Alocasia Odora Species Profile & Care Guide

Alocasia Odora, often known as the Elephant Ear or Night-Scented Lily, is a hardy tropical perennial known for its large, heart-shaped foliage, and distinctive fragrance.

This plant provides a touch of the tropics to any indoor or outdoor space, and is fairly low-maintenance, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Alocasia Odora

Profile Overview

Alocasia Odora, a spectacular tropical plant, is popular in many gardens and indoor environments.

  • Common Name: Giant Upright Elephant Ear or Night-scented Lily
  • Scientific Name: Alocasia Odora
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin/Native Region: This plant is indigenous to East and Southeast Asia.
  • Growth Habit: Alocasia Odora is a perennial herb species that typically grows large, lush leaves and can reach an average height of 2 to 3 meters.


Alocasia Odora, often referred to as the Elephant Ear or Night-scented Lily, is known for its striking beauty. This plant adds a tropical touch to any space with its large, glossy heart-shaped leaves.

The plant exhibits an impressive stature, but what truly sets it apart is its leaves. They are generally dark green on the upper surface and lighter underneath.

The impressive leaf display and its upright growth habit make this a bold focal point in any setting whether indoors or out.

Leaf Size

The Alocasia Odora, often referred to as the Giant Taro or Elephant’s Ear, really lives up to its name when it comes to its leaf size. This plant boasts impressive foliage, with each leaf measuring between 1 and 2 feet in length on average.

However, under optimum care and environmental conditions, the leaves can grow remarkably larger, reaching lengths of up to 4 feet.

The leaves of this plant are not just large but are also quite broad, often roughly the same in width as they are in length, giving them a bold, rounded appearance.

Leaf Shape

The Alocasia Odora has a distinct leaf shape that sets it apart from other plants in the Alocasia family.

The leaves are said to resemble the shape of an elephant ear, hence one of its common names: ‘Elephant Ear Plant.’ The leaves are broadly ovate, meaning they are wider near the base granting them a heart-like shape.

The tip of the leaf generally tapers to give a pointed end. This leaf shape, together with the impressive size, allows for a dramatic display, making it a valuable addition to any indoor or outdoor garden space.

Leaf Color

In the Alocasia Odora, the leaf color truly stands out as an aesthetic gem in your garden or indoor collection. Its leaves boast a lush, deep green hue that has a glossy finish, making this plant a visual treat.

In some cases, the underside of the leaf may present a lighter green, adding a beautiful contrast. However, certain conditions such as overwatering, lack of sunlight, or nutrient deficiency may cause yellowing or spotting on the leaves.

To maintain the vibrant green, it’s crucial to provide the plant with proper care, including the right amount of light, water, and nutrients.

Stem Characteristics

The Alocasia odora, unlike many other Alocasia species, is known for its robust and sturdy stems that give the plant excellent upright growth.

The stems are slender yet firm, radiating a light green color that complements the vibrant green leaves.

In a mature plant, the stems can be several feet long, supporting the large leaves in a vertical orientation.

This architectural structure of the stems significantly contributes to the aesthetic uniqueness of the Alocasia odora, making it an attractive houseplant or outdoor ornamental addition in suitable climates.

Mature Size

The Alocasia Odora, often referred to as the Giant Elephant Ear or Night-Scented Lily, can grow extraordinarily large in the right conditions.

Fully mature Alocasia Odora plants can reach a height of 8 to 10 feet, with a similar spread. Each leaf alone can grow to between 2-3 feet in length and width.

Much like elephants, which the plant is commonly compared to, it grows steadily and likes to have plenty of room.

These large sizes make it an impressive specimen in any garden or indoor collection, provided you have the space to accommodate its broad leaves and tall stems.

Care Requirements

Alocasia Odora, like all plants, has specific care requirements that help it grow and thrive. Tailoring your care routine to meet these requirements will ensure the health and longevity of your plant.

These needs include parameters like the right amount of light, proper watering frequency, preferred humidity levels, a specific temperature range, and suitable soil type with optimal pH levels.

Successfully meeting these needs requires both understanding these parameters and their significance to the overall plant health, as well as implementing practices that maintain them.

Comprehensive knowledge of these care requirements is crucial for any green thumb hoping to add Alocasia Odora to their plant collection.

Light Needs

The Alocasia Odora appreciates bright, indirect sunlight. Too much exposure to direct sun could burn its leaves and cause color fading, while insufficient light can lead to weak growth and a lack of vibrancy.

It thrives best in a north or east-facing window or a location that receives filtered sunlight. Additionally, rotating your plant occasionally ensures all sides receive an even distribution of light.

Remember, lighting conditions can greatly influence the overall health and growth rate of your Alocasia Odora, so finding that balance between too much and too little can be paramount in maintaining a healthy, happy plant.

Watering Frequency

Alocasia Odora demands a specific watering routine for optimal growth. Typically, it prefers consistent moisture and does not tolerate drought well.

It is advisable to maintain a watering frequency of once or twice a week during the growing season, reducing to once every couple of weeks during winter.

Remember, the watering frequency may also fluctuate depending on the environmental conditions, specifically the humidity and temperature.

