Alocasia Regal Shield (Care & Propagation, #1 things to AVOID!)

three large leaves of the alocasia regal shield, a hybrid between alocasia odora and alocasia reginula black velvet. large, arrowshaped green leaves with striking lime green veins and a dark reddish-maroon underside are set on top of a stool next to an east-facing window providing bright indirect light

The Alocasia Regal Shield is a hybrid between the Alocasia odora and the Alocasia Reginula ‘Black Velvet’.

Invented by LariAnn Garner, this patented hybrid is well-loved for its large, arrow-shaped dark green leaves, held atop lime green stalks.

It’s hard to explain how breathtaking its leaves are… you’ll need to see it in person. šŸ™‚ On mature leaves, the dark green color is suffused with purple, with lime green veins running through it. Leaf undersides are a deep maroon.

A backlit leaf shows you the intricacy of the leaf texture!

As self-headers, they grow upright and get as wide as they are tall, topping out at about 5 feet (1.6 meters). You will need a bit of space for this large plant when kept indoors. It can grow outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above.

Selected to be a hardy grower, this cultivar is easier to grow than the Black Velvet parent plant. They enjoy high humidity (>80% is ideal), bright indirect light, and mild indoor temperatures. They are intolerant to overwatering. Avoid cheap fertilizers and use purified water.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know to help your Alocasia Regal Shield to thrive.

Parent Plants

Before we dive into caring for your plant, a quick note on the Alocasia Regal Shield’s parent plants.

Alocasia Black Velvet

A member of the Jewel Alocasias, the Alocasia Black Velvet is a dwarf cultivar that grows to just 20 inches (50cm) tall. Even then, it takes 5 years to get to this height!

When comparing the two, you’d see that the Alocasia Regal Shield has inherited the dark leaves of the Black Velvet, set against pale veins. It also has inherited the grooved, textured leaf that shows up best when backlit.

However, the former’s leaves are semi-glossy, not velvety.

a small potted alocasia black velvet, also known as alocasia reginula, with dark round leaves with very pale white veins
Alocasia Black Velvet (Alocasia Reginula)
Copyright Ā© 2022 hmflowers (Hallmark Flowers & Gifts). All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Alocasia Odora

The Alocasia Regal Shield gets its size, shape, and stature from the Alocasia Odora parent plant. Both have large elephant ear-shaped leaves. The Regal Shield’s height is in-between that of the tall Odora and the dwarf Black Velvet.

top view of Alocasia odora or night-scented lily, with large elephant-ear leaves, parent plant of alocasia tiny dancer growing in the wild.
The Alocasia Odora growing in the wild.
Copyright Ā© 2022 jiutian, iNaturalist, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC).

Caring for your Alocasia Regal Shield

Light

Your Alocasia Regal Shield tolerates different light conditions quite well. As long as you avoid the extremes (full shade, or more than 3 hours of direct afternoon light), your plant will be fine. However, bright, indirect light encourages the best growth. šŸ™‚

We like placing ours next to a bright, East-facing window where it is growing happy.

One thing we’ve noticed is that its leaves tend to lean towards the light. So, rotate its pot every week or so for even growth.

Outdoor care (USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above): If you’re growing your plant outdoors, place it in dappled sunlight. Don’t expose to direct sun.

an alocasia regal shield, Alocasia odoraƗAlocasia reginula, with large elephant ear shaped leaves and pale lime green veins
A backlit Alocasia Regal Shield.
Copyright Ā© 2022 homesh. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Water

Watering is arguably the most important part of Alocasia care. We’ve found that the Alocasia Regal Shield is no exception!

How & When to Water

When it comes to watering, we stick to the tried and true ‘soak and dry method’ for all our Alocasias.

  1. First, check the top 2 inches of soil with your fingers. Is it dry?
  2. Only if it’s completely dry should you water the plant. Remember, the topsoil dries before the bottom layers. So even if the topsoil is just slightly moist, your plant isn’t thirsty yet.
  3. When watering, do so slowly until the soil is completely saturated. Preferably use a long-spouted watering can to avoid wetting the leaves.
  4. Once water starts escaping from the bottom drainage holes, stop watering.
  5. Empty the saucer.

It’s that simple.

Using this method, you’d also find that watering frequency naturally drops during the colder months. Typically, this is much less than in the summer, as your plant is not actively growing.

Water Quality

When watering Alocasias, we like to use purified water to prevent a build-up of water salts from damaging its sensitive roots. You can also use rainwater.

Signs of overwatering

If you see leaves starting to droop and water droplets forming at the tips, this means your plant is overwatered.

Set your Alocasia Regal Shield outside for a day to let excess water evaporate quickly. Then, adjust your watering practices accordingly. For more severe cases of overwatering, check out our step-by-step guide on saving an overwatered plant.

