The Alocasia Tiny Dancer is also called the Tiny Dancer Plant. It is a rare plant that also looks very different from most alocasia varieties.
It features long, stems that go upward and leaves that are much smaller than what you’d normally expect from plants that belong in the alocasia genus.
The scientific name of the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is alocasia brisbanensis × alocasia odora, which means it is a hybrid whose parents are the alocasia brisbanensis and alocasia odora.
How do you care for the Alocasia Tiny Dancer? The plant thrives in subtropical conditions which means it enjoys warm weather and high humidity. It also needs medium to bright indirect light to grow at its best.
But it cannot tolerate strong light. So avoid direct sunlight. Feed the plant with a balanced fertilizer for optimal growth. And allow the soil to dry between waterings to avoid root rot.
Alocasia Tiny Dancer Plant Care
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer does well is a wide variety of lighting conditions. While it grows best in bright, indirect light, it does not have a problem with low light either.
The only two things you want to avoid are the extremes:
- Very strong intense light (including direct sunlight during mid-day and summer sun)
- Dim and dark places which have too little light
But just about anything in between these two lighting environments, it will not have a problem.
The reason you want to avoid light that is too strong is that it can discolor the leaves. And if the sun gets too much, its rays with scorch the leaves as well leaving you burn marks.
On the other hand, too little light means the plant does not get enough illumination for photosynthesis. This in turn means it cannot produce the required energy to sustain its normal growth.
So, you’ll see the plant’s growth slow or stop. Similarly, it will produce fewer leaves. And the leaves that do emerge will turn out smaller than usual.
Thus, avoid excess or insufficient lighting.
Beyond that, you can pretty much place it anywhere in your home since it will be happy with the light there.
If you don’t get enough natural light indoors like some apartments do, you can use artificial lights. The Tiny Dancer Plants responds well to grow lights and fluorescent lighting.
And it will do well as long as you give it at least 12 hours of artificial light daily.
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer thrives when temperature is kept between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is its sweet spot. However, it can tolerate a wider range of temperatures.
The only thing I’ve noticed is that the farther away you move from its ideal climate range, the slower growth gets. However, the difference is quite negligible for a home grower like you and me.
However, what’s more important to look for is the threshold levels where it will begin struggling. Past these temperatures, the plant will noticeably be less comfortable.
Because it comes from a tropical habitat, the plant will easily tolerate up to 90 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve also seen it do okay in 100 degree heat. But you want to be careful at this level and higher because it can experience heat stress and dehydration.
On the other hand, the plant is more sensitive to the cold.
That’s because in the tropics, there is no winter or cold weather. It is hot and humid all year round.
Therefore, the Tiny Dancer Plant is not cold hardy, and it begins having a hard time once temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here, the consequences appear faster and get more serious as well.
When you leave it in conditions below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will visibly struggle. Its growth will also slow.
The colder it gets or the longer you leave it in this environment, the more issues it will experience. And it can reach a point where the plant experiences cold injury and damage.
You’ll see leaves, the plant droop and possibly die.
For this reason, it is important to keep it away from the cold.
Indoors, this means avoiding air conditioners and areas with cold drafts. Outdoors it is making sure to take the plant back inside once the weather gets colder around fall.
Instead, the plant is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.
The ideal humidity for the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is 60% to 70%. However, it can tolerate 50% humidity and slightly lower.
As such, depending on where you live, you may or may not need to increase humidity in your home or certain parts of your home.
Again, this preference comes from its tropical nature.
In the tropics, humidity can reach a low of 55% on a few occasions. However, it usually runs between 60% to 75% during the day. And will just to 85% or even higher when the rains come.
As such, the Tiny Dancer plant is accustomed to this.
And this is the environment it is most comfortable with.
If you can give it this level, it will grow faster and produce more vibrant leaves.
That said, if your home’s humidity is below what the plant needs, it is a good idea to try one of these humidity increasing strategies.
- Set up a humidifier
- Mist the plant a few times a week
- Place it on a humidity tray
- Group the Alocasia Tiny Dancer along with other plants
- Give the plant a shower every few weeks
- Move it to the bathroom
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How Often to Water Alocasia Tiny Dancer
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer enjoys moist soil. This means it does not appreciate the soil going dry. Therefore, avoid letting the potting mix dry out completely.
On the other hand, you also want to be careful with too much moisture. The plant can experience problems with overwatering.
Usually, the first signs you’ll notice are yellow leaves. But if this has been happening for a while, it could lead to root rot.
Because root rot is can destroy your plant, I like to unpot the plant and check the roots if I see any yellowing with the Tiny Dancer plant. This way, you can still fix the problem if you spot it early.
As such, the best way to water this alocasia is to allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between waterings. You can also wait until the top 25% of the soil has dried before adding more water.
Obviously, the second strategy is more conservative. But is also keeps you safer from overwatering.
In addition to this, it is a good idea to learn how to water the plant effectively as well.
For best results, drench the soil and let it drain right after.
To do this, keep adding water until it begins dripping from the bottom of the pot. This will saturate the root ball giving the plant’s roots all the moisture they desire.
Then allow the plant to drain completely right after.
Both steps are important.
The first is to give the plant as much water as it needs. The second is to quickly get rid of excess moisture so what’s left is moist soil. This also prevents the roots sitting in lots of water for long periods of time which is what leads to root rot.
Alocasia Tiny Dancer Potting Soil
The best soil for the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is moist, well-draining soil that is porous and rich in organic matter. The plant also does best when soil pH is between 5.5 to 6.5.
