Have you ever noticed white spots on your Alocasia plant and wondered what they are? In this guide, we will talk about why this happens and share quick and easy ways to fix it.
Pest infestations, powdery mildew, sunburn, and nutrient deficiency lead to white spots on alocasia. All these reasons reduce the level of chlorophyll in the leaves or don’t allow chlorophyll formation. Check the plant for possible problems and take the necessary steps to fix it.
In this article, we will explore the 9 common reasons behind white spots on Alocasia leaves and learn simple ways to help your plant thrive!
Table Of Contents
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Why does my alocasia have white spots?
The leaves get their green color from the chlorophyll prepared by the plant.
White spots on alocasia are a sign which indicates that the plant is not producing enough chlorophyll.
Different problems can make the leaves turn white or give them white spots.
By examining the spots on your alocasia, you can usually determine the reason causing these spots and take the necessary actions.
1) Powdery mildew often causes white spots in alocasia
Powdery mildew looks like talcum powder, but actually, they are not.
They look like a thin coating or a splatter of white powder.
They are a type of fungal problem that affects many plants.
A wide array of fungi causes powdery mildew.
They are one of the easiest diseases to identify as the symptoms are easy to spot.
You will notice white spots on the leaves and stems as soon as they are affected.
Powdery mildew affects the plant’s lower leaves first and then spreads quickly on the entire plant body.
As it spreads, the entire plant above the ground will be covered by powdery mildew.
It starts as little white spots and devours the entire plant, making it weak and droopy, ultimately killing it.
One of the biggest reasons for powdery mildew is extreme humidity from frequent misting.
This fungus thrives in warm places with less air circulation, mostly when plants are kept too close.
Overcrowded plants without good ventilation can give rise to this fungus.
As powdery mildew is easy to spot, you should take action initially to prevent the spread.
At the initial stage, they are easy to be treated.
However, it would be difficult to treat them once they reach the whole body of the alocasia.
You must understand that this fungus is caused due to the conditions surrounding the plants and treat them accordingly.
- Isolate the alocasia from other plants to prevent it from spreading.
- Improve the air circulation of the area. Mostly, we keep our houseplants in a corner with less air circulation. The stagnant air makes it favorable for the fungus to breed.
- Let the top one inch of the soil dry out properly before watering your plant again. Do not water your alocasia if the soil is already damp.
- Empty the cache trays holding extra water.
- Cut off the infected parts of the plant. Do not forget to sterilize the tools after use.
- Use organic Neem oil, probably the best and most popular solution by plant owners. It will kill the bacteria and fungi that are bothering your plant.
- Another solution is 1 tablespoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, 1 gallon of water, and 1 tablespoon of Neem oil if you have one. Mix everything and spray on the entire plant body.
- If the plant has been severely infected and organic solutions do not work, use chemical fungicides to spray on the plant.
2) Extreme sun can burn the leaves, turning them white.
The intensity of sunlight received by the plants has several effects on them.
In nature, alocasia grows on forest floors, where the big trees guard against scorching sun rays.
So they do not like direct sunlight on them, and exposing them to that causes the leaves to burn and scorch.
The initial sign of sun scorch is brown spots on leaves that become white with brown borders over time.
Sunburn is common during the peak summers when the sunlight is most intense.
Once your plant has burned its leaf, there’s no way to reverse the damage.
Sometimes, having the plants too close to the windows can cause leaf burn and white spots.
You can easily fix this issue in Alocasia plants by shifting it to an area with bright light but not direct sunlight.
You can give alocasia a few hours of the morning sun, which is not too hot.
If you want to keep your alocasia in the sun, you must first make it accustomed to the sunlight by giving it short hours of exposure and then moving it outdoors.
You can gradually increase the hours so the plant gets used to that heat slowly.
It is best to keep your alocasia away from direct sun in a spot with ample light, like a covered balcony or an east-facing window.
3) Low light can lead to white spots in alocasia
Alocasia should be kept where it gets plenty of bright light but not scorching sunlight.