Humidity

When it comes to humidity, the higher the better! Your Alocasia Regal Shield thrives in humidity levels >80%.

If you live in a dry climate, using a humidifier is the best way to effectively increase humidity in your home. Other methods, while helpful, tend to be short-lived.

High humidity levels keep your plantā€™s stomata (pores) open, allowing carbon dioxide, which is needed for photosynthesis, to be absorbed. A reason why plants close their stomata is that too much water is lost through evaporation from the stomata.

In directly reducing evaporation rates, high humidity allows your plant to carry out photosynthesis as usual. šŸ™‚

An added benefit of high humidity is that it wards off spider mites. Spider mites are Enemy #1 of Alocasias. They thrive in hot and dry conditions.

Temperature

When it comes to Alocasias like the Regal Shield, you can try to grow them like tropical evergreens by keeping the temperatures above 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) year-round.

Stable temperatures between 65 – 85 degrees F (18 – 29 degrees C) are ideal. This way, your plant avoids seasonal dormancy and you don’t have to re-plant them.

Below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) and you’ll start to experience some leaf drop. Leaf drop may also occur if not sheltered away from winds or drafts.

a large potted alocasia regal shield, Alocasia odoraƗAlocasia reginula, with large elephant ear shaped leaves and pale lime green veins, maroon leaf undersides
The gorgeous leaves of an Alocasia Regal Shield.
Copyright Ā© 2022 mazzystar77. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Flowering

What crazy interesting-looking flowers! Well, inflorescence to be exact.

This thick purple spadix has tiny numerous flowers (reproductive parts) growing along its length. Can you spot these in the photo below?

Flowering is rare when your plant is kept as a houseplant, but shows that it is THRIVING in your care. So every time you see one of these, give yourself a pat on the back!

inflorescence of a alocasia regal shield, consisting of a thick purple spadix with tiny flowers growing along it, and a cream-colored spathe
Copyright Ā© 2022 sagejoe. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Growth

Growing upright as a self-heading plant, these Alocasias have a glossy sheen on their majestic leaves. Leaves are slightly wavy so don’t lay perfectly flat.

Growth tops out at around 5 feet (1.6 meters) tall and wide when kept indoors. However, if you plant them directly in the ground (USDA hardiness zone 10 and above), they may grow up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) tall.

They are a fast grower under optimal growth conditions. They can reach their ultimate height in little as 2-3 years.

Fanning out beautifully, their large, regal leaves span up to 2 feet (60cm) wide.

Soil or Growing Medium

When selecting a potting mix, choose a well-draining mix that is also rich in nutrients. Ideally, keep a pH between 5.5 – 7.0, slightly acidic to neutral.

Here’s the mix we like:

Worm castings (yes, worm poo šŸ™‚ ) provide nutrients, as does the indoor potting soil. Perlite, orchid bark and charcoal help improve drainage and aeration. We want those roots to breathe easy to protect against root rot!

close up of an alocasia regal shield with a dark elephant ear leaf and lime green veins
Copyright Ā© 2022 mazzystar77. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Fertilizer

Being heavy feeders, Alocasia Regal Shield benefits from some fertilizing. We like to use Dyna-Gro Grow, monthly at 1/3 strength, during the spring and summer months.

We don’t fertilize in fall and winter.

Repotting

Repotting should be done around every 2 years or so. Be alert to signs of your plant becoming root-bound to tell you when it’s time.

Signs of a root-bound plant include: roots peeking out from the drainage hole, slower growth, and an insatiably thirsty plant.

Make sure to repot in the spring, so that your Alocasia Regal Shield can recover in maximum warmth and heat. Repotting is a stressful event for all plants, but especially so for Alocasias who don’t like their roots being disturbed.

When repotting, you may take the opportunity to dig around for corms (also called bulbs), which are baby plants that you can pot up separately. Scroll down to Propagation for more details.

Toxicity

Unfortunately, all Alocasias are highly toxic when ingested by humans and animals. Like many others in the Aracaea family, they have oxalate crystals that pierce tissues, causing skin irritation, nausea, and gastrointestinal pains.

Its sap can also be very irritating to the skin, so use gardening gloves when pruning and propagating.

Place this one well away from children and pets.

If you prefer pet and child-friendly plants, check out Calatheas and Hoyas.

Propagation

Propagating an Alocasia Regal Shield is much like propagating any other Alocasia. Alocasias have a clumping growth habit, and each of these clumps is a baby plant that has its own roots, petioles (leaf stalks), and leaves.

  • Method 1: One way to propagate is to wait until the new clump, called a pup, is about 6 inches (15cm) tall before separating it from its mother, by cutting through the rhizome.
  • Method 2: Another way is to just cut off the baby plant at the base of the main stem. This method means separating the baby at the stem level, rather than at the root level. No unpotting of the mother plant is required.
  • Method 3: Lastly, you can harvest bulbs that grow spontaneously under the soil and grow a new offset from the bulb.

