully.
  • Once it is out, you should see quite a few tubers. Your jobs is to separate them from the mother plant. You’ll  be putting these plantlets into containers and growing them. Each plantlet can grow into its own plant.
  • Once separated, fill the new pots and original pot with fresh soil. then insert them into their respective containers. Remember, you want to use well draining soil and water it so that the soil stays moist.
  • When the plants are in their new homes, place them in a warm, humid place where they get lots of bright, indirect light. Make sure to water regularly as well.

 

Transplanting & Repotting

You don’t need to repot your Alocasia Odora often. This is because it prefers slightly smaller containers and does not liked to be moved.

As such, the only time you’ll want to repot it is when it gets too big for its current pot. A sure sign of this is when its roots start coming out of the drainage holes. Similarly, roots that are trying to expand out of the soil as signs that it is getting root bound.

That said, replacing the potting mix helps keep the soil fresh. It also allows you to replenish the nutrients. Doing so likewise allows the soil to be more airy and loose.

When your plant does become root bound, choose a slightly larger pot. Go up one size or at most 2 sizes only. You don’t want an overly larger container because it increases the risk of overwatering.

Similarly, the best time to repot your plant is during the spring or early in its growing season. This allows it to take advantage of timing after getting fresh potting mix and more room for its roots to grow. Repotting in the spring also helps it overcome the trauma caused by repotting.

In case you want to propagate the plant and grow more of them, the best time to do so is when you repot. This reduces the amount of work of having to remove the plant from its container.

How to repot Alocasia Odora

  • Before you start, you’ll want to do a little bit of preparation first. There are two things you need, a slightly bigger pot and fresh potting soil that is well draining.
  • You’ll likewise want to find a good spot to repot. Things will get messy and there will be excess soil falling off. So you want somewhere you can work. You can get on the grass, use the sink or set up newspapers on the floor. Whatever you do, make sure it is easy to clean afterwards.
  • Time to get started. Carefully take the plant out of its container. You want to gently slide it out without jarring or shaking. Doing so will increase the stress to the plant.
  • Once the plant is out, inspect the rootball. You want to see healthy roots. That is, white to light tan colored roots. You don’t want black, brown, soft or mushy roots. That’s a sign of root rot. Also, brush away excess soil while untangling the roots.
  • Fill the new pot with soil up to about a third. How high will depend on how big the root ball is and how deep the new container is. The goal is for the plant to stand up as high out of the new pot as it did its current pot.
  • Insert the plant into the pot and fill the remaining space with potting mix. Don’t over pack it. otherwise,t the soil will be too compact.
  • Water thoroughly and return the plant to its position.

 

Toxicity

The night scented lily is toxic to both humans and animals because it contains calcium oxalate crystals. This means you want to keep it away from curious pets and young children.

Ingestion causes irritation, swelling and other digestive issues. In fact, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have put out a warning about its poisonous nature. That’s because the Alocasia Odora closely resembles the Colocasia gigantea and Colocasia esculenta both of which are consumed in Japanese culture.

 

Pests

When it comes to pests, spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and scale are the most common problems for your Alocasia Odora. The best way to prevent them from infesting your plant is to keep it happy.

Likewise cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth helps. This also removed debris from the surface of the leaves. in doing so, it allows it to breathe better as well as absorb more light. However, never use leaf shine as it will damage the foliage.

Unfortunately, the thing that makes the Alocasia Odora very desirable to us is also what attracts these pests. Pests love plants with big leaves because it gives them more to chomp and suck on.

So, close inspection on both sides of each leaf helps you detect any infestation early. Also know that if one plant is infested, odds are other nearby plants may likely be so since pests are notorious for traveling to close by plant.

That said, if you find any pests, insecticidal soap and water is one fo the best ways to get rid of them and their eggs. Similarly, you can use neem oil.

 

Diseases

Due to its love for moisture and humidity, you need to be careful with root rot as well as bacterial and fungal diseases. Moisture, be it excess moisture or that which doesn’t dry after long periods of time can breed these problems.

Unfortunately, these are dangerous side effects that you need to watch out for when caring for your Alocasia Odora because of its watering needs.

Thus, two things you don’t want to do are.

  • Overwater your plant or let it sit in water for too long. This is why using well draining soil is key. It is also why you need to have drainage holes. And, why you shouldn’t jump too many pot sizes higher when repotting. Always check the soil before watering is the best way to prevent overwatering.
  • Let the leaves stay wet for long periods of time. This makes them susceptible to fungal diseases. As such, you want your plant to get enough air circulation so the foliage can dry when it gets wet. Similalry, don’t water over the plant. Instead, water the soil. When you mist, don’t overdo it.

If any of the leaves or roots experience problems, trim off the damaged parts immediately.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.