The stunning Alocasia Frydek (scientific name: Alocasia micholitziana Frydek) is a tropical perennial houseplant known for bold white veins running through dark, forest green leaves.
Leaves are thick and stiff, formed in an interesting arrow or Elephant Ear shape that is recognizable in a number of Alocasias. Its velvety – not glossy – green leaves are also the reason for its other nickname, Green Velvet Alocasia.
For best growth, keep your Alocasia Frydek in a warm (65-85 degrees F) and humid (>50%) environment, protected from drafts and temperature fluctuations. Choose a well-draining soil that you keep lightly moist but never waterlogged.
Though they aren’t the easiest to care for, with a few tricks and a bit of patience, you’ll get the hang of it.
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According to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Alocasia Frydek comes from the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Australia. They are thought to be a hybrid, but not much else is known of their origins.
The variegated forms of the Alocasia Frydek are both very rare and extremely popular, while the unvariegated version is more commonplace.
Caring for your Alocasia Frydek
In terms of light, your Alocasia Frydek loves bright but indirect light. While 1-2 hours of gentle morning light is beneficial, anything more than 3 hours of direct light risks scorching its leaves. (YES, it’s a fine balance we know…)
On the other hand, too little light leads to stunted growth.
For this reason, placing your plant about a foot (90cm) away from a North or East-facing window is perfect. You’ll find that the Alocasia Frydek likes to lean towards the light, so rotate your plant occasionally for even growth.
Make no mistake: watering is a tricky business for Alocasias.
They don’t like drying out completely but are also very susceptible to overwatering. Getting the right balance comes down to a bit of practice, good watering habits, as well as using the right potting mix and container.
How to Water and How Often?
Let’s start off with watering.
Our advice is to check the soil moisture frequently with your fingers. Once you feel the top 1 inch of soil is dry, water your plant slowly and deeply, near the soil line.
Water until the soil is saturated, and excess water flows out of the drainage hole. Don’t be afraid of watering deeply. Empty the saucer.
Then, check back in a couple of days – the key is to check frequently, so that you can respond quickly to dry soil. Only when the topsoil is dry should you attempt to water your plant again.
Don’t blindly follow a watering schedule (eg, once every X days), as this changes over time as climate, evaporation, and growth rates change. Instead, let your Alocasia Frydek you when it needs to be watered. 🙂
Using the Right Container and Water
Another component of care is choosing the right pot and water.
- Choose a container with drainage holes, so that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the pot.
- Be careful to use a pot that is an appropriate size for the rootball. Too much pot is bad news and can lead to overwatering.
- Use purified, room temperature water so as to not shock your plant’s delicate roots. A build up of harsh water salts can lead to brown and crispy leaf edges.
Being tropical plants from the Philippines, the Green Velvet Alocasia loves high humidity. Dry air causes dry and browning leaf tips.
For best growth, keep your Alocasia Frydek in humidity >50%, with ~70% being (possibly aspirational :)) but ideal.
There are a couple of ways you can increase humidity levels, such as grouping plants together or using a pebble tray.
However, we caution against misting your Alocasia, as when airborne fungal spores meet wet and warm conditions, like on wet foliage, they settle and breed, causing leaf spots.
Luckily, most indoor temperatures are perfect for your Green Velvet Alocasia. Keep temperatures between 65 – 85 degrees F (18 – 29 degrees C).
According to the University of Florida, if you live in USDA hardiness zones 8b-11, you can even opt to grow your plant outdoors year-round. But do choose a spot that is away from any direct sunlight, as sunlight is much more intense outdoors. Bright shade that is protected from the wind and temperature fluctuations is perfect.
Temperatures below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) will cause slowed growth.
Also choose a spot that is protected from temperature fluctuations (drafty doors, wind) as this can lead to drooping and yellowing leaves.
During the winter, triggered by low light and low humidity, your plant may go into dormancy. This is normal and does not harm your plant.
But it can look worrying – in some cases, there is no new growth, and existing leaves drop and die back. The key thing is not to panic. Beneath the soil line, your plant has all it needs in is rhizomes, which store energy and have the ability to produce new growth.
When warmer weather returns, your plant will start growing again.
- Don’t fertilize your plant.
- Watering requirements drop off significantly. Check the soil moisture more frequently so that you know when your plant needs a drink, but don’t water unless the topsoil feels dry.
In rare instances, a mature and healthy Alocasia Frydek will start developing a green spadix (a central spike on which tiny flowers grow) and spathe (modified leaf bract), even when kept outside its native habitat.
