Alocasia Sanderiana (Kris Plant) Species Profile & Care Guide

Alocasia Sanderiana, commonly known as the Kris Plant, is a powerful and dramatic houseplant. Famous for its uniquely shaped foliage with striking white veins, this plant is highly desirable among houseplant enthusiasts.

This article provides a comprehensive profile and care guide to help you nurture this tropical beauty in your own indoor jungle.

Alocasia Sanderiana

Profile Overview

  • Common Name: Alocasia Sanderiana is more commonly known as Kris Plant, or sometimes referred to as Velvet Cardboard Alocasia. It’s admired for its distinctive, bold foliage.
  • Scientific Name: The scientific name for Kris Plant is Alocasia Sanderiana.
  • Family: The Kris Plant belongs to the Araceae family, which comprises mainly of plants that have simple, broad leaves and are most commonly found in tropical climates.
  • Origin/Native Region: It is a tropical plant that originated in the Philippines. This rainforest plant thrives in warm, humid conditions.
  • Growth Habit: The Kris Plant has a rosette growth habit, with large, glossy, arrow-shaped leaves. These plants typically reach a height of 2-3 feet and sometimes even higher.


Alocasia Sanderiana, also known as the Kris Plant, is renowned for its dramatic and tropical appeal. Its appearance is characterized by robust arrowhead-shaped leaves, which are dark, glossy green with prominent white veining.

The reverse of the leaves is a striking contrast with a deep purple hue. Its ornamental presence, reminiscent of an abstract painting, certainly sets it apart from the usual houseplants.

But, it’s not just about aesthetics; every feature of the Kris Plant serves a biological purpose, making it an excellent study in plant anatomy and a testament to nature’s artistry.

Leaf Size

In terms of leaf size, the Alocasia Sanderiana, or Kris Plant, offers large, impressive foliage. The leaves typically measure between 20 to 70 centimeters in length, adding a bold and distinctive look to your indoor or outdoor garden.

Being one of the plant’s primary attractions, these large leaves bear the stunning patterns that make the Kris Plant a popular household choice.

Keep in mind that your plant’s leaf size could vary based on its growing conditions. Proper care and attention can help maximize leaf size to bring out the true beauty of your Alocasia Sanderiana specimen.

Leaf Shape

The leaf shape of the Alocasia Sanderiana, often known as the Kris plant, is truly extraordinary, one of the main reasons for its popoularity among plant enthusiasts.

Each leaf of this magnificent plant is shaped in a unique form that can be best described as a mix between an arrowhead and a heart.

The leaves are deeply lobed, somewhat similar to scalloped edges, featuring strong veins that create a beautiful, almost skeletal pattern.

This leaf structure contributes to a very ornamental appeal and blends well with contemporary as well as rustic decor settings. This feature is surely an appealing factor while considering plants for decorative purposes.

Leaf Color

The Alocasia Sanderiana (Kris Plant) features strikingly unique leaf colors that create its visual impact. The plant dons dark, glossy green leaves that are characterized by outstanding white or silver veins, earning it its nickname, the “Polly African Mask”.

The under part of their leaf blades shows off a captivating purplish-bronze hue, adding to the plant’s exotic charm. Bear in mind that the leaf color can appear more vibrant under optimum light conditions.

In low light, leaf colors might lose some of their intensity. Therefore, lightning plays a crucial role in enhancing your Kris Plant’s beauty.

Stem Characteristics

The stems of Alocasia Sanderiana, commonly referred to as the Kris plant, are a noteworthy feature. They are robust and upright and act as a firm support structure, holding the large leaves effectively.

The stems feature a smooth and somewhat glossy texture. They are typically a deep green matching the leaf color. As the Kris plant matures, the sturdy stems can grow quite long and may require some form of support to stay upright.

In some conditions, particularly high humidity, the stems may produce “dewdrops” – a harmless natural phenomena where moisture is secreted from the surface of the stem.

Mature Size

The Alocasia Sanderiana, commonly known as the Kris Plant, typically grows up to a mature size of approximately one to two feet tall while kept indoors.

