An exotic beauty that can adorn your indoors with its deep-green, velvety, heart-shaped leaves and light-green stems is none other than the handsome Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ plant. It is an evergreen perennial tropical plant that is a hybridized variety of two popular Alocasia species.
Due to its stunning foliage, it is widely grown as an ornamental houseplant. You can grow it in your home garden or your greenhouse, in your kitchen or living room, in your patio, or even in your bedroom. This enchanting plant looks great in all places. Without further ado, let’s learn about its amazing features and some easy care tips.
- Elephant’s Ear ‘Regal Shield’
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Aroideae
- Genus: Alocasia
About the Genus Alocasia
Alocasia is a genus of broad-leafed plants having sagittate or cordate leaves. Almost 97 species have been classified in this genus so far. All of these species are perennial and evergreen. These plants are native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Eastern Australia. All the plants of this genus produce flowers that are inconspicuous and hidden behind large leaves.
Origin and Distribution
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ is a hybrid resulting from a cross between Alocasia Black Velvet and Alocasia Odora. It got its deep-colored foliage from its Black Velvet parent and large-sized leaves from its Odora parent. This cultivar was hybridized in Florida and is native to Africa.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Features
Foliage and Stem
This evergreen plant has stunning dark-green leaves. These leaves almost look deep-black at the first glance. The heart-shaped leaves are 8 to 20 inches in size with ruffled edges and velvety-to-touch texture. These large leaves are supported by slender, erect herbaceous stems. Multiple stems grow out of a single base and a single rhizomatous root system.
Alocasia Regal Shield Flower
Alocasia Regal Shield flowers bloom in late spring to early summer. This plant produces less showy inflorescence that has a spathe and spadix. Both of these look like a large flower from a distance. The spathe is white to pale-green and color, and the spadix covers the spathe.
Luckily, this plant is an evergreen species that does not shed its leaves all at once in autumn. Its leaves turn old and yellow at random times of the year and fall one by one. This means you can enjoy its gorgeous foliage all year round.
Alocasia Regal Shield Size
Alocasia Regal Shield size depends a lot on the conditions in which you grow it. If provided with all the ideal conditions indoors, this plant can get as tall as 4 to 5 feet. As the plant grows, its leaves start to spread laterally and are supported by erect stems. This increases the volume of this plant.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Temperature Tolerance
This plant is not winter-hardy nor heat-resistant. The lowest that this plant can tolerate is 16ºC. High temperatures can burn its foliage and damage it to the point of irreversible change. This is why you should never grow it in temperature extremes. The frequent moving of its pot should also be avoided to prevent any temperature fluctuations.
This tropical species can tolerate as high humidity as possible; however, low humidity is a big No-No. If the humidity level falls below 50%, the leaves of this plant start to lose their coloration and freshness. The edges of the leaves begin to turn brown and crisp. To save this plant from the damages of low humidity, you must regulate the high moisture level around it.
The thick and large leaves of this plant can retain water in them. The stem and roots also store water for harsh conditions. If you forget to water this plant for some days, this plant uses up its stored water and easily survives the days of low water availability. This is why it is labeled as a drought-tolerant plant.
This appealing species has made it to NASA’s list of air-purifying plants; another great reason to grow it inside your home. It not only produces fresh oxygen for you but also cleans the air and removes any toxic pollutants from it. This plant is a must-have houseplant to increase the quality of air in your living room, bedroom or kitchen.
This stunning tropical evergreen grows at a much faster rate. If provided with the ideal conditions, it can reach its mature height in just 2 years. This is why it needs repotting after every 2 years. If you want to watch it grow healthily at a steady rate, provide it with all the optimum conditions.
The USDA plant hardiness growth zones recommended for this plant are 9 to 12.
The leaves of this plant contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are toxic for humans and animals. This is why this Alocasia species is poisonous. If ingested, its leaves can cause severe swelling and irritation of the mouth, GIT, and throat. We suggest you never leave your pets or toddlers alone in a room with this plant.
Apart from some basic care needs, this magnificent species is a low-maintenance houseplant. Its needs and requirements do not demand a daily care routine. You have to just place its pot in a well-lit spot, water it every other day, fertilize it monthly, and that’s it. All the other requirements are yearly. As it is an easy-care plant, it can be grown by beginners also, in their homes or apartments.
During winters, this plant goes dormant and enters its resting stage. These are the days of stunted growth, so it does not need any fertilization. If you fertilize this plant during these days, you will be doing more harm than good. You should also cut back its watering frequency and just leave it to rest for some months.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Care
Alocasia Regal Shield care involves regular watering and monthly fertilization. It should be watered every other day. The soil must be kept moist and strongly acidic (5.5-7.0). The humidity around this plant must be kept above 80%. The ideal temperature range is 20-30°C. The best-suited growth zones 9-12.
