As a genus, they are prized for their varied foliage, colors and sizes. Because of their love for warmth and humidity, most species do well in mild indoor conditions, so are usually kept as houseplants.
Let’s dive into 19 of our favorites!
#1: Alocasia Amazonica ‘Polly’
We cannot create a Alocasia Round-Up without mentioning the popular Alocasia Polly – perhaps the most well-known variety in the genus. This man-made hybrid has the allure and charm of its parents, but cultivated to a more compact size for indoor gardening.
If you’ve seen a Polly before, you’ll remember its thick and jagged arrow-head leaves. Bright, lime green veins run through its leathery foliage, adding definition. When mature, the Alocasia Polly grows up to 1-3 feet (30-91cm) tall.
While the Alocasia Polly is stunning, they sadly aren’t the easiest to care for. Caring for your Polly requires some understanding of their native habitat, but taming your diva isn’t that hard if you have the right information.
#2: Alocasia Micholitziana ‘Frydek’
The Alocasia Frydek is named Green Velvet Alocasia for good reason. Instead of glossy leaves, they have a velvety texture with bright green foliage. They grow to around 3 feet (91cm) tall when kept indoors.
But they can be a bit harder to find than the Polly, and especially so if you choose a variegated version (see below!). Though, you can easily propagate your Frydek and gift them to your friends. Their clumping growth habit means the plant grows offshoots from its center, making it easy to propagate through division.
While uncommon, your Alocasia Frydek can bloom when mature, even when kept in your home! You’ll see light green spathes rise above its leaves, protecting creamy white spadices. These inflorescences resemble that of the Peace Lily.
#3: Alocasia Sarian
On to a personal favorite! The Alocasia Sarian is an interesting character with an exotic flair. This beautiful hybrid has stiff glossy – not velvety – arrowhead leaves with characteristic lime green veins.
This is a middle-of-the-road plant when it comes to care difficulty.
New leaves split out from the stem of the last leaf. Under the right conditions, they grow rapidly and are simply a joy a to watch. 🙂
We especially love its long zebra-striped petioles that are thick and succulent like, storing water. These tall stems add height, with the Alocasia Sarian topping out at 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall and 1 foot (90cm) wide when grown indoors.
#4: Alocasia Lauterbachiana
A change from usual the arrowhead leaves, the Alocasia Lauterbachiana is a rare upright-growing plant with long and narrow sword-shaped leaves that are scalloped at the edges. Leaf undersides are a beautiful shade of purple, giving this plant its nickname, Purple Sword. 🙂
Another middle-of-the-road plant in terms of care difficulty, the Alocasia Lauterbachiana is not exactly beginner-friendly but can grow magnificently once you get to know how (check out our growing guide here). They too have zebra-striped stems characteristic of a number of Alocasias.
At maturity, the Purple Sword grows up to 3 feet (91cm) tall, and around 2 feet (61cm) wide; about the same as the Frydek. 🙂
In the wild however they can grow up to 4 feet (122cm) tall and wide!
#5: Alocasia Macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
We love the Stringray’s leaves – the distal part is thin and narrow with a pointy midrib, which look strikingly similar to (you guessed it) a stingray’s tail! Happily, the Alocasia Stingray (scientific name: Alocasia Macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’) is a less fussy plant to care for, so is ideal if you’re new to Alocasias.
They also stay relatively compact (2.3 feet (0.7m) in height and 1.6 feet (0.5m) in width), making them perfect for indoor spaces.
Alocasia Stingray can very occasionally grow small white hooded flowers even when kept indoors.
#6: Alocasia Zebrina
Hailing from subtropical and tropical rainforests of South East Asia is the beautiful Alocasia Zebrina. It has elements of many other Alocasias we’ve seen – thick, zebra-striped stems, and large elephant ear leaves.
In the wild, leaf blades typically span 12-15 inches (30-38 cm). However, indoors, you can expect your Zebrina’s leaves to be a little smaller. When kept as a houseplant, the Alocasia Zebrina grows up to 3 feet (92 cm) tall.
If you’re looking for an Alocasia Zebrina, Etsy is a good place to find reputable sellers.