The plant doesn’t usually grow much larger than this, making it a suitable choice for small to medium-sized room decoration. The leaves of this plant species can reach up to 8-15 inches in length.

The mature sizing depends greatly on the care and environment it is given, with direct sunlight and warm, humid conditions being optimal for the plant’s full growth potential.

Care Requirements

Caring for the Alocasia Sanderiana requires a moderate amount of attention, particularly when it comes to light, water, humidity, temperature, and soil conditions.

Like any plant species, it has particular preferences that need to be met for it to thrive. The right equilibrium between these conditions will result in a healthy, vibrant Kris plant that’s sure to impress.

Whether you’re a seasoned indoor gardener or just starting your green-thumb journey, understanding the specific needs of this exotic species is crucial to its successful cultivation.

Let’s explore each requirement in more detail so you can provide optimal care for your Kris plant.

Light Needs

The Alocasia Sanderiana, or Kris Plant, thrives best under bright, indirect sunlight. High intensity direct sunlight can scorch and damage its foliage, whereas too little light can stunt its growth and lead to dull coloration.

The perfect spot for this plant inside your home would be near an east or west-facing window, where it can enjoy morning or late afternoon sunlight. You can also place it a few feet away from a south-facing window.

If the natural light condition is suboptimal, fluorescent light environment can be a suitable alternative.

Watering Frequency

The Alocasia Sanderiana requires consistent and regulated watering to thrive. It is quite sensitive to overwatering, therefore it’s best to keep the soil uniformly moist but not waterlogged.

During its growing season, typically the warmer months, you should water the plant approximately once a week. In contrast, in the cooler months, reduce the watering frequency to around once every two weeks.

Allow the top 1-2 inches of the soil to dry out between watering. Consistent misting is also beneficial due to the plant’s love for high humidity.

Always ensure good drainage to prevent water stagnation, as this can lead to problems like root rot.

Humidity Preferences

Alocasia Sanderiana, also known as the Kris Plant, favors a highly humid environment. This preference stems from its native habitat, the tropical rainforests of the Philippines, where frequent rain and dense vegetation create elevated humidity levels throughout the year.

In your home or garden, strive to mimic these conditions. This can be achieved by placing a tray of water near the plant, regularly misting it, or using a room humidifier.

Another efficient method is by grouping it with other plants, which naturally increases moisture levels. Without sufficient humidity, the Kris Plant’s leaves may become brown and curly, signaling distress.

Temperature Range

The Alocasia Sanderiana, also known as the Kris Plant, thrives ideally in temperate zones between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 29 degrees Celsius).

Although this plant can tolerate slightly lower temperatures, it should never be exposed to freezing conditions.

These tropical plants are indeed quite sensitive to cold, and anything below 50 degrees can lead to damage or the plant’s demise.

For indoor plants, maintain room temperatures and avoid drafty areas like air vents or doors that can have sudden temperature drops.

In summary, a consistently warm environment is vital for the Alocasia Sanderiana’s growth and overall health.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

Taking care of an Alocasia Sanderiana requires meticulous attention to its soil needs. Being a tropical plant, it thrives best in well-drained, rich, and slightly acidic soil.

The soil should retain moisture but not become waterlogged. The ideal pH range is between 5.5 and 6.5. You can use a mix of peat, perlite, and a little bit of compost for a nutrient boost.

Balance is key when preparing the soil; too much acidity can damage the plant. Remember, a well-maintained soil helps encourage healthy growth and keeps your Kris plant vibrant.

Growth & Propagation

The Alocasia Sanderiana (Kris Plant) is popular for its moderate growth rate and can reach its full size in a few years with proper care. Propagation is a crucial aspect of this plant’s growth process. It is typically achieved through dividing the bulb offsets, which is ideally performed during its active growth period. Let’s dive deeper into the individual elements of the growth rate and propagation methods of Kris Plant.

