With shimmering green foliage and a height of up to five feet or more, the Alocasia Regal Shield is a hybrid alocasia that makes a beautiful (if challenging) houseplant.
Also known as elephant ear plants for their heart-shaped leaves, the Alocasia Regal Shield can be a little finicky compared to other plants. However, knowing the best growing conditions for this beautiful plant can help you keep it vibrant and healthy.
For an overview of Alocasia Regal Shield care, check out the growing conditions outlined in the care guide below.
|Botanical Name||Alocasia odorax Alocasia reginula (hybrid)|
|Common Name||Regal Shield|
|Plant Type||Broad-leafed flowering perennial|
|Mature Size||60 inches|
|Sun Exposure||Medium to bright indirect sunlight|
|Soil Type||Coarse, well-draining soil|
|Soil pH||5.5 to 7.0|
|Hardiness Zone||Zone 9 – 11|
|Native Area||Southeast Asia|
|Toxicity||Toxic to cats, dogs, and people|
How to Care for Alocasia Regal Shield
Alocasia Regal Shield is a vigorous and fast-growing plant when it’s well-cared for, but it needs very specific growing conditions. Because this tropical plant is used to warm temperatures and high humidity in its native Southeast Asia, not providing these conditions can prove fatal.
These are some of the growing conditions you should provide to your elephant ear plant to enjoy vigorous growth and beautiful, healthy-looking foliage.
Alocasia is a cultivar of a native tropical plant that makes its home on the forest floor beneath a dense cover in the jungle canopy. The sunlight that the elephant ear plants enjoy is bright, strong sunlight, but in the wild little of this light reaches the forest floor that hasn’t been filtered by the leaves of the trees above it.
Household Alocasia do best when they are grown in bright indirect sunlight, also known as bright shade. Since you can’t have a jungle canopy in your living room, the best way to help imitate the natural lighting of this tropical plant is to filter or diffuse the light before it hits the plant’s leaves. This can be achieved with the following methods:
In houseplants, bright indirect sunlight is defined as light that is diffused or filtered before it is allowed to hit the leaves of the plant.
Indoors, these conditions can be reproduced with the following methods:
- Installing sheer curtains to help diffuse incoming sun rays
- Partially blocking the light with blinds or furniture
What Happens if Alocasia Regal Shield Is Exposed to Direct Sunlight?
One thing to avoid in Alocasia Regal Shield care is putting the plant in direct sunlight, especially if that sunlight is coming through a window. The intensity of direct sun rays on the elephant ear plant leaves can cause them to become scorched. This can result in the loss of leaves or leaves with a brown, crispy edge.
If you notice that your Alocasia Regal Shield is beginning to brown on the tips of the leaves, it is likely receiving too little light. The elephant ear Alocasia needs to be moved into an area with more indirect light to prevent further damage.
Alocasia Regal Shield needs a lot of moisture to thrive, so you should aim to water this houseplant consistently to prevent problems with the foliage.
The best way to determine whether this type of plant is moist enough is to place the tip of your finger in the top of the soil and bury it two inches deep. If no moisture is felt, the plant is dry and needs to be watered. If the plant is moist, it doesn’t need additional water.
Monitor the moisture levels of your plant regularly to prevent it from drying out, as Alocasia is not particularly drough-resistant and will sustain damage without sufficient water.
Maintaining consistent moisture is necessary for Alocasia Regal Shield care in order for it to grow and thrive, but too much water can also be a problem. If the soil of the pot for your elephant ear plants becomes saturated with water, this will suffocate the entire root ball and cause a condition called root rot. Root rot will quickly kill a plant unless it is allowed to dry out slightly between watering sessions.
How Often Should You Water Alocasia Regal Shield Plants?
Alocasia Regal Shield plants need consistent access to water, as this type of houseplant is not very drought tolerant. The plant should be watered roughly once a week or whenever it starts to dry out.
Doing a soil test is the easiest way to check whether the Regal Shield elephant plant needs water or not. The elephant ear plant’s moisture can be tested by dipping your finger in the first two inches of the soil. If the soil feels dry, the plant should be watered. If it feels moist, it doesn’t need watering.
Should Alocasia Regal Shield Plants Be Watered From the Bottom?
Since Alocasia Regal Shield plants benefit from slow watering, bottom watering the plants is the most effective method for keeping the soil moist. Otherwise, if the soil dries out too much or if the plant becomes root-bound, the water could run off around the edges of the planter without soaking into the elephant ear plant’s central roots.
Using distilled water to water these plants’ elephant ears can help keep the plant’s foliage in good shape. Some plants don’t react well to the additives and hard minerals found in city tap water systems.
Like other members of the Alocasia family, the elephant ear Regal Shields thrive in nutrient rich soil that is similar in composition to the consistently moist soil of its native Southeast Asia. In houseplants, this meals a coarse, loaming, well-draining soil that also retains moisture.
You should add some coco coir and more soil to the mix for Alocasia plants, as the shredded coconut fiber can provide moisture retention and aeration at the same time. This allows you to keep the Alocasia Regal Shield plant well-watered without causing soggy soil and the roots to rot.