However, be cautious not to overwater, since excess water can lead to root rot, a common issue with these plants.

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before reapplying water. This approach encourages robust root development.

Humidity Preferences

The Alocasia Odora thrives in a humid environment, much like its natural rainforest habitat. Indoor plants often struggle with low humidity, especially during winter when central heating can cause the air to be dry.

So, maintain an indoor humidity level of 50% or higher to ensure the plant’s well-being. Mist the leaves regularly, place the pot over a tray of moist pebbles, or use a room humidifier.

However, be cautious not to overdo the moisture as overly saturated air can encourage the growth of mold and fungi. A balance is key for the Alocasia Odora’s optimal humidity preference.

Temperature Range

The Alocasia Odora, also known as the Giant Taro, prefers a warm, tropical climate. It thrives in temperatures in the range of 65 to 85°F (18 to 29°C). These indoor plants suffer when exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

As it’s native to warm regions of Asia, it is used to consistent temperatures throughout the year, both day and night. Intense fluctuations can stress the plant, affecting its vibrant, lush appearance.

In winter months or colder climates, it’s critical to maintain its preferred temperature range indoors.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

The Alocasia Odora favors a well-draining soil mix. A potting mix designed for houseplants, which typically contains a combination of peat, perlite, and sand, is usually suitable for this plant.

The soil should be slightly acidic with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. This plant thrives in rich, organic soil that mimics its native tropical environment.

However, it is quite flexible and can adjust to slightly less than ideal soil conditions. Remember that overwatering can lead to root rot, so be sure the soil drains well.

Growth & Propagation

Alocasia Odora grows at a moderate pace, usually achieving its full size within a year or two. They prefer it when their roots are slightly cramped in the pot, which works well with their tuberous root system.

When it comes to propagation, the most common method is division. It is vital to propagate during the growing season, which is typically in the warmer months.

The plant also requires special care while potting and repotting, particularly concerning soil type, pot size, and ensuring the plant remains free from rot and other diseases.

More knowledge on these propagation methods will aid in maintaining and encouraging the healthy growth of this unique plant.

Growth Rate

The Alocasia Odora, also known as the Giant Upright Elephant Ear, is a fast-growing plant under the right conditions.

It is known to reach maturity within two to three years but can exhibit high rates of growth during the active growing season, which is typically in the warmer spring and summer months.

Additionally, the growth rate can be influenced by factors such as light, temperature, humidity, and the quality of the soil.

Proper care, including regular watering, adequate light, and necessary fertilization, can enhance the plant’s growth rate.

Propagation Methods

In the case of Alocasia Odora, propagation is commonly done by dividing the rhizome, a method that’s easiest to execute during repotting.

To do this, carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently separate any sections of the rhizome that have a few roots and leaves attached, ensuring each section has at least one node or point of growth.

These divisions can be directly planted into new pots filled with well-draining soil. Always remember to keep the newly potted plant warm, humid, and in indirect light as it establishes, to promote sufficient growth and recovery after the propagation procedure.

Season of Active Growth

The Alocasia Odora, or Giant Upright Elephant Ear, experiences its primary growing season from late spring to early autumn. It’s during these warm, more humid months that the plant will produce new foliage and grow in size the most rapidly.

Be sure to provide extra care during this time, with regular watering and feeding as the plant’s metabolism will be at its peak. During winter months, growth slows down significantly.

It’s essential to reduce watering and cease fertilization during this dormant period to prevent overwatering and to mimic the plant’s natural growth cycle.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

When it comes to potting and repotting your Alocasia Odora, it is important to count with a spacious pot that allows the roots to grow comfortably.

A well-draining pot is also essential to prevent root rot. High-quality, organic potting soil should be used to ensure the plant gets the nutrients it needs.

The Alocasia Odora should ideally be repotted every two to three years, or when you notice the roots outgrowing the current pot. Make sure to handle the plant carefully during the repotting process to avoid damage to the roots or leaves.

Potential Issues

When caring for the Alocasia Odora, you might run into a few complications, which typically manifest in the form of pests, diseases, and various sensitivities.

Undeniably, experience comes with its unique set of problems, but foreknowledge about these potential adversaries can help you be more equipped to deal with these issues promptly and efficiently.

From spider mites to leaf blight, the range of problems can be vast. Other sensitivities, such as the plant’s reaction to incorrect light or moisture conditions, are also significant elements to be aware of for the successful growing of the Alocasia Odora plant.

Common Pests

As with most houseplants, the Alocasia Odora may be susceptible to a variety of pests. Regular careful inspection of your plant can help in early detection and control.

Common pests you should look out for include spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, and scale insects. These pests typically manifest as small discolored patches on the leaves or a sticky residue on the plant or surrounding surface.

Organic insecticides or a mild soap solution can be a good non-toxic starting point for pest control. In severe infestations, you may need to prune infected leaves to prevent further spreading.

Common Diseases

Alocasia Odora is somewhat resistant to many diseases but can occasionally experience a few. The most common include the root, crown, and stem rots usually caused by overwatering and poor draining soil.

Fungal diseases like leaf spot and powdery mildew can also affect Alocasia Odora plants, presenting as specks or powdery white substance on the leaves.

