Alocasia Plant Light Requirements
In its natural habitat, the Alocasia plant grows under the canopy of rainforest trees. Based on this, you’d think Alocasia plants are fine with not getting enough light. But that’s not the case.
Many Alocasia varieties grow tall and produce large leaves precisely because they receive enough sunlight to do so.
Because adequate light levels are so essential to these plants, I will discuss all aspects related to the light requirements of Alocasia plants including the signs of too much or too little light as well as the best location for an Alocasia in your home.
What Type of Light Do Alocasia Plants Need?
Alocasia plants grow best in bright natural light. The plant doesn’t need to be placed under direct sunlight. On the contrary, the leaves of the plant are prone to scorching.
But natural light may not be abundantly available in some rooms of your home. Luckily, artificial lights can be used in lieu of natural sunlight.
Therefore, Alocasia plants will grow well under both types of light:
Obviously, natural sunlight is the best source of light for Alocasia plants. As I mentioned, an Alocasia needs only indirect light, but bright light nonetheless.
Too little light and the plant will struggle with chlorophyll production. Too much direct light and the plant’s leaves can get burned.
If you think about the growing conditions of the Alocasia in its natural habitat, the plant is receiving light filtered by trees. Thus, filtered light or dappled light also works great for these plants.
Light filtered by sheer curtains also works well for an Alocasia. The easiest way to meet the light requirements of Alocasia plants is to place them in your brightest room while making sure it’s not under direct sunlight.
Your Alocasia will let you know if it’s getting too much or too little light. And I will discuss these symptoms further down in this article.
– Artificial Light
Alocasia plants love natural light, but it’s not the only type of light they can grow under. Certain types of artificial lights can also help this plant receive plenty of light, especially when natural light is not enough.
The plant can be helped by fluorescent lighting, but a much better alternative is LED grow lights. Whether you invest in an LED light bulb or an LED lamp, you can provide artificial light in the strength and wavelength that’s offered by natural light.
LED lights are the best option when it comes to artificial lighting for plants since they can offer all the red and blue light needed for plants and without emitting as much heat as fluorescent ones.
If the room in which you grow your Alocasia is deficient in light, grow lights can be used instead to provide enough light for a healthy growth and development.
Now that you know the types of lights Alocasia plants can grow under, I will discuss the symptoms and consequences of exposing Alocasia plants to excess direct light.
Signs of Too Much Light on Alocasia Plants
Placing your Alocasia in a location where it would be hit by direct sunlight is not advisable. If the plant receives too much direct sunlight it will showcase the following symptoms:
- Color bleaching out of the leaves or leaves turning yellow
- Scorched, browned leaves
- Drooping, wilting leaves in less severe cases
An Alocasia plant left in the sun will also get severely dehydrated because of the increased rate of evaporation. The damage often can be so bad that the plant can hardly recover.
It’s hard to say how long you can leave an Alocasia plant out in the sun. When the rays of the sun are very strong, even a couple of hours can cause serious damage.
If the plant receives direct light early in the morning when the rays of the sun are gentle or in the late afternoon, it’s not likely to hurt the plant.
Indoors, south-facing windows can be a concern in terms of direct light exposure, so you will need to be extra careful where you place your Alocasia in a south-facing room.
Direct light exposure is usually a much bigger concern for plants kept outdoors during spring or summer.
If you move your plants outdoors, make sure they’re placed in a location where they’re sheltered by direct sunlight.
Place them on a covered terrace that still receives some bright light or under a tree that can filter strong, direct light.
Signs of Lack of Light on Alocasia Plants
Alocasia plants also suffer if they’re forced to grow in the other extreme of the light spectrum – little or dim light.
Rooms without enough natural light or even suitable artificial light aren’t prime spots for this plant. Neither are offices, hallways or other locations deficient in light.
When an Alocasia plant is not getting enough light, it will showcase the following symptoms:
- Long, thin stems
- Small leaves
- Bleached, discolored or pale leaves
- Slow or stunted growth
When an Alocasia plant doesn’t receive enough light, its stems will grow taller in search of more light. This process is called etiolation.
