Alocasia micholitziana ‘frydek’ or Alocasia frydek, is one of the hybrids of Alocasia genus. People are also looking for this plant because of the distinct foliage.
Philippines is the origin of Alocasia micholitziana. In 1912, Henry Frederick Conrad Sander described this plant for the first time to honor Wilhelm Micholitz, a botanist and his friend. Frydek name here may refer to old german language. The word “friþuz” (tranquillity) and “rīkijaz” (noble) form the word “Frithuric” and modified as the plant name.
Features and Growth
Alocasia frydek has heart-shaped dark green leaves with velvet touch and bright veins. Compare to other hybrids, the leaves have narrower and pointier form. Each leaf stands on the long and sturdy stem. The size of leaf may reach 30-45 cm long. Due to its texture and color it earns Green Velvet nickname.
If you provide the best care, new leaves could grow every week. A new growth would replace the yellow and fallen leaf.
As expected from an evergreen plant, the flowers only bloom as a small complement. The so called “flower” is actually consists of spathe and spadix and grow around 30 cm of the soil line. This kind of flower characteristic is common in Aroid plant including Alocasia frydek. Spadix is soft succulent tissue that also works as the center of pollination. Then, the green or white spathe which looks like shell covers the spadix.
These flowers might produce berries if pollination is success. Nevertheless, this event is less likely to occur even in the plant natural habitat. The flowers usually bloom on the early summer of early spring and they only last for 3 days in an ideal condition. In addition, the flower appearance might be sign of plant stress. It possible causes include improper watering, root rot, as well as shock.
The bulb of Alocasia frydek is round and considered as rhizomatous perennial. It looks like potato at a glance. Some attached on the roots while other not. You can take look closer on them when repotting. These bulb also useful for propagation.
A natural giant Alocasia could be more than 3 meters in height. In contrast, this Alocasia hybrid could grow up to 90-100 cm. it is a good news if you have small or low ceilings rooms. It naturally grows new foliage in the growing season with a proper care. Don’t wait for the flowers to bloom as it is really rare for this plant to produce the flower.
Root is one of the significant parts that works really hard to support the plant growth. To keep the root healthy, you must provide good potting mix and moderate watering.
There are practicable tips that you can try to provide bright indirect light that the plant needs. Even though this plant could grow in medium/dim light, it would not grow beautifully. The foliage may turn pale and wilt and show a slow-pace of growth.
Your plant is grateful of the free sunlight, but you should not take it for granted. The exposure of bright indirect sunshine for hours could scorch the leaves. Therefore, you must put a shelter or shade outside.
If you don’t have a built shelter, put the plant near trees or other plants. These plants naturally act as a shade so that the Green Velvet receives partial sunlight. Furthermore, they could maintain the moisture and protect Alocasia from wind.
East or north-facing window is suitable spot to get the best sun in the morning and afternoon. If your window faces south or west, please hang a sheer curtain to filter the bright sunlight and the distance must be a bit far from this window. To promote even growth, rotate the plant frequently and use indirect overhead lamp.
Wiping the leaves could improve the ability to receive the light. Additionally, you should consider the watering and check the humidity and moisture when the plant lives in a low light space to be safe.
This plant doesn’t like swamp and drought condition. Hence, adjusting the amount and watering frequently is crucial here. In a hotter place. Alocasia needs more water to ensure the moisture in the soil and protect it from the bright light. In other hand, reduce the water during cold season.
Green Velvet will send a signal for watering in the form of dry top soil and lighter pot weight. A watering schedule might help controlling the water intake, but other aspects such as soil, temperature, and location will change this schedule suddenly.
How to water
Many experts suggest to start watering slowly from the bottom part using room temperature and free-chemical water. While doing this, you can rinse the leaves carefully too. Ensure that there is no unused water left in the soil and saucer. The moderate amount of water is the best since under watering causes brown edge and drooping leaf, while overwatering could cause root rot.
How to avoid overwatering
- Using small/compact pot. A large pot will increase the chance of overwatering. Any pot you use should have good drainage holes in the first place.
- Giving well-draining soil. Clayey soil will hamper the draining process and make it difficult for the root to breathe.
- Frequent check. Checking the soil dryness is way better to make sure you water the plant at the right time. Likewise, you can spot any issues of plant health earlier at this time. It might be necessary to observe your plant for a while to find out Alocasia frydek habit in particular condition to provide better watering.
For Alocasia frydek, moist, loose, aerated, well-draining soil is obligatory. A mix of perlite, potting mix, and perlite is the basic recommendation for Alocasia. The other ingredients you can add are pumice, compost, vermiculite, orchid bark, and sand. Also, the correct pH level should be 5.5 to 6.5.
What good soil do
- Drain the excessive water while retain the necessary moisture.
- Create gap to ease the air circulation which also prevent infection of fungus.
- Provide enough nutrient in the early stage before fertilization.
