How to Properly Grow Alocasia sinuata – Best Care Secrets

Alocasia sinuata, commonly known as the Mirror face or Jewel Alocasia, is a rare plant that can add up to your indoor space if cared for properly. This species of Alocasia is native to the Philippines and is considered one of the critically endangered species.

Alocasia sinuata exhibits lush foliage with broad, shiny, dark green leaves. The plant has a rapid growth rate if grown under optimal conditions. It was originally named after the sinuate (wavy) leaf margins, however, this feature is not fully expressed, most of the time.

Contrary to other species of the Alocasia plant (aka Elephant ears), Alocasia sinuata is compact which makes it ideal for indoor propagation. 

In general, the Alocasia sinuata thrives best in bright indirect sunlight, well-draining potting mix, slightly moist soil, temperatures between 60° and 80°F (16° and 27°C), and at least 60% humidity. To keep the plant healthy, apply fertilizer once a month (only during the growing season).

For a better insight on how to properly care for your Alocasia sinuata, check the complete care guide below;

Features images by TropicalplantsFL.

Alocasia sinuata

Summary:

  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Water: Keep the soil moist but not soggy
  • Soil: well-draining potting mix
  • Fertilizer: Once a month, only during the growing season
  • Size: Can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm)
  • Size: Leaves can grow up to 10 inches (27 cm)
  • Temperature: Between 60° and 80°F (16° and 27°C)
  • Humidity: Best above 60%
  • Cold hardy: Not cold hardy
  • Propagation: Through seeds, plant division, and offsets
  • Toxicity: Toxic to humans and animals

General Care for Alocasia sinuata

Alocasia sinuata is a rare species of the Alocasia plant and is quite sensitive, due to which the plant requires proper care and nourishment. However, under optimal conditions, it grows rapidly and the gorgeous leaves and exceptional foliage color undoubtedly make it a worthy addition to your indoor plant collection.

Water

For Alocasia sinuata, one of the main reasons for plant death is overwatering. Therefore, while watering the plant make sure to keep the soil moist but don’t overwater the plant.

A good method is to stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If the soil is dry, i.e. doesn’t stick to your finger, it’s time to water your plant!

Make sure to evenly water all parts of the plant. Before watering the next time, ensure that at least the top 2-3 inches of the soil are dry.

The water requirement may vary depending upon the size of the pot and the plant’s exposure to sunlight. The plant needs less to no watering during the dormant season, i.e. late fall and winter.

You will know if the plant is overwatered or dried out. Look for :

  • Yellowing of leaves or droopy leaves- under-watered plant
  • Brown spots on leaves- under-watered plant
  • Guttation i.e. the appearance of water droplets on leaf margin can be a sign of overwatering, but not always.
  • An overwatered plant is prone to fungal infections and root rot.

Aerating your soil before watering the plant is always a good idea as it helps ensure drainage. 

Light

Alocasia sinuata loves bright shades. This means that your plant will grow the best if kept in indirect exposure to sunlight. The decreased tolerance towards light is because their natural habitats include full shades. 

They grow under the canopy of trees which has evolved them into a species that can thrive well in low light conditions and lesser exposure to the sun.  

When kept indoors, Alocasia can grow fine under bright lights (artificial) and can be kept facing a sunny window, avoiding direct exposure. 

If your plant is getting too much sunlight it will show by:

  • Fading color or brown spots
  • Wilting 
  • Leaves are curled or the edges look burned

If your plant is getting optimum sunlight, it grows rapidly and the leaves are a lush green in color.

Too little sunlight might cause the plant to:

  • Droop
  • Exhibit guttation
  •  Might stretch towards the direction of sunlight

Keep rotating your plant now and then to ensure equal sunlight exposure on all sides. Dusting the leaves will also increase the efficiency of photosynthesis. When dusting, don’t forget the underside of the leaves. 

Soil

Alocasia sinuata likes their soil on the drier side. A good soil condition includes:

  • Well-aerated
  • Crumbly
  • Fast-draining

Make sure to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. An overly wet soil that does not drain completely can harbor infections and cause root rot.

To get the soil in the right consistency, try mixing it with sand and cocopeat. Make sure it’s not clogged and the roots have space to breathe properly.

If the soil drains too quickly, and the plant is drying out too fast, try adding more soil to the pot.

Soil that lacks nutrients might cause the leaves of Alocasia sinuata to droop.

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Potting

Due to their natural compact habitat, Alocasia sinuata likes comparatively smaller pots, according to their size.

Potting them in very large pots can cause unhealthy root growth, thus compromising plant growth. If required, up the pot by 1 size only.

Once your plant grows to twice its size, it is better to shift it into a new pot as by then it may have already depleted all the nutrients of the potting soil. However, it is recommended to re-pot the plant once a year.

For Alocasia sinuata, clay is a good potting material. It stops water retention, thus preventing root rot. Try using pots with removable drainage plugs to control water retention. 

Another option is to use a pebble tray under your pot. The pebbles will make a layer between the plant and drained water, giving roots the space to breathe. 

Fertilizer

Alocasia sinuatas are heavy feeders during the growing season, i.e. Spring to Summer. You can feed them using liquid fertilizers or small proportions of granular fertilizers.

Any balanced, organic fertilizers work for these plants, however, it is recommended to look for fertilizers with a higher Nitrogen content, to encourage heavy growth.

When using fertilizers dilute them to ½ the strength. This is because a highly concentrated fertilizer can result in the accumulation of unwanted mineral salts, burning the plant.

In the growing season, fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks but avoid feeding the plant during dormancy. 

