The Ultimate Guide to Alocasia Varieties

Alocasia Regal Shield or Alocasia Elephant Ear Plant in a Pot

The Ultimate Guide to Alocasia Varieties

Alocasia plants have become a favourite among houseplant enthusiasts, thanks to their striking appearance and unique foliage. Renowned for their dramatic leaves and diverse forms, these tropical beauties can infuse any home with an exotic touch. 

They are: Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’; ‘Bambino’; ‘Ivory Coast’; Alocasia Micholitziana ‘Frydek’; Alocasia Reginula ‘Black Velvet’; Alocasia Infernalis ‘Black Magic’; Alocasia Rugosa ‘Melo’; Alocasia Maharani ‘Grey Dragon’; Alocasia Baginda ‘Dragon Scale’; and Alocasia Zebrine.

In this article, we look into the world of Alocasia, exploring its various captivating varieties. Join us as we take a closer look at popular Alocasia types and learn about essential care tips for those planning to add these stunning plants to their collection.

Popular Alocasia Varieties

Alocasia, renowned for its striking foliage and unique leaf shapes, has captivated plant enthusiasts worldwide. With a diverse array of varieties, each displaying its own distinct beauty, Alocasia adds an exotic touch to any indoor or outdoor garden. 

Here are some of the most cherished Alocasia varieties that enchant plant lovers globally.

Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’

Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’

Description: This captivating plant boasts compact dark green leaves with striking wavy edges and prominent white veins, creating a stunning contrast. The arrowhead-shaped leaves have a glossy texture that enhances their visual appeal. 

Its unique appearance and manageable size make it a favored choice for indoor gardening, seamlessly fitting into various indoor spaces such as offices and living rooms.

Size: The plant can grow up to 24 inches tall with leaves up to 16 inches long, perfect for tabletops and small spaces. Despite its size, its striking foliage makes a significant impact. For proper care, provide bright, indirect light and moderate humidity to mimic its natural habitat.

Origin: Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’ hails from Southeast Asia, flourishing in tropical rainforests. It has successfully adapted to indoor environments when provided with the right conditions.

Alocasia Amazonica ‘Bambino’

Description: This enchanting dwarf variety is renowned for its deep green, arrowhead-shaped leaves adorned with prominent silver veins and contrasting purple undersides. The glossy finish of the leaves captures light beautifully, infusing any space with an exotic charm. 

Its bold foliage makes it a standout addition to any indoor garden, gaining favor among plant enthusiasts.

Size: Typically growing up to 12 inches in height and width, this plant is perfect for small spaces or as a tabletop centerpiece. Its compact size allows for versatile placement around the home, from shelves to windowsills.

Origin: Native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, this plant flourishes in humid, shaded undergrowth. Its affinity for humidity makes it an excellent choice for bathroom decor, mimicking its natural habitat.

Alocasia Amazonica ‘Ivory Coast’

Description: This exquisite plant features arrow-shaped, dark green leaves adorned with striking white veins and blushing pink petioles. The dramatic foliage adds a touch of elegance and tropical flair to any indoor space, creating a lush and exotic ambiance. 

The leaves have a glossy finish that enhances their visual appeal, making the plant a standout piece in any room. Its unique colouration and texture make it a favorite among plant enthusiasts and interior decorators alike.

Size: Typically growing to 3-4 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width, this plant is perfect as a centerpiece for any room. With proper care, it can reach full size and become a focal point in any indoor garden. Regular pruning will manage its growth, ensuring it remains a vibrant part of your home décor.

Origin: Native to the lush tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, this plant is predominantly found in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Alocasia Micholitziana ‘Frydek’

Description: This exquisite plant boasts velvety dark green leaves accentuated by pronounced white veins, offering a striking and visually captivating appearance. 

The heart-shaped leaves exude a lush texture and a slight gloss, adding a touch of elegance to any indoor setting. The contrast between the deep green foliage and vivid white veins creates an arresting look that commands attention and admiration.

Size: This plant, typically 2 to 3 feet tall, adds vertical interest and stands out in any room. With proper care, its lush leaves create a dramatic presence, making it ideal for large pots or decorative planters in living rooms, offices, or conservatories.

Origin: Native to the Philippines, this plant flourishes in tropical and subtropical climates, relishing warm temperatures and high humidity.

Alocasia Reginula ‘Black Velvet’

Description: This stunning plant is celebrated for its dark, nearly black leaves with a luxurious velvety texture. The foliage is highlighted by contrasting silvery veins, creating a dramatic and elegant look. 

