Alocasia or Elephants Ears is a tropical plant thriving in warm and humid conditions. If you own an Alocasia or planning to get one, you might be wondering if Alocasias go dormant. Let’s find out.
Alocasia goes into dormancy during the winter months due to unfavorable conditions. Since Alocasia comes from tropical regions, low temperatures, low light, and low humidity doesn’t facilitate new growth. Therefore, your Alocasia goes dormant and saves energy for the growing season.
Alocasia requires a different care routine during winter due to the drastic changes in the environment.
If you want your Alocasia to stay healthy during its dormancy, you must stop fertilizing and reduce watering the plant. Avoid exposing it to frost and low temperatures and maintain a 40-50% humidity level.
You must consider many other factors to take care of your Alocasia when it goes dormant. In this article, I will share with you all the changes you need to make in the care routine of your Alocasia during its dormant period.
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Will Alocasia survive winter?
During winters, the temperatures fall, the intensity and duration of the sunlight reduce, and the humidity levels drop below average.
These conditions are not ideal for tropical plants like Alocasia.
According to Iowa State University, your Alocasia will not survive winter when grown outside.
But if you have an indoor Alocasia plant, you can help it survive the winter by providing the correct conditions and tweaking the care routine.
You can dig the outdoor Alocasias up from the ground and store them inside the house until spring arrives.
Once the conditions are favorable again, you can plant the Alocasia back to the ground.
However, if you don’t take proper care, the plant will become unhealthy and develop different problems.
Why does Alocasia go dormant?
Tropical plants go dormant in winter, and Alocasia is one of them.
The environment and the weather changes signal the plant to go dormant to help it survive the unfavorable conditions.
The changes that make Alocasia go dormant are:
- Less intense sunlight
- Shorter durations of Sunlight
- Low temperatures
- Low humidity levels
- Lack of moisture in the soil
When your Alocasia goes dormant, you will notice certain changes in its appearance.
The most common sign of a dormant Alocasia is dull and droopy leaves.
You must start changing the care routine once you notice this sign.
This will help your Alocasia regain some health and survive the dormant period without problems.
However, if your Alocasia is affected by low temperatures or low humidity, you might notice that the plant is severely affected.
How do you stop Alocasia from going dormant?
You don’t need to stop Alocasia from going dormant as it is a natural process that doesn’t harm the plant.
You need to provide the right care and conditions and not expose the plant to winter’s extreme conditions.
In the next segment, I will explain how you need to take care of Alocasia when it goes dormant.
What do you do with Alocasia in the winter?
You must have understood from the above discussion that it is not the best time for your Alocasia.
The plant will require your help in winter as its care requirements change.
If you don’t acknowledge the changes and keep caring for the plant like the spring or summer season, you will kill it.
To prevent that from happening, read about the changes you need to adopt for your Alocasia in winter.
1. Bring your Alocasia inside during winter.
Many people like to grow their Alocasia outside due to their large green foliage, making their garden more appealing.
However, it will not survive winter outside and might die.
Therefore, if you have outdoor Alocasias, you need to dig them up from the ground and bring them indoors.
If you have potted Alocasias that you have placed outside, it will be easier to carry the pot inside.
Avoid taking your Alocasia outside during winter as the low temperatures or cold drafts can damage the plant.
If you keep it inside, you can protect it from harsh conditions as you can control the environment indoors.
2. Find the correct spot for your Alocasia indoors.
Now that you know that you need to keep your Alocasia inside the house when it goes dormant, you need to find the right spot where the plant gets all the ideal conditions.
To help you decide the correct pot for your Alocasia, I have listed some points you can consider.
- Do not place your Alocasia near frosty windows that also get cold drafts.
- You might want to place your Alocasia near heating sources like fireplaces for furnaces to provide warmth. However, placing it too close can burn the leaves and dehydrate the plant. You can place the plant in a room with a heating source but avoid keeping it too close.
- Place the plant in a bright spot where it receives the maximum amount of light during the day.
- Avoid placing your Alocasia opposite the AC as the direct air can reduce the humidity levels for the plant.
- You must not place the plant near doors and windows that are opened and closed too often as it can expose the plant to temperature fluctuations.
3. Use artificial lights for your Alocasia during winter.
Lack of light is a big reason that induces dormancy in Alocasia plants.
- The duration of sunlight reduces.
- The intensity of the sunlight lowers.
Although the Alocasia can survive without extra light in winter, you can use artificial lights to keep it healthy and avoid seeing droopy leaves.
However, don’t forget to switch off the artificial lights during the night as the plant also requires darkness to stay healthy.
4. Reduce watering your Alocasia during winter.
In winter, Alocasia does not require as much water as it does during the growing season.
The reasons behind this are low temperatures and low light.
These don’t let the soil dry fast, and since the plant is already dormant, it requires less water as its functions are reduced during dormancy.
Therefore, if you want your Alocasia to survive the winter, you must reduce the quantity and the frequency of watering.
Water the plant after checking the soil and ensuring that it needs water.
