You bought an Alocasia (a·luh·kay·zhuh) for your home; you have been looking at its foliage and wondering what its flowers look like.
Then you suddenly remember “Elephant Ears.” That is this plant’s common name.
Alocasia has beautiful foliage, but the flower, or shall I call it inflorescence, is not ‘eye-pleasing’ to look at.
It must be hard to decide whether or not to let your plant flower and what risks and benefits are included in the process. Without any further ado, let’s jump right in.
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Do Alocasia Flowers Indoors?
Some plants need to be close to or in their natural habitat to flower, while others can even in indoor settings. Well, you are lucky when it comes to Alocasia.
Although Alocasia has a higher chance of blooming in its natural habitat, it can bloom indoors if the conditions are right.
That means that you will have to emulate the plant’s natural habitat to have any chance to make the plant bloom.
It is rare for the Alocasia plant to produce flowers. You need to keep certain things in mind to make your plant flower. We will discuss that later.
If you witness blooming in Alocasia, it basically means that the plant is happy with the conditions you have provided it with.
Whether to keep or remove the blooms is entirely your decision to make. Some believe that the flowers will hinder the growth of the leaves, which are the center of attraction in Alocasia.
Flowers tend to take up the nutrients directed for the foliage.
Although the exact size is not specified, an Alocasia must be at least eight weeks old and have a considerate size to flower.
Alocasia Flowers Overview
Let’s look at the basic overview of the Alocasia flower.
|Structure||Big head, covered in bracts
inflorescence with numerous tiny budding flowers and bracts
|Size||Thistle-like blooms can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter|
|Color||Purple blooms with iridescent lavender blue centers|
|Fragrance||Smell ranging from fleshy, bitter, fatty, green, and earthy to slightly sweet and warm|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic to human and pets|
|Edible part||The base of the petals, the center of the stem and the entire artichoke heart|
|Blooming Season||Buds appear in early spring and full bloom throughout the summer months.|
Alocasia has unisexsual flowers. The male part lies at the top of the spadix, and the female part lies hidden in the floral chamber.
You don’t need to give much attention to the Alocasia flowers. They bloom, flourish, and die off on their own after some time.
How to Pollinate the Alocasia Flowers?
Pollinization is a process of transferring pollen from another to stigma to induce fertilization.
Alocasia will not self-pollinate due to its imperfect flowers. Female flowers grow on the upper portion of the spadix, while male flowers grow on the lower.
Male flowers normally produce pollen before female flowers bloom and are available for pollination. However, you can pollinate Alocasia flowers manually.
Alocasia can also be fertilized by this process. Let’s look at the necessary steps.
- Get a sterilized knife and a small paintbrush.
- You can collect pollens a day after when the inflorescence first opens. However, it can depend on the environmental conditions as well.
- Gently hold the spathe and cut a small portion at the base of the inflorescence to reveal the pistils.
- Grab a dry brush and rub gently in the moist pistils and dip the brush in the pollen you want to use.
- We then dab the brush on the exposed pistils to place as much pollen as possible.
- Remember not to cut the entire spathe away to offer protection to the developing berries.
How to Make the Alocasia Plant Flower?
People with an Alocasia in their home don’t usually think about making the plant flower. Alocasia is one of the plants that is grown for its foliage.
But I get it; you are up for the challenge. You want to figure out the knowwhats of Alocasia flowering.
Look below for the conditions you need to keep in mind to make your plant flower.
- The foremost and first thing you need to do is to check whether your plant is free of stress or not. Stressed Alocasia does not tend to flower.
- Check the roots for root rot or root-bound if your plant seems stressed. Do the required preparations, choose a pot one size bigger than the current pot, and repot the plant.
- A fertilizer with high phosphorus is suitable for making aroids flower. You can go for a water-soluble Monopotassium Phosphate (MKP) fertilizer.
- Water the plant according to its needs. Wait for the top few inches of soil to dry out, and thoroughly water the plant with distilled water.
- Being a tropical plant, Alocasias prefer highly humid conditions (50-60%). Keep the humidity in check using a humidifier and a moisture meter.
- You can also group houseplants to make a humidity-sharing environment.
You must know by now that you should check the plant thoroughly for the signs of pests and diseases. Or, the beautiful Alocasia foliage will be ruined.
- Provide your Alocasia with a bright but indirect light to let it go in a ‘full bloom’ mood.
- Soil also plays a significant role in making the plant flower. Mix a part of perlite/sand, a part of the soil, and the same quantity of peat moss.
- Keep the temperature between 65°F and 85°F to let your Alocasia grow happily and produce flowers.
Read more: Alocasia Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes and Their Easy Fixes
What Should You Do with Alocasia Flowers?
Alocasia’s beautiful leaves and foliage have you in its charms already. But now you witness its ‘not-so-pretty’ flower.
Although the bloom indicates that the plant is doing well, you would still want to cut it.
I can give you two reasons why you should discard the flowers altogether.
- The term ‘flower’ is usually associated with’ beauty.’ But trust me, Alocasia blooms contradict that.
- Blooms of Alocasia suck up the nutrients intended for the foliage. So, the leaves are usually smaller if a flower blooms.
The first reason alone is enough to make you want to remove the flower of Alocasia.
But wait! You cannot randomly remove the flower from the plant. There is a process and procedures you need to follow.
Look below for the steps to follow to remove the flower.
- Choose the early morning hours for the cutting process. All night’s rest will help the plant wake up fresh and energetic.
- Sterilize knives/shears properly and wear proper gardening gloves.
- Grab the bloom at the base and identify the stalk connecting it to the plant.
- Gently cut the stalk. You can also deadhead the flower to give your plant a better appearance.
- Or, you can grab the bloom at the base and pull it out with your bare hands.
- Follow the above process very carefully, and do not hurt the neighboring leaves and stems.
Things you Should be Careful About Alocasia Flower
Alocasia is known for its stunning foliage and has pretty average flowers. There is another thing Alocasia is famous for; being toxic.
According to ASPCA, Alocasia is considered toxic to cats, horses, and dogs due to insoluble calcium oxalates.
The University of California has categorized plants into classes 1, 2, 3, and 4 according to their toxicity.
|1. Major Toxicity||Cause serious illness or death.|
|2. Minor Toxicity||Causes minor illness.|
|3. Oxalates||The sap or juices of this plant contains calcium oxalates.|
|4. Dermatitis||The juices or saps of these plants cause skin irritation.|
In the above chart, Alocasia falls under toxicity class 3,4.
There is no evidence of the flower’s toxicity, but if the plant is toxic, we can assume that the bloom could be toxic.
Also, after fertilizing your plant, the flower could prove toxic if your pets sniff or nibble on them. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
If any incidents like this arise, contact the American Association of Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.
Get in touch with the ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435 for poisoning in pets.
You might want to read this “Is Alocasia Toxic to Cats?“
Alocasia flowers may not provide you with an aesthetic site to watch, but if you have made up your mind to see it bloom, who am I to stop you?
Read the article properly and do all the things like they should be done and get rewarded.. err, get a “flower.”