While its inflorescences are nothing to shout about compared to its stunning foliage, if you do spot a bloom it means that your plant is thriving in your care. And for this, you should be super proud 🙂
Your Alocasia Frydek has a clumping growth habit. This means that the plant grows offshoots from its center, making it easy to propagate through division.
They store energy in underground rhizomes, which you can think of as modified stems like ginger. Rhizomes have two main purposes: 1) storing food (like starches and proteins) and 2) reproduction – they have the ability to grow new shoots to form baby plants.
When mature, your Alocasia Frydek grows up to 3 feet (91cm) tall indoors. They stay pretty compact but have eye-catching leaves that are larger than life. Wouldn’t you agree? 🙂
Like many Alocasias, the Frydek grows new leaves on individual petioles (stem that holds up the leaf). A new leaf forms from the base of the last leaf’s stem.
Soil or Growing Medium
Choose a slightly acidic (pH 5.5 – 6.5) potting soil that is rich, airy, and well-draining, but one that still retains a bit of moisture. Confused? Don’t worry, we’ll show you some good mixes we recommend.
If you prefer to make your own mix, we love this Aroid potting soil listed below. The benefit of making your own mix is that you can better control the variables, and can usually create several different mixes for different houseplants using the same few ingredients. Its also a lot cheaper 🙂
Peat and worm castings provide rich, fertile organic matter and create a slightly acidic pH. Perlite and charcoal enhance drainage while still holding on to some moisture.
You can retain the same ratios as stated above, and swap out perlite for orchid bark or pumice, as they provide the same drainage elements.
For Alocasia Frydeks, we love using Dyna-gro Grow.
It is a bit of a premium fertilizer free from urea and harsh salts, but because Alocasia roots tend to be on the sensitive side, we think it’s totally worth it.
Apply monthly, at half strength, during spring and summer months. Hold off fertilizing in autumn and winter.
Anything that disturbs its roots will stress your Alocasia out, so repot sparingly and cautiously. They also tend to do better in smaller pots – so there’s really no rush to repot.
Only repot when you see signs that the Frydek has outgrown its pot, or its soil needs to be refreshed. These include:
- Roots peeking out of the drainage hole, or swirling above the soil line.
- A plant that appears extremely thirsty no matter how much you water it, or;
- Soil that seems to not hold any water, rather water drains through the drainage hole immediately when watering.
Water your plant thoroughly 24 hours before repotting. This helps your plant move out of its pot more easily and reduces the risk of transport shock. When repotting,
- Place your plant on its side.
- Use your fingers to gently remove your plant from its pot, working through any bits of compacted soil and teasing out the roots without damaging them.
- Prepare FRESH potting mix (as nutrients deplete over time) and a new pot about 2 inches (5cm) larger than the original; fill up to 1/4 of the container. Terracotta pots are a great option as they are porous and breathable.
- Place the rooted plant in the pot, and add potting soil to secure your plant in place.
- Pat down gently, but don’t be too aggressive as this will compact the soil!
- Refrain from watering for about a week, giving any damaged roots time to heal.
According to the ASPCA, unfortunately, your Alocasia Frydek is toxic when ingested by humans and animals, including dogs, cats, and horses.
This is due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in your plant’s stems and roots. These sharp crystals pierce skin tissues, causing localized irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
Being a rhizomatous plant, the best way to propagate your Alocasia Frydek is not through stem cuttings, but through rhizome division. Only propagate your delicate Green Velvet when it is healthy and mature – anything less will be asking for trouble.
Remember that propagation is stressful for your plant, so expect some recovery time after the deed is done. For best chances of success, propagate in early spring.
- Water your plant 24 hours prior to propagation. This helps reduce transplant shock and helps your plant more easily wriggle out of its pot.
- Gently place your Alocasia Frydek on its side, and remove your plant from its pot. You may need to use your fingers to loosen any compacted soil, and coax the plant out. Try not to damage the roots.
- Examine the rhizome and roots.
- Use a sterilized, sharp blade to cut a part of the tuber. Ensure this part has a few stems and some roots.
- Choose an appropriately sized pot for the new plant (don’t use a too-big a pot, please!)
- Keep the soil evenly moist, and place the plants in a warm spot away from direct light.
- It may take about a month for both mother and baby plants to recover from the ordeal.
- New growth signals your plants have recovered!
Pruning-wise, your Alocasia Frydek is low-maintenance.
However, it is a good idea to occasionally prune off dead leaves and any damaged parts so that your plant can focus its energy on new growth. Like many plants, older leaves will slowly brown, wilt and die away. When the leaf has died, snip it off.
