Alocasia Wentii Is So Easy to Grow, Anyone Can Do It—Here's How

<p>Firn / Getty Images</p>

Firn / Getty Images

Alocasia wentii, commonly known as hardy elephant ear or New Guinea shield, is an alocasia hybrid of unknown origin. This arrow-leaved tropical beauty needs warmth, high humidity, and bright but indirect light to thrive.

A tall alocasia variety, alocasia wentii isn’t the fastest grower, but it can grow to be up to 5 feet tall when grown indoors. Mature individual leaves can reach an impressive foot in length. It’s only possible to grow alocasia wentii outdoors in the warm USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10. However, if you can offer the right conditions, this is an easy-to-grow houseplant.

Common Name 

Hardy elephant ear, New Guinea shield

Botanical Name 

Alocasia wentii



Plant Type 

Herbaceous, Perennial

Mature Size 

Up to 5 ft. tall indoors and up to 10 ft. tall outdoors

Sun Exposure 


Soil Type 

Well-drained, Moist

Soil pH 

Acid, Neutral, Alkaline

Hardiness Zones

8-10 (USDA)

Native Area 



Toxic to people and pets

Alocasia Wentii Care

Here are the main care requirements for growing alocasia wentii:

  • Plant in a rich, well-drained medium.

  • Position in bright, indirect light.

  • Water regularly to ensure even moisture.

  • Maintain high humidity levels.

  • Fertilize regularly during the growing season.


Alocasia wentii appreciates a position where it receives bright, indirect light. Too much direct sun can lead to unsightly leaf scorch. Too much shade can result in spindly, leggy growth or send your plant into premature dormancy.

Consider using grow lights to see the biggest, healthiest foliage if your home isn't bright enough. A north or east-facing window usually works well. If the morning light is intense, using a sheer curtain to filter the sun’s rays helps. Outdoors, positioning under a tree canopy or on a sheltered pergola or patio prevents too much sun.


While alocasia wentii can handle a wide range of well-draining soils, it does best in a fertile and loamy one. When growing this species as a houseplant, the potting soil should be rich and airy.

Mixing one part perlite, one part coco coir, and one part potting soil is a good blend that drains sufficiently while retaining even moisture. Some alocasia enthusiasts use LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) as a sustainable potting medium.


Even moisture is the key to nurturing a thriving alocasia wentii. While you don’t want the soil to dry out fully, watch out for soggy conditions. Overwatering and wet feet can lead to root rot (especially when the plants are young), and underwatering results in wilting, leaf drop, and the eventual death of your plant. Once the top inch or two of soil is dry, it’s time to water. Check moisture levels using your fingers a couple of times a week.

Temperature and Humidity

Most alocasias grow best in daytime temperatures ranging from 68°F to 77°F—alocasia wentii is no exception.

However, they get their common name ‘hardy elephant ear’ because they can handle colder temperatures than many alocasias. Alocasia wentii can grow in temperatures as low as 45°F, although they might not look their lushest. Below this, the plant will go dormant, start to lose its leaves, and eventually die.

A crucial component of alocasia wentii care is keeping humidity levels high, between 60 percent and 70 percent. This can be one of the trickiest elements of growing these plants. Grouping tropical plants together and using pebble-filled water trays can help. However, if you have low humidity in your house, a humidifier is often required to keep things constantly damp.


Alocasia are heavy feeders. To achieve the largest, glossiest foliage, you should fertilize your alocasia wentii around every two to three weeks during the growing season.

Use a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer. Once the plant goes dormant, stop feeding and wait for signs of new growth before starting your fertilization schedule again.


There aren’t any onerous pruning requirements for the alocasia wentii. Simply remove unhealthy, dying, or dead leaves. Not only will this tidy up your plant’s appearance, but it will also direct nutrients and energy to healthy new growth.

Propagating Alocasia Wentii

While propagating by stem cutting isn’t possible, it’s easy to create new alocasia wentii plants by division of rhizomes on mature plants or by repotting swollen underground bulb-like stems (called corms).

Propagate by Division

The steps below outline how to propagate your alocasia wentii by division:

  1. Wait until spring, after the winter dormancy period ends, and after the last frost if you grow outside before dividing.

  2. Keep your plant’s soil consistently moist before propagating to make releasing it from the pot easier.

  3. Use gloves to protect your hands from the irritating calcium oxalate crystals alocasia species contain.

  4. Carefully release the plant from the pot and gently remove excess potting soil from the rhizomes.

  5. Use sterile pruning shears or scissors to divide a clump of rhizomes from the central stem of the mother plant.

  6. Plant the rhizomes in a well-draining, evenly moist potting mix.

  7. Position the pot where it receives bright but indirect light and keep the potting mix consistently moist but not soggy.

  8. Be patient. Alocasia wentii isn’t a fast-growing alocasia species. New growth can appear within a few weeks, but it can take 18 months to reach maturity.

Propagate from Offshoots

If you see new growth in the pot of your alocasia wentii, these will be corm offsets developing into new plants. You can remove these and repot during the spring, once the plant is out of its dormancy phase, as follows:

  1. Water your plant in the days before propagation to make removing it from the pot easier.

  2. Carefully remove the plant from the pot, gently shaking away excess soil.

  3. The corms are small and bulb-like. Sometimes, they are attached to the plant and sometimes separated. If the corm is attached, gently disengage from the mother plant by hand or with sterile pruning scissors.

  4. If the roots are already formed, you can transfer the offset directly to a new pot.

  5. If the corm doesn’t have roots or they are very small, peel off the outer brown husk from the corm to reveal the inner green part. This will help with establishment.