Without sufficient light, your plant will grow yellow or brown spots on the leaves.
When the plant gets less sunlight than it requires, it experiences chlorosis.
They do not produce chlorophyll, which generates green pigment in plants, and the plant turns pale green, yellow, or white.
Along with that, they also tend to become leggy and stretch towards the sun’s direction.
The solution is that you need to give more light to your alocasia.
It is best to keep your alocasia at a spot where it gets bright indirect light but should be protected from intense direct sunlight.
If you do not get a lot of natural light, you can get artificial lights and keep the plant under them.
4) Lack of nutrients often leads to white spots
For the healthy growth of alocasia, it needs macronutrients like Phosphorus, Nitrogen, and Potassium and micronutrients like Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, etc.
Iron deficiency appears commonly in young leaves.
The area between the leaf veins becomes pale white.
In severe cases, the younger leaves may grow entirely white and stunted.
Manganese deficiency is also commonly mistaken for iron deficiency, which turns the leaves into pale green between the veins.
As the deficiency progresses, the area between the veins becomes paler. If not treated, the plant may gradually start withering because manganese is important in germination, photosynthesis, and increasing immunity.
Regular fertilizing is essential to provide all the macro and micronutrients alocasia requires.
Skipping fertilizers equates to a hungry plant with insufficient growth and health.
When buying fertilizers, you must check the labels so that it meets all the needs of the plant.
A balanced 20:20:20 NPK liquid fertilizer is ideal for alocasia.
Also, remember never to fertilize dry soil, leading to root burn.
5) Pests like mealybugs can lead to white spots.
Mealybugs: Another issue that can result in white spots on your Alocasia is Mealybugs.
They leave a thick, waxy coating of honeydew on your plant, accumulating on the foliage and inviting ants to your plant.
They stick to the plant’s body, such as the essential nutrients from the alocasia.
They are difficult to notice in the first stage, and most lie on the underside of the leaves.
If not cured initially, they multiply vigorously, weakening and killing your alocasia.
Leaf miners: Leaf miners are the larvae of various pests, including moths, flies, and beetles.
Although the larvae leave streaks and spots on the leaves, they are relatively harmless in the initial stages.
However, if left to grow, it can cause potential harm.
The flies are relatively harmless, but the larvae are not.
The larvae feed by chewing the leaf’s chlorophyll and leave tunnels filled with feces that tend to get bigger and are seen as white spots on the leaves surface.
Leaf miners affect the chlorophyll in the leaf, which means it cannot photosynthesize as much energy for the plant.
If too many leaves are affected, it will affect the plant’s growth.
Sticky traps will trap egg-laying adults, and you can also try insecticidal soap.
Spider mites: Spider mites are hard to spot in the first stage yet are one of Alocasia’s most common causes of pest infestation.
They are almost impossible to notice with the naked eye.
Spider mites thrive in dry soil and hot and dry conditions.
Once they appear, if not treated, they can kill your alocasia in days.
They spread very quickly, too.
Spider mites feed on the plant’s chlorophyll, leaving behind white and yellow spots on the underside of the leaves.
If left unnoticed, they would feed all the sap of alocasia and make it withered and brown.
Another sign of spider mite infection is the webbing around the plant, often mistaken as dust.
So whenever you notice these signs, examine the plant carefully.
- If you are observant enough to catch the pest infestation in your alocasia in the initial stages, you can save your plant and return it to health. So you should keep an eye on the plant.
- If you notice a few pests, clean them manually and wipe the leaves with a soap solution.
- If you see that some leaves are heavily infected, it is recommended to trim off those leaves to avoid the fungus spreading. Remember to sterilize the pruners before and after use.
- Wash the alocasia under running water to remove as many pests as possible.
- You can use rubbing alcohol to wipe the leaves.
