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Why Does My Alocasia Have White Spots? (Causes+How To Fix)

Plant owners love Alocasia because of its shiny green leaves. It purifies the air inside homes and is a great accent piece. However, one particular problem that harasses many Alocasia plants is white spots on leaves. Let’s understand why that happens.

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 the same.

In this article, I will explain the possible reasons that make the Alocasia leaves develop white spots and the remedies to cure this problem.

Alocasia pest

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Why my Alocasia leaves are turning white?

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.

Powdery mildew

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 occurring on the leaves and stems as soon as they are affected. 

Powdery mildew affects the plant’s lower leaves first and more densely and then starts spreading on the entire plant body in no time.

The entire plant that lays above the ground will be covered by powdery mildew as it spreads.

It starts as little white spots and devours the entire plant making it weak, droopy, and 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.

Solution

As powdery mildew are easy to spot, you should take actions in the initial stages to prevent the spread.

At the initial stage, they are easy to be treated.

However, once they reach the whole body of the Alocasia, it would be difficult to treat them.

You have to 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 post using. 
  • 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 1tablespoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of liquid soap, 1 gallon of water, and 1 tablespoon of Neem oil if you have. 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 plan. 

Sunburn

The intensity of sunlight received by the plants has several effects on them.

Alocasia in nature grows on the forest floors, where they are guarded against scorching sun rays by the big trees.

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.

Solution

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 have to first make it accustomed to the sunlight by giving it short hours of sunlight and then moving it indoors.

You can gradually increase the hours so that the plant gets used to that heat slowly. 

It is best to keep your Alocasia away from direct sun in a spot that gets ample light, like a covered balcony or an east-facing window. 

Also read: What Kind Of Light Does Alocasia Need? Alocasia Light Requirements



Low light

Alocasia should be kept at a place where it gets plenty of bright light but not scorching sunlight.

In the absence of sufficient light, your plant would 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 starts to turn pale green, yellow, or white.

Along with that, they also tend to become leggy and stretch towards the sun’s direction.

Solution

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 will have a wide view of the sky, but the sunlight should not fall on it for long hours.

If you do not have the provision of getting a lot of natural light, you can get artificial lights and keep the plant under them.

Lack of nutrients

Alocasia fertilizer

For the healthy growth of the Alocasia, it needs macronutrients like Phosphorous, 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 out to be entirely white and stunted.

Manganese deficiency is also commonly mistaken as an iron deficiency that turns the leaves into pale green between the veins.

As the deficiency progresses, the area between the veins becomes paler, and if not treated, the plant may gradually start withering because manganese plays an important role in germination, photosynthesis, and increasing the plant’s immunity.

Solution

Regular fertilizing is essential to give all the necessary macro and micronutrients that the 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.

Also read: What Fertilizer To Use For Alocasia? (Ideal Fertilizer+Dosage Guide)

Pests

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, which accumulates on the foliage and invite 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 in the underside of the leaves. 

If not cured in the initial stage, 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 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 behind tunnels filled with feces which 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 very hard to spot in the first stage yet are one of the most common causes of pest attack on Alocasia.

They are almost impossible to notice with the naked eye.

Spider mites thrive in dry soil and hot and dry condition.

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 mites infection is the webbing around the plant, often mistaken as dust.

So whenever you notice these signs, examine the plant carefully. 

Solutions 

  • If you are observant enough to catch the pest infestation in your Alocasia in the initial stages, you can save your plant and get it back to health. So you should keep an eye on the plant.
  • If you notice a few pests, you can 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 pests’ attacks in the future.
  • If you do not have Neem oil at home, you can make a spray of water and dishwashing liquid and spray 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. 

Also read: How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs In Alocasia? (+Common Bugs Identification)

Salt accumulation

White spots on leaves are also a sign of 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.

Solution

  • 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 winters 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 with fresh soil.
  • The second way to wash the entire soil of the pot 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, 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 the tap water to water your plant, you need to let it sit for 24 hours. You allow the particles to sink and get to room temperature by letting this. 

Edema

This happens when the plant is left bone dry for a long time, after which you overwater.

This is a disorder caused by the roots taking up more water than it can transpire, leading to build-ups and white patches on the leaves.

Solution

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.

Alkaline soil

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.

Solution

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.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does Alocasia Need? (Ideal Soil Mix+Other Requirements)

Fluctuating temperature 

Alocasia low temperature

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.

Solution

Keep the Alocasia away from AC, vents, radiator, and heater.

These can give result in temperature stress in Alocasia.

Keep the plant near a window that you can open in the day and close at night.

But do not keep the plant outside if the nights are too chilly. 

Also read: Where To Place Alocasia Plant? (Ideal Placement+Factors)


Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Final words 

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 condition. Keep an eye on the watering schedule, and do not forget to feed your plant as and when necessary.


Reference: Science DirectPropagation of AlocasiaThe University of Arkansas Division of AgricultureAlocasia sanderianaAlocasia micholitziana.