Try this potting mixture for Alocasia Regal Shield:
One part coco coir and/or peat moss
● One part rich organic fresh potting soil
One part perlite, potting sand, or small sized gravel
This potting mixture provides plenty of nutrients to heavy-feeding Alocasia plants, but it also helps facilitate drainage that they need to keep their root ball and leaves healthy.
Along with making a homemade potting mix, you also have the option to purchase a pre-mixed commercial potting soil formulated for tropical plants. Granular commercial soil mixes that have a high ratio of orchid bark and potting sand will provide the necessary drainage and moisture retention you need for a good care of this type of elephant ear plant.
Alocasia Regal Shield care is more temperamental when it comes to temperature than some other Alocasia varieties. These plants prefer to live in a temperature range of 70-85 Fahrenheit. Alocasia can survive at slightly higher temperatures, but will need extra watering in hot climates. These Regal Shield elephant plants are cold-weather sensitive and will not do well at lower temperatures.
They survive well at most indoor temperatures in an average household. However, the relative lack of high humidity in most indoor environments is something that needs to be addressed to keep this type of elephant ear plant healthy.
As a plant used to tropical conditions, Alocasia Regal Shield does best at a high humidity range of 60-90% humidity. This is higher than the humidity range of many homes due to HVAC systems and ventilation. In addition, elephant ear plants do not like being placed near a ventilation draft of either cold or hot air.
Low humidity causes issues with Alocasia foliage, which suffers a stiff texture, crispy leaves, and leaf loss in low-humidity environments. Lack of humidity also leaves Alocasia vulnerable to attacks from pests like spider mites.
To increase the ambient humidity around the Alocasia Regal Shield, here are a few tricks you can use:
Mist the leaves regularly
Keep in mind that the Regal Shield elephant plant in the wild is exposed to regular rain. Misting the leaves with a spray bottle will help prevent the accumulation of dust that will inhibit the leaf’s photosynthesis, too.
Keep the plant near a humidifier
You can increase the ambient humidity around your tropical houseplants by keeping them in a room with a humidifier. This will provide the elephant ear plants with the higher level of humidity they need to thrive indoors.
Invest in pebble trays
A pebble tray placed under the Alocasia Regal Shield’s pot provides a source of evaporating water that will increase the humidity around the plant. Pebble trays also help the Alocasia plant access water from underneath so it can maintain a consistent level of soil moisture. A terracotta pot also helps retain moisture.
Humidity is one of the harder factors to measure and control to grow tropical plants indoors. Measuring humidity objectively using a hygrometer will let you know exactly what the humidity around your Alocasia Regal Shield plant is so you can monitor it and increase it as needed.
Alocasia Regal Shield is a fast-growing and heavy-feeding plant, so it should be fertilized once a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. There are also commercial fertilizers designed specifically for tropical plants like Alocasia that can be used.
It’s a good idea to apply commercial fertilizer at half-strength for indoor houseplants. This can prevent fertilizer burn that will damage the Alocasia’s leaves and potentially stunt its growth rather than aid it.
How to Grow Alocasia Regal Shield
Alocasia Regal Shield plant can be purchased as tubers, juvenile plants, or adult plants. Alocasia Regal Shield is usually propagated by cutting away the juvenile plantlets (also known as “pups”) away from the mother plant and repotting them in a new pot on their own.
Alocasia Regal Shield Propagation/Steps
Alocasia Regal Shield plants can’t be propagated from cuttings like some houseplants, such as pothos or monstera. However, they reproduce readily at home from a mother plant and can be divided once they start growing outward from the central rhizome. From this plant, new elephant ear plants can be cut and cultivated.
Here’s the method you should follow to propagate Alocasia Regal Shield:
Cut the plantlet away from the mother plant
Use a sterile knife or scissors to separate one of the side rhizomes away from the central plant.
Plant the Alocasia juvenile in a rich, well-draining soil
Use a large amount of perlite, potting sand, or other aerating medium to promote drainage, as young Alocasia plants are very sensitive to root rot. Peat moss, orchid bark, and coco coir are also good additions to the fresh soil mix.
Cover the pot with a cloche
A glass cloche can keep the plant warmer, prevent the loss of ambient humidity, and keep the young plant from drying out. Keeping the humidity high will help new plants grow faster, and your plantlet will thrive without forcing you to overwater the fresh soil.
Monitor the plant for growth
The plant will need to establish a new root system in its new pot before it begins to put out new foliage. Keep the moisture and humidity levels consistent for the Alocasia plantlet, and it will begin to put out new leaves.
Common Problems with Alocasia Regal Shield
Like many tropical plants, Alocasia Regal Shields are hardy as long as its growing conditions are met. However, there are a few common problems you might run into when caring for these beautiful plants.
Some of the most common pests found on Alocasia Regal Shield are spider mites, springtails, and thrips. Spider mites are the biggest issue many people run into if they keep their Alocasia in a dry or hot environment, since this climate is perfect for spider mite infestations. To avoid these pests, you’ll want to make sure your Alocasia Regal Shield has plenty of moisture and humidity.
