Houseplant guide: how to take care of Alocasia zebrina

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If you’ve been to a houseplant store, you’ve probably marveled at a plant with dark green leaves and zebra-striped stems.

For many, this is the pinnacle of a tropical plant collection, and if you can keep one alive, it’s a demonstration that you really know what you’re doing when it comes to plant parenting.

Native to the Philippines, this tropical plant with large leaves is sometimes called “elephant’s ear”. Confusing, right?

Many other types of Alocasia, minus the zebra stripes, also share the elephant ears nickname, but we’ll stick to its botanical name, Alocasia zebrina.

How to take care of Alocasia zebrina

As your Alocasia zebrina grows you will start to notice the appearance of baby Alocasias on the sides of the main stems. These are offsets you can use to craft new Alocasia plants, and they normally appear in the second or third year.

All you will need are small pots and multipurpose peat-free compost.

The day before propagation, water your Alocasia to help reduce stress on the plant.

How to propagate Alocasia zebrina

Remove the mother plant from its pot and drop the loose soil. Carefully wiggle the newly revealed offsets away from the main stem, with the roots attached.

Put them in the smaller jars at the same depth as before, firming them in place.

Water again and keep them in a warm, humid place until new leaves start to emerge.

Plants can go dormant in winter, which can make them easier to care for. The leaves above the ground will die off while the tuber will survive in the compost? George Hudson is the Green London curator at the Garden Museum, @georgejwhudson


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