Alocasias are popular houseplants known for their large and glossy leaves. But it is alarming when the plant loses its beautiful leaves. Lack of care and attention will make your plant drop its leaves and lose its charm.
Alocasias will lose their leaves if exposed to unfavorable conditions and improper care. Watering issues, low light, over-fertilization are the common reasons due to which Alocasia loses its leaves. Provide correcting watering, adequate lighting, and proper nutrition to fix the issue.
This article will discuss all the possible causes behind why your Alocasia is losing leaves and find ways to solve the problem. Read this article carefully to make your Alocasia healthy again.
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Why my alocasia plant is dropping its leaves?
It is disheartening to see your Alocasia losing its leaves when you don’t know why.
This mainly happens when you do not provide your plant with proper care and growing requirements.
As a result, the plant becomes unhealthy and loses all its leaves.
Sometimes the leaves fall one by one, or many leaves fall off the plant simultaneously.
Identifying the possible reasons that cause your plant to lose its leaves is the path to fixing those underlying causes.
Once you identify the problem, it becomes easier to treat the plant and bring it back to health.
Let us now look at all the possible causes of the loss of leaves in your Alocasia.
- Low light
- Pest infestations
- Poor humidity
- Wrong soil mix
- Improper fertilization
- Unfavorable temperatures
- Wrong pot size
- Natural aging
Let us discuss all the above points in detail.
Alocasias prefer to grow in moist soil, and often we overwater them out of care.
Overwatering is a serious issue, and its consequences are hard to resolve.
The excess moisture in the soil suffocates your plant’s roots, due to which they cannot breathe properly.
Eventually, the roots get damaged and fail to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.
Due to this reason, the plant becomes weak and starts to lose all its leaves.
A prolonged period of overwatering can result in a deadly disease called root rot.
Root rot can kill the roots and attracts various pests and diseases to your plant.
Yellow leaves, droopy leaves, or curly leaves are some of the symptoms you will notice if you have an overwatered plant.
- Keep your overwatered Alocasia in a place that receives bright sunlight and good air circulation. Wait for a few days until the soil dries up.
- If the soil is still wet, you need to take the plant out of the pot and inspect its roots. If the roots are decaying, prune them off and keep only the healthy roots.
- In a piece of paper, spread the healthy roots and wait for them dry by keeping them in a bright spot. Once the roots are dried, plant them back in the pot.
- Water your plant only after checking the moisture level of the soil. Use a moisture meter or finger method for doing it. Water only if the top two inches of the soil is dry to touch.
- Always use a pot with drainage holes to prevent water accumulation in the soil.
- You can use organic ingredients such as peat moss, manure, compost, sand to improve soil drainage.
Also read: How Can You Save Overwatered Alocasia?
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Underwatering can also result in your Alocasia losing all its leaves.
When you underwater your plant, the roots become thirsty due to a lack of moisture in the soil.
Due to this, the roots fail to take up the water and nutrients the plant needs for energy.
And therefore, due to lack of energy, the plant fails to carry out life processes and starts losing its leaves.
Underwatering causes your plant’s leaves to turn curly, dry, crisply, yellow and droopy.
- If the soil turns dry and compact, take a chopstick and aerate the soil. Poke some holes into the soil.
- Then, you need to water the plant continuously for a few days to make the soil moist.
- You can also recover the soil by taking the Alocasia out of its pot and placing the plant in a large bucket filled with water. Keep the plant 30-45 minutes in the bucket so the soil can thoroughly soak the water and become moist.
- Avoid keeping your plant in a bright spot for a few days until the soil recovers.
- Prune off your plant’s dead and dry leaves to reduce their stress level.
- You can also add ingredients such as clayey soil or compost to increase the soil’s moisture retention capacity.
Light is a crucial factor as it helps the plant generate energy for various physiological processes.
Alocasia needs bright, indirect light for growing.
But the plant loses its leaves when exposed to low light conditions.
In low light, they will not be able to perform photosynthesis properly, and as a result, their growth will slow down.
The low light condition will further encourage overwatering.
Due to low light, the soil will remain wet for longer periods, and such conditions will attract bacteria and fungi to the plant.
Such adverse conditions will make the plant will lose its leaves.
- You should immediately move your Alocasia to a spot that provides bright, indirect light every day.
- The ideal spot for keeping Alocasia will be a south-facing window. This spot will provide your plant with ideal light throughout the day.
- During winters, light levels are low inside the room. So you can place your plant outside for a few hours in the morning only if the temperatures are suitable.
- Rotate your Alocasia every week so that all the parts receive an equal amount of light.
- You can also use artificial light if there is a shortage of natural light.
Alocasias are prone to certain pests like aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scales.
These pests are known as sap-sucking insects as they feed on the plant sap.
The sap contains all the nutrients and water the plant needs for getting energy.
When the pests suck out the sap, the plant becomes very weak and vulnerable, losing all its leaves.
Pests will attack your Alocasia in a moist or a dry environment.
Factors such as low light, overwatering, poor drainage can encourage the arrival of pests on your plant.
Pests are deadly, and if not treated on time, they can eventually kill your Alocasia.
- One notable suspect behind the loss of leaves is pests. It is important to inspect your plant to check whether there are any pests.
- If pests are present, wash your plant by giving it a good shower.
- Add insecticidal soap or dish wash soap in water, and wash your plant using this solution. This will help get rid of pests completely.
- After you wash your plant, clean its leaves by using cotton swabs. Dip cotton swabs in alcohol and remove all the remaining pests.
