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Alocasia Cucullata Care Guide | Hooded Dwarf Elephant Ear Plants

Alocasia cucullata

The Alocasia cucullata is a tropical plant species and, much like other elephant ear plants, is relatively low-maintenance. It is also smaller than other Alocasia plants, making it a popular choice of houseplant amongst plant lovers.

The Alocasia cucullata is often called “Buddha’s Palm”. It gets this nickname because of its thin stems topped with large heart-shaped leaves, which seem to wave even with the slightest of breezes.

Alocasia plants are part of the Arum family and are native to the rainforests in Southeast Asia. In total, there are around 79 known species of this beautiful plant.

The Alocasia cucullata is one of these species, and like the rest, is known for being durable and easy to care for.

While this hooded dwarf elephant ears plant does not require too much attention, it still needs a little bit of TLC to flourish fully. To ensure your Buddha plant grows to its full potential, we have put together the ultimate Alocasia cucullata care guide.

Alocasia Cucullata Care Tips

The Alocasia cucullata, also known as the Hooded Dwarf plant, makes for a lovely indoor houseplant. As previously mentioned, they are relatively low maintenance. While this is true, they cannot be ignored entirely as doing so could lead to a number of complications.

To ensure your miniature elephant ear plant remains healthy and happy, here are some basic tips on how to care for your Alocasia.

Alocasia Cucullata Light Requirements

Like other Alocasia varieties, the Alocasia cucullata grows best in bright, indirect lighting conditions. It is best to stay clear of direct sunlight, as well as complete shade.

Too much direct sunlight can lead to scorched leaves, while too much shade will hinder your plant’s growth.

We recommend placing your Alocasia where dappled indirect light hits it. An ideal spot is near a window or just inside your balcony door. If the plant is placed in a darker room, consider using an artificial growing light.

When purchasing an Alocasia cucullata, ask if it is sun-trained. Such plants can generally tolerate harsher sun rays while producing leaves that are greener than average. However, do not force your Alocasia to grow in unfavorably strong lighting conditions.

Signs Your Hooded Dwarf Needs More Light

There are several signs you may notice which suggest that your Hooded Dwarf is receiving too much or too little light. These include:

  • Leggy stems
  • The plant starts leaning towards the light source
  • New growth slows down or stops, particularly outside of winter
  • Soil not drying out for weeks

If you notice any of these signs, change your Alocasia plant’s location and place it in a sunnier spot.

Alocasia Cucullata Temperature Requirements

Alocasia cucullata is a temperature-sensitive plant. Like other tropical species, it thrives in warmer temperatures. It’s ideal temperature range is between 64ºF (18ºC) and 72ºF (22ºC).

Most households fall within this temperature range, making these plants relatively easy to grow. Should your Alocasia cucullata be in an area that is too cold, it may shed all of its leaves.

On the other hand, if you stay in an area with extremely high temperatures, it is best to keep your Alocasia plant indoors.

Cucullata plants are best kept indoors in a humid, temperature-controlled room. Also, ensure that it is not exposed to any drafts from windows, air heaters, fans, and air conditioners.

Alocasia Cucullata Humidity

Alocasia cucullata plants grow best in areas with high humidity levels. It’s ideal humidity range is between 65% and 80%.

If the humidity levels fall below 60%, your plant may end up with dried-up leaves. Similarly, if your plant is exposed to excessive moisture, it will become more susceptible to infection and disease.

For your Alocasia cucullata to grow well, it is important to maintain adequate humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, we recommend placing your hooded dwarf plant on a pebble tray. As the water in the tray evaporates, it will provide moisture to your plant.

Another great way to bring the humidity to the desired level is with an air humidifier. You may also mist its surroundings with lukewarm water; however, this should be done sparingly. 

Alocasia Cucullata Water Requirements

It is best to water your Alocasia cucullata when the top 2 to 3 inches of the plant’s soil becomes dry. This can then be reduced further during autumn and winter.

