How to Care for Alocasia Cucullata?
With shiny, heart-shaped leaves on tall, elegant stems, the Alocasia Cucullata is also known as ‘Buddha’s hand’, because it’s believed to bring good fortune.
The plant is native to Thailand and Laos but can be kept successfully indoors in other parts of the world as well.
It’s a simple but gracious foliage plant that can be paired with other tropical plants to create a tranquil and harmonious balance in your home.
Here are my plant care recommendations for the Alocasia Cucullata, so you can grow it indoors without issues:
Size & Growth
The Alocasia Cucullata grows relatively fast, reaching a maximum height of 13 feet. It features large, heart-shaped leaves with prominent veins. The leaves grow to become 15 inches by 11 inches.
The growth period for this plant is in spring and summer. The plant enters a dormancy period in fall-winter when its metabolism is reduced.
During this time, you should also reduce watering and withhold any fertilizing, as the plant doesn’t need it.
Ideal light requirements for the Alocasia Cucullata include bright indirect light or filtered light. This isn’t a plant that can be grown in full sun.
Direct sun exposure will burn the leaves of the plant, especially if the plant hasn’t been acclimated to any direct sun exposure.
Indoors, find a location near a sunny window or a bright spot in your home, but be mindful to pick a location, where the sun doesn’t shine down directly onto the plant.
If you notice one side of your Alocasia growing leggy or stretching out, it means that the plant is not receiving adequate levels of light, so move it to a brighter spot.
If climate permits to plant it outdoors, plant the Alocasia under a tree, where it gets gentle filtered light. Avoid complete shade, the plant needs sunlight to thrive.
When watering this tropical plant, moderation is key. You want to evenly moisten the soil, not make it excessively wet.
After watering, wait for the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry, and only then water it again. When overwatered, the plant is susceptible to root rot, leaf issues, and other fungal issues.
When watered too much, you may notice small droplets on the leaf tips of the plant. This is a mechanism which helps the plant drain excess moisture, but you don’t want to see this happening.
If it does, it means you’ve been overwatering your Alocasia Cucullata.
For your Alocasia Cucullata, pick a soil that’s loose and drains well. The roots of the plant don’t like sitting in water, nor do they do well in soil that easily becomes compacted.
A potting mix that includes peat moss, perlite and other loose organic matter will improve aeration and drainage, making it a good mix for the Alocasia.
As for pH levels, tropical plants in general prefer slightly acidic soil in the range of 5.5 to 6.5, and the Alocasia Cucullata prefers it too.
Even though the soil drains well, don’t overwater your plant. Keep watering at moderate levels, and your Alocasia will thrive.
Temperature & Humidity
Warmth and humidity are what this plant needs to thrive indoors. Kept at temperatures between 64 °F and 72 °F, the Alocasia will be happy.
Because temperatures in our homes tend to be around these figures, this tropical plant will adapt easily to being kept indoors.
The difficulty comes in ensuring adequate humidity levels. But it’s not impossible. Ideally, the humidity levels for the Cucullata should be between 60-80%.
Because the air in our homes tends to vary more between 40-60%, you may need to increase humidity levels through a humidifier.
Placing a tray of pebbles with water near the plant can also help increase moisture levels around the plant.
During periods of active growth, usually from spring to early fall, the Alocasia Cucullata needs a bit of help in the way of nutrients.
Fertilizing on a biweekly schedule can help with growth and foliage production. Choose a high-quality fertilizer with a slightly higher nitrogen content.
Don’t fertilize in the fall nor during the winter months. The plant stops growing during this time and doesn’t need the nutrient boost offered by fertilizers.
Potting & Repotting
While I am partial to terracotta pots, you can pick any type of pot for the Alocasia Cucullata as long as it drains well and supports its weight so that it doesn’t tip over.
The plant does like to be a bit root bound, so you may wait a while with the repotting, even when the roots are a bit crowded.
When you do decide to repot, make sure to do so in early spring or in summer, at the height of the growing season.
You don’t need to oversize the pot, pick a pot that’s one size bigger or one that accommodates the roots.
How to Propagate Alocasia Cucullata?
You can propagate your Alocasia by dividing its rhizomes when repotting the plant. Simply divide up the tubers, and plant in a moist potting mix.
Usually, it’s a good idea to give tubers a soak in water for at least a couple of hours before planting them. You can leave them soaking for 24 hours, but make sure you’re not soaking in chlorinated water.
Don’t water the soil excessively and keep it in a warm location with dappled light. After a couple of weeks, you should notice some activity going on in the plant.
A simple, yet elegant plant, the Alocasia Cucullata can add a feeling of tropical tranquility to any space where it’s kept.
Under ideal conditions — dappled light, warmth, humidity, well-draining soil — it will grow lush foliage in vivid green coloration.
To avoid fungal issues, avoid misting the leaves too often and avoid excessive watering that would keep the soil from drying properly or fast enough. Prevent exposing the plant to cold drafts or sources of excessive heat to prevent damage to foliage.
With these tips in mind, you can enjoy your tropical plant at its best for many years to come.