The Alocasia Wentii (aka giant elephant ear) is a plant with a big reputation. In part, that’s because they can grow to huge sizes.
The leaves alone can reach up to 30cm in length and are a lush, deep green. But the beauty doesn’t stop there. Underneath, the leaf displays a gorgeous purple and bronze that is striking.
While there are around 70 types of Alocasia, the Wentii grows up to 3 metres tall, unless restricted to a pot, or otherwise controlled.
Depending on your conditions, they can make excellent houseplants, and perhaps even enhance a sheltered garden.
Here’s a general guide to the Alocasia Wentii care, from general up keep of it, dealing with pests, and more.
Is Alocasia an Indoor Plant?
Alocasia Wentii – related to the Alocasia Zebrina – makes for a wonderful indoor plant. The large leaves and bright colours on the underside make it a superb addition to a bright living room.
The hardy Elephant ears also don’t like the direct sun too much, so a spot indoors with filtered light is perfect.
An indoor location also protects it from winds and breezes that don’t always agree with the leaves. Also, make sure to keep it a good distance from artificial climate enhancers like heaters and air cons.
Alocasia Wentii Light Requirements
Giant Alocasia loves a lot of light. But it doesn’t do well in direct or sharp light, as this causes the leaves to scorch.
On the other hand, too little light will restrict the growth of your plant. A delicate balance is required to allow our Wentii to thrive.
So, an environment with dappled or filtered light is best.
Alocasia Wentii Temperature Requirements
The alocasia elephant ear is one of the biggest elephant ear plant variations and has tropical climate origins. It enjoys a mild climate but isn’t especially sensitive to temperature variations.
You can feel fairly assured of its comfort if you are in a generally moderate climate.
Alocasia Wentii enjoys temperatures between 10 and 30°C. If you live in an area that frequently spikes above 35°C, it may be a little too hot for the elephant ear.
Alocasia Wentii Fertilization
Elephant ear or Alocasia plants require some special attention when it comes to fertilization. Even if you’ve potted your plants for indoor living, you’ll need to feed them regularly for them to reach their potential.
The problem with pots is that sometimes nutrients are washed away through the draining holes.
That’s why you may need to fertilize a potted plant even more than an outdoor one. It’s a good idea to add some water-soluble fertilizer with every watering, just to keep the nutrients at peak levels.
Keep an eye on your leaves. If they suddenly start to turn brown or look burnt, it may be because you’re using too much fertilizer.
Slow down a little, and if necessary, use plain water for a while to flood the nutrients out.
Soil for an Alocasia Wentii
The moisture and condition of the soil are very important to Alocasia Wentii. Most of the problems you’ll encounter tend to trace back to either underwatering or overwatering.
The natural habitat of the elephant ear suggests moist, rich soil, but with good drainage.
It may be useful to think of 5-6cm of dry soil on top as a useful indicator of when to water again.
But if you’re not familiar with taking care of an elephant ear, test out its tolerance until you get the balance right.
Alocasia Wentii Humidity
It comes from the tropics, so it loves humidity. Ideally, 60%-80% humidity is the sweet spot.
Not all homes offer this naturally, so there are a few things you can do to help. One of the best ways is to place the plant on a pebble tray. It’s a simple solution but is safe and effective.
A humidifier can also do the trick, although you run the risk of over-humidifying the air, and artificial devices aren’t the first option I’d go for.
Misting the surroundings manually with a water bottle could also work. But you must take care to not spray or mist the leaves directly. This can lead to fungal infections or attract other pests.
Alocasia Wentii and Pruning
Like any plant, a healthy elephant ear needs good pruning now and then. Remember to take precautions if you suspect that any plants in your home may be infected with fungus or disease and disinfect any pruning shears you use.
In the case of a Wentii, failing to prune may result in a plant that overtakes and dominates your entire room or garden!
It can grow to more than two metres tall! Something to keep in mind is that new Wentii leaves grow at the top of the plant.
So, if you have a choice, cut leaves from the bottom of the plant – they will be older.
Pests and Diseases
From time to time, your plants may suffer an infection or be attacked by bugs. Alocasia Wentii has a few vulnerabilities – here are the main ones, and what to do about them.
All plants have their buggy enemies. The Alocasia’s biggest bug foes include spider mites and mealybugs. Usually, a mild soapy wipe or a fine insecticide spray on the leaves will keep them at bay.
Neem oil is also a great option for getting rid of mealybugs and, importantly, their eggs.
Fungal Leaf Blight
Leaf Blight is a problem caused by fungus and presents as small lesions on the leaves of an Alocasia. Initially, you may see tiny brown spots on the leaves.
These grow bigger and coalesce into lesions, and when the fungus is in full bloom, it may develop a fuzzy texture.
Eventually, the leaf will become brittle and collapse, while the fungus travels down into the stem and the rest of the plant. Nasty.
Early detection is key to treatment. Try a fungicide (bacteria, oil, copper or sulphur-based) or a potassium bicarbonate solution, remove infected leaves, or try an organic, homebrew remedy.
The best advice may be to consult a local expert or nursery if you’re having trouble fixing the problem.
The nasty side of this fungus is that you can’t immediately remedy the situation with a change in conditions.
Plant rust is a fungal disease that usually indicates that your plant is struggling to find enough light, humidity or warmth – or any combination of those.
But evidence shows that if you decide to move the infected plant to a warmer spot, for example, it may aggravate the situation, and increase the fungal progress. On the other hand, if you don’t treat it, it will kill the leaves.
