Do Alocasia Plants Go Dormant in Winter?
In their natural habitat, Alocasia plants don’t go dormant. It’s only when they’re grown outside of their native lands, we can observe how an Alocasia plant will go dormant during winter.
Alocasia plants are native to tropical and subtropical Asia and East Australia, so they’re used to warmth, light, and humidity. In temperate climates, they’re unable to survive outdoors all year round.
If you want your Alocasia to survive beyond the heights of spring and summer growth, you must learn how to take care of it during dormancy.
In this article, I will focus precisely on this issue andI will give you advice on how to care for an Alocasia in winter.
Do Alocasia Plants Die Off in Winter?
In its tropical and subtropical environment, Alocasia plants do not die off in winter. They grow all year round.
If you live in an area with cold winters, however, and you don’t keep your Alocasia indoors, yes, it will die off in winter.
But there’s a bit more to it than taking your Alocasia indoors in winter. There are also a few adjustments you’ll need to make to ensure that your Alocasia survives the winter months.
Come spring again, you’ll be able to either move your Alocasia plant outdoors or resume your normal plant care routine.
The moment at which you take your Alocasia indoors, also matters. To make sure you don’t make any mistakes, I will address all these issues when I discuss the requirements of dormant Alocasia plants.
Winter Dormancy in Alocasia Plants
Many plants will die back in winter and emerge again in spring. If you accidentally leave your Alocasia outdoors in cold weather or frost, it will simply die and not grow back.
Other plants will not die back but stop growing during winter and resume their normal growth in spring.
That’s also what happens to Alocasias that are overwintered indoors. But why do Alocasia plants go dormant in winter?
The short answer is that environmental conditions are no longer favorable for growth. More precisely, changes in temperature, light conditions, and humidity will affect the plant’s ability to continue growing.
In spring and summer, temperatures are high, and the plant receives natural sunlight for a large part of the day. That all changes in autumn when days become shorter and temperatures drop.
Humidity levels also change with the seasons, although humidity levels will fluctuate a lot even within the same season.
However, moving the plant indoors during winter usually means a dry environment with low humidity levels, which is another reason why an Alocasia might go dormant.
Dormancy will change how you should approach the watering needs of your Alocasia. It also has implications regarding fertilizing and repotting.
I’m going to discuss each of these aspects at more length further down in this article.
What is the Lowest Temperature for Alocasia Plant?
I mentioned how the moment you take your Alocasia plants indoors for the winter also matters. Do it too late and you risk damage to the plant, or worse, kill the plant entirely.
The temperature range for Alocasia plants is somewhere between 60 F and 80 F. Temperatures lower than 60 F can trigger dormancy. Temperatures lower than 50 F can downright damage the plant.
For Alocasia plants that are kept outdoors during the growth period, I encourage you to move them inside as soon as temperatures during the night are around 60 F.
By doing this, you will prevent potential temperature shock, tissue damage or even death from an unexpected dip in temperatures.
If you live in an area with cold winters, don’t forget to move all your cold-sensitive plants indoors if you don’t want them to die or get damaged.
Can Alocasia Plants Survive Frost?
No, an Alocasia plant will not survive frost. Anything below 50 F degrees is going to be bad for them. These are not even cold-resistant plants and need warmth all year round.
Even though they’ll enter a dormancy period that won’t make them resistant to cold weather. They must be overwintered in a room with temperatures preferably above 60 F.
Another thing that also matters is whether indoors the plant is exposed to sudden temperature fluctuations.
Even something as small as a cold draft that comes in through a window or a door can cause trouble.
An Alocasia that experiences a sudden cold exposure can go into temperature shock. This can result in foliage loss or drooping leaves.
Caring for Alocasia Plant in Winter
The changes brought about by going from the warm season to the cold season should be reflected in your Alocasia plant care routine as well.
There are a couple of adjustments that you should carry out to ensure that your Alocasia survives its winter slumber and comes back more vibrant in spring.
Here’s how to make the best out of your Alocasia’s winter dormancy:
Light becomes naturally scarce during autumn and winter, both because days become shorter but also because the weather turns bad.