Growth Rate

Alocasia Sanderiana, also known as Kris Plant, possesses a moderate growth rate under optimal conditions. Typically, the growth phase happens during the warmer months, where the Kris plant can grow 1-2 leaves per month.

However, this growth rate can be influenced by many factors such as lighting, watering, and the overall care the plant receives. It is essential to provide it with all its care requirements to achieve a healthy and vibrant Alocasia Sanderiana.

With optimal care, you can expect your Kris Plant to reach its maximum height within a year or two, although slower growth is to be expected if environmental conditions are less than ideal.

Propagation Methods

Propagation of the Alocasia Sanderiana plant is commonly done by division. This involves separating the parent plant into smaller parts, each containing at least one stem or leaf node.

These individual sections can then be planted separately and will grow into a new plant. It’s important to undertake propagation during the active growth season to increase the chances of success.

Ensure that the mother plant is healthy and disease-free before propagation to avoid transferring any pests or diseases to the new plants.

Remember to keep the newly propagated plants in a warm and humid environment initially, as this mimics their native conditions closely.

Season of Active Growth

When dealing with Alocasia Sanderiana plants, it’s essential to understand their active growing season. These plants experience the majority of their growth during the warm summer months, typically from late spring to early fall.

It is in this period that you will notice a significant increase in the size and number of their distinctly patterned leaves.

Due to the nature of their tropical origins, these plants will enter a dormant phase during the cooler months, showing minimal growth and requiring less watering.

Aligning care routines around these growing cycles assures optimal health and development for your Kris plant.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

To ensure healthy growth, Alocasia Sanderiana (Kris Plant) requires potting in a container that’s big enough to accommodate its root system.

When potting, ensure to use a well-draining soil mix and plant the bulbous tuber just below the soil surface.

As the plant grows and the roots start to cramp, it’s a clear sign that the Kris Plant needs repotting. Ideal repotting time is during spring or early summer.

When repotting, choose a container that’s 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one.

Be careful not to damage the roots while transferring and always water thoroughly after repotting.

Potential Issues

When tending to an Alocasia Sanderiana, there are multiple issues that you might encounter. The plant is essentially vulnerable to a series of pests and diseases that can hamper its growth and overall well-being.

In addition, it might also show certain sensitivities to changes in its environment. It’s crucial to be well-versed with these potential problems so you can react promptly and appropriately when they present themselves.

This section will alert you to the common pests, diseases, and other sensitivities this species can experience, and provide you with some solutions to keep your Kris plant healthy and thriving.

Common Pests

The Alocasia Sanderiana is susceptible to several common pests. The most prevalent among these include spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects.

These pests can cause serious damage to your plant, from creating unattractive spots on the leaves, deforming new growth, to eventually weakening the overall health of your Kris Plant.

Regularly inspecting the plant and intervening at the first signs of pest infestation can help protect your plant. Less common but equally harmful pests include thrips and vine weevils.

It’s important to maintain a pest management regimen to avoid significant damage and ensure the health and longevity of your Alocasia Sanderiana.

Common Diseases

Alocasia Sanderiana, or Kris Plant, is generally resistant to many diseases. However, it can occasionally succumb to common houseplant diseases such as root rot and leaf spot.

Root rot is often a result of overwatering and poorly draining soil, causing the roots to decay. Leaf spot, on the other hand, presents itself as discolored patches on the leaves that can develop into holes if left untreated.

Both diseases can be prevented through proper care practices, including appropriate watering and ensuring the plant’s environment has good air circulation.

Diseased plants should be isolated to prevent the spread of infection.

Other Sensitivities

The Alocasia Sanderiana demonstrates certain sensitivities you need to be aware of. First, this plant is particularly sensitive to changes in light, temperature, and humidity.

Rapid changes can cause a shock, leading to leaf yellowing or drooping. Secondly, overwatering is another sensitivity to note; these plants prefer well-draining soil and can suffer from root rot if waterlogged.

Lastly, be aware of its sensitivity to harsh, direct light. The delicate leaf surface can easily be burnt if the plant is not gradually acclimatized to higher light levels.