Small brown or orange spots will be your first clue, and eventually, they will grow into pustules. While it may not kill the entire plant if left untreated, it certainly will stunt growth, and generally leave the plant sad and unhealthy.
Phyllosticta Leaf Spot
Alocasia Wentii is known to suffer this variation on the leaf spot affliction. This one causes small holes to appear in the leaves.
It starts as a brown lesion but ends up drying up and simply falling away, leaving a cavity in the leaf.
You can try similar treatments for fungal leaf blight above, but it’s always good advice to remove severely infected leaves to prevent spreading.
Alocasia Wentii Root Rot
Pythium rot or root rot can happen if the plant is being over-watered. When the plant sits in overly moist soil for a long time, the roots struggle for oxygen.
A rot sets in, which affects the roots ability to function properly. In some cases, root rot may also be caused by a soil-based fungus.
Leaves will discolour and turn yellow. The roots will turn black and may go mushy.
Remove the plant from the soil. Wash the roots with water. Now clip away affected roots with pruning shears.
Remember to use a clean, disinfected pair of shears (use rubbing alcohol), and get rid of the soil in which the plant had been sitting.
It may be a good idea to dip the remaining root system in a fungicide solution. This will help to kill off any remaining fungus spores.
Common Problems with Alocasia Wentii
Newer Alocasia Wentii owners may notice an odd malady with their plants. In most cases, the cause has already been discussed above, but here are some of the other symptoms of such problems.
Alocasia Wentii Drooping Leaves And Turning Yellow
Again, most of the time, plants turning yellow is connected to watering – either under or overwatering.
It could also be a lack of sunshine or poor soil, though. In most cases, checking these aspects (see above) and correcting the issue will sort out the problem.
Alocasia Wentii Brown Spots
Fungal infections and pests cause brown spots. In a way, this is also indirectly related to proper watering and care, though.
Under or overwatering make the plant vulnerable to these fungi and pests. In the case of brown leaf edges, you may also be overfertilizing or over-sunning the plant.
Alocasia Wentii wrinkled leaves
Wrinkled or dry leaves don’t necessarily mean underwatering. They could also mean overwatering. Check the best watering practices above.
Repotting Alocasia Wentii
The best time to replant is at the start of the spring or growing season. The plant won’t do well if repotted during its dormant winter cycle.
One really attractive aspect of the giant elephant ear is that it doesn’t require as much repotting as other indoor plants. This is because they don’t like having their roots upset all that often.
If you feel you have to repot, do so once a year at most. Also, note that transplanting to too large a new pot may leave the roots too spread out.
Alocasia Wentii Propagation
Wentii roots are clumped. You may be easily able to separate these clumps with a bit of gentle movement or cutting with a disinfected knife or pair of fine scissors.
If all has gone well, you’ll have several new clumps with root systems ready to go.
Elephant Ear Runners
You may notice rhizomes or stolons on your Alocasia – some do this instead of clumping. These can propagate new plants as well.
Direct them to some soil and keep them watered. In a few weeks, you should have a new sprout.
Propagating in Soil
Assuming you’ve done the above and have yourself several new clumps, runners or seeds, plant them in new soil in their new pots and lightly water them.
It may take a few weeks to notice any new leaves or growth, but this is fairly normal.
Propagating in Water
Owners are somewhat divided on this one. But Alocasia Wentii can sometimes be propagated in water.
Usually, it’s a method used only when a cutting doesn’t have its roots. Some owners seem to have used it with their root clumps.
So if you feel you want to give it a try, it can add an extra bit of exotic flavour to your display.
Use a container deep enough to submerge the entire root system and fill it with tap water. Important: if your tap water is chlorine-infused, leave it for 24 hours before placing your plant in it.
Place the plant in it, submerging the root system, and put it in an appropriate place for filtered light as per normal, topping up when the water gets low.
Liquid fertilizer for houseplants is a good occasional addition to the water. Add this when you trade out the water every two or three months.
Alocasia Wentii: Frequently Asked Questions
A couple of questions usually come up when discussing the Alocasia Wentii plant care. Let’s take a look.
Why is my alocasia dripping water?
When the elephant ear is overwatered, it may “sweat” out excess water. This is a good thing, so don’t panic. Just cut back on the watering a bit.
Why do alocasia leaves turn yellow?
If the browning isn’t spot specific, but rather a general shading, the cause is likely overwatering. If cutting back on watering doesn’t solve the issue, check for root rot.
Is Alocasia Wentii toxic to Cats?
Alocasia plants should be considered highly toxic to cats, dogs, other animals and humans! If it is eaten raw, it could be deadly or cause severe illness. The means of its toxicity is rather gruesome.
The plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are sharp, and released when the plant is chewed. These crystals travel down the throat and oesophagus, puncturing the soft tissue within, and causing severe swelling.
Certain chemical toxins affect some mammals. And contact with the skin does trigger allergic reactions in some people.
Luckily, cats mostly steer clear of them instinctively. But keep an eye out for the following, just in case:
- Cardiac abnormalities
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Pawing at the mouth
- Swollen tongue, eyes or lips
Final Thoughts on Alocasia Wentii
With proper care, your gigantic elephant ear plant can be the centrepiece of your indoor plant display. You may need to control its size if it’s loving your home too much.
Either way, it’s a beautiful addition to your home, and one worth caring for.
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