Its unique sheen beautifully catches the light, making it a standout in any plant collection. With its exotic appearance and rich coloration, it’s a favorite among plant enthusiasts.

Size: It is a compact plant, typically 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Ideal for indoor gardens or shaded areas, it adds a striking tropical touch with its manageable size, perfect for tabletops and shelves.

Origin: Hailing from the lush tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, this plant thrives in regions with high humidity and warm temperatures.

Alocasia Infernalis ‘Black Magic’

Description: Boasting stunning metallic purplish-black foliage with a hint of red gleam, the leaves exude an almost otherworldly charm that can add a dramatic flair to any plant collection. 

The leaves are not only visually captivating but also possess a slightly leathery texture, enhancing their durability and longevity. Their dark, rich colour creates a beautiful contrast against lighter green plants, making them a captivating addition to any indoor garden.

Size: Typically growing up to 15 inches tall and 6 inches wide, making it ideal for any indoor space. Despite its modest size, it serves as a striking focal point or complements other houseplants and is easy to care for, even for beginners.

Origin: Native to Borneo, this extraordinary plant thrives in the humid, tropical rainforests. Borneo’s rich biodiversity and unique climate provide an ideal environment for this striking species to flourish.

Alocasia Rugosa ‘Melo’

Description: This remarkable plant is characterised by its thick, deeply ridged leaves that resemble textured cardboard. With a matte finish and unique rugged appearance, its leaves stand out in any plant collection. 

The intricate leaf texture adds a dynamic aesthetic, and the deep green coloration can vary slightly based on light exposure and growing conditions. Alocasia Rugosa ‘Melo’ can bring a touch of the exotic rainforest atmosphere into your home.

Size: Typically reaching 1 to 2 feet, it is a compact yet impressive addition to indoor gardens. Despite its modest size, the plant commands attention with its bold leaf structure, serving as a focal point in any plant display. Regular care ensures it stays striking and thrives indoors.

Origin: Native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, Alocasia rugosa thrives in countries like Thailand and Malaysia. These regions provide the warm, humid conditions essential for its lush growth.

Alocasia Maharani ‘Grey Dragon’

Description: The Alocasia Maharani ‘Grey Dragon’ boasts rare silvery green foliage with a unique, textured surface that feels almost leathery to the touch. 

The leaves have a striking, almost metallic sheen and well-defined veins that add to their visual appeal. This unusual texture and color make it a standout piece in any plant collection, drawing the eyes and inviting closer inspection.

Size: Typically grows up to 14 inches tall, making it a compact yet eye-catching addition to any indoor plant collection. It fits comfortably on desks, shelves, or windowsills. Despite its small size, it has a commanding presence that can elevate any space’s aesthetic.

Origin: Native to the lush rainforests of Southeast Asia, particularly in Borneo and Sumatra, these areas provide the humid, warm environment the plant needs to flourish.

Alocasia Baginda ‘Dragon Scale’

Description: This captivating plant boasts silvery green leaves adorned with intricate, scale-like veins reminiscent of mythical dragon scales. Its remarkable leather-like texture adds to its allure, making it a striking addition to any plant collection.

Size: With the potential to grow up to 3 feet tall, it makes a bold statement in both indoor and outdoor settings. Its compact growth habit also makes it ideal for smaller spaces, where it can still serve as a standout focal point.

Origin: Hailing from the lush rainforests of Borneo, an island celebrated for its rich biodiversity and unique plant species.

Alocasia Zebrine

Description: This plant is renowned for its distinctive shield-shaped leaves, which are a lush green and add a vibrant touch of nature to any setting.

The petioles, or leaf stems, exhibit a unique zebra-like pattern with alternating light and dark bands, making it a striking addition to any plant collection. This eye-catching pattern not only enhances its visual appeal but also adds an exotic flair.

Size: It can grow up to 3 feet, making it perfect for adding a tropical vibe indoors. Its size allows flexible placement as a floor plant or on a large tabletop, fitting into various interior designs. With regular care, this plant will remain a stunning centerpiece in your home.

Origin: Native to the Philippines, the plant thrives in tropical climates, commonly found in rainforests. It loves high humidity and filtered sunlight, making it perfect for recreating a tropical ambiance at home.

Care Tips for Alocasia Plants

Alocasia plants, known for their striking foliage and unique look, can enhance any garden. However, they need specific care to thrive. Here are some essential tips to keep your Alocasia plants healthy and beautiful.

Light and Temperature 

Alocasias flourish in bright, indirect light, as direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. It’s crucial to place them where they receive filtered light, such as near a curtained window or in a well-lit room. These plants thrive in warm temperatures between 65°F and 85°F, making them ideal for indoor settings. 

