How Fast do Alocasia Plants Grow?
Alocasia plants are known as fast growers. They put out new leaves often and they can reach heights of 8-10 feet.
Not all Alocasia plants will grow fast. Only the ones that are kept in ideal conditions. Also, potted Alocasia plants that are kept indoors will have a slower growth rate compared to Alocasia plants grown outdoors.
Besides this distinction between growing an Alocasia indoors versus outdoors, there are at least ten other factors that can affect the growth rate of Alocasia plants.
In this article, I will highlight these factors and explain how they influence the growth rate of Alocasia plants.
Growth Rate for Alocasia Plants
Alocasia plants do most of their growing in spring and summer. Alocasia plants that are grown outside can have a growth rate of 3-5 feet per year.
This is not the case for indoor or potted Alocasia plants, which grow at a rate of 1-2 feet per year. The factors I discuss below account for this difference in growth rate. But also the fact that these plants will obviously do their best growth in their natural habitat.
Knowing the rate at which your Alocasia is expected to grow can also shed light on some problems your plant may be facing.
For example, if your Alocasia has stopped growing, you might need to check if you’re meeting all its requirements.
Likewise, if you notice that your Alocasia puts out only thin stems and small leaves, it may be because it’s not getting enough light.
So knowing how fast an Alocasia grows can also help you notice problems that are linked to something not being right in the plant’s environment.
10 Factors that Affect the Growth of Alocasia Plants
When you read about the plant care requirements of Alocasia plants, you may not think much about how all these factors will influence growth rate.
From the level of light to the type of potting mix you use, each and every factor has its role in sustaining the healthy development of the plant. And that includes how fast it can grow.
The factors I discuss below might not be new to you but it never hurts to have a refresher on the basics of Alocasia plant care, especially if your plant has been struggling.
Light is one of the most essential sources of energy for plants. Without light, there’s no photosynthesis, and without photosynthesis, there’s no plant growth or development.
Alocasia plants are said to have moderate light requirements. In more precise terms, Alocasia plants will thrive in bright light but only if it’s indirect.
If exposed to direct sunlight, especially the strong kind, the leaves of Alocasia plants will scorch or get discolored, depending on the intensity of the light.
If deprived of light, the plant will either stop growing or try to reach for more light by growing longer but thinner stems that can’t support themselves, let alone grow any sizable leaves.
The easiest way to meet the light requirements of an Alocasia is to place it in a bright room that gets plenty of sunlight during the day.
If that’s a south-facing room, it’s great. Just make sure to place the plant a couple of feet away from the window. Sheer curtains are also useful in filtering the light so it’s not too strong for an Alocasia placed closer to a window.
You don’t need southern exposure for Alocasia plants, a western or easter exposure is an optimal choice.
What you should avoid is to place an Alocasia in a dark corner, dark hallway, staircase or any other place with scarce natural lighting.
Alocasia plants, however, can grow even under artificial lighting. Fluorescent lights and LED grow lights can be used to make up for the lack of natural light.
And remember that an Alocasia plant will show symptoms of light deprivation if it’s not getting enough light. These are the symptoms you should watch for:
- Slow growth or no growth at all
- Leaves losing their colors
- Leggy plant growth
- Small leaf size
When light is low, even the potting mix of Alocasia plants can take too long to dry. Root issues are more likely to occur when this happens.
I’m going to start immediately with the type of potting mix that’s not right for your Alocasia plant – regular potting soil.
Heavy soils that get saturated with water and take too long to dry are not going to be helpful in achieving normal growth rates for your Alocasia.
The longer the plant’s roots sit in wet soil, the higher the chances for them to start rotting. If that happens, your plant will no longer be able to absorb nutrients at a normal rate, and its growth will slow.
Potting mixes that are suitable for Alocasia plants include:
- Well-draining potting mixes
- Potting mixes that don’t get saturated with water and only become moist
- Substrates that are loose and well aerated to allow air to circulate around the roots
- Soil with organic matter content
Potting mixes for tropical or aroid plants are suitable for Alocasia plants as well. These potting mixes usually have coconut coir, peat moss, orchid bark, perlite and other such well-draining substrates in their composition.
A potting mix that sustains healthy root development will sustain healthy plant development as well.
A good potting mix can also help mitigate the effects of accidental overwatering. However, just because you’re planted your Alocasia in a fast-draining potting mix, it doesn’t mean you can get overzealous with the watering can.
Another factor that can influence how fast Alocasia plants will grow is a correct watering schedule. If you overwater, you risk root rot. If you don’t water enough, you risk dehydration.
So how to maintain a good watering balance? And is there any trick to it?
What I do to make sure I give my Alocasia plenty of water without causing root rot is this: I water the soil uniformly until I see water coming out at the base of the pot.