The Elephant Ear Regal Shields plant prefers constantly moist soil to thrive. Its large leaves need regular watering to stay fresh and green. This is why we recommend you water this plant every other day to ensure its healthy growth. This watering frequency must be maintained in summers. However, in winters, you should not water it this often, once a week would be enough.
Every time you water this plant, water it thoroughly. Water must reach all of its roots and every inch of its soil. This plant must be planted in a pot with a drainage hole so that excess water can drain away quickly. You should check the dampness of the topsoil before watering this plant just to make sure you are not overwatering. If the top 2 inches are dry, water the plant. If the topsoil is still wet, leave it for a day or two.
Alocasia Regal Shield Soil
This Alocasia species needs acidic soil to grow into a healthy plant. The pH of the soil must be kept around 5.5 and 7.0. The acidic pH holds all the nutrients for the plant roots. You can maintain soil’s acidity by spraying diluted vinegar on the soil or adding a layer of peat moss to it. You can prepare diluted vinegar by adding 2 drops of vinegar to a gallon of water.
Alocasia Regal Shield soil must be fast-draining to avoid root rot. Root rot is the most deadly disease that this plant can get. This is why you should protect your plant from it by following all tips.
The soil must be well-aerated to allow oxygen ventilation and airflow. It should also be able to retain moisture for the roots. You should never use mucky or wet soil as it has less aeration. You can also not use sandy or loamy soil as it does not hold enough moisture. Plus, you should mix one part potting soil, one part perlite, and one part peat moss to make its potting mix.
Alocasia Regal Shield Light
The ideal conditions for Alocasia Regal Shield light exposure are the east or west-facing window that is covered with drapes to filter the light. This tropical plant grows best in dappled sunlight that does not directly touch its foliage from the sun but reaches indirectly. It prefers 70-80% sun to thrive.
This plant can also properly grow outdoors if it is protected from the direct sun. By covering it 40% with a shade cloth, you can protect this plant’s foliage from the scorching sun rays. In our opinion, this plant grows best in patios where the light is not too direct nor too low; the filtered sunlight in the patios is best suited for this greeny-fella.
If you ask us the ideal temperature for the proper growth of Alocasia Regal Shield, we would suggest you go for 25°C. It is an average room temperature in tropical regions. This is why it is not difficult to maintain indoors. The optimum temperature range for this plant is 20-30°C.
If you live in a cold region where the temperature falls below 16°C, this pretty Alocasia cannot survive in your home unless you regulate the temperature to a little higher point. This can be done by growing it in a greenhouse where the temperature stays warmer.
Growing Alocasia Regal Shield in your home if you live in a hotter zone can also cause many problems. In such a situation, we recommend you to grow this plant in your bathroom or terrarium, where the temperature stays cooler than the other places.
Humidity is one thing Alocasia Regal Shield cannot compromise on. It needs a highly humid environment to keep the freshness of its leaves and the beautiful coloration of its foliage. As it is a tropical plant, a high amount of moisture in the surroundings is one of the most important parts of its care needs.
The ideal humidity level for this beautiful species is above 80%. This is a lot higher than the average household humidity. But, do not worry; we have got some secret hacks to easily increase the humidity inside a house.
You can place this plant in a group with other houseplants. All the houseplants will transpire and increase humidity naturally. You can also place its pot over a pebble tray. As water will evaporate from the rocks, the moisture will be collected around the leaves. But, make sure the water level does not reach the drainage hole, or your plant can get root rot easily. Installing a humidifier also helps, but it merely increases the humidity up to 60%.
Alocasia Regal Shield is a heavy feeder that needs monthly fertilization. As the plant matures, all of its nutrients from the soil are used up. If you do not feed the plant regularly, it will stop growing, and it will not produce any new leaves or buds. This is why fertilization is necessary to encourage healthy growth.
You should increase the organic content of the soil by adding animal dung manure, compost, or balanced organic manure purchased from the store. As for proper fertilization, you should use slow-release liquid fertilizer. This fertilizer is available to the roots for an extended period so the plant can keep using it for the whole month.
Two tips that you should keep in mind before fertilizing the plant are watering and diluting. You should water the plant before adding fertilizer to it. Also, you should dilute the fertilizer to half its strength to protect the roots from burning.
Grooming and Pruning
Alocasia Regal Shield does not necessarily need any pruning for proper growth. However, cutting its damaged and old leaves will help maintain its healthy appearance. The best time to prune its foliage is late winters and early spring. This is because these are the periods of the beginning of active growth. If you prune your plant during these days, it will produce new buds in no time.
