Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ or Elephant Ear Plant is a stunning addition and a focal point to brightly lit living rooms, hallways, and offices. It has thick and robust deep green foliage with light green veins and deep purple undersides.
Elephant Ear Plant favors tropical conditions you should strive to meet in your home as well. This means providing fresh potting soil that drains well, bright indirect light, consistent moisture, warm temperatures, and high humidity. Be responsive to the plant’s watering needs and replace tap water with distilled water. Avoid overwatering since it can cause root rot. Be watchful of spider mites. This plant is right for you if you have enough space that offers high humidity and bright indirect light and if you simply want to instill a tropical vibe into your home. Let’s see how to take proper care of the Alocasia Regal Shield plant.
About Alocasia Regal Shield Plant
Alocasia Regal Shield belongs to the genus of flowering plants called Araceae. It is a fast-growing cultivar between Alocasia odora and Alocasia reginula. It got its name thanks to the large leaves that resemble elephants’ ears.
In addition, the leaves are rich green with lighter green or purple venation. The leaf undersides exhibit purple tones, which makes a striking and visually appealing contrast to deep green. The leaves sit erect atop thick, long, and pale green stems which join at the base of the plant through the rhizomatous system.
The plant rarely produces flowers in household conditions, but if you are lucky, you might witness the presence of white, pale yellow, or light green spathe.
It performs quite well as a floor plant in pots and containers. Display it in your living room, hallway, office, or patio – it will stop traffic and make a talking point.
Scientific name: Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’
Popular name: Elephant Ear
Origin: Southeast Asia, Africa
Height: 3-9 feet tall
Leaf size: 8-20 inches
Hardiness zone: 10
Dormancy period: Winter
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and humans
Where to get it: Local nursery, specialized plant stores
Alocasia Regal Shield Care
Alocasia Regal Shield appreciates medium to bright light preferably by a west- or east-facing window. What’s more, you can also position your plant next to a north-facing window in the early fall. Make sure to occasionally rotate the plant so as to ensure that it receives light uniformly from all sides.
Keep your Alocasia Regal Shields away from direct sunlight. If you are bringing the plant outdoors in the warmer months for a few weeks, make sure to provide bright shade as fierce afternoon sun can severely damage and scorch the leaves.
The ideal temperature range for Alocasia Regal Shield is between 17 and 25 degrees C. Naturally, daytime temperatures should be higher than the nighttime temperatures.
Avoid positioning your elephant ear plants next to the heating sources. Protect them from cold and frost. If you keep your plants outside for a few months in the spring, make sure to bring them indoors to overwinter.
It cannot be overemphasized how much Alocasia Regal Shield loves humidity. High humidity is precisely the reason for forming such robust and exquisite foliage. To achieve that, provide humidity that’s above 70%.
To increase humidity, consider getting a humidifier.
Elephant Ear loves to hang out and mingle with other plants easily, so you can arrange a party to your Alocasia Regal Shield.
Besides, you can also set the plant on a tray of pebbles and this will increase the humidity levels.
Alocasia Regal Shield favors fertile and loam-based soil with the addition of organic matter. It also needs to drain well and retain moisture, rich in nutrients and slightly acidic.
Adding peat moss, coco choir, perlite, and vermiculite will amend the soil and provide it with the nutrients necessary for the plant’s overall health. Avoid sandy or rocky soils.
As a general rule, water liberally and thoroughly, allowing the excess water to drain out the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry out between watering. It will take some trial and error to adopt a healthy watering schedule, but once you do, you won’t have to worry about anything.
Run the finger and soil test or weigh the potted plant in your hand. If it feels light and the soil is dry halfway down the pot, it is time for a nice refreshment.
In the summer months, water it frequently because it is the growing season. On the other hand, water sparingly in winter because the plant goes dormant in the winter and the growth is slow.
Make sure to water the entire root ball and try not to splash the plant’s leaves. Never let the plant sit in the soggy soil. Maintain a good moisture level and check once a week whether your plant needs water.
Alocasia Regal Shield is a heavy feeder. This means it requires regular fertilizing in order to grow well. Furthermore, fertilizing will significantly improve the plant’s soil, help the central roots to grow, and promote the large leaf growth we so desperately want.
This is especially true of mature plants whose soil decreases in nutrients as the plant is growing. Ideally, you should fertilize twice a month with a diluted liquid fertilizer as instructed on the package. Fertilize from spring to fall, but avoid fertilizing in winter because the plant goes dormant.
If possible, opt for organic fertilizers or make your own by mixing sterilized compost and manure. Avoid overfertilizing since it can lead to a build-up of salt on the soil surface. If by any chance you happen to overfertilize, rinse the plant thoroughly with water to wash away all that fertilizer. Check that the fertilizer hasn’t burned the plant’s roots.
You want to repot Alocasia Regal Shield every two years, ideally in the spring. When repotting, choose a new pot that’s a size larger and offers more room for the root ball and new roots to grow. A terracotta pot is ideal for this plant. Make sure it is sterilized and clean.
Also, remove some dead leaves or diseased leaves, use a fresh potting mix and check the soil pH beforehand. Add some soil in the pot, insert the plant, add more soil and firm it around the plant. Use a spray bottle or a watering can to water the repotted plant.
Position it where it will receive bright indirect light. Increase humidity levels and your Elephant ear Regal Shields will grow happily.
Since elephant ear plants are rhizomatous, you can easily propagate them by division. Ideally, you want to propagate your Alocasia Regal Shield plant in early spring or summer.
- Start by digging out the rhizome, but be careful not to damage it
- Next, remove the plant out of the pot
- Find a section that has three shoots on it
- Once you have divided the rhizome, pot the mother plant back into its original pot
- Pot the newly divided plant into a new container with fresh soil
- Water the new plant
- Position it where it will receive medium light
Pruning Alocasia Regal Shield isn’t necessary, but feel free to remove old or dying leaves. To do that, use a sterilized knife, but be careful not to damage the new growth.
You don’t need to prune new plants if they are healthy.
What’s more, try to keep the leaves of your Elephant Ear plant free of dust. Use a wet soft cloth and wipe the leaves. You can also use natural products for leaf shine as this will make the plant look more attractive.
Although the elephant ear plant is fairly pest-free, it can still fall victim to pests. Some of them are mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. To treat your infected plants, opt for natural options such as insecticidal soaps and neem oil.
Some other factors can cause plant disease, such as high humidity without good airflow. This can cause powdery mildew. Prevention is the best remedy, so maintain clean hygienic conditions. If you happen to notice a pest infestation, isolate your plant immediately and treat it as soon as possible.
The elephant ear plant is a plant that everyone craves in their indoor garden.
Provided that you take proper care of it, you can now grow one indoors. Provide regular moisture, high humidity, well-draining soil, and bright indirect light and you are on the good path.
Observing this plant grow and witnessing the presence of such large leaves is bound to make you feel as if in some exotic oasis – peaceful and happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my Elephant Ear Plant drooping?
Yellowing or drooping leaves are signs of overwatering or a pest infestation. Alter your watering regime and inspect your plant for pests.
Does Elephant Ear Plant Go Dormant?
Yes, the Elephant ear plant goes dormant in the winter, which means it is a period of slow growth. That means you should avoid fertilizing completely and water sparingly during this period.
What is the best light for Elephant Ear Plant?
The best light for Alocasia Regal Shield or Elephant ear plant is medium to bright indirect sunlight.