Alocasia is a beautiful tropical plant with large green leaves. These are grown as both indoor and outdoor plants. Wherever you grow it, you need to ensure that the leaves are clean so they can photosynthesize better. But how to clean Alocasia leaves? Let’s find out.
Alocasia has larger and fewer leaves than many other plants, so the best way to clean them is by wiping the leaves with a wet cloth. Other ways to clean the leaves are to take the plant to the sink and spray water on the leaves, mist the leaves, or clean the leaves with a brush.
In this article, we will discuss the different ways of cleaning your Alocasia leaves and why you should clean them in the first place.
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Why should I clean the leaves of my Alocasia?
Alocasia is loved for its beautiful large foliage.
But if they are not clean, they will accumulate dust, attract pests, and fail to photosynthesize at the optimum level.
The leaves of Alocasia have important functions to perform, and if they are not cleaned regularly, they will fail to perform these functions and thus, become unhealthy.
The important functions of leaves include:
- Photosynthesis: Through which the plants produce energy and food.
- Transpiration: Through which plants release water into the atmosphere.
- Gas exchange: The plant exchanges gases like Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide with the atmosphere.
With the lack of cleaning, all these processes will slow down, and the Alocasia will become weak and vulnerable to pests and other diseases.
Therefore, it is important to keep the leaves of your Alocasia clean to avoid these unnecessary problems.
How often should I clean Alocasia leaves?
There is no set frequency of cleaning the Alocasia leaves.
You need to clean the leaves whenever you find them getting dirty.
If there is ongoing construction near your house, the leaves will get dirty faster.
If you reside in an area exposed to pollution and dust, you will need to clean the leaves more often as they will accumulate dust faster.
The best way to find out if your Alocasia leaves need cleaning is to touch the leaves.
If you can feel the dust, you can go ahead with cleaning the leaves.
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How to clean alocasia leaves?
There are different ways of cleaning Alocasia leaves. Some of them are:
- Wipe the leaves
- Mist the leaves
- Wash the leaves
- Dip the plant in water
- Brush the leaves
Now, let’s discuss these in more detail.
Wipe the leaves
Wiping the leaves is the best way of cleaning plants with larger and fewer leaves.
And since Alocasia is one such plant, it is best if you can wipe the leaves to clean them.
For this, you need:
- A cloth
You can use a washcloth or a microfibre cloth.
Ensure that it is soft enough not to damage the leaves.
Dampen the cloth with water, hold the leaves lightly from their undersides, and wipe the leaves gently to remove all the dust.
There will be no chance of the plant getting damaged if you are gentle.
After wiping with a damp cloth, you can use a dry cloth to remove the excess water.
Mist the leaves
For indoor Alocasia plants, misting the leaves is also a great way of cleaning them.
Many people mist their Alocasia to increase the humidity around the plants, so if you are someone who does that already, it will help you keep the leaves clean.
All you need are:
- A spray bottle
Fill a spray bottle with water and spray it on the leaves of your Alocasia.
You can also add some Neem oil to the water once in a while to keep the pests away.
Or, you can create a soapy solution by mixing dish soap with water and adding it to the spray bottle.
Wash the leaves
If you have an outdoor Alocasia, you can clean the leaves with this method.
Or, you can take the indoor Alocasia outside or to the kitchen sink or bathtub to clean the leaves.
This method is ideal for Alocasias that are large.
You can take a hose and spray the leaves of the Alocasia with it.
Ensure that the water pressure is low, or your plant will get damaged.
Dip the plant in a water
If you have a small Alocasia, you can take the plant and dip it in a bucket of water.
For this, you need:
- A bucket
- A plastic sheet (Optional)
You can also fill the sink with water and dunk the plant if you don’t want to use a bucket.
You need to be a little careful while performing this method of cleaning the leaves.
- First of all, provide water to the soil so it will not slide out of the pot when you turn the plant upside down.
- Next, hold the pot and the plant’s base and turn it upside down.
- You can wrap a plastic sheet around the base of the Alocasia to stop the soil from coming out of the pot.
- Now, insert the leaves into the bucket of water.
- After this, allow the leaves to dry out before moving the plant back to its spot.
- If there is too much water, you can use a soft and dry cloth to get rid of it.
Note: Whichever methods you use to clean the leaves, make sure that the water is neither hot nor cold as that can shock the plant.
Use lukewarm or regular room-temperature water.
Brush the leaves
It is not recommended that you mist the Alocasia leaves regularly to clean them, as the water might take a lot of time to dry.
And this can invite pests and other diseases to your Alocasia.
So, you don’t need to use water every time to clean the leaves.
If you notice that the leaves of your Alocasia have accumulated some dust, you can use a soft brush to clean it off.
You can also use a feather duster to remove the dust.
After cleaning, make sure to go outside and clean the brush or duster.
Tips for cleaning the Alocasia leaves
Here are some factors that you should keep in mind while cleaning the leaves of your Alocasia.
- Always use room-temperature water for cleaning the leaves.
- While cleaning, do not miss the leaves’ undersides and the stems and branches.
- Clean the leaves whenever you notice dust has accumulated.
- Use clean water that doesn’t contain harmful minerals. If it does contain minerals, the leaves might develop spots as the water evaporates that are hard to remove.
How to remove the hard water spots from Alocasia leaves?
If you notice spots on your Alocasia leaves, you can use the following to get rid of the spots.
- Take a cloth, dip it in rainwater or distilled water, and wipe the leaves to remove the spots.
- Add 1 tbsp of distilled vinegar to 1 quart of distilled water and dab this mix on the spots for harder spots. Wait for 1-2 minutes, then wipe it with distilled water.
Can I clean my Alocasia with commercial cleaners?
It is best to stay away from commercial leaf cleaners and opt for natural ways of cleaning.
Using the natural ways of cleaning that I mentioned above is sufficient for keeping your Alocasia leaves clean.
So, you don’t need commercial cleaners in the first place.
Also, commercial cleaners contain chemicals that can block the gas exchange passages of the leaves.
So, using commercial cleaners can harm your Alocasia instead of helping it.
Can I clean my Alocasia leaves with Leaf Shine?
Leaf Shines are similar to commercial cleaners and equally harmful.
These can also block the stoma of the leaves and stop them from functioning efficiently.
Therefore, I do not recommend Leaf Shines either.
How do I take care of my Alocasia?
Besides keeping the leaves clean, you also need to take care of a few basic requirements of the Alocasia to keep it healthy.
Here is a list of all the requirements of an Alocasia. Go through them to take proper care of the plant.
|Light||Alocasia requires 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight.|
Keep it away from direct sunlight and use artificial light if it is not getting enough light.
|Water||You should water the Alocasia when the soil is 25-50% dry.|
Use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level before watering.
|Soil||An ideal soil mix for Alocasia is an equal mix of regular potting soil, peat moss, and perlite.|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize the Alocasia with a 20:20:20 NPK liquid fertilizer throughout its growing season. Avoid fertilizing in the dormant period.|
|Temperature||The ideal range of temperature for an Alocasia is 65-85°F.|
|Humidity||Alocasia loves humidity and requires 50-60% humidity to remain healthy.|
You can use a humidifier to maintain the humidity.
|Repotting||You can repot your young Alocasia once in 6 months.|
A mature plant will require repotting once in 2-3 years when it becomes root-bound.
|Pruning||Prune your Alocasia at the base of the plant whenever you notice discolored or damaged leaves.|
Reference: Science Direct, Propagation of Alocasia, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Alocasia sanderiana, Alocasia micholitziana.