Is Alocasia stingray or Elephant Ear Stingray a kind of animal? The answer is NO.
The name stingray here refers to pointed leaves and the tips that resemble a stingray, a marine animal.
On that note, the highlight of this plant is not on its size, but more on its eccentric leaves. Hence, Alocasia stingray will be a good welcoming plant for the guests entering the entrance hall. And to make a best of it, you need more information about this plant.
- Botanical name : Alocasia Macrorrhizos “Stingray”
- Habitat : Originates in Southeast Asia, able to grow in almost all subtropics areas, can be found in Mediterranean, Asia, and Australia particularly in warm temperature
- Features: Large green leaves that look like a stingray as well as ribbed and wrinkly leaf texture
- Function: Works well both as an attractive decorative plant and a natural air filtering system
- Basic care: Bright indirect light, warm temperature, and high humidity
Alocasia stingray enjoys living under a bright indirect light. In contrast, direct bright sunlight would scorch the leaves.
How To Control The Light
Outdoor. Put the plant in a shaded area like in its natural environment if possible. The point is to have other plants surrounding Alocasia stingray. In this point, the shade should not be too dark because the plant may wilt and have a hard time to produce new growth.
Indoor. Put the plant near east or south-facing window around one meter away. Use a sheer curtain, shutters, or blinds to filter the excessive light. Then in colder month, you can use artificial light as an alternative. During midday, two hours of sunlight will be okay but not more.
Note. An abrupt change from warm to cold and vice versa might shock the plant. In some cases, you might have to force the plant to move from a darker to brighter place.
Even if you want to do it quickly, you must let the plant to adapt itself in a new environment. If you take the wrong approach, it will make the plant feels stress for a few weeks.
This plant does well in well-drained and aerated soil. Combine peat, perlite/coarse potting sand, and quality soil in equal ratio to support the plant growth. Other organic matters such as cactus soil, orchid bark, and coco coir work well as potting mix too.
Use tester to check the whether the soil is slightly acidic. Principally, the ideal pH should be 5.5 to 6.5.
The difficult part is to keep the moisture level and nutrient intake in the soil. When poor drainage occurs, the soil becomes too soggy or wet, resulting root rot.
In nature, Alocasia stingray grows in a place with high humidity level and soil with abundant organic matter. Thus, the soil is rarely dry out in the nature.
It is important to give the plant an ideal amount of water regularly. Use water at room temperature for this purpose. You can water the plant once the top part of soil is dry. Another way to find out the watering time is by checking the pot weight. Pour it slowly until you see the water comes out through the drainage holes.
In order to prevent root rot, you should prepare well-drained soil inside a pot with good drainage holes. If there are too much water stay in the soil, it will have a bad impact on your plant.
The plant needs more water during growing season, usually summer and spring. On the contrary, only give a less amount of water in winter and fall.
Watering commonly takes place 1-2 times a week. With a right watering frequency, the soil won’t be soggy as it has enough time to drain the excess water. The roots will be glad since they won’t be soaked for a long time. Create a watering schedule if you often forget about it.
Tips: Do it often, but in small amount for better result.
Alocasia stingray hates cold and draughty place. Naturally, it prefers a hot and humid setting. On that ground, the temperature should range from 18°C to 22°C.
Low temperature would turn the leaves into yellow. Therefore, don’t put it in the area under 10°C (50°F) or near air conditioner.
Meanwhile, high temperature would make the leaves dry, curled, and crisp.
Mimicking the plant actual environment in Southeast Asia is the best effort you can do. As a matter of fact, there are simple methods to keep the humidity level specifically in indoor setting.
- Humidifier. This is a perfect companion not only for Alocasia stingray but also your family. Remember not to put it near radiator and AC.
- Pebble tray. At the beginning, fill the tray with pebbles. Next, you could pour the water. As a note, the water should not go beyond the top of pebbles. There must be a distance between pebble tray and the plant above. The evaporation resulting from the water will increase the humidity.