Always slowly adjust the conditions to ensure your Kris Plant remains healthy.

Special Features & Uses

The Alocasia Sanderiana or Kris Plant has unique aspects that set it apart from other houseplants and contribute to its use and value.

These special features blend effortlessly with various decor styles and environments, making it an ideal ornamental plant.

Its uniqueness doesn’t end there; the plant also possesses certain attributes that may require consideration, especially around pets and small children.

This is primarily due to its toxicity levels. In this section, we’ll delve deep into the unique characteristics, decorative value, and toxicity of the Kris Plant, offering a sweeping perspective on what to expect from this intriguing plant species.

Unique Characteristics

The Alocasia Sanderiana, commonly known as the Kris Plant, boasts several unique features that set it apart from other houseplants.

Its distinctively shaped, razor-sharp leaves, often compared to an archer’s arrow, give it a dramatic and sophisticated look.

Its veined leaf pattern and opulent colors ranging from dark green to silver and white all contribute toward its elegant appearance.

These leaves might be rigid but they sway elegantly to the slightest breeze. Also, the plant grows stunning, spathe-like flowers during the growing season, though infrequently.

The uniqueness of these plants justifies why they are often used for ornamental purposes, becoming a favorite among interior decorators and plant enthusiasts alike.

Decorative Use

Alocasia Sanderiana, fondly known as the Kris Plant, is a superb addition to home decor due to its striking appearance.

Its large, uniquely patterned leaves, coupled with a stunning contrast of colors, add a touch of tropical sophistication to any indoor space.

It’s frequently used as a centerpiece or focal point because of its high visual interest. For a splash of green, the Kris Plant can be placed in the living room, office, or bedroom.

It can also be set outside on a shaded patio or deck during the warmer months, but remember to bring it in before the temperature drops.


Alocasia Sanderiana, also known as the Kris Plant, does produce toxins as a defense against herbivores. When ingested, it can cause irritation to the mouth, lips, throat, and stomach in humans and pets.

It is strongly recommended to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets. Furthermore, even touching the plant can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals.

Therefore, when handling the Kris Plant, it is advised to wear gloves, wash your hands immediately afterward, and avoid touching your face or eyes. Always prioritize safety when caring for your Alocasia Sanderiana.

Additional Tips & Tricks

Even the most diligent gardener will still welcome new ways to make their Kris Plant (Alocasia Sanderiana) healthier and more vibrant. Let’s delve into this section and discuss some expert recommendations.

Fertilization Recommendations

For the proper growth and development of your Alocasia Sanderiana (Kris Plant), it’s essential to provide the plant with a nutrient-rich environment.

Using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20 formulation, is best. Apply the fertilizer every two weeks during the active growing season (spring and summer), but reduce the frequency to once a month in fall and winter.

Always remember to apply the fertilizer to wet soil – not directly on the plant – to prevent root burn. It’s also wise to occasionally flush the soil with fresh water to remove any excess salt buildup from the fertilizer.

Pruning & Maintenance

When it comes to the Alocasia Sanderiana, careful and considerate maintenance is key to ensuring it remains healthy and vibrant. Regular pruning enables the plant to focus its energy on the growth of new leaves.

Remove only yellowing or dead leaves by cutting at the base of the stem, being careful not to damage the main plant. Always use clean, sharp tools to reduce the risk of disease.

Despite its somewhat exotic nature, the Kris Plant doesn’t require excessive quantities of care. Make sure to clean the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth.

This removes any dust and helps the plant to breathe and photosynthesize better.

Support Structures

Alocasia Sanderiana, or Kris Plant, is quite sturdy by nature and usually doesn’t require additional support for growth.

However, if your plant grows particularly large or is in a windy location, you may consider a support structure.

This could include staking or cage-like structures that help sustain the plant upright and prevent stem breakage.

Additionally, while repotting, ensure the roots are well-covered and firm within the soil as they inherently act as a support structure.

Be mindful not to damage the roots during this process as it could hinder the plant’s overall stability and growth.

Alocasia   Updated: November 6, 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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