#7: Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Giant Taro’
Spanning up to a massive 3-6 feet (0.9 – 1.8 meters), Alocasia macrorrhizos ‘Giant Taro’ leaves have stunning dramatic effect. 🙂 Its foliage appear as large, glossy elephant ears borne on stiff petioles (leaf stalks) that jut out vertically from a central short upright trunk.
Leaves point skyward and feature and beautifully raised veins running through both sides of the leaf. If you look at the leaf edges, these are ruffled and wavy.
The Alocasia Giant Taro can grow very large, up to 12-15 feet tall (3.6 – 4.5 meters) and 6-8 feet wide (1.8-2.4 meters). Plant them outdoors directly in the ground, or as a container plant in a patio or balcony.
When young, leaves are tightly curled around an upright stem, before slowly unfurling.
#8: Alocasia Wentii
The Alocasia Wentii is thought to be a hybrid between the Alocasia Ordora and Alocasia Gageana. With large and broad leaves, this hardy plant is adorned for its foliage and can be kept indoors or outdoors.
Another larger-sized Alocasia, the Wentii grows up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) tall. Leaves grow up to 12 inches (30cm) long when mature, with prominent veins. They even have a “drip tip”, that allows rainwater to neatly drip off its large leaves.
But perhaps the most surprising part of getting to know the Alocasia Wentii is the color of the undersides of its leaves. Here, your plant displays a deep maroon undersides with a bronze shimmer that gives it its nickname, Purple Umbrella. It is also sometimes known as New Guinea Shield and Hardy Elephant Ear.
This coloration is thought to be an adaptation to the mottled light it receives near the forest floors in its native South East Asia rainforests.
#9: Alocasia cucullata ‘Hooded Dwarf’
The Alocasia Cucullata ‘Hooded Dwarf’ is a compact Alocasia known for being smaller and easier to care for than most others in the genus. Its unique leaves, held atop fleshy stalks, form a tear-drop shape that come in unvariegated (deep green) or variegated (neon yellow!) versions. 🙂
When fully grown, this dwarf reaches about 18-35 inches (45-90cm) tall. As a comparison, the Giant Taro can grow 5 times taller than the Hooded Dwarf!
Known also as Buddha’s Palm, this plant’s thin leaves wave with the slightest breeze. Thought to bring good fortune, the Alocasia cucullata ‘Hooded Dwarf’ is often kept in Buddhist temples across Laos and Thailand.
#10: Alocasia reginula ‘Black Velvet’
With mysterious dark green, velvety leaves and white-silver veins, who can resist the allure of the exotic Black Velvet Alocasia (Alocasia Reginula)? Succulent-like leaves grow up to 6 inches (15cm) long and 2.5 inches (6cm) wide in a compact growth habit.
This slow-growing variety of elephant ear doesn’t grow very large overall, up to around 20 inches (50cm) tall at most. Its dark leaves are an adaption to capture as much light as possible for your low-growing plant. Leaves that appear almost black means that the plant has absorbed almost the full spectrum of light!
For best growth, Jewel Alocasias like your Black Velvet require high humidity (>60%) and a little more attention than most. Here’s our Alocasia Black Velvet growing guide.
#11: Alocasia baginda ‘Silver Dragon’
One of the smaller species of all Alocasias, the Alocasia Silver Dragon grows up to just under 19 inches (50cm) in height. The aptly named Silver Dragon sports thick and broad arrow-shaped leaves with deep vein indentations and grooves. The textured veins atop silver-green leaves give the appearance of dragon scales!
Another Jewel Alocasia, this plant is perfect for indoors thanks to its compact size. New leaves emerge green, but as they develop, grow larger and take on a silvery undertone.
When mature, leaves grow up to 8 inches (20cm) long by 6 inches (15cm) wide.
#12: Alocasia Longiloba
Alocasia Longiloba is a lush understory plant with long arrow-head leaves. Nicknamed the Tiger Taro, this medium-sized plant grows up to 3 feet tall (90cm).
But what we find most beautiful is hard to capture on camera – leaves have a bluish-hue in the sunlight. The Alocasia Longiloba is not a dramatic or showy plant, but we think it is elegant in its simplicity.
#13: Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo’
Look at this masterpiece! The Alocasia Melo has eye-catching deep veins that form intricate grooves in a mosaic-like pattern. We think there’s something calming about looking at the symmetry of its patterned leaves. 🙂
Jade-green leaves are thick like cardboard but not glossy, and feel leathery to touch.