- Mist the plant. Alocasia stingray would thrive with joy if you mist it on warmer days. Nonetheless, the plant can catch a disease if you mist it too often. As an additional information, some people think that it is an insignificant method. Moreover, it might cause leaf rot.
- Keep it in the bathroom. Several owners put the plant inside the bathroom. It might be a good idea, but don’t do this if you disagree.
A warm and bright setting boost the plant’s appetite. In short, it asks for more nutrients. When spring arrives, a necessary doze of fertilizer would boost the plant growth.
- According to the experts, you must only apply all-purpose organic liquid fertilizer for Alocasia stingray. Before feeding the plant, you should dilute ¼ teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water. For detailed instruction, see and follow the information on the product label.
- Open a space on the top soil around one or two inches. Next, add the fertilizer evenly. However, don’t let it touches the roots. Then, feed it every 2-3 weeks or at least once a month.
- After spring ends (until August), there is no need to feed it vigorously. Just repeat the same routine next spring.
Tips: Spraying the leaves twice a month can maintain the leaf longevity. Additionally, some also use Liquid Seaweed to protect the leaves.
Primarily, you have to be ready for propagation every spring or summer. Ripe seeds, rhizome division, and root stem cutting are the options you can choose. Nevertheless, in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, rhizome division is the easiest method.
Steps For Alocasia Stingray Rhizome Division
- Take your Alocasia stingray from the pot.
- Remove the excess soil to see the visible offsets, clumps, and cluster clearly.
- If you wash the plant to remove the soil, let it dry after you finish it.
- Use sterile knife of shears to detach the rhizomes.
- Put each rhizome into a new pot with well-drained soil.
- Set them up in a place with bright indirect light.
- Water them regularly then let it dry well.
- Finally, don’t forget to put the parent plant back with fresh potting mix.
Unique Growth Pattern
Alocasia stingray rarely produces flower. To be specific, the flower doesn’t have a major role on the plant.
New leaves grow from the old leaves. The new ones will split later and repeat the same cycle. With a perfect growing environment, this plant could reach above 400 cm tall and 200 cm wide.
This plant doesn’t have complex features, but it makes a stunning attraction in your garden, patio, or home. In the end, it only wants to show off its distinct foliage and structure.
Potting and Repotting Alocasia Stingray
The extensive root system of this plant stores and distributes the nutrient. That’s why Alocasia stingray could easily proliferate its root and upgrade the plant size in a short time. Since it mostly gets bigger underground, this plant doesn’t have to focus much on the fight for sunlight and water.
On that basis, repotting is necessary to let the plant breathes freely.
Indications For Repotting
- The pot seems too small for your plant
- There is a part of root comes out on the soil surface or under the pot
- The plant starts to wilt
- The plant growth is slowing down during a warm growing season
- Salt of crystal are formed on the top soil
- If you start with a young plant, you might end up repotting twice a year.
- If you start with a mature plant, you don’t have to repot it often.
- Pick a new-empty slightly larger pot or 2 cm larger pot. Using a large pot is crucial because this plant tends to spread underground rather than growing up above the ground. The pro suggests to use plastic pot. In reverse, clay or ceramic pots is not the recommended option because they could snatch the moisture needed by the soil.
- Water the plant one hour before the repotting process. This step help loosening the root and preparing the soil for easier repotting.
- Fill the pot with a fresh potting mix up to the third part of it. Some people also place a coffee filter on the drainage hole at the bottom. Check again whether the number of drainage holes is sufficient.
- Put the plant gently inside to avoid the root from getting hurt.
- After that, water them regularly in an average amount and then put them at a perfect spot.
Note: the depth for planting before and after repotting must be the same.
Read also : Alocasia Wentii – Ultimate Care Guide
Pruning Alocasia Stingray
- Sanitize the gardening tools using alcohol
- Wear hand gloves when get in touch with the plant.
