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How to Care for Kris Plant (Alocasia Sanderiana)?

Known commonly as the Kris plant, Alocasia Sanderiana is one of the most dramatic-looking Alocasia varieties that can be grown indoors.

The leaves are V- shaped with wavy edges and contrasting colors — the leaves are dark green, except for the prominent veins on the leaves, which are white.

Alocasia Sanderiana is native to the Philippines, but you can grow it in your home if you follow my plant care recommendations below.

Size & Growth

In its natural habitat, the Kris plant can grow up to 6.5 feet tall. Unless you can perfectly mimic the environmental particularities of the plant’s natural habitat, the plant will not grow as tall indoors.

Expect a much lower height indoors, around 3-4 feet at most.

The plant has an upright growth pattern, which enhances the visual appeal of the plant’s showy leaves.

Light Requirements

The light requirements of Alocasia plants are determined by how these plants grow in their natural habitat.

They usually grow under the canopy of trees, growing upright to reach towards the light.

Don’t confuse the fact that Alocasias grow towards the light with the fact that they need a lot of light.

Alocasias thrive in bright, but indirect light, or filtered light, just as their light is filtered by the canopy of trees.

Direct light is not tolerated by the leaves of the Sanderiana. In fact, when exposed to direct light, the leaves of the plant can get sunburned, which manifests as discoloration of the leaves.

The other extreme is also undesirable. Alocasias need light and don’t fare well if they’re grown in a location, where shade predominates.

If grown in a shady spot, the Alocasia will attempt to grow towards the light without filtered light or indirect bright light. This will result in a lopsided growth, which you probably don’t want.

Watering

With moderate watering needs, the Alocasia sanderiana often suffers because of overwatering and even underwatering.

When overwatered, the soil goes through various chemical processes that cause rotting and fungal issues at the root level. This in turn can cause the plant to die off.

Dehydration is also a problem. While the stalks of the plant can hold a bit of water, they can’t go long periods without watering.

To ensure that the potting mix of your Sanderiana is constantly moist, water moderately without drenching the soil in water.

Water only when the topsoil is about to go dry. Don’t ever allow the soil to completely dry out, especially during periods of extreme heat.

Soil Type

Some of the issues with overwatering can be countered if you get the right potting mix for your Alocasia Sanderiana.

Look for commercially available potting mixes that are fast draining. Heavy soils that retain water aren’t good for this plant.

You can even create your own mix using regular potting soil combined with perlite, peat moss, coconut coir, or coarse sand to create an aerated, well-draining potting mix that will not get compacted.

Of course, just because the potting mix drains well, it doesn’t mean you can water your Alocasia liberally. Check the moisture level of the soil and only water if it’s about to go dry.

Temperature & Humidity

The temperature range in which the Sanderiana will survive is between 60 F and 80 F. Temperatures slightly above and below this range will also work, but your plant will not thrive, it will only survive.

If kept outdoors for the summer, the Sanderiana should be taken inside when temperatures start reaching 60 F.

This is a high-humidity plant that will do poorly in a dry, arid environment. For it to thrive, it needs humidity levels well above 60%.

If in your home humidity levels are consistently below 60 F, you will probably need a humidifier or a pebble tray humidifier to keep humidity levels within an acceptable range.

Fertilizing

When you’re fertilizing your Sanderiana, there are a few things to consider:

  • Use a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer either an all-purpose plant fertilizer or a foliage plant fertilizer
  • Use half of the recommended dose when diluting the fertilizer. You don’t want a strong solution that can potentially burn the roots of the plant.
  • Fertilize once a month, only during the growing season from spring to fall.
  • Skip the fertilizer in the winter, and resume fertilizing again in spring.

Be careful when fertilizing, because you can easily burn the plant.

Potting & Repotting

Alocasia plants generally enjoy being a bit pot-bound, so repotting isn’t something you need to do frequently.

Repotting every 2-3 years, depending on the plant’s growth rate, is usually what you can expect. When repotting, use fresh, free-draining potting mix and a pot that is one or two sizes bigger.

Repot at the end of winter-beginning of spring. You can even divide the rhizome to keep the plant at a manageable size and extend your Alocasia collection.

How to Propagate Alocasia Sanderiana?

Propagation of Alocasia Sanderiana is possible either by division of the rhizomes or potting up clumps separately.

Gently separate the clumps from the parent plant by using a sharp blade if they cannot be separated manually.

Whether you divide the rhizome to grow a new plantlet or separate the offshoots, the aftercare rules are the same — keep the newly potted plantlet in a warm location, out of direct sunlight, maintaining the moisture of the soil and humidity in the air.

In a couple of weeks, new growths should appear provided that you haven’t allowed the soil to completely go dry.

Wrapping Up

The Alocasia Sanderiana is a gorgeous houseplant and one of the more interesting Alocasia varieties to grow.

They’re not fussier than other varieties, but they can be a challenge to beginner gardeners, especially when it comes to watering and humidity requirements.

If your Alocasia is doing poorly, one or a couple of things in its environment are not to its liking. Check back to this guide every time you encounter an issue to see if you missed something or skipped something in its care.

Usually, the most common issues are overwatering and humidity levels, both of which you can correct.

Updated: June 28, 2021

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