With Alocasia cucullata, under or over-watering can lead to a number of problems. If under-watered, it may stunt the plant’s growth or result in yellowed leaves or brown edges.

If over-watered, it could lead to a collapsed base, wet or discolored leaves, moldy soil, root rot, and eventually lead to the plant’s death.

For these reasons, it is important to properly monitor your Alocasia cucullata to determine if it needs to be watered or not, cucullata plants form small droplets on the tips of their leaves when receiving excessive water. This is done to drain unnecessary moisture from the plant.

Note that these droplets are harmful to pets and can cause skin irritations for humans. As such, it is best to gently wipe the excess water off with a cloth.

Alocasia cucullata leaf

Alocasia Cucullata Fertilizer Requirements

These large plants are large eaters and need to be fed every two to four weeks.

Do not feed your plant during the winter as it is primarily dormant during this time and experiences very little active growth.

It is important that you do not over-fertilize your Alocasia cucullata as the accumulation of salts will eventually lead to burnt leaf tips.

To feed your Alocasia, we recommend using a specific ‘Houseplant’ labeled fertilizer as it will support the vital thirteen nutrients that this species needs to grow.

Alternatively, you can use a slow-release fertilizer. If so, you will only need to feed your plant once a month during the growing season.

Alocasia Cucullata Soil Requirements

Alocasia cucullata plants grow best in loose, well-draining soil. We recommend using a loose, organic, and well-aerated soil that contains a considerable amount of peat moss.

The ideal soil for Alocasia plants should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. This is slightly acidic and enables the plant to absorb nutrients more efficiently.

Remember to ensure that the soil is never too dry or too wet. Additionally, if you think the planting soil is too heavy, consider adding some builder’s soil or perlite into it.

Pruning Alocasia Cucullata

Alocasia cucullata are relatively large plants. Unless you have plenty of space for it to grow, you may need to prune it from time to time for size control.

Other reasons you may need to prune your hooded dwarf plant may be to stop the spread of fungal infection or disease, as well as cold damage.

Common symptoms you may notice are yellow or dead-looking leaves, which can look unpleasant.

To maintain your Alocasia cucullata’s elegant and beautiful appearance, as well as to prevent the spread of disease, follow these simple steps:

  1. Grab a pair of pruning scissors.
  2. Check for damaged leaves and stems.
  3. Cut through the fleshy stem at the base of any damaged leaves. If you’re trimming for size control, cut 1 to 2 vines from the bottom of your cucullata plant as new leaves generally form on top.
  4. Trim away any blemishes, following the natural shape of the leaf.

Note – it is important to wear protective gloves and to sterilize your pruning tools before using them on your plant to prevent the transfer of infection and disease. Alocasia plants are known to be toxic and can cause skin irritation.

Alocasia Cucullata Propagation

The Alocasia cucullata plant grows from rhizomes in the ground. One way to propagate your plant is via the Basal Offset Division method. To successfully propagate your plant, follow these easy steps:

  1. If possible, water the plant 24 hours before starting to reduce the risk of transplant shock.
  2. Remove the cucullata plant from its pot and gently rinse the roots to remove any excess soil.
  3. Push the chosen offset downwards until you hear a snap.
  4. Separate the foliage and its root system away from the parent plant.
  5. Place the new baby plant into its own pot with a fresh batch of Houseplant compost.
  6. Place it in an area with bright, indirect light and maintain evenly moist soil. After six weeks, you may start caring for the baby plant the same way you would the parent plant. 
  7. Repot the parent plant and water well.

The best time to propagate your Alocasia cucullata is during the growing season, spring and early summer. This is the period when the plant is just coming out of its dormancy phase.

Repotting Alocasia Cucullata

It is recommended that you repot your Alocasia cucullata once a year (or every two years in some cases) during spring. Other times you may need to repot it if the plant has picked up an infection or has outgrown its current pot.