The stems are weak and thin, unable to support the weight of large leaves. Leaves won’t even grow to their normal size, staying smaller and weaker.
When an Alocasia doesn’t get enough light, its leaves are unable to produce enough chlorophyll and the vibrant greens or other strong colors will fade, leaving the leaves pale and discolored.
With its energy depleted, the plant’s growth stalls, and the plant will not be able to reach its full size.
A weakened plant is also more prone to diseases and it’s unable to recover from potential pest infestations or other diseases.
When there isn’t enough light, even the potting mix of Alocasia plants take longer to dry. As a plant sensitive to overwatering, it’s not good for the roots to sit in wet soil for too long as root rot can become an issue.
Can Alocasia Plants Grow in Low-Light Conditions?
Some houseplants can adapt to low light conditions. Unfortunately, Alocasia plants aren’t really one of them.
Some varieties may be better able to tolerate less than ideal light conditions, while others will suffer greatly without enough light.
Sooner or later, your Alocasia will start showing symptoms of light deprivation that can range from elongated growth to discolored leaves.
Alocasia plants kept in low light are also more likely to suffer from root rot if their potting mix takes much longer to dry.
Saying that an Alocasia will grow in low light is a tall order for these plants. They will survive, but hardly grow, let alone thrive.
If the room where you’re keeping your Alocasia is not getting enough light and you don’t want to invest in artificial grow lights, try moving your Alocasia plant to a different location where it can receive more light.
Below, I will offer some tips on how to choose the best location for your Alocasia and which rooms in your home make some of the best spots for it.
How Long Can Alocasia Plant Survive Without Light?
With no light, there’s no photosynthesis, and without it plants will die. It’s hard to say if your Alocasia will survive or not survive after a certain number of days.
To some extent it depends how little light they get, whether they’re otherwise healthy plants, and whether they receive any artificial light that may be beneficial to them.
If you’ve placed an Alocasia in a dark office hallway that’s not even lit with fluorescent lights, you can expect it to show symptoms of light deprivation pretty soon, perhaps even as soon as a couple of days.
If the plant is shipped overnight in a box, it will probably not suffer greatly. If that shipping takes a few days, again, the plant will start showing symptoms.
I haven’t had the heart to actually test how long one of my Alocasia plants will survive without light, and after putting so much into their growth, I will steer away from these sorts of experiments.
What I can say with a high degree of certainty is that your Alocasia will not make it long if its light sources are completely shut off.
Therefore, make sure that any sun-loving plant of yours gets adequate levels of light throughout the day if you want them to thrive.
Now that you know more about the consequences of depriving your Alocasia of light, let’s see some of the locations that work best for these plants.
Where to Place Your Alocasia Plant?
I’ve already mentioned where you should place your Alocasia if you’re keeping them outdoors during summer or spring.
Indoors, however, you should pick a room that’s bright and gets ample amounts of light during the day.
I often see the recommendation to place an alocasia near a western or eastern facing window and I generally agree with that recommendation.
As for how near your Alocasia should be to the window, I would say near enough to enjoy the light but near enough to potentially get burned by direct light.
South-facing rooms are also an option. Just make sure that the room has sheer curtains and that you place the plant a couple of feet away from the window.
As for specific rooms that I recommend, there are two – bathroom and kitchen. Provided they both receive bright light during the day through a window.
The reason why these locations in your home make such great places for Alocasias is because they’re high in humidity compared to other rooms in your home.
They’re also warmer. And what better place than a bright, humid, and warm one for an Alocasia?
Alocasia plants need bright light conditions to develop their vibrant leaves and grow them to the sizes we all know they’re famous after.
Just like with watering Alocasia plants, avoiding extremes even in light requirements is essential to keep this plant happy.
Too much light and you end up burning the leaves. Too little and you end up causing stunted growth, small leaves, and discoloration.
Use the tips I discussed in finding the best location for your Alocasia plants. Don’t be afraid to move your Alocasia when it’s doing poorly in a given location and dare to make use of artificial lights when necessary.