  6. Place the corm into some water, submerging it until it is around 3/4 covered.

  7. Cover the container with plastic wrap. This helps to generate high humidity levels.

  8. Position the container in a spot that receives bright, indirect light, and top up the water regularly to keep the corm partially submerged.

  9. Once the roots are a few inches long, you can transfer the offset to a new pot.

  10. Plant the offset in a pot with ample drainage holes and use a loose, well-draining potting medium.

  11. Cover the corms with around 4 inches of soil, leaving the new growth exposed.

  12. Place the pot back in bright but indirect light and keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.

Potting and Repotting Alocasia Wentii

Alocasia wentii isn’t the fastest-growing species, and it likes to be slightly rootbound, so you won’t need to repot too often. However, when you spot the signs the plant is rootbound properly, it’s time to go up a size or two. There might be long roots coming out the bottom of the pot, the plant’s growth will likely be slowing and the soil might not be absorbing moisture so well.

It’s best to repot in the spring or summer during the active growth phase. Select a pot that is 2 to 4 inches bigger in diameter than the original pot. Don’t go too large, as the plant will struggle to absorb the moisture in the excess soil and could develop root rot.


Typically, alocasia wentii is grown as a houseplant. However, growing them outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10 is possible.

If ground temperatures drop below freezing, digging up the plants to overwinter indoors or in a greenhouse makes sense. They can then go back outside when the last frosts of spring are over.

How to Get Alocasia Wentii to Bloom

It’s incredibly rare for alocasia wentii to bloom, especially indoors, and when they do, the flowers aren’t all that impressive. These plants are grown for their large, fantastic foliage. However, if you do enjoy a challenge, you may want to try to tease out some blooms—just don’t have overly high expectations.

Bloom Months

Typically, once the plant fully matures, alocasia wentii blooms in the spring and summer growing season. While still a rare occurrence, it is considerably more likely to bloom outdoors than when grown as a houseplant. Individual flowers tend to last around two weeks.

What Does Alocasia Wentii’s Flowers Look and Smell Like?

It’s not just that it is tricky to coax blooms out of your alocasia wentii—the blooms aren’t exactly show-stopping when they do arrive. They tend to be a small, slender, and cream-colored spadix (a cluster of tiny flowers on a fleshy, tall stem) that sit within a leaf-like spathe.

How to Encourage More Blooms

A flowering alocasia wentii is rare. However, getting it right with light, water, and humidity can increase your chances of seeing the plant in bloom. You want to create an environment with high moisture levels, keep the plant consistently moist without drowning it, and avoid extremes of light. If conditions allow it, keeping your alocasia wentii outdoors increases the chance of it blooming.

Deadheading Alocasia Wentii Flowers

Some alocasia enthusiasts remove blooms as soon as they appear rather than removing them when they after flowering. Because the flowers aren’t all that ornamental, you can direct all the energy to the gorgeous, glossy leaves. If you are that rare group of alocasia owners that sees blooms appearing, sniping them off is not frowned upon.

Common Pests

Pests can be a problem for the alocasia wentii, but getting it right with conditions and nipping any infestations in the bud early on prevents any major damage from occurring. If humidity levels aren’t high enough, spider mites can be a problem for alocasia species.

Also watch out for mealybugs, fungus gnats, and aphids. Regularly wiping the leaves with a damp cloth and using an organic insecticide like neem oil can help keep pests at bay.

Common Problems with Alocasia Wentii

Alocasias are known for being rather finicky. While alocasia wentii is one of the easier varieties to cultivate, it still encounters problems when conditions aren’t right. Look out for these signs that you need to alter an aspect of their care.

Leaves Turning Yellow

One of the most common reasons for the leaves turning yellow on your alocasia wentii is getting it wrong with watering. Too much water leads to root rot, and too little water results in yellow leaves that then drop. Dry air and too much sun can also discolor the glossy green foliage of your alocasia wentii.

Plants Leaves Falling Off

Don’t panic if your alocasia wentii loses its leaves as temperatures drop in the fall. These plants often go dormant during the winter months, especially when growing outdoors.

Dropping leaves on houseplants during the growing season can be the result of a variety of care issues. Again, consider if you are getting the balance right with watering.

You want even moisture without the soil being soggy. Keeping the humidity levels high also helps to prevent leaf drop, as does sufficient bright but indirect light and consistent rather than extreme fluctuating temperatures.

Leaves Turning Brown

If your alocasia wentii’s leaves are turning brown, the biggest culprits are leaf scorch from too much direct sun or drying because humidity levels aren’t high enough. Underwatering and pests can also lead to this unsightly problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall does alocasia wentii grow?

Alocasia wentii can grow to be up to 10 feet tall outdoors. Even indoors, mature plants can reach 5 feet with impressively large, glossy foliage. But be patient—these plants have a moderate growth rate, and it can take a few years for them to make a big impression.

Is alocasia wentii toxic to pets?

The alocasia wentii, like all plants in the alocasia genus, is toxic to people and pets. If you have a curious kitty or canine, you’ll want to prevent them from accessing this specimen or pick a more pet-friendly plant. Be aware that philodendrons and dieffenbachia contain the same toxic crystals.

Is Alocasia wentii rare?

Alocasia wentii is one of the rarer alocasia varieties. While you won’t find it in many big box retailers, you can order from online specialist nurseries. If it’s your first time growing an alocasia, you might want to select an easier-to-find variety, such as alocasia polly. That way, you check if you can offer the right conditions before sourcing this rarer hybrid.

Read the original article on The Spruce.