Using too much or too little fertilizer can harm your plant. Notice if the leaves are:

  • Drooping- Malnourished 
  • Burnt tips- Overfed

Humidity

Owing to their natural habitat, Alocasia plants love higher humidity. An increased humidity rate also prevents spider mites which are the most common pest to plant. 

To maintain humidity, you can either keep a humidifier near your plant or create a humid environment by using a tray with pebbles and water. 

Make sure that the plant sits on the pebbles and not in the water. While misting the plants keep an eye for leaf diseases.

Dry heat or insufficient humidity can cause Alocasia leaves to droop.

Temperature

Adequate temperature is necessary for the plant to grow and germinate. Alocasia sinuata shows rapid growth at warm temperatures.

The optimum temperature for this plant lies between 60-80°F. In extreme conditions such as during winter, the plant stops growing and goes into dormancy.

Avoid placing your plant very close to heaters or air conditioners to prevent extreme temperature variations. 

Extreme temperature can cause the leaves to droop or drop off completely.

Pruning

Pruning is the art of shaping your plant while trimming any diseased or dead parts to encourage healthy growth. A timely pruned plant grows fast and is healthy. 

It is necessary to keep looking for any dying, yellowing leaves, leaves with spots or discoloration on them, and plant parts that are infected with fungal infections or pests.

Pruning your plant stops the spread of infection to other parts of the same plant or other plants that are placed near it. 

Make sure to sterilize and dry your pruners before using them for other plants to minimize the infection from spreading. 

Diseases

Alocasia sinuata is a sensitive plant and requires proper care. If optimum conditions are not provided it can develop several diseases.

Such as, 

  • Rotting of plant parts (root, stem, crown, etc.)– Overwatering.
  • Leaf discoloration, drooping, or death– Insufficient light, humidity, or nutrients.
  • Black rot–  Xanthomonas infection.

Xanthomonas is a bacterial species, notorious for plant infections. The onset of the disease is indicated by the appearance of dark brown or black spots, with yellowish edges, on the leaves. 

If your Alocasia is showing symptoms of infection, treat it immediately, with a fungicide. 

Prune the infected parts and place them away from other healthy plants to minimize spread.

The best way to keep your Alocasia safe is to make sure they are not overwatered, clean, and have well-aerated soil.

Pests

Alocasia sinuatas are known to attract a variety of pests such as spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, and scales.

Mealybugs resemble a small piece of cotton but can suck the sap out of your plant, thus weakening the plant. It secretes honeydew which encourages fungal (sooty mold) growth.

Aphids are also known as plant lice and are difficult to detect until large colonies are formed. Their infestation is similar to mealy bugs. They are also a major carrier of viral infections (e.g., DsMV) in plants.

Scales are another common pest to Alocasia sinuata. It appears as small bumpy spots that tend to move. Due to their hard, scaly exterior, it is difficult to completely remove them by sprays.

Any kind of pest infestation can cause stunted growth, discoloration, and drooping leaves.

To control the pest attack, it is necessary to dust your plants often. While dusting, keep an eye beneath the leaves too.

Cleaning your plant with warm soapy water can prevent the growth of spider mites and other pests.

Neem oil is another efficient and widely used option to treat and control pest infestation.

Similarly, pests hate a high humid environment. So, keeping your plants at an adequate humidity level and providing them the right amount of light, temperature and nutrients can prevent pests.

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How to Propagate Alocasia sinuata

Alocasia sinuata are quite easy to propagate at home and you can do it by different methods, for example:

Seeds

Propagation through seeds requires close monitoring and keeping the seasonal changes in consideration.

For propagation, isolate the seeds and soak them in distilled water, overnight. This removes any inhibitory chemicals or enzymes that interfere with germination.

Sow the wet seeds~ ½ an inch into a pot. Drying the seeds decreases their viability. Sow your seeds, preferably in the fall season.

Keep your pot in optimum conditions (indirect sun, moisture, warmth, and humidity). The warmth and humidity will encourage faster germination.

Division

For this method, take your plant and divide its rhizome into two equal sections, carefully.

Place one half into a separate pot. It will re-grow into a complete plant.

The repotting should be immediate as the cut parts are prone to infections. 

Offsets

Alocasias grow from rhizomes or tubers and can develop into a daughter plant of their own.

Propagation through offsets includes separating the baby plant from the mother and repotting it separately.

Wait till the plant is at least 3 inches tall before separating it. The bigger the plant, the better the propagation. 

Related questions:

Is Alocasia sinuata a rare plant?

Yes, Alocasia sinuata is a rare species that is endemic to the Philippines. It is also one of the critically endangered species of plants.

Alocasia sinuata vs Alocasia baginda, differences and similarities?

Both sinuata and baginda are different species of Alocasia plants. Both have common care practices and require almost the same light, temperature, soil humidity levels. However, there are a few differences that differentiate A.sinuata from A.baginda. 

CharacteristicsA.sinuataA.baginda
SinusWide (open)Narrow (closed)
LeavesBullate (swollen)Less swollen 
AppearanceShiny green Dark green (sometimes silverish) with sunken veins

Is the Alocasia sinuata toxic?

The leaves of this plant are toxic to humans and animals, due to the natural accumulation of calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves. It is, therefore, advised to keep your kids and pets away from the plant.

How to revive a dead Alocasia sinuata?

Alocasias have a thick energy reservoir in the form of tubers. This helps Alocasias to revive even after facing extreme conditions. 

To revive a dying Alocasia sinuata, keep them outdoors, in a bright shade during Summer or Spring. The season and favorable conditions will help the plant bounce back.

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