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How To Water Alocasia Plant? (How Much, How Often & More)

Alocasia is a tropical houseplant with beautiful arrow-shaped foliage. One of the most important factors you must understand to keep your Alocasia healthy is its watering requirements. One wrong step can stress the plant.

Depending on how quickly the soil dries out, you need to water your alocasia every 7-14 days. Check the top 2-3″ of soil and make sure it’s dry before you water your alocasia, as this helps prevent overwatering. Water the plant thoroughly until the water starts coming out of drainage holes.

There are other ways of watering your Alocasia that we will discuss in this article. We will also discuss all the information related to watering an alocasia plant.

Alocasia watering

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Alocasia Water Requirements

Before we understand how to water the alocasia plant, let’s understand the different factors that determine the plant’s water requirement.

Summer

The growing season of an alocasia plant is the summer and spring seasons. 

During this time, the plant requires frequent watering and the highest amount of water.

The reason is that the plant grows actively and uses up the water faster.

The weather conditions such as the temperatures and light intensity remain high that speeds up the transpiration process, due to which the leaves lose water faster.

The soil also dries faster during these seasons.

Therefore, your Alocasia will require more water in these seasons.

You should water it when the soil goes 25-50% dry.

This will sum up to watering Alocasia once a week.

However, instead of following any routine blindly, make it a practice to check the soil’s moisture level before deciding if the plant needs water.

If the soil feels dry, you can water your Alocasia, and if it is still wet, wait for a few days and allow the soil to dry out.

If you are a beginner, you can use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture.

Winter

Winter is the time for low temperatures and low light, not ideal for tropical plants like Alocasia.

During winter, these plants go into dormancy due to these unfavorable conditions:

  • Low light
  • Low temperatures
  • Low humidity
  • A shorter span of days

These conditions are unsuitable for Alocasia, so they stop focusing on growth and start conserving their energy for the coming spring and summer seasons.

Due to reduced growth, naturally, the Alocasia will require less water.

Also, during winter, the soil will take time to dry, which means the frequency of watering will also go down.

In winter, an alocasia will require watering once in 2-3 weeks, depending on the soil’s moisture.

You must be careful not to water your Alocasia with cold water as it will shock the plant.

You can allow the water to come to room temperature before giving it to your Alocasia.

How do you know if Alocasia needs water?

Alocasia humidity meter

Many beginners ask how they would know if their plants need water.

If you are new to houseplants and starting with an alocasia, you can go with one or more following ways.

Method How It Works
Moisture meter A moisture meter is ideal for beginners and those who don’t want to get their hands dirty. You can get one and insert it into the soil.
If the moisture meter shows 2-3 on the scale, you can water the plant. If not, you should wait and check the moisture after a few days again.
If you are looking for an effective moisture meter, you can get the Kensizer 3-in-1 Soil Tester.
Lift the pot If you want to use this method, you need to get acquainted with the weight of the pot. You must lift the pot and weigh it before watering your Alocasia. This will give you an idea of how much the pot weighs when the plant needs water. So before watering it the next time, check the weight by lifting the pot to determine the plant’s water requirement.
Use your finger This is easy, but you need to get your hands slightly dirty. Use your finger and insert it 2-3 inches into the soil. If the soil sticks to your finger, it means that your Alocasia still has enough moisture, and you must wait. But if the soil feels dry, you can water the plant.
Observe the pot If you planted your Alocasia in terracotta or clay-based pot, you could observe the pot to understand if the plant is ready to receive water. If the pot appears dark, it means that the soil still has moisture, whereas a lighter shade indicates that the plant will enjoy some watering.
Touch the pot This again applies to terracotta or clay-based pots. The soil contains water if you touch the pot and feel wet on the sides or the bottom. But, if the pot feels dry, you can water your Alocasia.
This table demonstrates the ways of checking the water requirement of Alocasia,

Does Alocasia need a lot of water?

Alocasia requires a moderate amount of water and never too much.

Alocasia is sensitive to soggy soil, and if you give it a lot of water, the soil will become waterlogged.

Therefore, you should water your Alocasia only when it needs it.

Water your Alocasia when the soil feels dry.

Here are a few factors that determine the water requirement of an alocasia plant, other than the seasons.

  • Light
  • Soil
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Pot

Let’s understand how these factors affect the water requirements of the plant.

Light

Alocasia in sunlight

Alocasia requires bright indirect sunlight.

If you place it at the right spot, the plant receives the ideal lighting conditions in the summer and spring months.

Since the plant photosynthesizes efficiently, it uses up more water.

But, if the plant is not getting enough light, you must reduce the watering, or the plant will get overwatered.



Soil

Like most tropical plants, Alocasia requires well-drained soil to drain the excess water.

If you use well-drained soil, the soil will not take a long time to dry, and therefore, the plant will require more water.

But if the soil you are using is heavy and retains water for a longer period will require less water.

You can add perlite or pumice if the soil takes a lot of time to get dry.

Temperature

When the temperatures remain higher, the water evaporates faster, and the plant transpires more.

This results in the plant needing more water.

But if the temperatures are low, the water will take longer to dry.

Thus, the plant will demand less water.

Humidity

Alocasia Humidifier

If the humidity is already high, the plant will not need a lot of water.

