19 Alocasia Varieties | Rare Types And Species Of Houseplant

Alocasia is a popular genus of tropical plants that grow well indoors. Most varieties are the ideal size for keeping in a container, and there’s no shortage of unique colors, shapes, and growth habits to tickle your fancy.

A single species of Alocasia can contain multiple varieties with unique traits. For example, Dragon Scale, Silver Dragon, and Green Dragon are all variants of the species Alocasia baginda.

If you’re unfamiliar with popular houseplant taxonomy, try thinking of varieties like dog breeds. All domestic dogs belong to the species Canis familiaris. But there is a very clear difference between a Golden Retriever and a Chihuahua!

Now that we’ve gotten the scientific stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at everything this diverse genus has to offer:

How Many Alocasia Varieties Are There?

The Alocasia genus currently contains almost 100 recognized species. The number of Alocasia varieties is significantly greater, and more are constantly being discovered and cultivated. 

Alocasia Varieties

While the varieties below are some of my personal favorites, this is by no means a complete list. New varieties are also constantly emerging, so you’ll be able to grow your collection for many, many years to come!

Alocasia Amazonica

Alocasia Amazonica

Potential growth height: Up to 3 feet
Watering: Up to twice weekly in the growing season (less when dormant)
Light: Bright spot but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, temperature stress, fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips,

Colloquially known as Amazonian Elephant Ear, Alocasia Amazonica is a gorgeous example of what this plant genus can do. It stands out from other Alocasia varieties thanks to its extremely dark foliage marked by near-white veins and thin margins.

Maxing out at around 3 feet tall, this variety is on the smaller end but perfect for container planting. The leaves themselves can reach up to 2 feet in length.

Alocasia Amazonica stands up to a variety of common pests and diseases although it still needs due care and attention to avoid diseases such as root rot or an infestation from some of the most common tropic-loving pests. Nonetheless, this plant received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

Alocasia Azlanii

Alocasia Azlanii.main
Credit: AmericanPlants

Potential growth height: 2 feet
Watering: Keep soil moist but not soggy
Light: Bright spot but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 75°F
Soil: Nutrient-rich, Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Lack of humidity, root rot, temperature stress 

Alocasia Azlanii may be rare, but if you are lucky enough to come across one, it’s impossible to miss with its deep purple- and black-tinted foliage. 

The leaves of Alocasia Azlanii tend to resemble upside-down raindrops. They lack the distinctive waves found along the margins of most Alocasia varieties.

Since Alocasia Azlanii tends to only reach around 2 feet in height, it’s ideal for showing off as part of an indoor plant collection. 

Alocasia Black Velvet

Alocasia Black Velvet v2

Potential growth height: 20″
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, pests

The Black Velvet Alocasia, or Alocasia regular, is a great option for houseplant lovers looking to dip their toes into somewhat rare specimens.

Unlike many other Alocasia plants, Black Velvet has rounded, almost heart-shaped foliage. But the leaves’ shape is easily outshone by their dark green — almost black — color.

This is one of the smallest Alocasia varieties available to home gardeners, with most plants reaching 20 inches in height at most. As with most varieties of Alocasia, avoid re-potting too often. They enjoy a snug-fitting container that will only need to be replaced every few years when roots appear from drainage holes.

Alocasia clypeolata

Alocasia Cuprea plant

Potential growth height: Up to 18″
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Best temperature: 50 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, chemical burn from using tap water, low humidity, pests

As if plant taxonomy wasn’t hard enough, some varieties borrow names from species they don’t even belong to! The Green Cuprea Alocasia, or Alocasia Cypeolata, is a prime example.

Despite being part of a completely different species, the Green Cuprea Alocasia does look similar to Alocasia Cuprea variants like Red Secret. So it’s easy to see where the mixup stems from.

Beware, the care of this plant is not for the faint-hearted! It is particularly susceptible to chemical burn so avoid over-fertilizing or using tap water when watering. Cooler temperatures and low levels of humidity can cause stress resulting in the yellowing of leaves. Placing Cuprea in a bright, draft-free spot and misting regularly will help to avoid this.

You may also find this houseplant sold under the name Green Shield Plant.

Alocasia Dragon Scale

Alocasia baginda Dragon Scale

Potential growth height: Up to 3 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Best temperature: 55 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, chemical burn from using tap water, low humidity, pests

While the genus offers no shortage of unique foliage, it’s hard to beat the stunning texture of the Alocasia Baginda Dragon Scale cultivar.

This variety boasts multi-dimensional leaves that range from light to dark green along the main veins. The underside of each leaf is deep maroon at maturity.

In the wild, Alocasia Baginda can reach close to 6 feet tall. But you should expect this plant to cap out at around 3 feet tall when grown in an indoor container.