Effects of bad soil
Bad soil for this plant of course the opposite of the characteristic above. It usually has a clay-like structure which ends up make the soil too wet or soggy, below is the consequences you will face if using wrong potting mix.
- Change in the leaf color, usually yellow or brown.
- Falling leaves occur more often than you think. It usually starts with leaf discoloration.
- The growth of plant will not be optimal.
- Soil would have foul smell due to the remaining water left. It slows the drying process which eventually cause root rot if not treated quickly.
Note. If you want to use succulent soil or cactus mix, please mix it with regular potting mix. Using this kind of soil alone is not enough because although it contains good nutrients, it doesn’t retain enough water.
Besides the quality soil mixture, watering, lighting, and pot quality also affect the plant growth and health.
In the wild, Alocasia spends the time in a tropical area with warm temperature in the range of 16°C-27°C. Fortunately, the average indoor temperature is quite acceptable for this plant. When it stays inside, keep it far from cooling and heating system at home. Don’t open the window or door if the plant position is nearby as the draft may hit it. In short, Green Velvet hates sudden temperature change.
Depend on where you live, for example in zone 10-12, growing this plant outside all year is okay. If the indoor temperature might be too cold, let the plant stay outdoor to get the right temperature. Remember to bring it back inside if the temperature drops below 16°C or in early autumn before it is too late.
Note. Leaving the plant in a cold temperature for a long time will trigger dormancy. A too cold condition may also lead to the plant death.
Achieving the ideal humidity level inside the house can be pretty exhausting especially if you hate high humid environment. Still, to keep the leaves healthy, big, and have good color it is important to set the minimum 60% humidity level or higher. To control or increase the humidity level, there are some advice to follow.
- Turn on the humidifier. The most convenient method as you can control the humidity level easily. Many Alocasia owners have proved its benefit.
- Place pebble tray under it. The evaporation from water provide the ample humidity, but you must refill the water frequently to keep it works.
- Move the plant in a place with high humidity level. Bathroom and kitchen usually have higher humidity from the rest of rooms at home.
- Gather other greeneries around. You just have to put other plants near Alocasia frydek because they would produce humidity naturally.
- Mist the plant. It could work, but frequent misting might attract fungus.
Never leave the plant experiences prolonged drought because it could invite problem such as spider mite attack that love dry condition.
Choose a fertilizer which has balanced, liquid houseplant label on it. The right fertilizer also must have an equal NPK ratio such as 10:10:10 or 20:20:20. You must dilute the fertilizer at half strength well before giving it to the plant.
N-Nitrogen. This is a splendid substance that promote the foliage growth.
P- Phosphorus. It improves root growth and flower/fruit production (if any).
K- Potassium. It supports stem growth in particular and the whole plant in general.
Is organic rich soil enough?
There are people who don’t give fertilizer when they plant Alocasia frydek for the first time. The plant could survive quite well with only good soil, but over the time it’ll run out of nutrient supply. That is why fertilizer is necessary.
Advice for fertilizing
- ONLY feed the plant in the growing season (spring and summer) monthly or bimonthly depend of the fertilizer type you use. Stop feeding the plant in fall and winter.
- If you prefer a ready to use or chemical fertilizer, always dilute it well as it might burn the root.
- Adding compost, worm casting, or fish emulsion also provides good nutrient and they are also organic which is safe for the plant. Ask the expert if you can’t decide how much fertilizer you can give to your Alocasia.
Hose down the plant under the shower to hydrate the leaves and clean the dust and debris. You can also wipe the leaves using damp cloth gently. Both of these actions could improve the photosynthesis process as well as prevent pest infestation and fungal infection.
Cut the dead or dying leaves on the leaf stem cleanly using sterile shears. Moreover, to reduce the risk of bacterial infection and shock, NEVER prune pass the yellowed tissue. If the leaves suffer from disease, after pruning the leaves, don’t let the other sick foliage left on the soil to stop the spread of disease.
The first rule you must abide for propagation is ONLY propagate a mature plant. In this stage, the mother plant has become stronger and will be ready to propagate. Second, spring is the best time for propagation because the plant starts producing new growth.
By division method
- Try the gentlest way to lift the plant from the pot.
- After removing the attached soil, carefully divide the rhizome using disinfected knife.
- Replant the rhizome in this position: the rhizome part must be under the soil while the bulb and stem must stay above the soil line.
- Provide fresh porous soil mix, a decent size of pot with drainage holes, bright indirect light, and moderate watering.
Note. During propagation process, your plant may get shock. Therefore, always handle this plant gently.
Repotting is not a compulsory matter as this is a root-bound plant. You can repotting the plant in spring after 2 years or when the roots have expanded outside the pot. If your plant has extraordinary condition such as having a disease, experiencing slow growth, or poor drainage, repotting the plant could be a solution.
Step by step
- Water the plant to keep it hydrated a day before repotting.
- Take the plant from the old container and trim the dying leaves and root if exist.
- Repot the plant in a slightly larger pot.
- Renew the soil with the same quality as before and fill the pot with it.