All methods require a healthy and established plant. You’d ideally want to wait 1-2 years before attempting to propagate.

  • The best time to propagate is early spring, early in the growing season.
  • As with repotting, propagating stresses your plant out. So, only attempt propagation when you have a healthy and mature plant.
  • Donā€™t propagate if you have a new plant or recently relocated it.

1. Propagation through Root (Clump) Division

  1. The day before propagation, water your plant and sterilize a knife blade with 70% isopropyl solution.
  2. Place your plant on its side and unpot your Alocasia Regal Shield. Use your fingers to gently tease out the soil to reveal the rhizomes, roots, and petioles. Try not to damage the roots.
  3. Using the sterilized blade, separate the pup from the mother plant by slicing through the rhizome. Ensure the separated pup has established roots and petioles.
  4. Repot the pup in evenly moist potting mix. Choose a pot that is suitable for the size of the pup, its roots and rhizome, and one that has drainage holes.
  5. Place the mother plant back in its pot.
  6. Keep both plants in a warm, humid location with plenty of indirect light. If you have a humidifier, place it next to the plants and set at 80%.
  7. It will take about 3-4 weeks for roots to establish in the baby plant, and for your mother plant to recover. Your plants may show signs of stress in the meantime.
  8. New growth indicates your plants have recovered!

2. Propagation by Offsets

  1. Take a sterilized knife and deliver a clean cut at the base of the stem connecting the mother plant to the offset.
  2. Replant the offset in evenly-moist potting mix. It will start growing roots of its own in a couple of weeks.
  3. Ensure both plants are kept in a warm humid location with plenty of indirect light. If you have a humidifier, place it next to the plants and set at 80%.
  4. Both plants may show some signs of stress, but will recover in a few weeks.

3. Propagation by Bulb Harvesting (sometimes called Corms)

Another way to propagate your Alocasia Regal Shield is through bulb harvesting. Of course, when growing from a bulb, it takes longer for a new plant to develop. šŸ˜›

  1. Water your plant 24 hours before propagation.
  2. Remove your plant from its container, being careful not to damage its roots.
  3. Remove excess soil so that you can examine your plantā€™s roots. Under the soil and tangled in the roots you can often find a few bulbs.
  4. Select bulbs that are hard, thick and round, and easily separated from the roots, signaling that they are mature. You should be able to find 5-10 mature bulbs in an established plant.
  5. Plant the bulbs, root side down, separately in a new pot with fresh soil.
  6. Repot your mother plant back into its original container.
  7. Water both plants.
  8. You should expect that your mother plant will show some signs of stress after being separated and repotted. Wait a few weeks and observe your mother plant as it recovers.
  9. New growth is a sign of successful propagation!
a backlit alocasia regal shield with stunning red leaf undersides and yellow veins
The red color and yellow vein of the bottom leaf of Alocasia Regal Shield

Pruning

Unless you see a dead or diseased leaf, there’s no pruning to be done for the Alocasia Regal Shield.

Common Pests and Diseases – Alocasia Regal Shield

Spider mites and thrips are the 2 most common pests for a Alocasia Regal Shield. Disease-wise, leaf spots or leaf edema may arise from overwatering.

Spider mites

Spider mites are about 1/50 inch (0.5mm) in size, so itā€™s not easy to observe them directly without a microscope. Instead, look out for pale, grey stipplings on leaves or fine webbing on leaf undersides and near the stems as signs of an infestation.

These sap-sucking pests use sharp mouthparts to pierce plant tissue and feed on sugary sap. This deprives your plant of nutrients.

They also like to feed on chlorophyll, which accounts for the discoloration of leaves when they are present.

To kill off spider mites,

  • Isolate your plant from other healthy plants to prevent contamination. These insects are highly mobile so can start to infect your other houseplants.
  • Take a good look at your plant. Use a water jet to physically dislodge any visible spider mites.
  • Spray a neem oil solution on your plantā€™s stem and foliage. Neem oil works as a broad-based pesticide to inhibit feeding and breathing, and kill off larvae. Check out our guide on how to make a neem oil solution and how to use and reapply this.
  • Use sterilized garden shears to cut off damaged parts of the plant. Dispose of this securely; remember, you donā€™t want to contaminate other plants!
  • Re-apply neem oil as necessary.

Thrips

If you have Alocasia Regal Shield leaves that start to brown, look on the undersides. If you see what looks like little grains of rice, this is thrips larvae.

Thrips can be killed off using Bonide Insecticidal Soap spray.

Leaf Edema

Bumps on an Alocasia Regal Shield leaves are typically due to edema.

First, the good news. Edema isnā€™t a bacteria or fungi, so it cannot be transmitted from plant to plant. It is a condition whereby the plant takes in water quicker than it can use it, causing cells in the leaves to literally burst, causing bumps or ā€œblistersā€ on the leaves.

