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Alocasia Light Requirements: All Queries Solved!

Elephant’s ear or Alocasia has specific light requirements to sustain its prized arrowhead-shaped foliage.

Alocasia demands bright, filtered, indirect light for at least six to eight hours daily. If the sunlight is too harsh, it will burn the plant’s leaves. In low lighting conditions, provide at least 8 hours of artificial lighting.

Different factors are associated with the Alocasia light requirements, like the light’s color, quality, duration, and intensity. So, let us learn about them in greater detail.

How Much Light Does Alocasia Need?

Alocasia (a·luh·kay·zhuh) grows best in bright indirect sunlight. However, do not place Alocasia under direct sunlight as its leaves are prone to scorching.

You can keep Alocasia outdoors if you live in zones 9-11 but ensure to provide proper shade to the plant.

Depending on the variety of Alocasia and their varying light requirement, some can survive a few days without any light.

Group of Alocasia Polly are growing in pots beside a tree.
Place your Alocasia somewhere safe from prolonged exposure of direct sunlight.

In native habitats, they are accustomed to growing in the shades of trees. Thus, they are not fond of too much light.

But when the sun barely comes up to full fill Alocasia’s light requirements, opt for artificial lights.

This phenomenon usually occurs during winter and overcast weather.

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Alocasia?

Alocasia is a bit picky about its light conditions, so the slightest mishaps can also introduce leggy growth with pale leaves.

Similarly, the optimum light requirements of Alocasia kept indoors or outdoors differ.

Thus, let us learn the factors you need to consider to meet Alocasia plants’ ideal light requirements.

1. Intensity of Light

According to Houseplant Journal, Alocasia grows best with a light intensity of 400 Foot Candles (~4300 lux).

But keep in mind that Alocasias need a light intensity of at least 200 FC (~2150 lux) to survive.

Meanwhile, they can not withstand more than two hours of intense direct sunlight. 

Therefore, use a light meter to measure the light intensity and position the plant accordingly.

2. Light Duration

Alocasia needs to stay in bright, indirect light for at least 6 to 8 hours to flourish appropriately in summer.

If the temperatures are warm, you may expose your Alocasia to direct sun for only a couple of hours in winter.

Similarly, let your Alocasia have 2-3 hours of direct morning sunlight.

3. Quality of Light

Like many other houseplants, indoor Alocasia prefers a color temperature ranging from 4000 to 6000 Kelvin.

So aim for grow lights with a blue, red, green and cyan color mixture for optimal foliage growth.

Nonetheless, Alocasia prefers natural light, so invest in a lamp that offers full spectrum light.

Here are in-depth details about different light colors with their pros and cons.

Light ColorsWavelength RangeFeatures
Violet380-430nmPros: Enhances plant fruits and color
Cons: N/A
Blue430-500nmPros: Promotes thick leaves and assists with photosynthesis
Cons: Suppresses extension growth
Green and Cyan500-565nmPros: Helps the plant reach its full potential
Cons: Not absorbed properly by chlorophyll
Yellow565-580nmPros: Helps with photosynthesis
Cons: Seeds with overexposure to yellow light don't produce carbohydrates and thus have limited growth
Orange580-625nmPros: Acts as a catalyst to increase flowering and budding
Cons: Not much importance in plant's growth
Red625-740nmPros: Regulates growth and development
Cons: Makes plant leggy and the leaves elongated
Far-Red740-10,000Pros: Helps with seedling or germination process
Cons: It can discolor the plant and even kill it
UV Ray<380Pros: In safe doses, it enhances plant growth
Cons: Bleaching or scorching of plants

4. Location for Alocasia

Alocasia grows in its natural habitat in the shade of tall trees of tropical rainforests.

The best place to grow the Alocasia is near the window, where it gets the shade of any tree or curtains.

Generally, an east or west windowsill is much more suitable for the Alocasia plant.

That said, south windows also work, but you will need to use sheer curtains and keep the plant 3 to 5 feet away from the window.

Signs your Alocasia Requires More or Less Sunlight

Bigger Alocasia leaves are better but come with higher light requirements.

And when you do not fulfill or overdo the lighting needs of Alocasia, they will display stress in various means.

Generally, Alocasia prefers to be in the shade of something to grow to its full potential.

The good news is that the Alocasia can also survive in medium light. But, it cannot tolerate low light.

Contrarily, intense bright sunlight increases the chances of damaging their arrowhead-shaped foliage.

Here are the signs and symptoms of extreme light and light-deficient Alocasia plant.

Signs your Alocasia is Light Deprived

Your Alocasia will show some of the following signs if they have less light than required.

  • Leggy, thin Alocasia stems
  • Stunted or slow growth
  • Leaf discoloration, yellowing
  • Wilting, droopy leaves
  • Lanky, leaning stem
  • Small or no new leaf growth
  • Immature leaf drop

Signs of Light Saturated Alocasia

Sunburnt Alocasia leaves often show the following telltale signs.

  • Yellowing leaves due to discoloration
  • Dry, crispy brown spots
  • Brittle leaf tips
  • Curling leaves
  • Scorched leaf edges and tips 
  • Foliage pulling away from the light source

Solution and Preventive Measures

If your plant shows such signs of distress, take immediate action for its salvation.

So, here are the solution and preventive measures you need to take to fulfill your Alocasia plants’ light requirements.

  • Firstly, move the plant to a location where it gets enough indirect, bright light.
  • Then, water the plant more often to compensate for the scorching sunlight in summer.
  • You shall place your outdoor Alocasia in a light shade of trees.
  • For indoor ones, aim for sheer drapes to filter harsh sunlight.
  • Clean the leaves regularly to ensure optimal photosynthesis.
  • Rotate the plant once in a while to encourage uniform plant growth.

Does Alocasia Grow in Artificial Lights?

Usually, in winter, the likelihood of the sun shining up in the sky is low.

In such conditions, you can opt for artificial grow lights to provide your Alocasia with optimal light.

A plant parent, Bethany from Reddit, says that her Alocasia grows well in grow lights, but they need more water and humidity than usual.

Place the plant at least 6 to 7 inches away from the LED grow light to ensure successful growth.

But even after the grow light plant shows stress, move the light a few inches closer.

alocasia seedling with brown and yellow spot
Severe light deprivation can cause immature leaf drops. So, utilize artificial grow light in the absence of sun.

Furthermore, ensure the light you use is directly facing the plant.

Alocasia thrives flawlessly in red and blue artificial grow lights for 12 to 14 hours daily.

Similarly, find grow lights with a color rendering index (CRI) closer to 100 for your Alocasia.

While looking for the grow lights for Alocasia, choose one with a color rendering index (CRI) closer to 100.

Below is the list of Grow lights perfect for Alocasia.

Grow LightsFeaturesProduct Image
GooingTop LED Grow Light1. Highly Efficient LED Light
2. 6000K White Light
GooingTop LED Grow Light
SANSI LED Grow Light with Ceramic Technology1. Full Spectrum
2. With an Improved Light Distribution
SANSI LED Grow Light with Ceramic Technology
LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants - Relassy 75W1. Wider and Bright Illumination
2. Provides a Wavelength 380nm - 800nm
LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants - Relassy 75W
Plant Grow Light with Stand1. Full Spectrum Grow Light
2. Energy Efficient
Plant Grow Light with Stand

The Bottom Line

Alocasia is a beautiful household plant to grow for beginners. They will reward you with exquisite foliage if you fulfill all care needs and requirements.

Remember, your Alocasia will flourish if you provide it with shade instead of direct light. And don’t forget to water your plants.

Happy Gardening!

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