Alocasia 'Giant Taro', Giant Elephant Ear, Giant Alocasia
New Guinea, The Philippines, Australia, Hawai'i
Flaunting broad leaves with a true tropical appeal, the Alocasia Giant Taro epitomizes what many seek out when creating that jungle aesthetic. Whilst modest in size now, with time and adequate sunlight, Giant Taros can produce leaves that span over 3 feet in diameter. A true statement plant
Hailing from southeast Asia and Australia predominantly, these plants are now exceptionally common on the Polynesian Islands due to their historic cultivation as a food source. Their corms, or stems, can be peeled and boiled as a rich source of carbohydrates and vitamins.
Alocasia Giant Taro thrive best in bright indirect sunlight but can survive moderate light conditions also. Intense direct sunlight should be avoided as their broad leaves are susceptible to scorching, causing them to turn yellow.
Insufficient light can cause these plants to slow their growth significantly and produce smaller leaves. In very low light conditions their leaves may also turn yellow and eventually fall away from the plant.
Their broad leaves are prone to collecting dust in our homes. If dust accumulates it can inhibit the plant's ability to absorb sunlight. We recommend gently wiping the leaves of your Alocasia on a semi-regular basis with a damp cloth to clean them.
Giant Taros prefer to be kept in relatively moist, but not soggy, compost. Allowing the top few inches of compost to dry out in between waterings is generally the best practise. Ensure your Giant Taro is set in a pot with drainage to avoid excess water accumulating around the roots. Root rot is one of the most common issues encountered by owners of this plant, but is easily avoided.
As is the case with sunlight, Alocasia macrorrhizas require regular fertilizing to facilitate their production of their broad leaves. During the growing seasons these plants should be fertilized roughly once every two weeks using a standard houseplant fertilizer.
During the winter fertilizing can be reduced to once per month or stopped entirely as during the colder months these houseplants go dormant and stop growing.
Being native to Tropical regions these indoor plants tend to prefer slightly warmer conditions in the region of 18-25 degrees. Avoid allowing this plant to stay in cold areas of your home such as conservatories during the winter months as they do not tend to survive well in very low temperatures.
While mild drafts don't tend to be an issue, it is best to shelter Alocasia Giant Taros from strong winds as their leaves tend to tear somewhat easily.
When repotting your plant, rich organic composts mixed with a small quantity of drainage-improving amendments tend to be best.
While these plants can be grown from seeds or stem cuttings the best method of propagation tends to be division. This method involves separating some of the tuberous rhizomes growing in the soil from the mother plant and repotting them.
To do this remove the plant from its pot and remove all compost surrounding the root system. Using a sterile pair of secateurs, cut away the tuberous rhizomes from the mother plant. Place each of the devided rhizomes in a small pot of their own and keep warm and moist. Repot the original mother plant back in its pot.
These plants are considered toxic if ingested due to the presence of calcium oxalate within this plant. Some parts are, however, edible if thoroughly boiled. This is a common practise on the island of Hawai'i, where the roots are used to make the native dish, Poi.