Alocasia Regal Shields (Elephant Ear Plant) Care Guide

Alocasia Regal Shields

The Alocasia Regal Shields is commonly known as the Elephant Ear Regal Shields. That’s because of the oversized shape of its leaves.

The plant is a native of Southeast Asia and Africa. Although you’ll see it in many parts of the country that get sunny weather all year round including Florida.

Regal shields is known for its attractive leaves. They grow to between 6 and 9 feet tall and spread out sideways with a breadth of 4 feet or more. As such, whether you grow it in a pot indoors or in your garden, you’ll want to leave enough space for it.

Because of its size and looks, it immediately adds a tropical or even jungle feel to any space. This makes it perfect for living rooms,  hallways, patios, offices and gardens.

Alocasia Regal Shields Plant Care

Alocasia Regal Shields Care Summary

 

Alocasia Regal Shields Light

The Alocasia Regal Shields enjoys bright, indirect light. It is commonly grown as a houseplant. But, be aware that it can get big so you want to be able to give it enough space. This also means that it can start out in a container on ta tablet top. But, will eventually end up closer to the ground.

Knowing this beforehand allows you to plan where to position it for the best lighting conditions as well as for display purposes.

That said, the one thing it cannot tolerate is being under direct sunlight. The plant’s leaves will get scorched when left under the sun’s rays for long periods of time.

Just as importantly, know that the regal shields has a tendency to lean towards the light source. Thus, to keep it balanced and growing straight you’ll want to rotate it 90 degrees every so often. I’ve found that rotating it whenever you water is the easiest way to remember. This way it becomes part of your routine.

 

Related Articles

 

Alocasia Regal Shields Temperature & Humidity

In addition to bright light, your Alocasia Regal Shields will be happiest in warm conditions. Ideally keep temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

It also isn’t a fan of breezes, winds, gusts or drafts. So, keep it away from doors or windows where sudden cold drafts can pass. Similarly, vents, heaters and air conditioners are no-no’s because they push warm or cold air out.

Because of its preference for warm weather, the plant is hardy to USDA zones 9 and 10. If you live in these regions, you’ll be able to plant them in the ground. Likewise you can keep them outdoors in pots in your terrace, patio or balcony all year round. As long as it stays in shaded areas while still getting bright light, it will be happy.

If you live outside of zones 9 and 10, you can likewise take the plant outdoors when the weather is warm. But, do take it indoors or somewhere more toasty when the mercury drops under 60 degrees.

Because the plant is native to tropical and subtropical regions including Southeast Asia, Polynesia, the Mediterranean and Africa, it also likes humidity.

Ideally anything close to or above 80% makes it happiest. Unfortunately, this poses a problem for most homes. Unlike the temperature range above which you’ll find in most homes, the average home’s humidity is between 40% to 50%. In wintertime, it drops to under 40%.

This means you need to increase humidity around the plant. You can do so by using one of the following methods.

  • Regular misting
  • Placing the plant near water or over rocks on a water tray
  • Keeping it in humid areas like the bathroom or kitchen
  • Grouping it with other plants
  • Using a humidifier

 

Alocasia Regal Shields Watering

Besides humidity, your regal shields also likes water. Its ideal conditions are moist soil that isn’t wet or soggy. It also doesn’t like drying out.

This makes it tricky because you need to strike a balance between keep the soil slightly damp while not overwatering.

To compound things, the plant also needs more water during the warmer months and much less when it is cold.

So the best way to water your Alocasia Regal Shields is observe it. This is done using a two-pronged strategy.

 

Step 1: Water Thoroughly

First water the plant. You want to water on the soil slowly. Fast, quick watering makes the liquid find the “path of least resistance”. These are the creases in the soil and near the borders of the pot. As such, you don’t actually water the soil thoroughly.

Instead, slow deep watering allows the entire root ball to soak up moisture. This lets the water reach the roots.

Once it starts dripping from the bottom of the container. Stop watering.

Then allow the excess moisture to drain thoroughly. This takes a little time but it is essential so the soil doesn’t stay waterlogged.

 

Step 2: Test the Soil

Test the soil before you water again. Stick your finger down half an inch into the soil. If it is still moist, wait 2 days before testing again. If it is dry, it is time to water.

 

Step 3: Adjust and Repeat

After 2 to 4 weeks of doing this, you’ll get a good feel of when to water based on the size of the plant, how much light it gets, the weather and other factors.

Because these parameters change per houseplant owner, you need to figure out your own watering routine by testing it the first few weeks.

This is the best way to do it.

 

Chemicals in Tap Water

Finally, tap water is not the best option for your Alocasia Regal Shields because cities often add chemicals like fluoride and chlorine to it. Since the plant is sensitive to these chemicals, you’ll see its leaves change depending on how much and what compounds are present.

So, if you want to use tap water, let it sit in room temperature overnight before using it to water your plants. This allows the chemicals to evaporate.

Alternatively, you can use rainwater (which is best and free), or filtered and distilled water. Although the latter two will cost a bit more in the long run.