Just because your Alocasia is dormant, it doesn’t mean it no longer needs light. Continue offering your Alocasia plenty of light exposure.
Place it in a bright location where it can receive natural light exposure during the day. In winter, you won’t need to worry that much about direct light exposure but do keep an eye on how much light the plant is getting.
Avoid placing it in a dark corner or deprive it from light just because there isn’t much light outdoors either.
In winter, we also tend to use more artificial light even during the day. Turns out Alocasias can benefit from those too, especially from fluorescent ones available in many office buildings.
In winter, evaporation rates might decrease but let’s say that they might not. You will still have an Alocasia that will not use as many resources as it does in summer. Therefore, the watering needs of the plant will also decrease.
Given this, there’s an increased risk for overwatering. Know that in winter your Alocasia will need less water, so you’ll need to decrease the frequency.
Watch for signs of the top layer of potting mix going dry before you water your Alocasia. Drooping leaves can also mean your Alocasia is in need of water or in need of more humidity.
Once spring comes along, you can resume your normal watering routine and watch how the plant will kick start its metabolism and put out new growth.
If you overwater your Alocasia during its dormancy you might accidentally kill off the plant. If the roots stay wet for too long, they can start rotting.
Signs of root rot include fungal growth on the surface of the potting mix. Potting mix that takes too long to dry may also give off a bad odor. The leaves of the Alocasia can start drooping because the roots can no longer absorb water.
If you suspect that root rot is a possible issue, repotting may become necessary if allowing the soil to dry and refraining from watering does not seem to be helping the problem.
Low temperatures will trigger dormancy in Alocasia plants. Indoors, you can maintain temperatures at levels acceptable for your Alocasia.
Don’t keep this plant in a room where cold drafts are a threat and avoid placing it near heating vents, neither will do any good to the plant.
Temperatures around 65 F and above are the best for an Alocasia and it will allow it to successfully survive the gray winter dormancy.
Don’t move your Alocasia outdoors at the first signs of spring. Not until there’s still a chance of sudden late frosts or sudden changes in temperature. Always wait for the weather to stabilize.
Indoor humidity levels aren’t really ideal for Alocasia plants. But you must do what you can to help maintain humidity at least within the average range.
You can try small tricks like placing your Alocasia in a kitchen or using a humidity tray to keep the plant’s immediate environment a bit more humid.
Winter is also the season when pests can attack your Alocasia, especially those sap-sucking insects that prefer dry conditions.
So, watch out for those too. When the plant is weakened it can’t fight off diseases as well as it would if it were stronger.
If you can, it’s worth investing in a humidifier, especially if the Alocasia plant you have is not the only humidity-craving plant you have growing in your home.
You don’t need to fertilize Alocasia plants during their dormancy. In fact, you can stop fertilizing as soon as autumn comes along. This too will signal to that plant that it’s time for its winter rest.
Continuing to fertilize even though autumn and winter will – at best – force the plant to continue growing even though it should be allowed into dormancy.
The plant might grow leggy, its leaves may become discolored and leaf margins may turn brown because of a build-up of fertilizer. You may even cause fertilizer burn.
In spring, you can resume fertilizing on a two-week or monthly schedule. Because the plant will start putting out new growth, fertilizing will help sustain their growth.
– Repotting / Pruning
Don’t repot your Alocasia while it’s in dormancy. Try to schedule repotting to spring. Unless there’s an emergency that can’t be postponed (the pot breaks or there’s a risk of plant death because of overwatering), leave repotting to spring.
You should also refrain from pruning or trimming your Alocasia during this time. You can remove dead leaves or leaves that have already dried off.
Pruning or repotting can disturb the plant from its dormancy, signaling that it needs to put out new growth. It can also induce shock or weaken the plant.
So there you have it – Alocasia plants go dormant during the winter to survive the inhospitable environmental conditions and resume their normal growth in spring.
During dormancy, these plants will do little to no growing and will have reduced watering needs. They’ll also need no fertilizing.
All the other aspects – adequate light, temperature, and humidity – should still be treated with importance for the plant.
In spring, you can resume normal Alocasia plant care and enjoy another season of spectacular growth.