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Do Alocasias Grow In Water? (How To+Care)

Alocasias are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia and Australia, and they are loved for their large green leaves. Though they flourish in soil, many plant owners wonder whether they can be grown in water. Let’s find out.

To grow an Alocasia in water, you can take it out of its pot, clean the roots, and put it in a container filled with clean water. Taking a cutting from the Alocasia and growing it in water will not work. However, you can separate the baby plants from the main plant and grow them in water.

Alocasia will thrive in water if you provide the proper growing conditions like bright indirect light and clean water.

This article will discuss how you can grow Alocasia in water and the benefits and disadvantages. So, keep reading.


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How to grow Alocasias in water?

Alocasia plants are tuberous, meaning they sprout from a central rhizome.

Unlike some other plants, Alocasias grow from bulbs.

So it is best to cut the baby plants from the bulbs to propagate them instead of curring leaves or branches.

Leaf or stem cuttings, which are popular ways of propagation, will not be successful in the case of Alocasia plants.

These plants like to grow in clumps which means that if you remove it from the pot, you will find that it consists of multiple clumps of plants stuck together.

Healthy Alocasias grow from the clumps and are easy to remove from the mother plant and grow in a separate container.

We can grow Alocasia in water by propagation which is quite a simple process.

Growing Alocasia in water is satisfying because you see the roots grow gradually.

It adds to the visual appeal of indoor gardens as well. 

Once the Alocasia has rooted in the water, you can shift the plant to the soil or continue growing it in water.

The choice is yours.

Required elements

Now let us know how you can grow the plant in water and what elements you need to grow your elephant ears in water.

Glass container

To grow your Alocasia in water, you first need a clean glass container.

You can also use a vase instead.

However, glass lets you see the progress of the roots and the water condition so you know when it is dirty and can change it accordingly.

You need not worry about the size of the container but make sure it is not too wide and a little tall so that the plant gets enough support without toppling over. 

Water

The water you use for the plant’s growth should be clean and free from chlorine and minerals.

For this reason, it is best to avoid tap water as it is hard water containing minerals like fluorine and chlorine that can be harmful to the plant.

Hard water is not recommended for the healthy growth of plants. 

Collecting rainwater is an excellent way as it is rich in beneficial elements for the plant.

However, as it is not always possible, you can use filtered or distilled water.

Or, you can leave the tap water outside overnight to reduce the harmful minerals.

You can then use it to grow your Alocasia.

Sharp shears

You need a sharp pair of shears to make sharp cuts if you want to separate a baby plant from the mother plant.

Do not use a blunt knife as that may lead to infections and diseases. 

Do not forget to sterilize the shears before and after use to avoid infections.

Steps for growing Alocasia in water

Growing Alocasia in Water | Guide on Propagating Alocasia

Let us now get into the steps of growing the Alocasia in water.

Step 1: Remove the plant from the soil.

The first step is to remove the plant from the pot. 

Alocasia grows in clusters, and as I mentioned already, taking a leaf or stem cutting will not work for this plant.

So, you need to take the plant out of the pot first to either put it in water or separate the baby plants.

Step 2: Loosen the root ball

After taking the Alocasia out of the pot, dust off the soil, loosen up the root, and shake them to remove the extra soil. 

Wash the roots in running water very well.

Make sure they are clean so that there is no soil sticking to the body of the roots.

If the soil stays clumped to the roots, soak it in water for some time until it is loose and clean. 

Step 3: Examine the roots

Once the roots are clean and loosened up, examine them well.

Trim off any dead or decaying roots.

Remove any yellow or dead leaves.

Step 4: Separate the baby plants from the mother plant

Take the sterilized pruning shears and separate the baby plants from the main plant.

Be gentle as you don’t want to damage the plant.

You can skip this if you plan to put the entire plant in water.

Step 5: Put the Alocasia in water

After taking the plant out of the pot or separating the baby plants, take the container or glass jar filled with water and place the plant into it.

Make sure the entire root ball gets submerged and does not come out.

Make sure to use only distilled filtered water.

Tap water with chlorine is harmful to the plant. 


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How to take care of Alocasia in water?

Alocasia thrives happily in water due to its moisture preferences.

If you take care of the plant and fulfill its requirements, your plant will flourish in water.

Let us see what tips you should follow to grow the Alocasia in water.

Water quality

Water quality is the most important aspect you should consider when growing Alocasia in water.

Normal tap water is not beneficial for your plants because it has impurities and harmful chemicals.

Rainwater is the best as they do not have harmful chemicals and have a lot of essential nutrients for the plant. 

However, filtered water is the next best option since collecting and storing rainwater is not always possible.

If you have water purifiers handy, you can also use that water to grow your plants.

If not, you can fill a container with water and let it sit for 24 hours to remove all the impurities, and then you can use that water.

