Colocasia esculenta antiquorum
This plant is definitely not be missed! Velvety black leaves make this a dark and mystical beauty. It can be grown indoors or out in a special spot in the garden, or in a pond.
Comes in a 20cm grow pot. Decorative planters sold separately.
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Alocasias need bright light and this one needs to be near a a north/east facing window with some direct light for the full colours to come out. If grown outdoors, morning sun and afternoon shade is best, or a light semi-shade.
Alocasias prefer moist soil, but don't let it become soggy as this can lead to fungal infections. Water when just the top layer is dry. Also bear in mind a bigger pot retains more water. Water less in winter. Alocasias enjoy high temperatures & humidity levels. If temps drop below 15°C, the plants can go into dormancy, but they will come back in spring.
Alocasias are used to growing in forests with soil rich in nutrients from decaying leaf matter. Therefore they like regular feeding with organic fertiliser rich in Nitrogen. They will also benefit from added Kraal Manure to the soil.
As heavy feeders Alocasias quickly deplete the nutrients in their soil, and like to be re-potted annually with fresh potting mix. Add peat poss and perlite to the mix, this ensures the soil stays evenly moist without becoming dense.
Alocasias can be susceptible to spider mites, especially when the air is too dry. Spider mites are tiny black specks usually found on the underside of the leaves. Look out for stippling (faded yellow spots on the leaves), and white webbing. If you suspect mites, regularly spray your plant with an organic insecticide like Ludwig's Rose Spider Mite, a neem oil based insecticide or a soapy mixture of dish-washing liquid & water (use a mild dish soap that does not contain a degreaser & mix 1-2 teaspoons with 1L water). Don't spray new leaves and only spray a non-stressed plant. Good air circulation & moisture helps control breakouts.
There are about 70 species of Alocasia, which belongs to the Araceae plant family (genus) of flowering plants that produce flowers on a type of inflorescence called a spadix (think Arum Lily). To keep herbivores away they produce calcium oxalate crystals, which irritate the mouth. Keep away from pets & toddlers.
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