- Spray a Neem oil or horticulture oil solution to remove bugs and pests and cure the plant. The Neem oil should be sprayed 2-3 times a week in a heavily infested Alocasia, after which you can reduce the frequency. This will eliminate all the chances of pest infestation in the future.
- If you do not have Neem oil at home, you can spray water and dishwashing liquid all over the plant, focusing on the affected areas and the undersides of the leaves. Let it sit for some hours, and then rinse the plant.
- If these organic solutions do not work and your alocasia is heavily infested, you must resort to chemical fungicide to spray on your plant. However, be cautious while using them and know the application process thoroughly before using them.
6) Salt accumulation can lead to white spots.
White spots on leaves are also a sign of the accumulation of salts.
This chemical buildup can result from tap water or excessive fertilization over time.
Using tap water worsens the condition even more.
It’s caused by soluble salts in the water, which concentrate and form white crystals as the water evaporates.
It can damage the plant over time if left untreated.
Over time, the plant starts to excrete the excess salt through its leaves, resulting in pale spots all over.
As the excretion increases, the whole leaf eventually starts becoming white.
- It is best to prevent salt accumulation in the first place. While watering the plants, flush away the salt buildup.
- When the pot sits in a saucer filled with water, it often reabsorbs the soluble salts present in the water. So it is important to empty the drainage saucer underneath the pot to prevent buildup.
- Avoid using too much fertilizer or fertilizing too frequently. Fertilize as much as necessary in the growing season. Do not fertilize alocasia in the winter when it stays dormant.
- Do not use artificial water softeners. Use rainwater if possible.
- Getting rid of the salt from the potting soil is also necessary. You can manually remove the salt by scraping off the top ¼ ich of the soil to remove the crust containing the highest salt concentration and refill it with fresh soil.
- The second way to wash the entire pot soil is through leaching. It is done by pouring a large quantity of water and letting it drain out of the drainage hole at the bottom, as it will rinse the salt from the soil. The University of California Master Gardener Program recommends leaching potting soil every 4-6 months to manage the salt level. The ideal proportion of water should be equal to twice the amount of salt in the pot. Keep pouring the water and let it drain away completely.
- You should not use tap water to water alocasia because of chemicals like lead, chlorine, and pathogens that result in salt build-ups and white spots on the plant. It is best to collect and store rainwater as they are most beneficial for your plants. But since it is not always possible, there are other options too.
- When you use tap water to water your plant, you must let it sit for 24 hours. You allow the particles to sink and get to room temperature by letting this.
This happens when the plant is left bone dry for a long time, after which you overwater.
This disorder is caused by the roots taking up more water than it can transpire, leading to build-ups and white patches on the leaves.
Water your alocasia as and when required.
Water when the top two inches of the soil gets dry.
Do not suddenly overwater after keeping it dry for long.
Keep a check on the drainage system so that the excess water flows out and the plant has good ventilation.
8) White spots might appear if your alocasia soil is too Alkaline.
Alocasia plant likes slightly acidic crumbly, loamy soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, and if the soil becomes more alkaline, the leaves start turning white because the plant finds it difficult to absorb the nutrients.
You can reduce the soil pH most effectively by increasing nitrogen.
Compost, manure, or organic soil elements can drop the soil pH by increasing the bacterial population.
9) Fluctuating temperature can result in white spots on alocasia leaves.
Alocasias are tropical plants that love the moderately warm and moist climate.
They do not like hot or cold drafts and extreme conditions.
Sometimes, the plant turns pale and white when the weather is not steady.
Keep the alocasia away from AC, vents, radiator, and heater.
These can result in temperature stress in alocasia.
Keep the plant near a window that you can open during the day and close at night.
But do not keep the plant outside if the nights are too chilly.
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Alocasia does not require much maintenance, but giving it the right conditions is enough to keep it healthy.
Keep cleaning the plant with neem oil soil every month to prevent pest infestations. Give the plant suitable temperatures, humidity, and soil conditions. Keep an eye on the watering schedule, and do not forget to feed your plant as and when necessary.