Alocasia Hooded Dwarf

Alocasia cucullata

Potential growth height: Up to 3 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 70°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, Sunburnt leaves, temperature stress, pests

The Hooded Dwarf Elephant Ear, or Alocasia cucullata, is as diminutive as the name implies. Most specimens reach between 15 and 30 inches at maturity.

The leaves of this Alocasia variety tend to be on the small side as well. Its heart-shaped foliage is slightly reminiscent of a pothos.

Also, the foliage grows extremely upright, making for a unique addition to your collection even if you already own a few members of the genus.

Alocasia Ivory Coast

Alocasia Ivory Coast.
Credit: 305Greenery

Potential growth height: 8″ tall with an 11″ spread
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 85°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Highly sensitive to overwatering can cause root and rhizome rot)

The Ivory Coast Alocasia has dramatic, arrow-shaped leaves with light-colored veins and margins. The stems of said leaves turn pink at maturity for an interesting contrast.

You may notice that Ivory Coast’s foliage resembles that of Alocasia Amazonica. Well, that would be because it is a variant of the Amazonica species.

Personally, the growth pattern of this Alocasia variety’s foliage reminds me of lily pads (just without the water!). 

Alocasia Lauterbachiana

Alocasia Lauterbachiana.
Credit: Amazon.co.uk

Potential growth height: 3ft indoors but up to 5ft with ideal conditions
Watering: Water little and often with room temperature water. Avoid soil drying out
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 75°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems:  Scorched leaves, root rot, and drooping leaves from underwatering

Alocasia Lauterbachiana, or the Purple Sword plant, is the perfect investment for tropical houseplant enthusiasts who love the weird and unusual.

With narrow, serrated leaves that grow almost straight toward the sky, you probably wouldn’t finger this variety as an Alocasia if spotted in the wild. But a closer inspection reveals that — funky foliage aside — it certainly is!

Grown indoors, Alocasia Lauterbachiana reaches 3 feet tall on average. It can also grow quite wide (up to 5 feet) if given enough space.

Alocasia Macrorrhiza Stingray

Alocasia Macrorrhiza Stingray
Credit: hortology.co.uk

Potential growth height: Up to 4ft
Watering: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry between watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 72°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Common houseplant pests (mealybugs & spider mites), root & rhizome rot

Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ is another prime example of how interesting plant genetics really are. Unlike the sword-like foliage of lauterbachiana, this variety boasts tapered leaves that resemble aquatic stingrays.

The thin, elongated stems of this Alocasia variety give the plant an overall spindly appearance. It will stand out amidst even the most complete houseplant collection.

Healthy Stingray plants will grow remarkably fast, reaching almost 5 feet tall at most. 

Alocasia Melo

Alocasia Melo
Credit: HappyForestStore

Potential growth height: 9 inches
Watering: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry. Water sparingly
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 85°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining (add grit for extra drainage)
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Highly sensitive to overwatering which can cause root rot

The color of Alocasia Melo — a.k.a. Alocasia rugosa — is nothing to write home about. Yet the unique texture of its foliage brings a ton of intrigue to this variety.

Melo leaves are thick and rubbery when compared to other Alocasia varieties. The texture is created by prominent veins on each leaf surface.

This plant stays fairly small, capping out at between 1 and 2 feet tall. Most of its size comes from the foliage rather than the stems.

Alocasia Micholitziana Frydek

Alocasia Micholitziana Frydek
Credit: Thursd.com

Potential growth height: Up to 3 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 85°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, common houseplant pests

If Alocasia Micholitziana ‘Frydek’ is too big of a mouthful, you can just call this variety by its common name: Green Velvet Alocasia.

Despite a similar size and appearance as Alocasia Amazonica, these two plants are not members of the same species. The difference is that the Frydek variety is significantly rarer!

It’s also a tricky customer to keep happy. Alocasia Micholitziana ‘Frydek’ enjoys high humidity (up to 85% is ideal) however, this brings along its own set of problems since these damp, warm conditions can attract spider mites and other humidity-loving pests. In addition, like so many varieties of Alocasia, this one is prone to root rot if overwatered or left in soggy, ill-draining soil.

Alocasia Morocco

pink dragon alocasia
Credit: Houseplant.co.uk

Potential growth height: Up to 4 feet tall
Watering: Allow the top 3-4 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, spider mites, and thrips

The Morocco Alocasia has arrow-shaped leaves, silvery veins, and vibrant pink stems. It’s often sold under the name “Pink Dragon” and it’s exceptionally rare.

This Alocasia variety is very closely related to the Ivory Coast one mentioned above. As a result, identifying one from the other can be a tricky task for even experienced collectors.