You can use a moisture meter or your finger to check the soil moisture levels, and if the soil is 50-75% dry, you can water your Alocasia.
5. Use room-temperature water for watering your Alocasia.
During winter, the temperature of the water changes due to the low temperatures.
If you use this water on your Alocasia, it will get shocked, and its health will deteriorate.
Therefore, you must always use room-temperature water on your Alocasia to avoid shocking it and keep it healthy.
6. Maintain the correct humidity levels for your Alocasia.
Since Alocasia is a tropical plant, it requires high humidity levels to thrive.
During winter, the humidity levels drop significantly, stressing the plant.
However, if you have a humidifier, you can use it to maintain at least 50-60% humidity levels around your Alocasia.
If not, consider relocating your Alocasia to the bathroom as the humidity level remains high.
Be careful not to splash water on the leaves if you place your Alocasia in the bathroom.
You can also group the Alocasia with other humidity-loving plants to maintain proper humidity levels around them.
But, keep some space between the plants to allow proper airflow.
7. Avoid fertilizing your Alocasia in winter.
One of the major changes that Alocasia requires in winter is a halt to fertilization.
Since Alocasia goes into dormancy, it stops focusing on growth.
Due to this, the plant neither needs any fertilizer nor uses it even when you fertilize it.
When the fertilizer doesn’t get used up, it gets stored in the soil and eventually moves into the roots, causing serious damage.
If you fail to identify the signs of stress your Alocasia gives out; the plant can die.
If you don’t want all these to happen, avoid fertilizing the Alocasia in winter.
You can resume fertilizing once the plant moves out of the dormant period.
One exception will be if you notice growth in your Alocasia even during dormancy, you can use a 20:20:20 liquid fertilizer and make it highly diluted before using it on the Alocasia.
8. Avoid repotting your Alocasia in winter.
All plants undergo stress after repotting.
This is because the plant takes time to adjust to the changes and the new environment and until it gets to adjust completely, it remains stressed.
The plant is already dormant in winter due to the unfavorable conditions.
If you repot it on top of that, the plant will get a lot of stress, and coming out of it will become difficult.
You should repot your Alocasia when it becomes rootbound.
If that is the case with your plant, you can wait for the spring season if the plant is not at the final stage of rootbound.
You should only consider repotting your Alocasia if it is undergoing something serious like the root rot disease.
9. Keep the leaves of your Alocasia clean during winter.
It is important to keep the allocation leaves clean during winter because clean leaves will be able to photosynthesize more efficiently.
Due to the low light conditions, the plant already receives less light in winter.
On top of it, if the leaves have dust accumulated on them, the photosynthesis will slow down even more.
This will affect the plant’s health as it will not get enough energy to remain healthy.
Therefore, consider wiping the leaves with a clean cloth after misting the Alocasia.
10. Keep the plant pest-free.
Winter is ideal for pest infestation as the plant already lives under unfavorable conditions, and any mistake from your end can create the perfect environment for the pests.
You must watch out for spider mites as these tiny pests thrive in dry environments with low light.
If you overwater your Alocasia by mistake, you might even come across pests like mealybugs, aphids, and scales on your Alocasia.
To avoid pest infestations, provide the ideal conditions to your plant and spray a Neem Oil solution that will keep the pests away.
How to bring your Alocasia out of dormancy?
At the end of the winter season, when the conditions start becoming favorable for your Alocasia, it will start coming out of the dormant period.
This will be natural, but you can also help your Alocasia come out of dormancy with the following steps:
- If you are using a humidifier, increase the humidity levels.
- Water the plant.
- Keep the plant in a brighter location to help it receive more indirect light.
- Check the soil temperature and ensure that it is 70ºF as the ideal soil temperature will help the plant come out of dormancy faster.
- If the plant still seems dormant, take a plastic bag and cover the plant with it. This will increase the humidity levels and lock in the moisture.
- Place a heat mat under the pot to provide more warmth.
Should I prune the droopy leaves on my Alocasia in winter?
We don’t want the beautiful leaves of our Alocasia to look dull and unhealthy, which is not uncommon in winter.
The plant can have droopy leaves when entering dormancy or during the dormant period.
Although it might seem like a good idea to prune these leaves, you should avoid doing it.
The leaves can become healthy once the plant exits the dormant period and enters its growing period.
The favorable conditions allow the leaves to gain health and function at their optimum levels.
And if your Alocasia has entered a full-blown dormancy, it will shed all its leaves.
Before that, it will absorb all the nutrients from the leaves to store them in the roots for the following growing season.
If you prune the leaves, the plant will not be able to perform these.
Therefore, it is best to leave the leaves alone and wait for the plant to shed them or bring them back to health after dormancy.
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Dormancy is a natural phenomenon and not a problem. So, if your Alocasia is going dormant in winter, you must not worry about it and follow the proper care routine to help the plant survive.
You must reduce watering, stop fertilizing, use artificial lights, and keep the plant indoors to protect it from the harsh conditions of winter.
Maintaining warm temperatures and high humidity levels will also encourage the plant to remain healthy.