Alocasias are beautiful tropical plants that are adored for their large green leaves. But one nightmare for Alocasia owners is the pest infestations that quickly infect these leaves and, if not timely treated, can kill this beautiful plant.
In this article, I will explain the primary pests that infect your Alocasia and what you can do to get rid of them.
To get rid of pests from your Alocasia:
- Isolate the plant so that the pests do not spread to other plants.
- Cut down on watering.
- Examine the Alocasia thoroughly to locate the pest-infested areas.
- Handpick the visible pests.
- Give a thorough shower to the plant to remove as many pests as possible.
- Cut the infected branches ad leaves and spray diluted Neem oil over the plant body.
- If there is no Neem oil, you can also use dishwashing soap and sprays for your plant.
- If the natural ways fail to give you results, you have to resort to chemical pesticides and miticides to remove the pests.
You must keep an eye on your plant every day. In the initial stage treating the infestations are easy, but if you keep neglecting them, it might get too late to treat your plant. It will get difficult to save your plant at that stage.
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How do I get rid of bugs in my Alocasia plant?
Alocasia plants are sensitive to infections and bugs like most other plants.
Here are some pests that can attack your Alocasia.
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Spider mites are one of the most common pests that attack houseplants, and Alocasias are vulnerable to spider mites.
They are tiny, almost invisible to our bare eyes, which is why we tend to overlook them initially, which leads to a lot of damage to your plants.
They can come to your home from newly brought plants that are already infected with mites.
Unlike most pests that love soggy, moisture-damp conditions, spider mites prefer the opposite.
They flourish in hot, dry conditions and bone dry soil.
They work very quickly, and in a matter of days, they can make your Alocasia weak and dull.
They also spread very quickly from one plant to the other, which is why it is crucial to isolate the Alocasia the moment you notice the first sign of spider mites.
Therefore, it is also important to treat the new plants you bring home to prevent any pests that might spread from them.
Symptoms: Spider mites pierce the leaves, and as they do that, they leave white and yellow spots on the underside of the leaves.
This is one of the foremost symptoms of catching a spider mite infection.
If left unnoticed, they would suck out all the sap and leave your plant weak, brown, and dead.
One of the other signs to look out for is the webbings that they leave around your Alocasia.
Initially, they might look like dust at a glance, but you will identify them upon careful observation.
How do I get rid of spider mites on Alocasia?
- The first step to save your Alocasia if there is a spider mite infestation is to relocate the plant away from all other plants because it spreads quickly.
- Rinse the plant leaves with cold water. These bugs thrive in hot and dry conditions, so the cold water would give them a jolt.
- If there is any heavily infested brown and yellow leaf, trim it off. Do not forget to sterilize your pruning shears after each use.
- Clean the other leaves with a dishwashing solution. Wipe each leaf on both sides properly.
- Spray the Alocasia with a Neem oil solution spray. Pests hate neem oil because of its anti-bacterial qualities.
- Let the spray marinate the leaves for some time, and then wash the leaves with cold water again.
- If these organic solutions do not work, use a pesticide or miticide spray on your plant.
- The above steps would treat the bugs off your Alocasia and keep the huge glossy leaves shiny and visually attractive.
Mealybugs are tiny white bugs that infect your Alocasia by sticking themselves to the plants’ bodies.
They are white and have a waxy body that shields them from pesticides and insecticides.
This is why treating mealybugs is a serious task, and it takes effort to get rid of them.
Symptoms: Initially, they look like waxy cotton puffs, which help them stick to the underside of the plants’ leaves, close to the nodes of the soft shoots and the base of the petioles.
They create lesions on the newly emerging leaves and suck out the sap from them, leaving behind a sticky, honeydew-like substance all over the leaves.
If left untreated at this stage, these sticky substances leave behind sooty mold and further invite ants to your plant.
How to keep mealybugs off my Alocasia plant?
The waxy shield that coats their body makes it tricky to fight mealybugs.
Water-based products do not act effectively in treating the, due to this.
The focus has to be on breaking open shields and then attacking them.
Below we will see how to break open the shield.
- It is important to separate the plant to prevent the spread of mealybugs to other plants.
- Next, trim the infected leaves and areas and dispose of them.
- Take some rubbing alcohol and dab it all over the infected areas. That can help to weaken the shield of the mealybugs.
- Next, soak cotton in isopropyl alcohol and dab it over the bug-infested areas. It will take 1-2 days to show the results and kill those bugs.
- Once they are dead, spray water with force targeting the leaves, branches, and stem to remove all the dead bugs and the eggs and new larvae.
- Use Neem oil which is the best organic pesticide. Take six teaspoons of neem oil in 1 gallon of water and mix it well. Spray the solution concentrating more on the infested areas.
- Spray this solution to your Alocasia 3-4 times for 2 weeks until the plant is free of bugs.
- Another solution is dishwashing spray, which also helps weaken the bugs’ coating shield. However, this is not permanent, and you have to keep spraying this from time to time.
- If the above steps cannot remove the mealybugs, you must resort to pesticides.
Scales are irritating bugs that weaken your Alocasia, ultimately killing it.
Scales can come in different color sizes and shapes, and most often, they appear as brown, small, round lumps on your plants’ leaves and stem.
They stay and stick to the leaves and feed on the underside of the leaves by the midribs.
