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Alocasia Cuprea: How to Grow and Care

Alocasia cuprea, native to Borneo, is a houseplant named for the coppery sheen on its leaves. Like other Alocasia it is named elephant ears for the shape of the leaves. It is sometimes known as mirror Alocasia or jewel Alocasia. One common cultivar is called ‘Red Secret‘ for the reddish leaves, though the leaves with their glossy sheen can also come in shades of green or even black. The plant was first introduced to european growers in the middle of the 19th Century.

As a sustainable houseplant owner, when choosing jungle plants like these, we should always ensure that they come from a reputable source, and have not been taken from the wild.

Alocasia Cuprea Care

The key things to remember when caring for Alocasia cuprea are that the plant requires:

  • A growing medium that is moist but not waterlogged.
  • A bright space but out one that is out of direct sun. 
  • Temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees
  • Above average humidity. 

Also, the care needs of the plant differ during different times of year, as Alocasia enter a period of dormancy over the winter months. 


Water Alocasia well during the growing season, to maintain a moist growing medium. But avoid overwatering and always make sure excess water can drain away freely. When the plant is dormant in winter, watering should be much less frequent. 


One of the outstanding characteristics of  Alocasia Cuprea is its bright and colorful  foliage.

The leaves need access to bright and indirect sunlight to grow. How much sunlight the plants get will determine the vibrancy of their leaves.

Alocasia Cuprea should be placed in areas with access to bright and indirect sunlight such as windows, or under plant lights, to remain healthy and look their best.

For outdoor cultivation, in subtropical or tropical climate zones, they can be kept in shaded areas with protection against direct sun.


Alocasia Cuprea requires well-draining soil for proper growth due to its susceptibility to root rot. A good potting mix will not only aid the growth of the plant but also ensure excess water can drain freely. 

A peat-free potting mix with grit added to improve drainage but coir or other materials for moisture retention should work well. 

Temperature And Humidity

Alocasia Cuprea, just like most plants in the tropical rainforest, is accustomed to a particular range of temperature, as any significant change in this can hurt them. The tropical rainforests are usually humid, moist, and warm. So for the healthy growth of our alocasia Cuprea, we need to replicate such an environment in our homes.

These Alocasia should ideally be kept at temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, though they can tolerate a wider range of temperatures. 

They should also be kept in locations with high humidity within the household such as the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. A humidifier can be used to maintain a high level of humidity in the room.


In addition to providing for the plant’s most basic needs, we also recommend feeding Alocasia cuprea with an organic, balanced, liquid plant feed once a month or so through the growing season. 

During the winter season, during do not fertilize the plant. Doing so canburn the root of the plant.


Alocasia plants undergo a period of dormancy and they require this period in order to thrive as it is a natural part of their lifecycle. 

The plant will lose its leaves and may die back altogether when winter arrives. It should bounce back in spring as long as you keep it warm and moist. 

Common Pests And Plants Disease In Alocasia Cuprea


One of the common diseases among all alocasia varieties is crown, stem, and root rot. This disease is caused by a Pythium parasite. It is a waterborne disease that takes advantage of waterlogged soil to cause root rot which can later spread to the stem and crown.

A musty smell emanating from the soil might be a sign of root rot.

To remedy this, the plant needs to be transferred to a new pot. During the process of switching, ensure you brush off any residue of soil on the plant before repotting.


The most common pests that attack Alocasia Cuprea include spider mites, whiteflies, and aphids. Spider mites attack the leaf of the plant leaving behind a trail of spots, discoloration, and patches.

Whiteflies and aphids are sap-sucking insects that can cause the leaves to turn yellow, dry up, and fall off.

These common pests can be controlled with organic insectides or biological controls where they become a serious problem. 

Alocasia Cuprea Propagation

Root division during repotting is the ideal propagation method for Alocasia cuprea. 

propagate by division:

Remove the plant from the pot with care so as not to damage the root system.

Dust off any remaining soil on the roots of the plant.

  1. Separate a section with root and above ground growth from the parent by using a disinfected knife to divide them.
  2.  Prepare new containers for the parent plant and new division. 
  3. Transfer both sections – the parent plant and new one –  into their new pots.
  4. Cover and surround the roots  with potting mix and water the plants into place.
  5. Place both pots beside an east-facing window to get enough sunlight.

In a few weeks, you should be able to see both plants doing well. Once they have recuperated you should see new growth. 

Take care when choosing to grow this plant, and when handling it. Alocasia cuprea is toxic if consumed by people or pets and can irritate the skin and eyes. 

Note too if you are considering growing it outdoors that some Alocasia can be invasive in some regions such as in Florida and the Gulf states.