Furthermore, bacterial diseases like leaf blight can be an issue, characterized by yellowing leaves with browning edges.

To maintain a disease-free plant, it’s vital to ensure proper watering practices, good airflow, and clean sanitary conditions around the plant. Regular inspections can allow early detection and treatment.

Other Sensitivities

The Alocasia Odora plant is one species known for its sensitivities to certain environmental factors. These plants are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, particularly shifts in light, temperature, and humidity levels.

They also show a strong reaction to overwatering and poor drainage that can lead to root rot, leaf yellowness, and wilting.

Similarly, a sudden drop in temperature can cause dormancy or even lead to plant death. Therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to their environment and make necessary adjustments promptly to maintain the health and growth of your Alocasia Odora.

Special Features & Uses

Alocasia Odora not only adds a striking element to your indoor or outdoor plant collection, but also offers several unique uses and features.

Known for its large, heart-shaped leaves and unusual aesthetic, it is highly appreciated as an ornamental plant for living rooms, patios, and gardens.

Additionally, in some cultures, their large leaves serve utilitarian purposes such as wrapping material. It’s important to note, though, that Alocasia Odora contains calcium oxalate crystals, making it toxic to pets and humans when ingested.

The spectacular growth and stunning ornamental values of this unique plant, effectively outweigh the toxicity concern, provided it is handled with care.

Unique Characteristics

The Alocasia Odora, also known as Night-Scented Lily or Giant Upright Elephant Ear, is truly unique in its family.

Not only is it admired for its sizeable, arrow-shaped, glossy dark green leaves, but it is also appreciated for the intoxicating fragrance it emits, especially during the evening.

Furthermore, this plant is known for its resilience and adaptability, which make it an excellent option for those new to plant care.

Its ability to grow in a wide range of conditions and its spectacular visual interest make it a standout addition to any indoor or outdoor garden.

Decorative Use

The Alocasia Odora, with its distinctive leaf shape and vibrant green color, serves a pivotal decor role in designing both indoors and outdoors.

The prominence of this plant aids in amplifying the overall aesthetic appeal of landscapes, balconies, terraces, and interior spaces.

Its large, heart-shaped foliage provides a dramatic, tropical touch, making it an excellent centerpiece in garden arrangements or an ornamental potted plant within your home.

Given their imposing size and unique leaf structure, they are also often used in commercial spaces like lobbies, restaurants, and offices for a refreshing and vibrant aesthetic.

However, it’s important to consider its light and space requirements when integrating it into your design.


The Alocasia Odora, while adding aesthetic value to your surroundings, comes with a downside – its toxicity. Every part of this plant, especially the roots, contains calcium oxalate crystals.

Ingestion can cause severe irritation of the mouth, throat, and stomach in humans and pets. So while it’s a beautiful plant to have around, it should be kept out of reach from children and pets.

Proper handling, including wearing gloves when pruning or repotting the plant, can protect the skin from any possible irritation from the sap.

Therefore, while enjoying its beauty, remember to also respect its potent toxicity.

Additional Tips & Tricks

The successful propagation and care of the Alocasia Odora involves more than just meeting its basic needs, you need detailed information. To keep your plant looking lush and ensure it achieves full maturity, consider these additional tips.

From how to use a perfect blend of fertilizer to enhance growth, to how to carry out proper pruning and maintenance, there’s a lot you need to know.

Additionally, because of the plant’s size and weight, knowing how to use support structures effectively is important. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to care for your Alocasia Odora and enjoy its beauty for a long time.

Fertilization Recommendations

To keep your Alocasia Odora thriving, it’s recommended to provide regular feeding during the warm growing season (Spring-Summer).

Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half the strength suggested on the package. Fertilize your plant once a month.

This will provide the necessary nutrients for the plant’s growth and leaf production. Excessive fertilization can lead to burnt foliage, so it’s crucial not to overdo it.

In the winter months, when the plant’s growth slows down, cease feeding to allow it to rest. It’s also necessary to flush out any excess salts from the soil occasionally, as a build-up could harm the plant.

Pruning & Maintenance

Pruning and maintenance of Alocasia Odora are integral to its well-being. As an owner, you’ll need to remove dead or yellowing foliage to encourage new growth and keep the plant looking its best.

Additionally, if there is overcrowding within the plant, judicious pruning can help improve airflow and prevent diseases. The surplus of leaves can be easily cut at the base without affecting the rest of the Alocasia.

In terms of maintenance, keep an eye out for any signs of pests or diseases, and remember to wipe down the large leaves occasionally to avoid dust accumulation, which hinders photosynthesis.

Support Structures

When it comes to Alocasia Odora, or the giant upright elephant ear, a support structure might not be immediately necessary. This robust plant stands upright on its own thanks to the strength of its stems.

However, in some cases, a support structure could be useful to help the plant maintain its upward growth and prevent the stems from bending or breaking under the weight of the large leaves.

These structures can be as simple as a basic stake or a more elaborate trellis. Remember to be gentle and careful when attaching the plant to the structure to prevent any damage to the stems or leaves.

Alocasia   Houseplants   Updated: November 11, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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