Alocasias, also known as elephant ears, are a popular houseplant known for their large, heart-shaped leaves. While they can be propagated through division, the most common way to propagate alocasia is by planting the corms. Alocasia corms contain the plant’s stored energy and will sprout new growth when planted correctly. Follow these steps for successfully planting alocasia corms.
Selecting Healthy Corms
When selecting alocasia corms for planting, look for ones that are large, firm, and free of rot or damage. Smaller corms may not have enough stored energy to sprout effectively. The corm should feel solid when squeezed gently and should not be mushy or shriveled. Avoid corms with spots, mold, or soft areas which may indicate rot. Selecting the healthiest corms gives your new alocasia plants the best start.
Choosing the Right Potting Mix
Alocasias prefer a rich, well-draining potting mix. A good quality potting soil formulated for tropical plants is ideal, as it will contain nutrients for growth and provide enough aeration for the corms. You can also create your own mix using compost, peat moss or coco coir, perlite, and bark or charcoal for drainage. The potting mix should retain some moisture but not get waterlogged.
Planting Depth and Position
Plant the corms 2-3 inches deep in the potting mix. This provides enough depth for the new roots to anchor securely. Place the corm horizontally on its side in the pot. The topside of the corm, where new growth emerges, should face outward in the pot. If planting multiple corms together, space them 3-4 inches apart to allow room for growth.
Providing Warmth and Humidity
Alocasias grow best in warm, humid conditions. Keep the potted corms indoors in temperatures around 70-80°F until new growth emerges. Place in a bright, warm spot but avoid direct sunlight which can burn the tender new leaves. Create humidity by placing the pot on a pebble tray or use a humidifier. Protecting the corms from drafts is also important.
Watering and Fertilizing
Keep the potting mix moist but not soaked while waiting for the corms to sprout. Water when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Be careful not to overwater before growth emerges, as excess moisture can cause rotting. Once new leaves appear, begin fertilizing every 2-3 weeks using a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. This provides nutrients for vigorous growth.
Transplanting the Seedlings
Once the plants reach 3-4 inches tall with 2-3 leaves, they can be transplanted into larger containers if desired. Gently remove each seedling from the pot, keeping the roots and corm intact. Replant into pots 2-4 inches larger, filled with a rich potting mix. Water thoroughly after transplanting and resume regular watering and fertilizing.
If corms fail to sprout after 3-4 weeks, the usual problem is improper planting, temperature, or moisture levels. Ensure the planting depth is correct and the mix is moist. Move to a warmer spot or use a heating mat to maintain 70°F. If the corms rot, the mix is likely too wet. Allow corms to dry out several days before replanting in fresh, dry mix. With the right care, alocasia corms will thrive.
Caring for Young Plants
Once new leaves emerge, provide bright indirect light to encourage growth. Water whenever the top inch of soil dries out to keep their large leaves hydrated. Mist frequently to increase humidity around the plants. Stake tall, top-heavy stems to prevent them from toppling over. Remove any yellowing leaves to keep plants looking their best. With the proper care, homegrown alocasias from corms will flourish.
Key Takeaways on Planting Alocasia Corms
- Select large, healthy corms free from rot and damage
- Use a well-draining potting mix suitable for tropical plants
- Plant corms 2-3 inches deep, positioning horizontally
- Provide warm temperatures around 70-80°F
- Keep the potting mix moist but not waterlogged
- Fertilize once new leaves emerge
- Transplant into larger containers once seedlings are established
- Ensure proper moisture, humidity, light, and care for thriving plants
Planting alocasia corms allows you to easily propagate these impressive tropicals. Following these tips will get your new plants off to the right start. With the proper care after sprouting, the alocasias grown from corms will soon become showstoppers in your indoor garden.