I stop watering, empty the saucer and then wait until the top layer of the potting mix is about to go dry before I water again.
You need to make sure the pot you’re using is fitted with drain holes, otherwise excess water has no way of escaping.
Beside the frequency and amount of water I use, I also pay attention to the quality and the temperature of water.
In terms of water quality, try to avoid using chlorinated water. You can use tap water if you allow it to aerate overnight, which will help chlorine gasses to escape.
As for the temperature of the water, use room temperature water. If the water is very cold or very hot, it will cause shock to the plant.
Avoid watering Alocasia plants from overhead. Too much moisture on the leaves can cause fungal diseases to develop.
Don’t let the potting mix go completely dry and don’t water more often than the plant needs it. The potting mix should only stay moist and never stay wet for too long.
As you can see, the potting mix and the watering of your Alocasia are interrelated and you need to pay attention to both for a successful plant growth.
Alocasia plants need fertilizing to put out vibrant leaves. Their relatively fast growth rate demands a higher nutrient uptake, which the potting mix alone may not be able to support.
Use a balanced, liquid fertilizer and fertilize monthly or every two weeks, depending on the size and maturity of your Alocasia.
Be mindful that overfertilizing your Alocasia will not help it grow faster. On the contrary, adding too much fertilizer or too often can easily burn the roots of the plant.
Follow the fertilizer dilution instructions on the label and fertilize only on moist soil.
Another important factor for Alocasia plants is humidity. This plant thrives in high humidity, which is a problem if humidity levels in your home are low.
Increasing humidity levels for Alocasia should be a priority for you if you want the plant to grow at a faster rate. Lack of humidity prevents healthy foliage.
One way to successfully increase humidity is to invest in a humidifier. Another way is to move your Alocasia to a room with higher humidity levels like a kitchen, for example.
Using DIY methods like a humidity tray or misting the plant on the regular can also help.
Alocasia plants are warmth-loving plants. They’re sensitive to cold and don’t survive in temperatures below 50 F. The temperature range that works well for them is between 60 F and 80 F.
On the lower end of this range, the plant may not grow as fast, while on the higher end, it may grow faster.
Growing this plant outdoors in areas where winters are cold is not possible. Alocasia plants need to be overwintered indoors.
But just because your plant is indoors during winter, it doesn’t mean it can’t be affected by the cold. Something as banal as a cold draft can induce temperature shock.
In winter, Alocasias don’t really do any growing because the environmental conditions are no longer as favorable to them – low light, low humidity, lower temperatures will trigger the plant’s dormancy.
– Pot Size
The size of the pot is another factor that can favor or hinder the growth rate of Alocasia plants. While these plants don’t mind being a bit pot-bound, they do need to be transplanted to larger pots if the roots get too big for the current pot.
Use a pot that’s one size bigger and schedule repotting to spring, when the plant’s metabolism is in high gear.
I would argue that even the type of pot that you use can have an influence on healthy growth. For example, terracotta pots are better at absorbing excess moisture, keeping the roots healthier.
As I mentioned, seasonal changes will trigger either growth or dormancy in Alocasia plants. In spring and summer, when there’s plenty of light, temperatures are warm. Alocasia plants do most of their growing because of the favorable conditions.
In autumn and winter, days become shorter and temperatures drop, slowing or halting the growth rate of your Alocasia.
For Alocasia plants, pruning isn’t something they often need. But even a little pruning can go a long way in maintaining healthy growth and leaf output.
Trimming away leggy growths in spring or cutting down older, yellow leaves can divert energy into putting out healthier leaves and stems and focusing growth.
Pruning should not be done in winter or autumn, and each time you use any tools on your Alocasia, make sure they cut well (you don’t want to damage the plant) and that they are clean and sanitized.
Any diseases your Alocasia plant gets, it needs to divert energy into fighting those diseases. From pests to fungal infections and viruses, an Alocasia that struggles to fight off diseases will also struggle to put out new growth.
I’m a firm believer in disease prevention because many plant diseases and pest problems can be difficult to treat, especially in advanced stages.
Monitor your Alocasia for diseases, familiarize yourself with the type of pests that attack Alocasia plants (e.g., spider mites, aphids, thrips, scale, etc.), their symptoms, and the remedies you need to apply.
An Alocasia that is weakened by pests and diseases will not grow as fast as a healthy plant.
Alocasia plants are known to grow around one or two feet per year when grown indoors. Outdoors this number is higher.
A slow growth rate or no growth at all is indicative of the fact that your Alocasia just doesn’t like the environment that it’s being kept in.
Going over all the factors that can influence the growth rate of this plant can shed light on where exactly the problem lies.
Once you’ve identified the most likely culprit, you should make changes to meet the demands of your Alocasia.
A couple of weeks after implementing the necessary changes, you’re likely to notice that your Alocasia is doing much better than before.