Use sterilized shears (we use 70% isopropyl solution to sterilize) and choose a sharp blade to avoid cross-contamination and reduce trauma to your plant.
Common Pests and Diseases
According to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, one of the most well-known issues with Alocasia Frydek is spider mites.
- Related to ticks, spider mites are not technically insects, but rather eight-legged arachnids.
- They love dry environments (low humidity) so dry winter months are favorable to these pests, although, in summer, they reproduce more quickly.
- Being much smaller (1/50 inch or 0.2mm) than mealybugs, they are harder to spot and come in many different colors.
- A tell-tale sign that spider mites are present is the presence of fine webbing on the undersides of leaves. In Alocasia Frydek, they appear as a high density of tiny, white spots on leaf surfaces.
- In addition to plant sap, spider mites also suck on chlorophyll, causing white spots on leaves. Other signs of an infestation include stippled, yellow, and crispy leaves.
To get rid of spider mites,
- Thoroughly inspect all your plants, including under the leaves and at leaf axils. These bugs love to hide in hard-to-reach corners!
- Quarantine any infected plants away from all other plants to prevent cross-infection.
- Using sterilized garden shears, trim off any visibly damaged or heavily-infested parts of the stems and leaves. We use 70% isopropyl solution to sterilize our gardening tools; this is important as cross-contamination is a common cause of spread.
- Apply an Insecticidal Soap spray to the remaining stems and leaves. Reapply as necessary and as the instructions dictate until you see that the infestation has been eradicated.
- Apply a neem oil solution to all other plants as a preventative measure against infestation. Neem oil disrupts the growth of larvae and prevents spidermites from feeding, growing and reproducing.
Root Rot Overwatered Plant
Besides pesky spider mites, the main diseases that may plague your Alocasia Frydek have to do with an overwatered plant. High moisture and humidity, alongside decaying roots is unfortunately a hotbed for a number of diseases, like root rot, and leaf spot or leaf blight.
To prevent this, we can’t emphasize enough to not water your plant unless the topsoil is dry. Refrain from misting your plant (use a humidifier instead), and avoid wetting the leaves when watering. Lastly, choose a well-draining potting mix.
You can use equal parts perlite (or pumice) to lighten an African Violet commercial mix, which is already formulated with drainage in mind.
Your Alocasia Frydek can lose leaves in response to different stressors, including: if you’ve recently relocated your plant, or if the seasons have changed. Leaf drop is most drastic when your plant slips into dormancy (see Dormancy section above).
What’s helpful is to evaluate if a change in light, humidity levels or a drop in temperature has brought on this sudden loss of leaves.
With regards to dormancy – though your plant may lose some or all of its leaves, don’t worry. It has an underground rhizome that stores energy and is a reproductive organ for new growth. 🙂
Improper watering – either too much or too little, is the most common reason for drooping leaves. Check the soil moisture to confirm.
Another area of investigation is the potting mix: make sure that you have an airy and well-draining mix, but one that still holds a bit of moisture. The wrong growing medium for your Alocasia Frydek may lead to an over or under-watered plant, even if your watering practices are down pat!
Yellowing leaves near the soil line is commonly a sign of an overwatered plant. If overwatering has persisted for some time, there might be more issues below the soil line that you cannot see. Check out our guide on saving your overwatered plant for more details.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy an Alocasia Frydek?
The Alocasia Frydek can be found by looking for reputable sellers online. A starter plant should cost you around US$20-40.
Similar Plants and Varieties
- Alocasia Zebrina
- Alocasia Polly
- Alocasia Sarian
- Alocasia Black Velvet (Alocasia Reginula)
- Alocasia Lauterbachiana
- Alocasia Regal Shield
- Alocasia Cuprea – the Mirror Plant, a famous dwarf Alocasia well-loved for its highly-glossy leaves that have a copper shimmer
- Alocasia Melo
- Alocasia Tiny Dancer – winner of “Most Unusual” Aroid at the 2009 International Aroid Society show and sale
- Alocasia Silver Dragon
- Alocasia Stingray
- Check out our Alocasia Round-Up (w/PHOTOS!)
The Alocasia Frydek is a beautiful velvet-leaf plant with large, elephant ear foliage. The Green Velvet can be a fussy plant, so lean into these tips:
- Don’t overwater. Water only when the topsoil is dry, but check the soil moisture frequently.
- Use a rich and well-draining potting mix.
- Mild indoor temperatures are best for growth.
- Humidity >50% is critical, with 70% being ideal.
- Refrain from misting Alocasia leaves.
- Use a urea-free fertilizer once a month at half strength.
- Regularly inspect plants for spider mites.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.