While the foliage of most Alocasia varieties is intriguing, there’s something special about the Alocasia Cuprea that makes it stand out as the ‘Jewel Alocasia’.
The scale patterns typical of the Silver Dragon or Green Dragon Alocasia are less pronounced; the leaves of the Cuprea have a metallic shimmer to them and reddish undersides.
The appeal of the leaves doesn’t stop at their texture, the colors of the leaves are also magnificent and can range from coppery-green to deep green and even black.
Follow my tips below on how to take care of the Alocasia Cuprea.
Size & Growth
The compact size of the Alocasia Cuprea, makes this plant a great candidate for a houseplant. It stands at around a foot tall, while its leaves can get even bigger.
Because the plant thieves in a humid environment, it’s also a suitable terrarium plant. It’s a bit more sensitive to moisture than its fellow Alocasias, but otherwise its care requirements aren’t that different from other Alocasia varieties.
As long as it’s indirect light, the Alocasia Cuprea can be exposed to bright light. In fact, the coloration of the leaves can be influenced by how much or how little light the plant receives.
If the plant is exposed to direct light, the leaves can turn yellow or brownish from scorching. On the other extreme, lack of light can lead to chlorophyll loss, which turns the leaves pale.
Indoors, keep the plant a few feet away from a north or east-facing window and move closer to the window in winter to maximize light exposure.
Outdoors, keep the plant under a tree that offers it a bit of shade during the parts of the day when the sun is the strongest.
I mentioned how this Alocasia variety is a bit more moisture sensitive than other Alocasias. For this reason, I don’t recommend that you soak the soil with water. Instead, aim to water without deep soaking.
Always test the soil moistness before watering. Poke a finger into the soil to see if it’s moist or dry. Ideally, the soil should be slightly dry.
You also don’t want to dry out the soil either, because that too can be dangerous for your Alocasia.
In short, the Alocasia Cuprea has moderate watering needs. Extremes should be avoided — soaking the soil in water or allowing it to completely dry out.
With the plant being so sensitive to overwatering, it follows that the potting mix should be one that doesn’t retain water, or it isn’t prone to compaction.
Look for commercially available potting mixes designed for tropical plants or potting mixes designed for succulents.
Any mix that’s loose and well-draining will keep the Alocasia Cuprea happy. Mixes that have perlite, peat, orchid barks, coconut coir, compost in their composition are the likeliest to fit the needs of the Cuprea.
With a soil that isn’t prone to becoming saturated with water, occasional overwatering mistakes can be counter-balanced so that the roots of the Cuprea don’t sit in excess water.
Temperature & Humidity
The temperature range in which the Alocasia Cuprea will grow without issues is between 50 F and 85 F. This range will be easy to maintain indoors, but not outdoors, especially in temperate climates.
To avoid damage caused by cold weather, move your Alocasia indoors in the fall. Don’t wait around for frosts or low temperatures. Take the plant inside as soon as temperatures are getting below 60 F.
As for humidity, it’s no secret that this plant thrives in a very humid environment, somewhere in the 80-90% range. This level of humidity is impossible to attain in a home, so investing in a humidifier will be your best bet to keep your Alocasia Cuprea happy.
There are conflicting opinions on how much fertilizer is needed to keep this Alocasia variety happy. I’d argue that you’ll need to check and see how demanding or undemanding your Alocasia is in terms of fertilizer.
I wouldn’t say that it’s a heavy feeder plant, but it does need some boost during the growing season.
I recommend starting with a liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Use it monthly at first, then see how your plant does. If needed, increase the frequency to twice a month.
Stop fertilizing in the fall and don’t fertilize the plant during the winter season.
Potting & Repotting
The pot in which you plant the Alocasia Cuprea should not be too large. The potting mix in an oversized pot will take too long to moisten and then dry, potentially leading to overwatering issues.
When the Alocasia has visibly overgrown its pot, you can transfer it to a pot that’s one or a maximum of two sizes bigger than the original pot.
Repotting should be scheduled for spring, when the plant is coming out of its dormancy. Normally, you’d only need to repot the plant after 2 years.
Repotting also has the benefit of replacing the old potting mixture with a fresh mix.
How to Propagate Alocasia Cuprea?
Alocasia Cuprea is propagated through root division when repotting the plant. As the plant matures, it creates baby offsets which can be divided at the root level from the parent plant and grown separately.
Usually, you can gently take the roots apart or use pruning shears to divide clumps that are too intertwined.
Once you’ve created your divisions, the next step is to plant them in their own pots using the same potting mix as for the mother plant.
Maintain average moisture levels in the soil and keep in a warm location, out of direct sunlight. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a new Alocasia Cuprea plant.
A small-growing variety, the Alocasia Cuprea will surely win you over with its dark, coppery green leaves that have a satin-like texture.
It’s not the easiest variety to grow, but you can manage its needs if you’re careful about watering, moisture levels, sun exposure and soil.
Once you get the basics down, you’ll find it’s not at all difficult to keep your Alocasia happy and thriving.