The leaves of the infected plants become dull and appear to be dry and become crisp and eventually fall off.
Scales come in two types hard scales and soft scales.
- Soft scales suck to the sap and release a large amount of honeydew.
- Hard scales are harder to remove.
How to keep Scales off my Alocasia?
Here are the ways of treating scales.
- Isolate the plant to prevent the scales from migrating to other plants.
- Wipe the leaves with Neem oil generously. Pay attention to cleaning the underside of the leaves. Neem oil is the safest and most effective organic pesticide that is highly effective in clearing all kinds of pests.
- Spray Neem oil judiciously all over the plant paying attention to the infected parts. Neem oil can break the hard shells of the scales and attack the crawling scales inside them.
- If you want a stronger neem-based insecticide, get hold of AzaMax, which contains a very high amount of azadirachtin, a slow poison that kills all the bugs.
- If the infestation is detected in the initial states, trimming those leaves and spraying Neem oil works well. However, keep an eye on the eggs to ensure none are left.
Alocasia can also experience aphid infestations.
These are tiny pear-shaped aphids with soft pulpy bodies and come in various colors like green, yellow, brown, or red.
They have long legs and mouths that pierces into the plant’s body.
Adult aphids do not have wings, and they mostly attack in groups.
They do not move when disturbed and stick to the plant’s body.
They suck the sap out of the plant’s body, making it weak and vulnerable.
They secrete honeydew which leaves behind sooty molds for the ants.
They stop the growth of the plant and make it withered and weak.
How to keep aphids off my Alocasia?
- The easiest way to get rid of aphids is to blast the leaves with water focusing on the infested areas
- Apply Neem oil and spray the Alocasia well with it.
- Soapy water solution works equally fine.
- You can also use chemical sprays to disinfect the plant.
- Houseplant sticky traps help to capture and kill the aphids.
- When you bring home new plants, isolate them first and examine carefully for any signs of aphids.
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Tips to keep your Alocasia healthy
Keeping your Alocasia healthy not only adds to their visual attraction but also makes them flourish and keeps them safe from bug attacks.
By giving your Alocasia the right environment to grow, you can protect it from diseases and bugs.
Let us now see the various requirements of Alocasia, which, if provided, helps keep it strong and happy.
|Light||Alocasia thrives in medium to bright light.|
Do not put them in the scorching sun as that would burn the leaves.
If it is not getting enough light, go for artificial lights.
|Water||Alocasia is susceptible to root rot, a condition created when the roots stay in soggy soil for too long, which gives rites to pathogens that kill your plant.|
However, being tropical plants, they like moisture.
It is best to water Alocasia when the soil does not stick to your finger and is around 25-50% dry.
Water until you see it coming out of the drainage holes, and do not water until it is needed again.
Keep in mind to empty the cache trays whenever the water accumulates.
Reduce watering in the fall and winter months when they go dormant.
|Soil||Prepare a soil mix that is light and well-draining.|
Mix 1 part sand, 1 part perlite, 1 part peat, and 1 part potting soil to make a rich and light potting mix for your Alocasia.
They prefer slightly acidic soil so maintain a pH between 5.5 to 6.5.
|Fertilizer||Alocasia is a heavy feeder.|
You can feed your indoor Alocasia with a light liquid fertilizer every month during the growing seasons.
Use an NPK 20:20:20 fertilizer to feed the plant.
Do not fertilize them in the winter and fall months when they remain dormant, as they may burn the roots.
Add water to the plant before fertilizing it, so the soil remains moist and absorbs the fertilizer evenly.
|Temperature||Alocasia cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees. Therefore, you should place it in a warm room. However, don’t place the plant too close to any heating source as that can burn the foliage.|
|Humidity||It is best to avoid cold drafts and drastic temperature changes for Alocasia.|
They are tropical plants and prefer a warm and humid climate.
To raise the humidity of the Alocasia, you can use a humidifier.
If you already have one, place your Alocasia near it.
If not, you can buy a humidifier online. It is the most effective way of raising the humidity around your Alocasia.
|Pruning||Prune your Alocasia from the base of the stems whenever you notice uneven growth, dead and damaged parts, and dying flowers. The best time to prune an Alocasia is during spring and summer.|
|Repotting||Alocasia requires repotting once 18-24 months to avoid getting rootbound.|
Final thoughts on bug infestation in Alocasia plant
Bugs have always been a great cause of concern for plant owners. It causes a vast amount of plants to die every day. They serve no good purpose but kill the plant by extracting all the sap and withering it.
Keep an eye on the health of your Alocasia. Do not keep it unnoticed. The leaves are the first places that show the signs of pest attacks.
Observe the foliage daily for any sign of abnormality like spots, droopy leaves, wilted leaves, pests or bugs sticking to them, and so on.
Though Alocasias are sensitive to bugs, you can still keep your plant healthy with proper care and precautions.
If you catch the infection initially, it will be easier to treat them, and the recovery of your Alocasia would be faster.
In case of an advanced stage of bug infestation, healing and recovery will take some time.
So do not neglect your Alocasia and try to look at the initial signs of pets attack and identify and fix the infection soon. This will let your Alocasia thrive and flourish.
Reference: Science Direct, Propagation of Alocasia, The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Alocasia sanderiana, Alocasia micholitziana.
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