Alocasia Portodora

Alocasia Portodora
Credit: Perfectplants.co.uk

Potential growth height: Up to 5 feet tall
Watering: Allow the top 3-4 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 64 – 75°F
Soil: Loamy & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Common houseplant pests that thrive in humid environments, root rot

Alocasia ‘Portodora’ is also (appropriately) known as an Upright Elephant Ear and can grow over 5 feet tall and fill out a container up to 3 feet wide when given proper care.

This variety boasts large, ruffled leaves that look like tropical fans. At maturity, this Alocasia almost has a palm tree-like shape and aesthetic.

An Upright Elephant Ear does have some specific care needs in order to retain its ‘vertical-growing posture’ and vibrant green foliage. Bright, indirect sunlight with up to 80% humidity will help to avoid leaf discoloration and a pot with good-sized drainage holes will help to keep root rot at bay.

Alocasia Red Secret

alocasia red secret
Credit: ApercuStore

Potential growth height: 2-3 feet tall
Watering: Allow the top 3-4 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 75°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot from over watering, scorched leaves due to too much sunlight

One of the more unusual varieties of Alocasia, ‘Red Secret’ has built a reputation on leaf shape and coloration.

As the name implies, this plant features stunning red foliage. The leaves can grow up to 24 inches long and range from green to purple as they mature.

Red Secret is a variant of Alocasia Cuprea. While this plant was once quite rare, increased demand has made it one of the easiest Alocasia Cuprea varieties to find.

Alocasia Sanderiana

Alocasia Sanderiana
Credit: Ecuagenera.com

Potential growth height: Up to 2 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot due to poor drainage or overwatering, yellow or drooping leaves due to low humidity

Also known as the Kris Plant or Sander’s Alocasia, Alocasia Sanderiana is sure to bring tropical intrigue to your home. 

Sander’s Alocasia boasts similar, blade-like foliage to the aforementioned Amazonian Elephant Ear and Purple Sword plant. But it stands out with leaves that are glossier and more dramatically serrated.

There are also several subvarieties within the Alocasia Sanderiana species, some of which are incredibly rare.

Alocasia Silver Dragon

Alocasia Silver Dragon
Credit: Myhomenature.com

Potential growth height: Up to 2 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright room but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 55 – 80°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Low humidity can cause yellow leaves, overwatering can cause root rot, and Drooping leaves are due to underwatering

The Silver Dragon Alocasia is truly unique with its matte, silvery foliage. This variety belongs to the same species as the Dragon Scale variant — Alocasia baginda.

While leaves start out a soft green color, they take on a distinctly silver shade as they mature. Some specimens retain green veins. Others have leaves that are almost entirely silver.

This plant can reach 2 feet tall and wide when grown indoors. 

Alocasia Triangularis

Alocasia Triangularis
Credit: Curly slocasia culculatta

Potential growth height: Up to 4 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright position but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 60 – 75°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips

Alocasia Triangularis, or the Triangular Alocasia, will definitely catch your eye if you’re partial to houseplants with uniquely shaped foliage. 

This Alocasia variety has triangular leaves that grow almost straight up. The leaves almost resemble ship sails. If that wasn’t interesting enough, each leaf also boasts tightly ruffled margins.

The stems of this unique plant can range between 2 and 4 feet tall when mature.

Alocasia Wentii

Alocasia-Wentii
Credit: Hortology.co.uk

Potential growth height: Up to 2 feet
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright position but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 55 – 86°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot due to over watering, drooping leaves due to underwatering, yellow leaves due to low humidity

Alocasia wentii is a species with many common names, including Hardy Elephant Ear, Purple Umbrella, and New Guinea Shield.

This plant can grow up to 3 feet tall and has copper-green leaves. The underside of each leaf has a particularly red sheen.

The lineage of many popular Alocasia varieties is a mystery even to scientists. But the Hardy Elephant Ear is thought to be a hybrid of Alocasia gageana and odora (a.k.a. Dwarf Elephant Ear and Giant Upright Elephant Ear, respectively).

Alocasia Zebrina (Reticulata)

Alocasia Zebrina Reticulata
Credit: Houseplant Community

Potential growth height: 2 to 3 feet tall
Watering: Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before watering
Light: A bright position but avoid direct sunlight
Best temperature: 65 – 77°F
Soil: Loamy, nutrient-rich & well-draining
Toxicity: Highly toxic to pets if ingested
Common problems and pests: Root rot, mealybugs, spider mites

Alocasia zebrina is a species with one-of-a-kind striped stems. The reticulata form, often called Reticulata Elephant Ear, makes things even more interesting by boasting striped leaves as well.

Aside from the striking pattern, the leaves are large and arrow-shaped. This plant can reach over 3 feet in height.

Keep in mind that young specimens won’t always have the vibrant variegation one expects from this Alocasia variant. The striped pattern should become more prominent over time.

Alocasia Varieties Care

With moderate light, consistent watering, and frequent feeding these plants will thrive in almost any home.