 

Soil

Alocasia Regal Shields watering

When it comes to soil, you want to choose a mix that is well suited to the plant’s watering needs. As such, moist, well draining soil is best. It also appreciates soil that is rich in organic matter.

Keeping the soil from staying wet, being soggy or mucky is your number one priority. Always remember, root rot is very difficult to fix. And, because it is hidden from sight due to the soil, if you don’t spot it early enough, you’ll likely end up throwing away your plant.

So, that’s always your top priority.

And the best way to avoid that is to get a high quality peat based potting mix. If you need to increase drainage, add perlite or coarse sand.

Similarly, the Alocasia Regal Shields like s soil with pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If you’re not sure what your soil’s pH is, you can get an inexpensive soil test kit to test it out. Then, use lime to make it less acidic if needed. One the other hand, it your soil’s pH is higher, use sulfur to bring it down.

If you’re growing the plant outside, make sure to leave about 4 to 7 feet of space between it and other plants because it will spread out as it grows.

 

Fertilizing Alocasia Regal Shields

During the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing, apply regular houseplant fertilizer once a month. Make sure it is diluted to 50% strength to prevent overfeeding.

During the winter you can halt the fertilizer until next spring.

Like water, you do not want to overfeed your plant because it causes fertilizer salt buildup in the soil. This will damage the roots and leaves.

As such, every few months, it is a good idea to flush the soil. This allows excess salts and minerals to get washed away along with water.

To do so, slowly pour water onto the soil. Do this for about 3 to 5 minutes depending on how big the container is. You want the soil to get soaked and the pot to drip. This allows excess salts and small debris to flow out with the liquid.

After that, allow excess water to drain. This will take another 5 to 10 minutes. While time consuming, it is essential so that any extra moisture is drained. This will prevent waterlogging and the risk of root rot.

 

Pruning Alocasia Regal Shields

Alocasia Regal Shields flower bloom

Alocasia Regal Shields don’t need a lot of pruning. But, it is a good idea to trim back discolored, damaged and dead leaves. Doing so will help keep your plant healthy.

Also, if you have the plant in a less than ideal position, you may want to prune away the larger older leaves. This takes away the “cover” so that the smaller younger leaves are able to get more sunlight.

As always, make sure that you sterilize your cutting tools before pruning your plants. This ensures you aren’t transferring any bacterial.

 

Propagation

The regal shields is a rhizomatous plant. As such, the best way to propagate it is to divide the rhizome.

The best time to do is during the spring or early summer. Although, doing it anytime during its growing season works well

 

How to Propagate Alocasia Regal Shields by Division

  • If the plant is in the soil, dig out the rhizome. Be careful not to dig too close when making the hole so as not to damage the rhizome.
  • If you’re growing it in a container, you’ll want to carefully take the plant out of the pot.
  • Once you have the plant out, use a sterilized knife to cut part of the rhizome. You want to chools a section that has at least 2 to 3 shoots growing from it.
  • Replant the mother plant and the newly divided plant back into the soil or their respective containers.
  • Water the soil.

 

Alocasia Regal Shields Transplanting & Repotting

Regal Shields leaves

On average, your Alocasia Regal Shields will need to be repotted once every 2 years or so. Exactly how long will depending how fast is growing, which in turn depends on its living conditions.

That said, there will be 3 reasons to repot the plant.

  • You start seeing roots come out of the drainage holes. This is a sign that its root system needs more room to grow.
  • The plant is rootbound. Often, this goes hand in with the roots extending outward. But, sometimes, you’ll just notice the plant outgrowing its current container filing in the extra space. You’ll also likely see its roots start circling around.
  • Refresh the soil. Here, you may not need to get a bigger pot. But, replacing the soil with fresh potting mix is a good idea because new soil is loose and air, whereas old spent soil gets compact. This helps the avoid waterlogging.

When choosing a larger pot, pick one that is 2 inches larger. You don’t want to get too many sizes up because the regal shields is susceptible to root rot. And, the more soil to plant there is, the more moisture there will be when watering.

Here’s how to repot your Alocasia Regal Shields.

  • In addition to the larger pot, prepare fresh potting soil. You want a mix that is light and drains well.
  • Gently take the plant out of the container.
  • Brush away excess soil and separate the roots from the root ball.
  • Fill the new pot with soil to about 30% or 33%.
  • Insert the plant into the new pot and fill the excess space with potting mix. Pat lightly.
  • Water thoroughly.
  • Then, put the plant back where it can get bright, indirect light.
  • It will take between 2 to 4 weeks before the plant will start growing again. That’s because of the shock of moving.

 

Toxicity

Keep the plant away from curious kids and pets that may play with it or ingest parts of it. The plant is toxic to both humans and animals. And, ingestion will cause swelling or irritation of the mouth, throat and digestive tract.

 

Pests and Diseases

The Alocasia Regal Shields is fairly resistant to pests and diseases. However, on occasion, it can get infested by mealybugs, thrips, spider mites, aphids and scale.

When they do happen, the first thing you want to do is separate it from other plants. Then, inspect any nearby plants as well. That’s because pests move from plant to plant.

Once you’ve quarantined the affected plants, you can use insecticidal soap and water or neem soil to treat the problem.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.