From the previous section, you already know that the plant likes moisture which is why the soil needs to be moist.
Also, it can be prone to overwatering. Therefore, well-draining soil helps prevent the substrate from holding on to too much liquid for long. Instead, it will quickly drain the excess.
Finally, porous soil allows for good aeration. This lets the plant’s root breathe.
All these features help to keep the Tiny Dancer plant healthy and happy.
A simple potting mix recipe that I like to use for this plant (and other alocasias) is to mix equal parts of:
- Potting soil
- Peat moss
If you want to add more drainage and aeriation, you can include orchid bark and charcoal in there as well. Both these ingredients are chunky which allows liquid and air to easily get through.
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer needs fertilizer if you want it to grow faster and produce more foliage. However, the plant can do okay without fertilizer if you’re on a budget.
If you do choose to use fertilizer on the Tiny Dancer plant, you have a lot of options.
The simplest and most common way is to just use a balanced, liquid fertilizer. This is often a good choice because it will work for most of your houseplants. Therefore, you can buy a container and use it many of them.
Here, you can go with a 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 N-P-K blend. This will give the plant enough nutrients to grow well.
If you keep the plant indoors in a pot, make sure to dilute each application by half the recommended strength. The plant won’t need as much fertilizer because it is growing indoors and the plant food stays within the pot.
If you grow the plant outdoors in the ground in your yard or garden, you can just follow the dose the product label says.
In addition to diluting, make sure to only apply fertilizer when the plant is actively growing. This is during the warmer months of spring and summer. You can stop feeding it by early or mid fall. And don’t give it any during winter.
The plant does not grow much during cold winter weather. It may even go dormant. As such, adding fertilizer then only leaves all the minerals, nutrients and salt in the soil.
This will increase the risk of fertilizer burn (and root damage).
As its name suggests, the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is a small plant. It grows to about 18 inches (1.5 feet tall) and a width of about 12 to 18 inches. The plant has a moderate growth rate.
The plant has fairly neat growing habit mostly going upright. Although some stems and leaves can go wayward at times so you can prune those if you don’t like them sticking out.
Similarly, if you take care of it properly, it can get bushy. Some people like this look while others prefer having about 7 to 12 stems only for a nice, clean look.
If you’re the latter, you can prune every so often to keep them plant less bushy.
On the other hand, if you notice the plant isn’t growing as much as you wished, you can prune it to encourage more growth as well.
Of course, don’t forget to remove any damaged, old, or dying foliage. Do so as well for those that have turned brown, yellow or have some infection.
How to Propagate Alocasia Tiny Dancer
The best way to propagate the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is by division. Since the plant grows from rhizomes, you’ll be splitting these up and planting them separately.
So, effectively, you’re doing rhizome division.
The best time to propagate the Tiny Dancer plant is spring to early summer. Although, I like to do so in early spring before the plant starts growing quickly.
This allows the new plant to grow soon after you propagate. Also, you don’t interrupt its growth by unpotting it.
In any case, here’s how to propagate the Alocasia Tiny Dancer by division.
- Carefully take the plant out of its pots. Then brush the excess soil off so you can see the roots clearly.
- You’ll see multiple clumps which make up its root system. You’ll be dividing these.
- If you see offshoots grow, you can take the bigger ones, remove them from the parent and plant them separately as well. These offsets will grow into full-sized Tiny Dancer plants as well.
- Going back to division, look for the sections you want to grow. Each rhizome clump will come with its own roots. So, it can grow on its own when separated.
- This means you can separate any of these clumps or a group of clumps. The goal is to choose divisions so each of them has its own set of roots and some leaves on top. This way, you can grow the that section on its own and you don’t have to start from scratch since it already has some leaves.
- Use a sterile knife and cut the sections you’ve decided.
- Plant each of these sections into their own pots with well-draining soil.
Since each division has its own roots, you don’t have to wait for them to root like you would cuttings. Similarly, if each of the divisions have some leaves, then all of the new plants will just keep growing from there.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Tiny Dancer
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer is not a fan of repotting so avoid moving it unless it is root bound. The only exception to this is if there is a problem or emergency.
Also, the Tiny Dancer plant enjoys being in a slightly tight pot. So, you don’t need to hurry about having to move it.
The only time to repot is when it gets root bound. And you can easily tell as the roots will show up below the holes in the pot.
The best time to repot the plant is spring to early summer.
When repotting, choose a container that is one size larger or 2 inches bigger than the current one. Also have fresh, well-draining plant to refresh the spent soil.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer is toxic to cats and dogs when ingested. Therefore, avoid leaving it somewhere they get reach.
Chewing, swallowing or consuming parts of the plant will cause pain, irritation and swelling beginning in the mouth, lips, tongue and throat areas.
It can also cause vomiting and difficulty swallowing among other symptoms.
Alocasia Tiny Dancer Problems & Troubleshooting
The Alocasia Tiny Dancer can experience pests. But is it not prone to them.
The most common bugs to bother the plant are mealybugs and spider mites. Both as sap suckers so you don’t want them to grow in number as they can cause a lot of damage by robbing a good amount of moisture and nutrients from the plant.
Neem oil and insecticidal soap are good solutions to these pests. You can use either to get rid of them.
Root rot and leaf spot are the most troublesome diseases you want to look out for.
Root rot destroys or damages the root system turning them black and preventing them from functioning. You want to avoid this at all costs as it can destroy your plant eventually.
To prevent root rot, avoid overwatering, use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage.
Leaf spot is an infection that is caused by excess moisture.
Thus, avoid leaving them too wet without enough light and good air circulation to dry them.