Change water frequently

When you grow Alocasia in the water, you have to keep changing the water from time to time whenever you see it getting dirty.

You have to be regular with this because stagnant water can become a breeding ground for germs and insects, killing your plant and affecting the air in your house.

The stagnant dirty water can also invite algae growth. 

It is best to change the water every 2-3 days.

Light

Alocasia does not like scorching direct sunlight falling on them as they burn the plant’s beautiful leaves.

In nature, they grow on the forest floor beneath a big tree canopy, where they get filtered sunlight only.

Keep the jar at a place where it receives plenty of indirect light.

You can give the plant some morning sunlight but keep it away from the hot afternoon sun.

Temperature

Alocasias being tropical plants prefer a warm temperature between 65-85°F.

Keep the Alocasia away from cold drafts and sudden fluctuation in temperature. 

Alocasias go dormant in winters because they do not like cold temperatures.

Bring them indoors in the wintertime.

Fertilization

Fertilization is very important, especially in water, because the plant does not get enough nutrients from it. 

Nourish the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks in the growing season.

When changing the water, you can add a drop of the 20:20:20 NPK liquid fertilizer to it.

Remember not to fertilize it in the winter periods when Alocasia remains dormant. 

Humidity

Coming from tropical regions, Alocasia is a humidity-loving plant.

They thrive in 50% to 60% humidity levels to flourish healthily. 

While growing in water, they do not usually experience a lack of humidity.

However, you can mist your plant from time to time to clean the leaves and increase the humidity around them.

You can also use a humidifier if the air is dry in your home.



Pruning

Whether your Alocasia grows in water or soil, pruning is important to maintain the health and visual beauty of the plant.

From time to time, snip off the old and decayed leaves or roots to give them a clean and groomed look. 

Always use only sterilized pruners or shears for the purpose only.

Repotting

Alocasias can thrive in water for a long period without much difficulty, provided it gets all the right conditions.

If your Alocasia is growing well in water, you need not think of transferring it to the soil immediately as that can unnecessarily shock the plant.

However, if you find the plat is not doing well in the water, then you may think of repotting it to the soil.

Pros and cons of growing Alocasia in water

Alocasia new leaves

Growing your Alocasia in water has its benefits and problems.

Let’s now understand those.

Pros Cons
Nutrient intake: Since the plant’s roots are open, nutrients and oxygen are delivered directly to the roots. By taking away the plant’s need to search for nutrients in the soil, the plant will focus more on growing instead of spreading the roots in search of nutrients. Unavailability of nutrients: Water does not give all the essential nutrients Alocasia needs for long-term growth. In soil, there are a lot of minerals that the plant gets.
Less chance of pests and problems: Though growing in water does not mean it is completely free from pests, the chances reduce drastically because most pests live in the soil. Hassle of changing water: You have to change the water and clean the container frequently. Otherwise, there can be a smell and growth of algae and insects in the jar.
Clean growing conditions: Needless to say, in water, the plant grows without creating any mess and dirt. It is easier to keep the plant body clean in water. Not suitable for the long term: The Alocasia may grow perfectly in the water for some time. But the plant’s growth is compromised in water due to the unavailability of many essential nutrients. Therefore, it might not be suitable if you do it for the long term.
No overwatering or underwatering issues: Since there is no need to water the plant separately, chances of overwatering or root rot go down.
Faster growth: The pant seems to grow faster in water than in soil.
Visual appeal: Plants in water add to the aesthetic appeal of the indoor garden setup.
Notice the growth: Many plant parents love to grow their Alocasia in water because they enjoy seeing the progress of the root growth. 
This table demonstrates the pros and cons of growing Alocasia in water.

Why is my Alocasia is not growing roots in water?

Growing Alocasia in water generally helps the plant grow fast, provided it gets the correct conditions.

Due to several reasons, you might find your Alocasia not growing much in the water.

Let us quickly see the reasons:

  • The water quality is not good. Remember to use only filtered water for the plant.
  • The plant was not in a healthy condition when you put it in water. An already stressed plant will not grow healthily.
  • The plant is not getting enough sunlight. Remember to keep it away from the direct afternoon sun. However, mild morning sun and bright indirect light are important.
  • Find whether the humidity and temperature around the plant are suitable. Alocasia needs a lot of humidity, around 50%-60%. Try misting the leaves to raise the humidity level or use a humidifier.
  • Fertilize the plant with liquid fertilizers to give it sufficient nutrients.
  • In the dormant period, the Alocasia growth reduces, so don’t worry if that happens.

Final words

It is evident from the discussion that you can grow your Alocasia in water without much hassle. But make sure of giving it the right conditions and watch the plant root beautifully, enhancing the visual beauty of your indoor garden.


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