Every member of the Alocasia genus grows in a similar environment. So, caring for one variety is rarely much different than tending to another.

If you’re familiar with other tropical houseplants like Pothos or Monstera, caring for an Alocasia will come extremely naturally!

Position

Recreate your Alocasia’s rainforest habitat by placing it somewhere with bright but indirect sunlight. Most Alocasia will thrive when placed near a well-lit interior window.

Alocasia is a popular houseplant due to its tolerance of low light conditions. However, depriving your Alocasia of adequate sunlight can affect foliar color and overall health.

Different varieties also require different types of light. Research the needs of your chosen variety and give the plant plenty of time to adjust to brighter conditions to prevent sunburnt leaves.

Height & Spread

Most potted Alocasia varieties sit between 2 and 6 feet tall at maturity. Spread is largely determined by container size and can range from several inches to several feet across.

Your Alocasia’s maximum size depends on the variety and its specific growing conditions. 

How Fast Does Alocasia Grow?

On average, Alocasia plants put out one or two leaves per month. You can expect growth to speed up when the weather is warmest. Alocasia plants will grow slower or go dormant in cooler conditions.

Watering

A good rule of thumb is to water Alocasia when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. When watering, flush the soil by letting water drain from the bottom instead of just saturating the soil’s surface.

You should not allow the soil of your Alocasia to completely dry out. These plants rein from the tropics and require consistent moisture to thrive.

On the other hand, growing any plant in a container makes it more vulnerable to water-related problems like root rot. Ensure your Alocasia is placed in well-draining soil and that the pot contains holes in the bottom.

Soil

Alocasia should be placed in loose, slightly acidic soil that contains plenty of organic matter. The recommended ratio is one part potting soil, one part coconut coir, and one part perlite or sand.

Flowers

Alocasia flowers resemble calla or peace lilies. Flowers typically emerge in the spring but are rare in plants kept indoors.

You can encourage flowering by bringing your Alocasia plant outdoors after the year’s last threat of frost. Keep in mind that healthy, mature plants are the most likely to flower.

How to Fertilize

Planting your Alocasia in rich soil won’t be enough to meet its nutritional needs. These plants require regular feeding — up to twice per month — to really thrive. For potted Alocasia, use liquid fertilizer or spikes with a balanced N-P-K ratio. 

Growth will naturally slow during the wintertime, and your fertilization routine should slow down as well. I recommend ceasing fertilization for the season to allow your Alocasia to enter dormancy.

Pruning

Pruning will not affect the way your Alocasia grows in the future. Instead, it can be used to remove damaged or dead leaf tissue from the plant.

Pruning Alocasia is mostly about maintaining a clean and pleasing appearance — it will have little to no effect on the plant’s health. If you don’t prune away old leaves, they will eventually fall off on their own.

Repotting

Alocasia generally needs to be repotted every few years. Young plants may need repotting as often as every 6 months.

These plants don’t mind living in a tight container. So there’s no need to rush the process and move your Alocasia to an overly spacious pot. If you see roots growing above the soil’s surface or through the current pot’s drainage holes, however, it’s time for an upgrade.

Even if your Alocasia hasn’t outgrown its current container, replacing the soil with fresh material every couple of years can be extremely beneficial.

If you plan to propagate your Alocasia, repotting is an excellent time to collect rhizomes.

How to Propagate Alocasia

Alocasia is remarkably easy to propagate via its rhizomes. Rhizomes are thick pieces of plant tissue that form under the ground — ginger is the most famous example of a rhizome. 

Rhizomes can be split from the parent plant and placed in a container of their own. With time, an entirely new plant will grow from the rhizome.

As a form of vegetative propagation, Alocasia plants propagated from rhizomes will be clones of the parent plant. So each new plant will be of the same genetic variety as the one the rhizome came from.

Common Problems with Alocasia

The most common problems associated with Alocasia plants include root rot, leaf spot, and plant-borne insects.

Root rot is most often caused by overzealous watering or poor-draining containers. Leaf spots can be caused by bacteria or fungi. Both types of leaf spots are prevented by keeping your Alocasia’s foliage dry and promoting airflow around the plant.

Keep an eye out for telltale signs of insects like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. These pests may spread from other houseplants or ride into your home on already-infested Alocasia plants.

Though some Alocasia varieties are recognized for their hardiness, there’s not a huge difference in pest and disease resistance between one type and another.

Final Thought On Alocasia Varieties

If growing your houseplant collection is a personal passion, you can never have too many Alocasia plants! 

This tropical plant is relatively easy to grow. You’re well-equipped for the challenge if you have experiences with distant relatives like Pothos, Peace Lilies, or Philodendrons. 

Plus, with so many unique varieties to choose from, you can have several Alocasia plants in your collection without much overlap in appearance or style.

Alocasia Varieties FAQ