- Spray your plant with a Neem oil solution every month to keep pests away.
- Keep your plant in a bright location and avoid keeping it in damp conditions.
Being a tropical plant, Alocasia prefers to grow in high humid conditions.
They need a minimum of 50-60% humidity for survival.
If the humidity level falls below 50%, the environment becomes too dry for your plant.
In low humid conditions, the transpiration rate rises, which causes dehydration to the plant, due to which the leaves start falling.
Alocasia mainly faces humidity problems during the winter season as the air becomes dry due to lack of moisture which creates a hard time for the plant.
- Mist your plant using a spray bottle regularly to increase the humidity level around them.
- Group your Alocasia with other moisture-loving houseplants. All the plants will transpire, and this process will add humidity to the environment.
- One more way to raise the humidity around your plant is by keeping it on a pebble tray. Take a drip tray or saucer, fill it with pebbles and water, and place the plant on it. The water from the tray will evaporate and add moisture around the plant.
- You can also buy a humidifier to raise the humidity level if you don’t have one already.
Wrong soil mix
Growing your Alocasia in the wrong soil mix can cause adverse effects to their health.
Soil is the ultimate source of nutrition for plants, and using the wrong soil type can be the reason your plant loses its leaves.
Alocasia prefers loose, well-draining, well-aerated potting soil that remains evenly moist.
If the soil is too dry, the plant will get dehydrated, due to which its leaves will turn yellow and fall over.
If the soil is too heavy, it will remain wet for longer periods, forming the ideal condition for pests and diseases.
As a result, the leaves will lose their original vibrance and fall over.
- Choose a porous, well-draining, and well-aerated potting mix for your plant.
- The ideal potting mix for Alocasia will have one part regular potting soil, one part perlite or sand, and one part peat moss.
- The soil should be slightly acidic with a 5.5 to 6.5 pH.
- If the soil is too compact, use sandy soil, gypsum powder, or brick powder to loosen it.
- If the soil is too loose, use materials like manure and compost to improve the soil.
Both overfertilization and under fertilization can make the leaves of your Alocasia fall off.
In case of under fertilization, the plant will not get enough nutrients for its growth and development, due to which they will become weak and will start to drop its leaves.
On the other hand, if you overfertilize your plant, its roots will get damaged due to the excess salt build-up in the soil.
Such injured will not be able to supply nutrients and water to the plant, due to which the plant becomes extremely weak and ends up losing its leaves.
- If you find white crystals on the soil surface, scrape off the top layer of the soil to remove those excess salts.
- You should water the Alocasia thoroughly to drain the excess fertilizer for a few days.
- Avoid fertilizing your plant for a few weeks when the plant is recovering.
- If the condition does not improve, you need to repot the plant in a new pot with fresh soil mix.
- Fertilize your Alocasia during its growing season with a diluted fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20:20:20.
- Do not fertilize the plant during the winter season as the plant remains dormant and does not need fertilizers for growth.
Alocasias are tropical plants that need warm temperatures (65-85°F) to thrive.
They will not react well to extreme temperatures or sudden fluctuations.
Exposing your Alocasia to hot or cold drafts can stress it, due to which it will become weak and start dropping its leaves.
Placing the plant near refrigerators, frosty windows, air conditioners, and open doors or windows during winter can freeze their leaves.
On the other hand, exposing the plant to direct sunlight, radiators, heaters, and gas burners can make your Alocasia experience dehydration, leading to loss of leaves.
The leaves will drop off as a sign of shock if the plant is exposed to unfavorable temperatures.
- Do not keep your Alocasia near heaters, radiators, refrigerators, and air conditioners. The air from such devices can stress your plant and directly affects its health.
- Do not place your plant too close to open windows in warm weather. The heat and sun rays coming from the window can harm your plant. Keep the plant a few feet away from the window or use curtains to prevent exposure to direct sunlight.
- Keep your plant away from leaking windowsills and open doors in freezing weather.
- Keep the plant in a well-insulated room during winters.
- Do not change the position of your plant frequently. If you continuously shift their location, it will become difficult for them to adjust to the changing temperatures.
Wrong pot size
Alocasia can grow big, so they need pots with adequate space for their roots to grow.
If you use a small pot, the plant will get rootbound.
The roots will twist and grow in circles due to insufficient space.
The roots might start to come out of the soil surface, and its pressure can break the pot.
In such a condition, the roots will not be able to supply water and nutrients to the plant, due to which it will start losing its leaves.
The only solution to this problem is repotting.
Whenever you are repotting, choose a container that is 2 inches larger than the previous one.
If your plant is root bound, you need to take it out of the pot and untangle the roots.
After that, repot your plant in a new container with fresh soil mix.
Like any other houseplants, Alocasia will start to lose its leaves at the end of its growing cycle.
It is quite a natural process and not something to worry about.
The old leaves will fall and give their place to the new leaves.
The leaves will fall from the plant when it can no longer hold water and nutrients.
It will turn yellow or brown, and you can prune off your plant.
You should provide your Alocasia with proper care and attention to prevent the loss of leaves. You can do this by ensuring that the plant gets the correct growing conditions as per their needs.
If you notice that alocasia leaves are falling, don’t get worried and prune off all the dead and damaged leaves that won’t recover. Try to find out the actual cause behind this problem by inspecting your plant.
Look for symptoms and as soon as you find the cause behind the loss of leaves, try to fix it by applying the correct solution.
Reference: Science Direct, Propagation of Alocasia, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Alocasia sanderiana, Alocasia micholitziana.