'Green Shield' is a vigorous elephant ear cultivar ideal for large garden spaces. Its thick leaves are quite leathery and can stand up to heavy rains better than many Alocasia with thinner leaves. Plant indoors as a houseplant in temperate zones or set out in a shady garden site in a tropical garden. If outdoor temperatures become cool, the plant may go dormant until the following spring.
Although bright, indirect light is best, throw in some morning or evening sun if possible to help deter over-watering. Positions that are too dark will present many issues, ranging from lopsided growth, soil mould and root rot. For those who are worried about its location being too dark, if a newspaper can be read while having your back towards the window, you're good to go! Provide over-head lighting for balanced, vertical growth which can be achieved in a semi-heated conservatory.
Allow the soil's top third to dry out in between waters, reducing this further in the autumn and winter. Remember, it's always better to under-water an Alocasia clypeolata than over-do it when situated in shady or cooler areas. When irritating, use lukewarm water as their roots systems are quite sensitive to temperature change. Although rainwater is best, if you decide to use tap water, allow it to stand for 24hrs to eliminate both chloride and fluoride. Large quantities of the chemicals will gradually build up in the soil over the course of several months, damaging the overall plant health and its soil quality. Under-watering symptoms include stunted growth, brown leaf edges and yellowing leaves. These issues are commonly caused by being pot bound, too much sunlight or heat, or pure forgetfulness. Over-watering symptoms include a collapsed base, yellowing older leaves, mouldy soil and plant death. If you feel that root rot is to blame, remove the affected leaves, roots, and soil, and replace with a fresh batch of houseplant compost.
Feed twice a month in the growing period and monthly in the autumn and winter to replicate its dormancy period. Either use a houseplant-labelled feed, or a general plant fertiliser at half the recommended strength. Never apply a 'ready to pour' feed without a quick drink beforehand as the combination of dry soil and harsh chemicals may lead to root burn and yellowed foliage.
Repot every two years in spring using a houseplant-labelled compost and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those that are situated in a darker location, add a thin layer of small grit in the compost's lower portion to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.
Info source: UK Houseplants & Gardentags
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