- Wait for a few weeks before resuming your regular care since the plant still recover form transplant shock.
According to ASPCA, Alocasia Frydek is poisonous to human and animal. When the toxic substance touch the skin or consumed accidentally, the victim might suffer from irritation, swelling, and vomiting.
Dealing with plant toxicity
- Put the plant out of the reach of little kids and active pets like cat and dog.
- Wear protective garment.
- Use clean tools when maintaining this plant.
- Always clean yourself and the tools after handling the plant.
- Carry out first aid as best as you can, but immediately ask for medical staff if you, your kid, or your pet show severe pain.
Dormancy can be a way the plant survive from the extreme change. However, it also can show that your Alocasia is stress.
Reason for going dormant
- Cold temperature. In its native region, frost is uncommon guest. As this plant is not used to it, Alocasia frydek tries to fight for its life by shedding its leaves and growing slowly.
- Prolonged dry condition. Leaving the plant dry for too long may cause dormancy to occur even if the temperature doesn’t drop.
Do’s and don’ts
- You must reduce the watering as well as maintain the temperature and lighting.
- Don’t feed, repot, or propagate the plant.
How long it will last?
Logically, the plant will wake up as soon as winter ends and warm season comes. As a note, various factors may extend or shorten the dormancy period such as temperature, lighting, and humidity. The area where you living, both inside and outside would also decide your plant dormancy period.
The plant still needs tender love and care at this time. When you see the sign of yellowing leaves, prune them and leave the plant base as it is. Watering is very important here because if the roots are completely dry, it won’t be easy to heal them back.
Most of the time, Alocasia will send an S.O.S signal through the leaves about its problem. To deal with various issues here, you must learn how to make the right diagnosis. And then, you could take the right measure faster.
Any dry Alocasia will easily attract this small insect to invade the plant territory. Due to its tiny size, it gets harder to spot this pest right away. People often overlook them and only realize after the condition is getting really bad.
How to find them
- Looking at the leaf color. When spider mites have settled in your plant, you’ll start to see yellow patches on the foliage. As a result, the leaves could be dying one after another.
- Find the white web. This pest forms a white cotton web on the undersides. That’s why you might not notice them easily.
- Use magnifying glass. Oval shaped body with red or pale color is the characteristic of spider mite. Magnifying glass will give you a closer look on how nasty this insect is.
- By a sheet of paper. Prepare a paper sheet and put it under the leaf. Then shake the leaves and see what is fallen on the paper.
Extreme measurement in severe condition
When it is too late to save the entire plant, here what you should do.
- First, quarantine the plant so that the spider mites don’t move to other plants.
- Second, remove every affected part of the plant cleanly.
- Third, run the water to wash away the insect.
- Fourth, thoroughly remove the remaining pests and the eggs using a cotton swab which has been dipped into rubbing alcohol. Some people spray the plant with a homemade solution by mixing lukewarm water, dishwashing soap, and neem oil.
Note. You might have to use chemical insecticide, but try to use an organic ingredient as possible. For example, a lot of people recommend neem oil because it contains a natural and not toxic substance called azadirachtin. If your plant almost loses all its leaves, don’t worry. You can replant them in new pot with organic rich soil as long as the roots are still healthy.
Guarding Green Velvet from spider mite
- Moderate and regular watering. If the soil stays moist spider mite will think twice to come.
- Clean the plant at regular basis. Showering or wiping the plant with damp cloth could provide more humidity which means the plant won’t be in a dry condition. These action also clean the plant from dust and the pest that tries to occupy in the early stage. Misting the plant is not the best decision because it could make the plant too wet.
- Have a natural enemy of the pest. Not all insects are bad. For instance, you can try to pet Lady Bugs which would happily defend your plant from evil insects.
Not to be mistaken from pest infestation, this condition might occur due to overwatering or dense soil. If you have checked that no pest involve, try to check the roots. If they are still white and firm it means this issue can be solved easily. After trimming the yellow leaves and mushy root (if you find it), continue with a better watering method. Don’t forget to renew the soil into a better one.
Common cause: dim light, low temperature, dry soil, shock/stress.
Troubleshooting: simply fix your bad watering habit in order to keep the soil moist. Then, put the plant under bright indirect light and warm temperature. Trying to relocate you plant outside in the summer gradually would bring your plant back into the top condition a bit faster.
Differentiating Alocasia Frydek look alike
Alocasia frydek and Alocasia polly
In fact, it is harder to find Frydek than Polly on the market and nursery. In terms of foliage and size Frydek has velvety finish and compact size. On the other hand, Polly has glossy leaves, striking veins, and larger size. It probably easier to differentiate them after they mature.
Alocasia frydek and Alocasia frydek variegata
One of the visible difference you can see is that Alocasia frydek variegata has white patches on its leaves. In several occasion, these patches may cover half of the foliage. Others variagata could have yellow color too. In addition, because of the variegation characteristics, Alocasia frydek variegata needs more light than its sibling Alocasia frydek.