- Never let the tools and glove to have a contact with your eyes and mouth. Due to the toxic ingredient on the plant, you might suffer from swelling, diarrhea, and nausea.
- During the pruning process, also check your plant health. Sometimes, yellow leaves can be sign of pest infestation or other problems.
- Make a clean cut on the affected leaves. This method would promote a new growth.
- Follow the leaf natural shape if the damaged part only takes a small portion.
If you think caring for this plant is a piece of cake, wait until you meet these problems.
Ignoring the right instructions for caring and maintaining will make Alocasia stingray more fragile to pest infestation. Among many pests, aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites often attack this plant. On the other hand, thrips and whitefly rarely attack Alocasia stingray.
The reality shows that some insects is undeniably tiny. Furthermore, most of the time you can only notice them after they incur severe damage to the plant.
What you should do
- Once you find the pest, quickly separate the affected plant far from any greenery you have.
- Remove any remaining pest on the leaves and stems. First, use soapy water to rinse the sick plant. Second, rub the surface using neem oil that has been diluted. Third, spray the plant using clean water. Last, use a clean clot to wipe the plant till dry.
- Mist the plant to increase humidity. Some pests such as spider mites couldn’t handle a wet condition.
a. Brown/crispy edges
Cause: lack of humidity
Troubleshooting: use pebble tray or humidifier, move the plant to bathroom or any humid area
b. Brown leaves
Cause: long exposure to a bright direct sunlight, over-fertilization, arid or hot location
Troubleshooting: for outdoor setting put the plant under shade, for indoor setting put the plant one meter away from the window, only feed the right amount of fertilizer during a growing season
c. Drooping leaves
Cause: dry soil, underwatering
Troubleshooting: water the plant immediately when 2-3 inches of the top soil is dry, ensure the excess water drains well through the drainage holes under the pot
d. Yellow leaves
Cause: overwatering, nutrient deficiency
Troubleshooting: try to keep the soil a bit moist but not too soggy, make sure the soil quality is good, provide enough amount of fertilizer, and check whether the drainage holes are functioned well
e. Leaning or uneven growth
Cause: lack of light
Troubleshooting: place the pot closer to window to obtain the necessary light, use artificial lamp indoor if there is no enough light
f. Root rot
Cause: overwatering, fungi existence in the soil
- Take out the plant from the pot gently.
- Wash the root.
- Use hygienic knife to cut the affected parts.
- Throw away the infected soil.
- Wash the plant using 5-10% diluted bleach solution
- Dip the healthy root inside fungicide solution to kill the fungi left.
- Repot the plant in aerated and well-drained soil.
- Stop feeding the plant until a full recovery to avoid plant stress.
g. Leaf spot disease
Cause: poor air circulation due to high humidity and temperature, overwatering, unknown root rot
Symptom: yellow, brown, or orange spots on the leaves
- Cut the critically affected leaves you find.
- Clean the top soil from fallen debris.
- Wash the plant gently using water.
- Apply a fungicide containing chlorothalonil. This ingredient will cure the disease and prevent the relapse of such disease in the future.
- Clean the dust for better air circulation.
- Water the plant regularly.
This disease attacks the leaves.
Cause: high humidity level, poor circulation, lack of light
Symptom: Appearance of tiny yellow spot or visible wound on the foliage. The fallen debris might form mold on the soil.
- Cut the infected part using clean blade or shears.
- Clean the debris fall around the soil surface to hinder the disease from spreading.
- Wash the plant carefully to remove debris and dust left.
- Spray the fungicide on the leaves.
- Exile the plant for a week in a sheltered spot. Make sure the spot provides indirect sunlight.
i. Black stem
Cause: overwatering which leads to stem rot
Symptom: mushy and smelly stems, the worst thing is your plant might dead already
Note: as long as there are still healthy root (white and firm), you have a chance to save the plant
- Leave the healthy root after removing the sick parts.
- Repot the plant by following the right instructions.