To repot your Alocasia, follow these easy steps:

  1. Look for the next size pot and ensure that it has sufficient drainage holes. It is best to repot your Alocasia cucullata into a container that just fits the roots.
  2. Water your plant about 24 hours before repotting to prevent transplant shock.
  3. Inspect the roots of the plant. If the roots are tangled, try untangling them or cut them with a sterilized pruning scissor or blade.
  4. Place a coffee filter over the drainage holes of the new pot and begin filling the bottom with soil.
  5. Place your Hooded Dwarf into its new home. Add soil until the root ball is completely covered. Lastly, water well and be patient.

Alocasia Cucullata Common Problems

Even when taking perfect care of your Hooded Dwarf, there are still a number of problems that may arise.

Detailed below are some common problems that the Alocasia cucullata (and other elephant ear plants) may experience and how to fix them.

Alocasia Cucullata Root Rot

Like other Alocasia plants, the Hooded Dwarf plant is prone to root rot, most often caused by overwatering. It develops due to a lack of light and aeration, as well as insufficient drainage holes in the plant’s pot.

If your Alocasia cucullata plant experiences root rot, you can remedy it by repotting it. Note that you will need to dispose of the old, infected soil once the plant has been removed from its pot.

Following this, wash the plant with a 5-10% diluted bleach solution and dip the healthy roots in a fungicide solution. You may then repot your Hooded Dwarf following the steps previously discussed. Ensure that the new soil is aerated and well-draining.

To avoid stressing the roots, do not feed your Alocasia until it has fully recovered. Only water when the surface of the soil feels slightly dry.

Alocasia Cucullata Xanthomonas

Another common disease among Alocasia plants is Xanthomonas. This is identified by black or brown spots which form on the upper or lower side of the plant’s leaves. The spots also tend to have a yellow-colored rim surrounding them.

Xanthomonas can easily be prevented by watering your plant only when needed. As previously discussed, check that the top 2 to 3 inches of the plant’s soil is dry before watering. Doing so will also reduce the possibility of other fungal or bacterial attacks.

Alocasia Cucullata Diseases

In addition to root rot and Xanthomonas, there are several other diseases that your Alocasia plant might experience. These include leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew, and southern blight.

To avoid the possibility of disease, avoid overwatering and ensure that there is good air circulation around the plant. In addition to this, here are a few additional tips for growing Alocasia cucullata:

  • Water the plant with room-temperature water
  • Grow the plant in moist, well-draining potting soil, ensuring that the soil is never too wet or too dry
  • Allow the plant to be slightly root-bound for healthier and faster growth

Alocasia Cucullata Pests

Common pests of Alocasia plans include spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale. To prevent an attack, use insecticidal soap to clean your leaves or spray them every few weeks. This also helps to keep your plant dust-free.

If there is already an infestation present, isolate your Hooded Dwarf from other plants to prevent further spreading.

Following this, use ultra-fine insecticidal oil or neem oil on the affected area. This will help get rid of the pests and their eggs.

In the case of a spider mite infestation, you can also mist your Alocasia to raise the humidity. This will further aid in eliminating the pests as they prefer dryer conditions.

Alocasia Cucullata Floppy or Yellow Leaves

If your Alocasia cucullata drops some yellow or floppy leaves, do not panic, as this is natural. Most often, your plant will drop leaves because it can only hold a certain amount at any given time. It is also a way for the plant to manage and distribute nutrients to its new foliage.

If your Alocasia cucullata is dropping an unusual amount of leaves from various locations, review your plant’s watering schedule.

It may be getting over or under-watered. Also, ensure that it is in a location where it will receive sufficient bright, indirect sunlight.

Alocasia Cucullata Sun Damage

When exposed to too much direct sunlight, the leaves of your Alocasia cucullata may begin to scorch. To avoid this, it is recommended that you place your plant indoors.

If grown outdoors, ensure that it is in a partially shaded spot. Alternatively, place it outdoors only during the early morning or late evening when the sun’s rays are not as harsh.

Buddha Palm Plant: Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know how to take care of your Buddha’s Palm, your plant should live healthily for a long time.

For some additional information, we have provided the answers to some commonly asked questions about the Alocasia cucullata.