The correct way to prune its foliage is to always prune it from the base. The old, yellow, and dead leaves should be trimmed away to encourage more growth. You should always disinfect your gardening shears before using them on your plant. Non-sterilized shears can expose the plant to many bacterial and infectious diseases.
As this plant likes to stay root-bound, Elephant Ear Regal Shields does not need repotting for almost 2 years or more. The plant stays happy in the same pot for several years. It will signal you whenever it needs repotting by growing some roots out of the drainage hole. If you notice any roots peeking out of the drainage hole, prepare a new pot and move this plant to its new home.
Repotting must be done in the growing season. This is because when this plant is moved to a new pot, it stays in transplant shock for several days. If repotting is done from spring to early summer, the plant comes out of the transplant shock much earlier. We also recommend you fertilize this plant every time you re-pot it. This practice will renew and replenish all the used-up nutrients and minerals. The potting mix must also be renewed with every repotting.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Propagation
If you have an Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ plant in your home, it would be a wise choice to propagate it. You can propagate this plant through its plantlets or clumps. Propagation and its different processes may seem difficult, but if you know the basics, these processes are a piece of cake. If you have never propagated any plant before, we are here to help you. Here is an easy step-by-step guide for propagating an Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’.
Propagation through Clumps
- Take a pot and fill it with potting mix. You can use the same potting mix as the mother’s plant.
- Water the potting mix until it is moist.
- Gently take the mother plant out of its pot.
- Shake off any excess soil.
- Untangle its roots by using your fingers.
- You will notice some roots are in the form of clumps. There will be multiple clumps of such roots.
- Take a knife and disinfect it using 70% isopropyl or ethanol.
- By using the knife, cut a clump and immediately plant it into the new pot.
- You can also take multiple clumps to grow multiple Alocasia babies at a time.
- Take care of these small plants as you care for the mother Alocasia
Propagation through Plantlets
- This lovely species produces plantlets at its base.
- You can separate these small plantlets with the help of a knife.
- Plant them into a moist potting mix of one part perlite and one part peat moss. You can also plant them into sphagnum moss.
- In just a week or two, new roots will begin to grow out of the plantlets.
- All you have to do is pour lukewarm water into this plant’s pot and place it in a warm, well-lit spot.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Indoor Care
Alocasia “Regal Shield” indoor care requires more effort than growing it outdoors. This is because, inside a home, you have to mimic the exact optimum environment in which it grows in its natural habitat. When growing it indoors, place this plant several feet away from a window, so that it receives sufficient light exposure. Its pot must not be placed too close to the window that its foliage burns from direct sun. Its indoor care does not involve regulating temperature as the average household temperature is perfect for its growth. Humidity is one other thing that is important for indoor care and maintenance.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Outdoor
You can also grow Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ Outdoor if you protect it properly from the direct sun. This is done by covering its foliage with a 40% shade cloth. This plant can survive in the growth zones of 10-11 outdoors, and it must be brought back inside during winters and hard frost. All the other care needs are almost similar.
Common Problems with Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’
- Sudden Dropping of Leaves: Cold drafts or the placement of the plant near a window or entrance can cause its leaves to drop all at once. You should keep it away from a window or cover the window with drapes.
- Sudden Wilting of Leaves: It can be due to root rot. The signs of root rot are brown or muddy roots instead of healthy white roots. If your plant has been affected by root rot, the only way of saving it is through propagation.
- Yellowing of Leaves: If you feed the plant with low-quality fertilizer, excessive salts build up in the soil and damage the plant. One of its symptoms is the yellowing of leaves. First, the bottom leaves turn yellow, and then the rest of them. To prevent further damage, you should water the plant thoroughly 3-4 times until all the salts are washed away.
- Leaf Edema: The appearance of discolored patches on the leaves is a sign of leaf edema caused by overwatering. In such a case, change the plant’s soil to a more aerated one and remove the damaged leaves.
- Brown Spots on Leaves: If the leaves have brown spots on them from which some fluid keeps oozing out, the plant has likely been infected from Bacterial Leaf Spot. This disease cannot be treated, only prevented. Remove the infected leaves and keep the soil and foliage dry for some days.
The most common pests that attack this gorgeous tropical species are aphids. The appearance of dusting webbings on the undersides of leaves indicates that some aphid colony has attacked your plant. You should get rid of these sap-sucking pests as soon as possible before they eat your plant completely.
You can remove these pests by either spraying the foliage with a strong stream of water or rubbing it with neem oil and bactericidal soap.
Alocasia ‘Regal Shield’ is a breathtaking tropical species with exquisite leaves and mesmerizing appearance. This plant is not only easy to care for but is also a natural air purifier. Who would not want such a great plant in his home? There are numerous spots indoors where this plant can live happily, only if you care for it properly and give it all the attention that it needs. If you want to add a tropical touch to your indoors, this Alocasia hybrid is the way to go!