Alocasia, also known as the elephant’s ear, is an exotic tropical species that belong to the South Pacific Islands. They are known for their large green arrow-shaped foliage. If you want to grow an alocasia at home, you must first understand its light requirements.
Alocasia requires indirect bright light, but they cannot tolerate direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can lead to sunburn. Keep your Alocasia in a partially shaded spot in summer, away from direct sunlight. Move the plant to a brighter spot in winter.
This article will address all your questions regarding the light requirements of alocasia plants.
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Importance of good lighting for Alocasia plants
No plant can survive without light.
All plants require light to perform their basic daily activities, such as photosynthesis, through which they produce energy and food to sustain themselves.
If you provide good lighting to your Alocasia, it will remain healthy and grow faster.
If the plant doesn’t get proper light, you will notice problems.
Therefore, you need to understand your Alocasia’s light requirements if you want it to thrive.
What kind of light does Alocasia need?
Plants come from outdoor environments where they grow in enough natural light.
The plant will thrive when you bring it indoors with a similar lighting setting.
Many plants don’t get direct sunlight even in their natural setting, and these plants become the ideal houseplants.
Alocasia is a tropical plant that grows on the forest floor, under the shade of larger trees.
So, they do not get exposed to direct sunlight and receive dappled sunlight.
In an indoor setting, the Alocasia will require the same indirect lighting.
So, you can find a spot with indirect sunlight and if you are taking it outside, place it in a partially shaded spot.
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Direct vs. Indirect light
The common terms that you will come across while understanding the lighting requirements of houseplants are direct and indirect light.
Let’s understand the difference between these terms.
Direct sunlight is the most intense sunlight you can provide to your plants.
These conditions are ideal for most succulents and cacti but unsuitable for tropical plants like Alocasia.
On the other hand, indirect sunlight is best suited for tropical plants as the intensity is lower than direct sunlight, which matches their natural habitat where they receive diffused sunlight.
Exposure to sun
Alocasia doesn’t require direct sun exposure and can thrive in diffused or filtered sunlight.
If you expose the plant to direct or full sun, it will get sunburned.
However, you must not keep your Alocasia in a spot where it doesn’t receive any sun at all.
The direction of the sun
While determining the ideal spot based on the sun’s direction, you must determine which direction will provide enough light to your Alocasia.
An east-facing window receives soft morning sunlight that your Alocasia can tolerate, but as the day progresses, the sunlight reduces as the sun moves to the other directions.
On the other hand, a west-facing window will receive intense sunlight during the late afternoon, burning the leaves and not being sufficient for the plant.
A north-facing window will fail to provide the required hours of light to the Alocasia.
Therefore, a south-facing window would be ideal as it will provide enough hours of sunlight to your Alocasia.
However, you might need to use a filter or place the plant at least 5-7 feet away from the window to save it from direct exposure.
Summer vs. winter light
The major difference between the lighting conditions of summer and winter is the intensity and duration.
During summer, the intensity of sunlight remains the highest, along with long durations.
While in winter, the duration and intensity reduce significantly.
You can expose your Alocasia to direct sunlight for a few hours in winter if the temperatures permit, but you can’t expose the plant to direct sunlight in summer.
In summer, you must keep your Alocasia in a spot where it gets less intense or filtered light while receiving 6-8 hours of light.
In winter, you can take the help of artificial lights to provide enough duration and intensity to your Alocasia.
Take a look at this table to understand the different lighting conditions and how you can attain those.
|Types of light||Light Intensity||Location|
|Full or Direct Sun||32,000–100,000||Sunroom
Within 2 feet of a South or West-facing window
|Partial or Indirect Sun||10,000–25,000||6 hours of sunlight
Behind a sheer curtain or blind
3 to 4 Feet from East, West, or South-facing window
|Medium or Moderate Light||500-1000||5-7 feet away from the window
No direct sunlight but enough light for many tropical plants
|Partially shaded or Low light||100-500||5-6 feet away from an East-facing window
A north-facing window that doesn’t get enough light
|Completely Shaded or no light||<100||A room with no window
Staircase, Bathroom, Hallways
Windows shaded by trees or other obstructions
Alocasia is getting too much light
Like most tropical plants, Alocasia is sensitive to direct sunlight.
If you place your Alocasia in a spot where it receives direct or too intense sunlight, it will get damaged.
The first signs of damage will be visible on the plant’s leaves.
If you notice these signs, you can confirm that your Alocasia is getting too much light.
- Scorched leaves
- Compact soil
- Brown spots
- Crisp foliage
- Dehydrated plant
Don’t panic, as you can save your Alocasia from this condition.
What to do if Alocasia is getting too much light?
If your Alocasia is getting too much light, follow these steps to help it recover.
- First, move your Alocasia to a spot with less intense or filtered light.
- Remove all the damaged and discolored leaves by pulling them gently or using a sterilized pruner to prune them.
- Take the plant out of the pot and place it in a container filled with water. This will allow the soil to get enough water and recover from the dryness.
- Avoid fertilizing till the plant recovers.
- To prevent this situation from occurring again, place your Alocasia in a spot away from the direct sunlight.
Alocasia is not getting enough light
Low light conditions are not suitable for most plants, affecting their growth and health.
Although many plants can survive low light conditions, you see a significant difference between them and the same species growing in a brighter condition.
If your Alocasia is not getting enough light, you will notice:
- Leggy growth
- Slow growth
- Wet soil
- Pest infestations
- Root rot
- Discolored leaves
What to do if Alocasia is not getting enough light?
If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs on your Alocasia, you must check its lighting conditions and try to figure out if it is receiving enough light.
If not, you can use the following steps:
- If your house doesn’t get enough natural light, you can use artificial lights.
- Water the Alocasia less if it is placed in a low light area, or else it will get overwatered and have pest infestations and root rot.
- Clean the leaves of your Alocasia to help them take in maximum light and perform photosynthesis correctly.
- Rotate the plant at regular intervals, so all sides receive light.
- You can relocate the Alocasia to a brighter spot to provide more light.
How many hours of light does Alocasia need?
Alocasia requires 6-8 hours of indirect light every day.
If you think that the plant is not receiving enough light, you can use artificial lights to compensate for the lack of hours.
If you use artificial lights, don’t forget to switch the light off after the plant receives the required amount of light.
Does Alocasia like sun or shade?
Whether you grow your Alocasia indoors or outdoors, you must not keep it in a fully shaded spot.
Alocasia will thrive in a partially shaded spot.
Outside, you can place the Alocasia below any tall tree so it can get dappled sunlight similar to its natural environment.
You can use blinds or curtains to filter the direct sunlight and provide indirect light to the plant in an indoor setting.
If you want to keep the Alocasia near a window that gets enough light but isn’t filtered, place the plant 5-7 feet away.
Avoid exposing the plant to the full sun if it hits the plant directly.
Alocasia is an exotic tropical plant that thrives in a controlled environment with correct lighting conditions.
Without the correct lighting, the plant will develop issues that you’ll need to fix to make the plant thrive.
Alocasia is a tropical plant, and like most of them, it prefers bright and indirect sunlight. Exposing your Alocasia to a low-light setting will stunt its growth, while an environment with direct sunlight will scorch its leaves and dehydrate it.
You can place your Alocasia in an ideal environment by providing it with indirect sunlight that is neither too intense nor too low.
A window that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight is perfect for your Alocasia as long as you use curtains to filter the direct sunlight.