Consistent warmth promotes vigorous growth. Avoid exposing them to cold drafts, sudden temperature changes, or air conditioning vents, as these conditions can stress the plant and impede its development. Ensuring proper temperature and light conditions is essential for maintaining the lush, vibrant foliage for which Alocasia plants are celebrated.

Watering and Humidity 

Keep the soil evenly moist but never soggy to ensure the health of your Alocasia plant. To avoid overwatering your Alocasia and prevent root rot, water the plant when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil feel dry. Maintaining high humidity is also essential for their growth, as Alocasia plants thrive in moist environments. 

Consider using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near the plant to keep moisture levels adequate. Additionally, misting the leaves occasionally can help simulate their natural tropical habitat and encourage healthy growth.

Soil and Planting 

For optimal Alocasia health, a well-draining, chunky soil mix is essential to prevent root rot by ensuring excess water doesn’t accumulate. This type of mix promotes adequate air circulation around the roots, a critical factor for the plant’s well-being. 

An aroid mix, which typically includes bark, perlite, and peat, is ideal. The bark maintains structure and aeration, perlite enhances drainage and prevents soil compaction, and peat retains necessary moisture without becoming waterlogged. Adding a touch of activated charcoal further improves drainage and helps control odors.


During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilise monthly with a diluted houseplant fertiliser to encourage robust growth. Choose a balanced fertiliser containing essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Dilute the fertiliser to about half the recommended strength to prevent root damage from over-fertilization. 

Monitor the plant’s response and adjust the frequency as needed, ensuring your Alocasia receives the right amount of nourishment for vibrant foliage and healthy development.

Common Issues 

Alocasia plants, known for their stunning foliage, can face common health and growth issues. Recognising and addressing these problems is crucial for preserving their beauty and vitality.

Here are some typical challenges you might encounter when cultivating Alocasia plants:


Yellowing Leaves

Cause: Overwatering, poor drainage, or aging leaves.

Solution: Ensure the soil drains well and allow the top 2-3 inches to dry before watering again. Remove any old or yellowing leaves to promote new growth.

Drooping Leaves

Cause: Underwatering, overwatering, or sudden environmental changes.

Solution: Maintain consistent watering practices, avoid drastic temperature shifts, and ensure adequate humidity levels.


Brown Leaf Edges or Tips

Cause: Low humidity, underwatering, or excessive direct sunlight.

Solution: Increase humidity, adjust watering habits, and provide bright, indirect light instead of direct sunlight.


Pests (Spider Mites, Aphids, Mealybugs)


Cause: Infestations due to dry conditions or poor plant health.

Solution: Regularly inspect the plant and treat infestations with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Enhance humidity and overall plant care to prevent future issues.


Root Rot

Cause: Overwatering or poorly draining soil.

Solution: Use a well-draining soil mix, allow the topsoil to dry between waterings, and ensure the pot has drainage holes.


Leaf Spotting

Cause: Fungal infections or bacterial diseases, often due to high humidity and poor air circulation.

Solution: Remove affected leaves, reduce watering, and improve air circulation around the plant.



Cause: Underwatering, overwatering, or root damage.

Solution: Check soil moisture levels and adjust watering practices accordingly. Ensure the roots are healthy and not damaged.


Leggy Growth

Cause: Insufficient light.

Solution: Move the plant to a brighter location with more indirect light to promote fuller growth.

By addressing these common issues, you can help ensure your Alocasia plants remain healthy and vibrant.


Alocasia plants, with their diverse forms and striking appearances, make a delightful addition to any plant collection. Their large, glossy leaves, available in various shapes and colors, become a focal point in any room. 

By adhering to the right care guidelines—such as providing adequate light, water, and humidity—you can enjoy their beauty year-round. Regularly inspecting for pests and ensuring well-draining soil will help these exotic plants remain healthy and vibrant.

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  1. “The Houseplant Expert” by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
  2. “Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants” by Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff
  3. “The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual” by Barbara Pleasant
  4. “Plant Parenting: Easy Ways to Make More Houseplants, Vegetables, and Flowers” by Leslie F. Halleck
  5. “Houseplants for a Healthy Home” by Jon VanZile

Links to Local Gardening Organizations or Forums in South Africa

  1. South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)Opens in a new tab.
  2. The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc)Opens in a new tab.
  3. Gardening in South AfricaOpens in a new tab.
  4. South African Nursery Association (SANA)Opens in a new tab.
  5. Plantinfo South AfricaOpens in a new tab.
  6. Cape Horticultural SocietyOpens in a new tab.

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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