It really was all her fault, you know, Fred and I were just fine. We didn’t need no more plants around. Oh sure, there were the Oxalis I’ve almost killed 50 billion times – though if you know anything about those false shamrocks, you’ll know they also call them the Shamrock o Lazarus, cause they will always rise from the dead.
Yeah, so late January 2021, late to the plant craze I guess you could say, I saw this strange alien thing sitting on the plant cart at the local ValuMart. So, sucker for punishment that I am, I put it in my cart and continued on with my shopping, trotting it home with me like a prize I won at the fair.
Yeah, so, if ya know a thing or four about Alocasia Amazonica, you’ll know their favourite thing to do is die on you fairly promptly. Drama queens that they are, they require particular things that the occasional plant owner that discovers their exotic arse at the grocery store and falls in love with, are not aware of.
As I was later to discover, one of the primary reasons for their rather quick demise is this thing called “death mesh” the growers put baby plants into – generally a kind of medium that other plants grow out of because it usually just rots away.
See, with Alocasia Amazonica’s though, divas that they are, they take issue with this, as they can not stand having anything around the roots heeding their growth.
Alocasia grow from what they call ‘corms’, much like a bulb.
Anywho, this new alien to me set off a… em… not sure the right word… plant explosion? A journey of a 100 plants?
Yeah, so mid-pandemic and ol’Pollywog needed a hobby, and after rescuing dear Ali from certain death, I propagated her… and now I have 6… Alocasia Amazonica. Well, 7, actually, I gave the first successful baby to the woman at the ValuMart who worked the till the day I took Ali home. She commented on her alien beauty and, figured she was a fellow planty person… and she was.
So, let’s just say Ali started something.
Always loved plants, have had plants for years, of various kinds… just not… a jungle of them.
Yes, over the last couple of years since Ali came home with me, my collection grew, and grew, and grew, and now I have about 70.
Now, what I learned about Alocasias, is they are very versatile. Sure, they are divas, but versatile divas. If you give them what they need, they can be quite happy and add a real jungle vibe.
They can take moderate to indirect light. They don’t necessarily need a great deal of light, although if acclimatized to some morning sun, won’t mind a bit. In the summer I’ve had my collection outside in my full shade garden (north side of house under a Black Walnut Tree). Sure, the leaves get a bit ripped from the wind, but they do seem to love it.
Now, for watering. They are picky pants about watering, so I now bottom water them – also known in the planty world as ‘butt chugging’. 😏 More importantly, I only water when they are dry. I stick a wooden chopstick in soil, and if it comes out dry, I water. Some instructions for them say to keep them moist, but I find that not to be the case, they do like to dry out a bit between.
They can be heavy feeders, so I fertilize them every 3rd watering or so – miracle-gro or Fish Emulsion, nothing fancy – even in winter, though maybe every 4th instead.
They do seem to prefer a good airy soil mix, which means lots of stuff in the mix for aeration. I now just use Pro-mix Premium, with a few handfuls of perlite. I’ve even used Miracle-gro moisture control with success, so no need for any fancy or expensive bespoke mix required. I would stay away from mixes with bark though, as I’ve read that as it breaks down they can develop root rot.
A good site for checking plant needs – Greg.app. I don’t use the app myself, as I have one I like better, but the quantity and timing between watering I find to be really quite accurate – based on personal experience and documentation over the last couple of years. It gives you good times between watering based on shade or sun and pot size, which gives you a good range based on what kind of light they get.
As far as humidity, generally average room is fine for these exotic looking beauties, between maybe 45 – 60% relative humidity. I bought a cheap little hygrometer off amazon myself to check.
I’ve found now that I have more plants the average in my little apartment with my expanding jungle is usually quite good, but it used to be 30%, before 😏. One plant hack I find that does actually work, is water in a tray of pebbles, which does raise the relative humidity – rather than spending $$ on a humidifier.
Well, well, kinda thinking maybe this planty stuff might just be my theme this NanoPoblano.
Every plant does have a story. Of course.