But if the humidity is low, the plant and the soil will crave moisture.

If you don’t know the humidity levels around your Alocasia plant, you should get a Hygrometer that will help you understand if the plant is getting enough.

Using a humidifier is ideal for providing high humidity to the Alocasia.

There are many humidifiers available online, and the one that I recommend is the LEVOIT Humidifiers for Bedroom.

Pot

The pot material and size can affect the watering needs of an alocasia plant.

Using a clay-based pot will wick away the moisture, and the plant will require more water.

But, if you use a plastic pot, the soil will take longer to dry.

So, the plant will require less frequent watering.

In a big pot that contains more soil, the water will take longer to drain, so your Alocasia will require less frequent watering.

Whereas, if you use a compact pot that contains less soil, the water will drain faster, so you will need to provide more frequent watering.

How to water the Alocasia plant?

There are three ways to water an Alocasia plant.

And the best way would be to rotate between the three of them as per the requirement.

1. Continuous pouring

In the first method, you water your Alocasia till the excess water starts running out of the drainage holes.

You can take your Alocasia to the sink and apply this method.

You should use this method of watering at least once a month as it will remove all the excess salt build-up.

2. Quick pour

In the second method, you aerate the soil and give the plant a good soak but don’t wait for the water to come out of the drainage holes.

If the soil feels very dry, you can use this method.

Take a chopstick, poke some holes into the soil to aerate it, and then pour water.

Aerating the soil will ensure that the water gets into the soil and doesn’t run from only the sides.

3. Bottom-watering

The third method is called bottom watering.

If your Alocasia is placed in a pot with no drainage holes, you must use this method to avoid overwatering the plant.

You can take the plant out of the pot, fill a container with water, place the plant in it and let the soil soak the water.

Take the plant out of the water after a few hours and keep it back in its pot.

What happens when you overwater your Alocasia?

Alocasia overwatered

Alocasia likes moist soil, but it can’t tolerate standing water or waterlogged soil.

If you water your Alocasia without ensuring that the plant needs it, it will get overwatered.

Alocasia is sensitive to overwatering and will easily develop various issues if It stays in soggy soil for too long.

If you think your Alocasia is overwatered, look for the following signs:

  • Yellow leaves
  • Wilting leaves
  • Weak stems
  • Pest infestation
  • Fungus growth
  • Root rot

If you have overwatered the plant, tilt the pot, get rid of the excess water, and place the plant in a bright spot with indirect light.

You can take the plant out of the pot, spread the roots and soil on paper, and leave them under a bright light to let them dry out.

If you get a foul smell from the soil, take the plant out of the spot and inspect the roots.

If the roots seem unhealthy, you can trim the damaged ones, spray fungicide, and repot the plant in fresh potting mix and a new pot.

How to prevent overwatering your Alocasia?

If you don’t want to overwater your Alocasia, follow the below-mentioned steps while watering.

  • Always check the soil moisture level before watering your Alocasia. 
  • Water the plant only if the soil is 25-50% dry. 
  • Do not follow a watering routine blindly, as it is the most common reason behind overwatering. 
  • Reduce watering during the winter season. 
  • If you have placed your Alocasia in a low-light area, avoid watering it too frequently.
  • Use well-drained soil.
  • Keep the plant in a pot with drainage holes.

What happens when you underwater your Alocasia?

Alocasia curling

Alocasia can survive underwatering for a while as it has thick leaves and stems which retain water.

But keeping it thirsty for too long will cause health issues to the plant.

However, the best thing is treating underwatering is much easier than treating overwatering.

Here are the signs indicating that your Alocasia is not getting enough water.

  • Wilting leaves
  • Brown leaves
  • Crispy foliage
  • Compact soil
  • Slow growth
  • Curling of leaves
  • Drooping leaves

If you have underwatered your Alocasia, give it a good soak of water.

You can try the bottom-watering method or aerate the soil and water it till the excess water starts running out of the drainage holes.

How to prevent underwatering your Alocasia?

If you don’t want your exotic Alocasia to go through underwatering stress, try to prevent it.

  • Don’t let the soil go bone dry, and water your Alocasia whenever the soil is 25-50% dry.
  • Mark a calendar that will remind you to check on your Alocasia.
  • Water the plant more during the summer season.
  • If the soil drains water too fast, add compost to improve the retention capacity.
  • You can also use a self-watering kit that will provide water to your Alocasia even when your forget to check on it.

Should I mist my Alocasia?

Alocasia misting

If your Alocasia is not receiving enough humidity, misting it is a good idea.

However, you’re mistaken if you think misting would solve the low humidity issues.

You can mist your Alocasia to clean the leaves and provide short-term humidity, but if you want a long-term solution, get a humidifier.

If you can’t get a humidifier, you can use a pebble tray and keep your Alocasia on it.

The water will evaporate from the tray and add humidity to the plant.


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Final words

Alocasia is a tropical plant from hot and humid areas, which indicates that the plant will require frequent watering.

However, the plant’s water requirement depends on the seasons, temperature, light, soil, and humidity that the plant receives.

In general, an Alocasia requires watering once a week during its growing season. And in winter, its water requirement reduces to once in 2-3 weeks.

You can water your Alocasia by following the bottom-watering method, aerating the soil and pouring some water, or watering till the soil drains out the excess water.


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