Another way to avoid pests of the Alocasia Regal Shield is to periodically spray the plant with an insecticidal soap. This soap will keep bugs away and will also help prevent the build-up of dust on the plant’s foliage. Neem oil is another good option for cleaning Alocasia Regal Shield, and can give its dark green leaves a lustrous look.
If the leaves on your Alocasia Regal Shield aren’t looking right, it’s usually an issue with the amount of moisture the plant is getting (or not). One common issue that is seen in the elephant ears leaves is that they begin to curl or get brown and crunchy at the tips. Dead leaves and diseased leaves are often a sign of moisture problems.
These issues mean that the plant is being kept in an area that has less humidity than the plant needs. You should also take a look at how much moisture is in the Alocasia Regal Shield’s pot, as lack of moisture can also cause leaf curling.
Another problem people run into is an Alocasia Regal Shield with leaves that are turning yellow, drooping, or even sweating. If the plant has been watered recently, this is a symptom that the plant has too much moisture in the soil and may be suffering from rotting roots.
Root rot is the biggest issue that many Alocasia Regal Shield growers run into when trying to maintain the proper amount of moisture in the plant’s pot. The Alocasia Regal Shield needs plenty of water, but too much water in the soil can cause the roots to suffocate and die. This systemic rotting will spread up to the stem and leaves of the plant, eventually killing it.
Rotting roots can be managed and prevented by providing moisture and humidity to the plant other than watering it at the roots. Instead of using a watering schedule, only water the plant when the first two inches of soil in the plant’s pot feel dry to the touch.
A common mistake new houseplant owners make is placing their plant in a pot without drainage holes in the bottom. Without drainage holes, water gets trapped in the bottom of the pot and will eventually drown the plant.
Make sure to buy pots from a local nursery for your Alocasia Regal Shield that have drainage holes included, or take a drill and put holes in the pot’s bottom to provide drainage.
Alocasia Regal Shield Care Tips
Alocasia Regal Shield care can be a little more difficult to keep than some other plants like the smaller varieties of Alocasia. However, knowing their best-growing conditions and keeping an eye on the Regal Shield’s condition and appearance can head any potential problems off at the pass before they damage the plant.
Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your Alocasia Regal Shield:
Give these plants plenty of space
Alocasia can grow as large as five feet tall and nine feet wide, so they need lots of room to grow. Make sure to start them in a large pot that gives them room to expand to avoid having to repot Alocasia Regal Shield in a few months.
Repot the Regal Shield Elephant Plant every two years
To prevent this large and fast-growing plant from becoming root-bound, be sure to upgrade to a larger pot for your plant every two years. This will give the plant room to expand its root system and put out new foliage.
Measure humidity and moisture
Using sensors to measure the humidity and moisture around your Alocasia Regal Shield is a lot easier than trying to guess whether it has enough water or not. Since humidity is so important for keeping your Alocasia Regal Shield looking healthy, it’s worth monitoring closely.
Like other Alocasia plants, Regal Shield is native to an area where it only receives indirect light through a dense canopy of trees. This means that direct, full sun will cause the delicate leaves to become scorched and damaged. To avoid this, keep Alocasia in bright indirect light instead.
The Alocasia Regal Shield is not wind-resistant due to its large, heavy ears and its humidity requirements. Alocasia Regal Shield prefers warm, humid, stagnant air. While Alocasia Regal Shield can be grown in tropical climates outdoors, be aware that wind storms can damage the plant outdoors by breaking the large leaves off the stems.
Regal Shield Alocasias are perennial plants, which means they’ll come back year after year after going into a dormant period in the winter if they’re kept indoors. These Alocasias are also perennial in tropical outdoor settings, with a growing season that lasts nearly year-round.
The only time Alocasia Regal Shield won’t come back is if it is kept in below-freezing temperatures. Any low temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit will potentially kill the plant.
Alocasia Regal Shield is a fast-growing Alocasia plant, with some specimens able to reach five feet tall in two years or less. These large plants can also grow to nine feet wide in the same time period.
The best way to ensure fast growth in Alocasia Regal Shield is to provide a large enough pot and optimal growing conditions, such as regular fertilizer feedings and consistent watering.
Regal Shield can become droopy for two opposite reasons. If the plant is overwatered, drooping and yellowing leaves can be a sign of the roots rotting. In this case, the leaves will feel limp, sometimes even sweaty as excess water in the plant seeps through the pores of the leaves.
If the plant is not watered enough, however, the plant can also begin to droop. In this case, leaves will begin to fall off, grow crispy in texture, or dry up brown at the edges along with drooping.
In either case, drooping leaves in this type of plant is a sign that you need to check the moisture levels, as there is either too much or too little of it being offered to the plant.
The stunning Alocasia Regal Shield is one of the most impressive Alocasia specimens you can grow in your home if you have the space and the growing requirements it needs to succeed. If you do, this tall, dark beauty is sure to impress any houseguest you send past it.