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Alocasia Melo – The Alocasia Rugosa

by gardeningit
Alocasia Melo

Alocasia Melo from the Southeast Asian rainforest almost seems like an artificial plant due to its heavily textured and thick, jade-green leaves having deep, silverish-green veins. This tough plant is also known as Alocasia Rugosa due to its rough foliage. At first glance, one can completely mistake this plant for being an artificial one.

It is a tropical plant that grows on the rocks, under the thick canopy of tall trees. This is why its humidity and moisture requirements are higher than other plants. This exotic plant can be grown in homes to add a classy statement to the interior décor.

Common Names

  • Alocasia Rugosa
  • Jewel Alocasia

Classification

  • Family: Araceae
  • Subfamily: Aroideae
  • Genus: Alocasia

About the Genus Alocasia

Consisting of 79 species in total, Alocasia is a large genus of flowering plants native to the tropical parts of Asia and the Eastern region of Australia. The species of this genus are popular for their large sagittate leaves that grow on long stems.

Origin and Distribution

This species from the Araceae family was completely explained and classified in 1997 in the genus Alocasia. This plant is endemic to Sabah Borneo and Indonesia. It is also found in Southeast Asia.

Alocasia Melo Features

Foliage and Stem

This plant is popular for its remarkable foliage that almost looks unreal. Its leaves are sagittate in shape and bluish-green in color. These leaves are deeply veined and have a rough texture. Long and greeny petioles keep the heavy leaves erect. The leaves are 30-50 cm long and 25 cm wide. Their stems bear off-white-colored leaves that bloom three at a time.

Evergreen

Alocasia Melo is a perennial plant with evergreen foliage. Its leaves fall only when they are old enough and do not fall all at once. Having evergreen foliage means that this beaut will keep spreading greeny vibes to your indoors throughout the whole year.

Height

This gorgeo attains a height of 23 inches in its natural habitat. However, when grown indoors, it grows just 15 inches long. The difference in its height is due to a change in its surroundings. If you want a bigger Jewel Alocasia, you should grow it outdoors in your home garden.

Temperature Tolerance

This warmth-loving, jade-green beauty cannot survive in extreme temperatures. The maximum temperature that this plant can bear is 35°C. On a hot summer day, you should keep it in a cooler spot. Do not leave this plant outdoors in winters if the temperature falls below 15°C. This pretty plant is not frost-hardy. It should be protected from chilly injuries.

Humidity Tolerance

You can place this plant in a room full of moisture, and it will still flourish. High humidity does not damage its foliage but is actually favored by this plant. Although, this plant is not tolerant of low humidity levels. It leaves start to lose their deep colors if the humidity falls below a certain level. You should mist the plant or place it on top of a pebble tray to maintain humidity around it. You can also install a humidifier inside your room.

Drought Resistance

Amazingly, this Alocasia species is a succulent plant that has a high tolerance for droughts. Its large leaves store a sufficient amount of water. It can easily survive periods of low water availability for an extended period.

Disease and Pest Resistance

Leaf spot, root rot, and Xanthomonas tend to affect this plant quicker than other diseases. The appearance of black spots on the leaves indicates that your plant is suffering from one of these diseases. In such a situation, remove the affected parts as soon as possible to protect the healthy parts from falling prey to it too.

Spider mites, mealybugs, whitefly, scale, and thrips are common insects that are often spotted around Alocasia Melo. Applying insecticidal soap is one easiest ways to keep such pests at bay.

Growth

Jewel Alocasia grows at a faster pace. It is one of the fastest-growing succulents. Every month, 1-2 new leaves grow out of its stem; these mature in no time. USDA plant hardiness growth zones for this tropical beauty are 10 and 11.

Toxicity

This plant is highly toxic for humans and animals. Its exotic leaves may seem beautiful but, in reality, are extremely poisonous. Their consumption leads to severe eye and mouth reactions. You should keep your pets and toddlers away from its foliage.

Maintenance

Alocasia plants are one of the easiest plants to grow for beginners. You can easily grow this Alocasia Rugosa as your houseplant, even if you are not an expert in growing plants. If you have a black thumb and have a reputation for killing plants despite a lot of care, you should try growing this tough peep. It will not ask for much of your attention; it is a low-maintenance plant.

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Dormancy

In winters, this Jewel plant stops growing and goes dormant. It does not need any fertilizer in this resting stage. If you are not feeding this plant enough, it will shed all its leaves and go dormant, even in the growing season. You should properly schedule its feeding frequency to bring it back to life.