Can I Grow Alocasia Cucullata Offsets in Water?

Water propagation is a common method used for cuttings that have not yet developed their own roots.

To grow your Alocasia offsets in water, begin by cleaning its roots. Then, place it in a container – a glass vase works well and is very decorative.

Submerge the lowest part of the plant and its roots in the water-filled vase and place it in a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight as it can cause algae growth.

Why is My Dwarf Alocasia Not Growing?

Alocasia plants may stop growing as a result of being exposed to too much light or receiving too little light. Another reason may be that your cucullata plant has entered its dormancy phase, which usually takes place during winter. During this time, the plant will experience no active growth.

Why Is My Alocasia Cucullata Drooping?

Common reasons why your Alocasia cucullata might be drooping include lack of light and underwatering.

When your plant is not receiving enough bright, indirect light, it begins leaning towards a light source. To prevent this, ensure that your plant’s light requirements are met.

The stems of your Alocasia cucullata will begin to droop if it lacks moisture. If you notice multiple stems drooping, your plant may need to be watered. If only one stem droops, hold back on watering as the plant may simply be trying to replace it with a new leaf.

Are Alocasia Cucullata Safe For Pets?

Alocasia plants are toxic to pets as they contain insoluble oxalate crystals. Chewing or biting this plant will release these crystals, leading to tissue penetration and irritation of the mouth and GI tract.

While rare, it may even cause the upper airway to swell, making it difficult for your pet to breathe.

Common Alocasia Cucullata poisoning signs to look out for are:

  • Drooling
  • Oral pain
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

If your pet displays any of the symptoms mentioned, seek veterinary help immediately.

Note that these plants are also poisonous to humans. It can cause skin irritations and, if ingested, can potentially be fatal.

While you might not find yourself chewing on Alocasia leaves, your curious children might. For this reason, it is important to keep your Alocasia plant away from your pets and kids.

Is Alocasia Cucullata Easy To Care For?

Like other Alocasia plants, the Hooded Dwarf is relatively easy to care for, provided their needs are adequately met.

Should you stick to the basics outlined in this Alocasia care guide, your Alocasia is sure to flourish for years to come.

Why Are My Alocasia’s Edges Browning?

Browning edges are common amongst Alocasia plants and are due to insufficient humidity or lack of moisture. Ensure your plant’s water requirements are properly met and that it is watered regularly throughout its growing season.

To naturally increase humidity, mist your Alocasia cucullata once a day or place it on a pebble tray.

Should I Mist My Alocasia Cucullata?

Much like other elephant ear plants, Alocasia cucullata plants thrive in warm, humid conditions. If the environment your plant is in is not sufficiently humid, misting your plant up to two times a day is advised.

If you have other measures in place, such as a pebble tray or humidifier, misting may not be needed.

Is Alocasia Cucullata a Good Houseplant?

The Alocasia cucullata is a tropical species with a rather striking appearance. It is evergreen, and at the same time, very durable and easy to care for.

It is also smaller than other Alocasia species, making it a popular houseplant choice. So if you were wondering is alocasia Cucullata an indoor plant? Yes it is.

Many plant fanatics love this species for its ornamental and vintage vibe. Alocasia Cucullata plants are often seen hanging from baskets in living rooms and offices.

Best Products For Alocasia Cucullata

To ensure your Alocasia cucullata grows optimally (and happily), here are a few products that you help along its journey:

Will You Be Adding an Alocasia Cucullata to Your Home?

The Alocasia cucullata is a magnificent, evergreen tropical plant that can brighten up the corner of any home, office, or commercial building.

To ensure that your cucullata plant stays green and healthy, it is important that you follow the Alocasia plant care tips outlined in this guide.

While this plant is a lovely addition to most indoor spaces, it is also toxic if ingested. As such, keep the plant away from your children and pets.

If you love elephant ear plants, why not adopt an Alocasia Zebrina along with your Hooded Dwarf?

For more on Alocasia plants, check our other helpful guides:

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