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Leggy Alocasia can gently be fixed by increasing the light HOWEVER Alocasia…are leggy.
There may only be so much you can do.
Why do Alocasia get leggy?
Alocasia can become leggy when they’re not provided with enough light. The petioles (the bit that attaches the leaf to the corm) stretch towards the light so it can grow better.
There are a couple of things you can do here, both fairly simple, but also not easy.
Firstly, try moving your Alocasia. Now, Alocasia are NOT straightforward when it comes to lighting requirements, so you may have to try a few spots in your home before settling on one.
Here in the UK, my Alocasia LOVE my south-facing window – the one in my bedroom, not the living room (every other plant loves the living room, but Alocasia…not so much).
It’s pretty bright all day, and the angle of the sun means it’s more direct than the sun in the living room but the window is smaller so it’s cooler (but not cold).
It’s annoying that they’re so particular but it makes sense when you consider their natural environment.
(By the way, they do grow in the living room, but not as well)
Alocasia mostly come from south-east Asia and grow on the rainforest floor.
They like damp environments (which is why they prefer it cool rather than hot but also NOT cold) and whilst they do grow in the undergrowth, they tend to congregate near water, so would get more light than, say, a Calathea.
It’s also worth noting that I’m from the UK. My bright light is not the same as someone that lives in Florida or Australia.
If this is all a bit much for you, then try grow lights but make sure you have plenty of humidity, because they don’t like to dry out. Definitely try to get a light that you can dim, because they don’t like to much direct light.
Why is a leggy Alocasia an issue?
If your Alocasia is super leggy, then it may not be getting enough light.
Light is one of those factors that makes house plant care either super easy or super difficult.
If you get the might right, the plant has more energy and is generally more forgiving of…everything. Underwatering, overwatering, lower humidity…they’re even better at fending off pests.
Also, if your Alocasia is leggy, it can make it droop, because the long, thin petioles can’t support the weight of the leaves.
If your leggy Alocasia is drooping, than can be a sign that it needs more light, rather than being just naturally leggy.
Check it’s not naturally leggy
I get a lot of questions about what to do when your Alocasia gets too big, and the answer is…there’s not a lot you can do, bar chop it back.
Alocasia grow MASSIVE in the wild. Even fairly common Alocasia like Zebrinas get enormous – our local garden centre has one that’s considerably bigger than me, and most of that height is petiole.
Alocasia aren’t vining plants. They grow from corms, and each leaf comes from the corm. As they get more mature, the leaves get bigger and the petioles get longer. If you chop it back, chances are it’ll grow back just as big again.
(And if you have a Colocasia it’ll get even bigger).
Also, remember that Alocasia tend to grow near rivers and lakes? Rivers and lakes flood, especially in the rainy season, so they often live with wet feet. They’ve evolved to deal with this by having corms that can live in mud and extremely long petioles so they can keep their leaves out of the water. They’re leggy for a reason – it helps them in adverse conditions.
THAT BEING SAID
Some Alocasia aren’t so leggy, often because they’ve been tissue-cultured in such a way that those traits aren’t so apparent.
Plants like Alocasia polly are *meant* to stay smaller than the very similar but much bigger Amazonica, though they’re often sold under the wrong name.
I’ve found Alocasia dragonscale to be both compact and pretty chill when it comes to care. I highly, recommend it, especially since they’re pretty cheap nowadays and are one of those plants that make non-planty friends go ‘wow’.
There are a LOT of different Alocasia if you’re looking to start a collection, and several are tiny varieties that stay pretty small, such as Alocasia Tiny Dancer.
Check the environment
If you’re pretty sure your Alocasia is eggy due to your environment, rather than…that being the way that it is, then there are a few things you can do:
- Make sure it has adequate humidity
- Rotate it so that it grows more evenly (though Alocasia tend to grow however they want – if you’re rotating them to give them more light, you need to add more light – rotating won’t suffice)
You can check things like warmth and roots and all that usual stuff, but in my experience if something off with your care, Alocasia simply won’t grow.
I’m not trying to scare you off Alocasia here, but I’m assuming that people who have no trouble with them won’t be reading this.
They’re similar to Calathea in that if your environment suits them, they’re pretty easy to care for. If it doesn’t, you’ll have a struggle on your hands, and you’ll have to experiment to discover where in your home will suit it best.
Certain Alocasia just are leggy, and the better you treat them, the leggier they’ll grow. And unlike other plants, where you can just put a load of cuttings in one pot, they’re not that easy to grow…bushily.
If you grow a few together (or simply let the new corms grow naturally) they tend to natural thin out, or just grow messily. I prefer to grow them side by side in a long thin pot (more like a crawling Philodendron) rather than together in a clump.
I hope this was helpful, whilst also being pretty positive that it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. Sorry.