Alocasia Melo Care

This easy-to-care tropical plant needs to be watered twice every week. It must be grown in well-draining soil, having a pH level of 5.5-6.5. The ideal temperature range is 20°C-30°C. The humidity must be around 75%. It needs monthly feeding with a domestic fertilizer. The best growth zones are 10 and 11.

Water Requirements

This tough beauty makes a great fuss if it is overwatered. Its roots do not like standing water. This plant prefers to be kept dry between waterings. You can schedule its watering days by the general rule of thumb. Insert your index finger into the soil. Do not water the plant until the 2 inches of the topsoil is completely dry. It takes more days to dry completely in winters. As per its requirements, you should water this plant twice a week in summers and once a week in winters.

Soil Requirements

The pH level of the soil is a significant determinant of nutrient availability. Slightly acidic soil makes sure that a sufficient amount of nutrients are taken up by the soil. The optimum pH for Alocasia Melo’s soil is 5.5 to 6.5. This pH level can be regulated by spritzing the soil with diluted vinegar.

As this plant does not like standing water, you should use a potting mix that has good drainage. So the excess water drains out of the pot. You can add a little perlite or sand to the sand to increase its drainage and aeration.

Sunlight

This jade-green Alocasia might seem so tough and hard, but in reality, it is really sensitive. It cannot tolerate direct sun. It must be placed in a spot where it receives indirect sunlight. Partial shade or artificial light is also suitable for its proper growth. Growing this plant under artificial light does not mean that you grow it in low-light conditions; its leaves require bright light exposure to carry out photosynthesis. You should place this peep at least 15 inches away from the bulb so that it can receive the required light exposure.

Temperature Requirements

Alocasia Melo prefers an environment that is warm and humid.  It prefers temperatures between 20°C and 30°C. As long as your room temperature stays in this range, this plant will flourish. It does not like to be grown in temperature extremes. On a hot day, you should compensate for the temperature by misting the plant. Misting will increase the rate of evaporation from its leaves, so eventually, the temperature around this plant will drop. You should never place it in the way of cold or hot drafts.

Humidity

The thick leaves of Alocasia Melo lose their color and freshness if there is not a sufficient amount of moisture in their surrounding air. This plant loves high humidity. The ideal humidity level for this plant is 75% during the day and about 95% at night. This humidity level is quite high as compared to the regular household humidity. That is why you should try different tricks to increase the moisture level inside your home so that this plant stays happy and fresh.

Fertilizer

This Alocasia rugosa is not a heavy feeder. It does not need to be fed every now and then. You should only fertilize it once a month in the growing season. No need to add any fertilizer during winters and fall as the plant is pretty much dormant in these seasons.

The common household fertilizer will do fine for its proper growth. However, dilute the fertilizer before adding it to the soil. It must be diluted to 1/3rd of its strength. Make sure the fertilizer has the appropriate amount of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium).

Grooming and Pruning

Every houseplant needs yearly pruning to keep it in the perfect shape and appearance. Alocasia Melo also needs to be freed of old leaves at the beginning of each growing season. You can prune your plant on your own by using a sharp pair of shears. Never forget to sterilize the shears before pruning; this will protect your plant from any infections.

Re-potting

This artificial-look alike plant likes to stay root-bound. It should not be disturbed unless its roots start to grow out of its drainage holes or it outgrows its own pot. If you see any of these two signs, surely re-pot your plant, otherwise keep it as it is. If you are re-potting your plant because it has grown bigger for its present pot, you should move it to a new pot that is almost 2 inches bigger.

Propagation

Re-potting and propagating Alocasia Melo at the same time is like killing two birds with one stone. You can propagate it through rhizome division at the time of re-potting. Let us explain it to you through simple steps:

  1. Take out your Alocasia plant from the pot and shake off its soil.
  2. Take a sharp blade and cut a 1/3rd part of a healthy rhizome from the roots.
  3. Now take new pots. Put rhizome in one pot and its mother plant in another one.
  4. Fill both pots with potting mix and water them thoroughly.
  5. Place them in warm spots where they receive bright, indirect sunlight.
  6. In 4-8 weeks, both plantings will come out of stress and will start growing.

Final Word

Alocasia Melo is a low-maintenance tropical houseplant that has large, heavily textured leaves. This easy-to-grow plant is an ultimate addition to indoors as it is a natural air-purifier too. It keeps the indoors beautiful, fresh, clean, and green. You can grow this small plant in your living room, kitchen, patio, or kitchen; it will adorn all spaces.

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