The genus Alocasia contains a few of the most popular houseplant choices like the eye-catching Alocasia amazonica, Alocasia zebrina and Alocasia ‘Stingray’. It’s no surprise many Alocasia owners would like to know how to multiply their plant. With species this spectacular, it’s definitely a case of ‘the more, the merrier’!
If you’d like to know more about propagating Alocasia, keep reading to find out how to divide your plant and care for its offsets.
Note: Don’t actually own an Alocasia plant yet? You can find various beautiful varieties online. Just be sure not to confuse it with the genus Colocasia, which has similar propagation and care guidelines but is not the same!
Propagating Alocasia | Offset division
Alocasia plants are tuberous, which means they sprout from a central rhizome. Because of this, unlike many other houseplant species such as Monstera, it’s not really suitable for propagation by means of taking cuttings. Luckily that doesn’t mean propagating your Alocasia will be a challenge.
This plant grows in a clumping manner, which means that if you remove it from its pot you’ll usually find that it actually consists of multiple plant clumps. In addition to that, a healthy Alocasia plant will often produce offsets itself. These grow from its roots and form tiny copies of the adult plant that can easily be removed and replanted in a separate container.
In this propagation guide we’ll be using my Alocasia ‘Sarian’, a human-cultivated cross between the popular Alocasia zebrina and Alocasia micholitziana. The plant in question was quite crowded when I got it, and because I didn’t want to repot it to a bigger container (this cultivar grows massive!) I decided that division was the way to go.
Other popular Alocasia species include Alocasia x amazonica, Alocasia zebrina and Alocasia reginula.
Alocasia propagation | Step by step
- The first step to Alocasia propagation is to remove the plant from its pot and shake the excess soil off its roots. If the soil turns out to be quite clumped, you can soak it in water or use a gardening hose to free up the roots.
- Once you’ve exposed the roots, you’ll see that your Alocasia is actually made up of multiple clumps and likely some offsets (baby plants) as well. These are all more or less connected through their roots, but you’ll find it’s very easy to (gently) separate a few of them. You can use a disinfected knife or a pair of scissors if the roots are too tangled.
- Well, voilà! That was it. You’ve now separated your Alocasia.
- The nice part about dividing clumping plants is that all the clumps will have their own little root system, so you won’t have to wait for them to root. Simply follow the instructions below for either water or soil cultivation and you’ll most likely start seeing new growth quite quickly.
Propagating Alocasia | Water propagation
Water propagation is a method usually used for cuttings that don’t have their own roots yet. That doesn’t mean, though, that you can’t place the clumps you separated from your mother Alocasia plant in water. It’s a very decorative way to grow houseplants and they can actually thrive in water pretty much indefinitely with the right care.
To grow your Alocasia offset in water, simply clean any soil off its roots and find a container that you like to place it in. I like using glass vases that show off the root system, which is often just as spectacular as the actual foliage. Fill it up with tap water and leave it out for about 24 hours if your country uses chlorine/chloramine in its tap water. Then, just make sure the roots are submerged.
Place the container in a spot that receives bright indirect light. Direct sunlight can cause algae growth and may heat up the water too much.
As for long-term care, top up the water that has evaporated whenever needed. I also like to change out the water every few months and add in new water with some liquid houseplant fertilizer mixed in to encourage growth.
Propagating Alocasia | Soil propagation
The most common propagation method for Alocasia is soil propagation, since any offsets and clumps will most likely already have their own root system. Just prepare a pot (with a drainage hole) for each plant; I like using normal plastic nursery pots and then placing these in a decorative overpot.
The soil should hold moisture relatively well since this is a tropical species, but it should still let excess water drain. A mixture of potting soil, some coco coir and a handful of perlite should work well.
Once you’ve got everything ready, just plant up your Alocasia offsets and give them a light drink. Place the pots in a location that receives bright indirect light and be patient for a bit. Even though the plant already has its own root system the transplant will still shock it a bit, so it might take a couple of weeks to start seeing new growth. You’ll know the propagation was successful when you see leaves popping up!
Tip: For small offsets of larger Alocasia species, have larger pots on hand. Although the plant might be small now, you’ll be amazed at how fast it will need a repot!
Although its spectacular foliage has made Alocasia a very popular houseplant genus, most of these species are not actually the easiest to grow. They tend to struggle with the lack of humidity in our homes, as they naturally grow in rainforest conditions which can be a bit challenging to imitate indoors.
Here are some basic guidelines for success with your Alocasia babies:
- Humidity: Try placing your Alocasia in a humid room such as the bathroom or kitchen, away from radiators that might dry it out. Grouping plants together also makes for a more humid environment and you can run a humidifier in the middle to provide extra ‘assistance’.
- Light: Should be indirect but bright. Alocasia has not evolved to withstand direct sun and burns easily.
- Watering: Soil should be kept lightly moist at all times, though it should never be wet. Ideally, the top few inches of soil should be left to dry before watering again. Remember that not as much water is needed during wintertime!
- Temperature: As a tropical plant, Alocasia doesn’t like low temps. Try not to let things drop below room temperature and avoid drafty, cool spots.
Tip: In need of some more Alocasia care info to ensure your new plants thrive? The complete guide to Alocasia care should prove helpful.
If you have any more questions about propagating Alocasia or if you want to share your own experiences with this amazing jungle plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!