- Check the sufficiency of soil drainage capacity, aeration, and the number of drainage holes.
Dying or Dormant
Does your plant suddenly stop growing? Is it dying?
Don’t worry because it might only a sign of dormancy. Dormancy is similar to hibernating in animal. This is a way the plant defends itself from cold weather. When entering dormancy, the leaves drop and the plant looks listless.
What To Do
- Check for any pest or fungi and then eliminate them.
- Dust the plant to protect it from debris and potential pest.
- Maintain the ideal humidity level.
- Ensure the light provided fulfills the requirement which is bright indirect light.
- Remind yourselves not to overwatering the plant.
To shorten the dormancy period, you can simply wrap the plant with plastic bag. Then, put it in a warmer place, for example in a bathroom or kitchen. Beware of excessive condensation. Remember to keep the soil a bit moist.
Note: a firm and solid root is a good sign that your Alocasia stingray simply goes dormant.
Most of Alocasia stingray’s problems come from improper care and maintenance. You need patience since recovery time might take longer up to several weeks.
- Use the right size of pot. This plant likes a slightly compacted space, but you need to provide extra space for its growth.
- Use a quality soil mix. If you are not sure, use the soil mix product available.
- Balanced watering. Both overwatering and underwatering have bad effect on the plant. Pour enough water which doesn’t contain dangerous chemical. More water in warmer season and less water in colder season.
- Give a necessary amount of fertilizer during growing season. Use only liquid organic fertilizer.
- Good air circulation. Airy area is great, but this plant is sensitive to draft.
- Warm and humid environment. To imitate its original habitat, just make sure that there are enough water around it.
- Bright indirect light. Super hot midday sunlight would burn the leaves badly. Make a use of natural shade and curtain to filter the light.
- Regular inspection. To sum up, the quicker you find the problem, the faster you could save the plant.
Interesting Facts About Alocasia Stingray
1. Anyone can grow Alocasia Stingray.
As a native plant of Southeast Asia, its unusual “stingray” shape on its leaves often shock people in a good way. There are easy methods to keep it happy including creating a warm and humid environment. By following a proper care and maintenance method, you could have a fresh green plant all year around.
2. Alocasia stingray produces tiny flowers.
Only a few people know that this plant also produce a kind of fruit from its stem. The name is “inflorescence” and it could produce small flowers for reproduction. Generally, alocasian is unable to perform self-pollinate. Instead, it relies on other alocasian to create a young plant.
If you give it a lot of sunlight, you might be able to witness the flower soon. Some appear in white while others are yellow.
Beside the leaves, these fruits also contain poisonous calcium oxalate crystals. It is different from alocasia berries which is actually delicious. You can safely eat these berries.
3. People in Asia cook and eat Alocasia stingray.
In Vietnam for instance, people chop, peel, cook, and then use the stalks as herb in local soups as well as stir-fry. Don’t try this at home, unless you know how to cook it properly. Since it can be poisonous, let the professional chefs do it for you.
4. Alocasia stingray has a twin
Alocasia Stingray can be mistaken with Alocasia Zebrina.
Similarity: Both have leaves in deep green hue, as well as similar color and pattern on the stems.
Differences: Alocasia Stingray has rounder leaves with a pointed finish. In reverse, Alocasia Zebrina has arrow shaped triangular leaves.
5. Alocasia stingray has many benefits
From the results of several studies, this plant is proven to be an excellent natural air filter. It is even able to filter the pollutant and chemical gas that come from the furniture.
Moreover, many people also have better mood and gain positivity after having this plant at home. It also bring a sense of being active and positive.
6. Alocasia stingray loves water, but in moderate quantity
In a tropical rainforest, this plant is happier when getting closer to a wet areas such as bog and swamp. However, it wouldn’t grow if being submerged underwater for a long time. Alocasia stingray also cannot survive with prolonged drought period. It means that either excessive dryness or wetness will ruin this plant’s mood and health.