To remedy leaf edema, keep your watering practices in check. Only water your plant when the topsoil is dry! Check out the Soil section and make sure you are using an airy potting mix.

Troubleshooting your Alocasia Regal Shield

  • Losing lower leaves: cold weather is a key reason.
  • Wilting and drooping leaves: this is usually a sign of an overwatered Alocasia Regal Shield.
  • Yellow leaves: also a sign of overwatering, or overfertilization.
  • “Blisters” on leaves: leaf edema due to overwatering.
  • Wet brown spots: this could be leaf spot disease due to overwatering. Cut off damaged leaves, dispose of these securely and apply a broad-based fungicide. Repot in fresh soil.
an alocasia regal shield, Alocasia odoraƗAlocasia reginula, with large elephant ear shaped leaves and pale lime green veins
Look at the leaves on this Alocasia Regal Shield!
Copyright Ā© 2022 homesh. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Tips to prevent an overwatered Alocasia Regal Shield

Since overwatering is such a bugbear for Alocasias, we thought we’d share more tips on how to prevent this.

  • Choose an airy potting mix. You’d notice that we use orchid bark, perlite, and charcoal to help drainage.
  • Use terracotta pots. These are porous which allows excess water to evaporate easily. It also helps airflow to the roots and soil.
  • Water in the mornings. This allows time for water to be absorbed and evaporate throughout the day. You don’t want water to be sitting stagnant in the pot overnight.
  • Avoid wetting the foliage by watering near the soil line. Wet foliage is a breeding medium for fungi spores. A long-spouted watering can will help.
  • Consider the lighting. If your plant is in low light, water stays in the pot for longer. Relocate to a spot with bright but indirect light.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alocasia Regal Shield’s scientific name?

It’s scientific name is: Alocasia odoraƗAlocasia reginula.

Can Alocasia Regal Shield take full sun?

No. Direct sunlight is will scorch your plant’s leaves. Provide it bright but indirect light. East-facing windows are perfect for this purpose.

an alocasia regal shield, Alocasia odoraƗAlocasia reginula, with large elephant ear shaped leaves and pale lime green veins
A small potted Alocasia Regal Shield.
Copyright Ā© 2022 homesh. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Is the Alocasia Regal Shield rare?

No, we wouldn’t say so. Though not often available at local nurseries, they are readily available online.

Etsy is a good place to look for an Alocasia Regal Shield.

Should you mist the Alocasia Regal Shield?

We prefer not to. Wet foliage can create a growing medium for fungi to spore and breed, leading to leaf spots. To increase humidity, we much prefer using a humidifier.

What’s the difference between Alocasia Regal Shields and Alocasia Wentii?

a small potted alocasia wentii with large elephant ear leaves
The Alocasia Wentii, the “step-brother” of the Alocasia Regal Shield.

Alocasia Wentii may look similar to the Regal Shield at first blush. And of course, it would – they are “step-siblings”, sharing the same Alocasia Odora parent plant. šŸ™‚

But there are a number of differences:

  • The Alocasia Wentii has thinner leaves.
  • The Wentii is more elongated.
  • The Alocasia Regal Shield has a darker green leaf color.
  • The Wentii’s veins are less pronounced than the Alocasia Regal Shield’s. They are not pale and striking like the Regal Shield’s.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Alocasias are a wonderful genus with such variety. From little dwarf cultivars like the Alocasia Melo to the stunning wavy, elongated sword-shaped leaves of an Alocasia Lauterbachiana, there’s something here for everyone.

The little Alocasia Melo.
Copyright Ā© 2022 hmflowers (Hallmark Flowers & Gifts). All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.
a small potted Alocasia Lauterbachiana with long, sword-shaped leaves with wavy edges
The Alocasia Lauterbachiana

What’s the difference between Alocasia Regal Shields and Alocasia Wentii?

Alocasia Wentii may look similar to the Regal Shields. But if you feel the leaf, you’ll find that the Wentii has thinner leaves.

In terms of leaf shape, the Wentii is more elongated. Its veins are also less obvious on the underside of its leaves when compared to the Alocasia Regal Shields.

Wrapping Up

The Alocasia Regal Shield is a beautiful hybrid. To keep it looking its best,

  • Provide it with bright, indirect light. Rotate for even growth.
  • Choose a rich, porous potting mix that has drainage elements. A slightly acidic to neutral pH is ideal.
  • Avoid overwatering.
  • Avoid using cheap fertilizers as these damage the roots.
  • Use purified water or rainwater.
  • Keep as high humidity as you can (ideally >80%).
  • Keep temperatures between 65 – 85 degrees F (18 – 29 degrees C) to avoid seasonal dormancy. Protect from winds.
  • Repot only when rootbound.

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.