Another variety of Jewel Alocasias, the Melo grows low and dense in a shrub-like habit, up to 10-14 inches (25-35 cm) tall. They have lime green petioles.
Each oval shaped leaf is around 10 inches (25cm) long and 6 inches (15cm) wide when mature, which is quite large for its small stature!
#14: Alocasia Tiny Dancer 💃🏻
Plants like the Alocasia Tiny Dancer show the variety of the genus! 🙂
Winner of the 2009 International Aroid Society show and sale, the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is quite unlike any other. This hybrid between Alocasia Brisbanensis and Alocasia Odora was created in 2013 and known for its playful look.
Held atop long, light green petioles are small leaves in an upside-down teardrop shape. Stems tend to grow at an angle and curve in different directions, like they are dancing. 💃🏻
A fast-grower, the Alocasia Tiny Dancer is a dwarf cultivar that grows to just 18 inches (45cm) tall as an indoor plant.
This variety is considered rare and unusual.
#15: Alocasia Ivory Coast
Another dwarf cultivar, the Alocasia Ivory Coast is a well-branching houseplant with upright and densely packed long stems. This plant tends to grow taller, not wider – new leaves in each clump grow taller than the previous, trying to out-do the other!
When fully mature, this plant reaches a height of around 12 inches (30cm) and width of 8 inches (20cm).
They are a fast-growing plant, and have silvery veins and narrow arrow-shaped leaves. Best of all? They have a silvery hue on their green leaves, and when mature, stems develop a pretty pink color. 🙂
#16: Alocasia Maharani
A hybrid between the Alocasia Reginula and Alocasia Melo, the Alocasia Maharani (or Grey Dragon) is an extremely rare and unique plant. Heavily textured leaves stiffen as they mature, creating intricate, leathery “dragon scales” that give this plant its nickname.
Rarely growing taller than 14 inches (35cm), the Alocasia Maharani is considered a dwarf cultivar. Its compact size makes it perfect as a desk plant to keep you company while you work.
Despite their intricate leaves, this plant is considered easier to grow than most other Alocasias. Your bigger struggle will be finding one available – try Etsy for reputable sellers!
#17: Alocasia Infernalis
Infernalis literally means, “from hell”, pointing to this plant’s dark green-red, almost black leaves that have an amazing fiery red sheen when the light hits at certain angles. Move it a little again and the firey red color disappears. Its amazing to watch!
A newcomer to Jewel Alocasias, this Borneo-native grows up to 22 inches (55 cm) tall. They come from wet lowland forests, growing in leaf litter and clay loams.
Slender stems support growing leaves that fan out in all directions when young, but stand tall and erect when mature.
#18: Alocasia Regal Shield
There’s something majestic about the Alocasia Regal Shield. This hybrid between the Alocasia Black Velvet and the Alocasia Odora takes on the best features of both parents. That is, the beautiful dark, green leaves of the Black Velvet, and the large, fanning foliage of the Odora. 🙂
Beautifully large, heart-shaped leaves grow to an impressive 2 feet (60cm) long, with undulating edges forming perfect symmetry. This plant grows rapidly under the right care conditions, supported by long and upright petioles and large leaves than fan out laterally.
For this reason they grow roughly as wide as they are tall, up to 5 feet (1.5 meters).
The most surprising part? Deep red undersides of each leaf is breathtaking. We especially love how the light green veins pop against the maroon color.
You can grow this plant indoors (if you have space!), otherwise, they look stunning as a patio or balcony plant grown either in a container or directly into the ground.
#19: Alocasia Cuprea
Known as the Mirror Plant, the Alocasia Cuprea has a gorgeous metallic gloss, especially on new leaves, and when wet! Formally documented by Karl Koch in 1861, he word Cuprum is Latin for “copper”, referring to the plant’s distinctive bronze sheen.
Native to Borneo, this plant has reddish undersides.
Another Jewel Alocasia, the Alocasia Cuprea grows up to 20 inches (50cm) tall and 16 inches (40cm) wide at maturity. But alas, this Mirror Plant is a slow-grower. It will take up to 8 years for the little plant to reach this stature.
Expect just 1-3 new leaves to grow every year.
Alocasias are a wonderful genus and a popular houseplant choice. Check out round-up of Calatheas next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.