Alocasia Stingray Plant Care & Propagation (#1 EYE-OPENING Tips!)

small potted alocasia stingray plant

The Alocasia Stingray (botanical name: Alocasia Macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ or common name Elephant Ear) is an exotic and unique plant. They have thick, zebra-striped stems that resemble those of the Alocasia Zebrina, but what takes the cake is its beautifully-shaped foliage. The distal part of its leaves is a thin and narrow, pointy midrib, which look strikingly similar to the tail of a stingray, giving this rare houseplant its name.

While many think of Alocasias as fussy and temperamental plants (ahem, Alocasia Polly, we’re looking at you!), the Alocasia Stringray is easier to care for than most.

In nature, the Alocasia Stringray grows in tropical rainforests of South-East Asia. For your Elephant Ear to grow healthy, you will need to mimic its native conditions. We’ll show you how.

Caring for your Alocasia Macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’


Like many plants native to the understory of rainforests, the Alocasia Stingray is not fond of harsh direct light. It grows under a canopy of trees in its natural environment, providing it natural shelter from intense light. At the same time, it still receives plenty of bright light filtered dappled through taller trees and foliage.

To mimic this in your home, place your tropical plant on an East or South-facing windowsill. Here it is protected from harsh afternoon light but still receives enough bright light for photosynthesis and growth.


Watering practices are arguably one of the most critical aspects of Alocasia care. Water only when you feel that the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Don’t let your plant dry out completely.

Using this method, your water frequency should roughly work out once or twice a week during the growing season (spring and summer), reduced by half in the colder months. The exact frequency depends on the climate, evaporation rates and growth rates, so it’s best to always check the soil’s moisture before watering.

Importantly, never use cold water on your Alocasia Stingray. Cold water shocks Alocasia’s fragile root system. Instead, opt for room temperature water. Water deeply until excess water runs off the drainage holes.

close up topview of alocasia stingray leaf
The Alocasia Stingray leaf.


Being a tropical plant, it’s no surprise that your Alocasia Stingray loves high-humidity environments. It thrives in humidity levels of over 70%, which may be out of reach for those living in dry climates. At a minimum, try to give your plant 50% humidity to support healthy growth.

To boost humidity, you can try gentle misting in the mornings, but don’t over-mist as wet foliage can become a breeding ground for bacteria. If foliage remains wet for more than a couple of hours, you’re overdoing it.

Here are some other ways to raise humidity levels.


Hailing from Southeast Asia’s rainforests, your plant lives near the equator, where the temperature is high year-round. To provide a similarly warm climate, aim to keep your plant in temperatures between 65 to 72 degrees F (18 to 22 degrees C).

For this reason, the Alocasia Stingray is best kept indoors as a houseplant. Like most Alocasias, it also doesn’t do well when exposed to fluctuations in temperature. Avoid placing your plant near cold drafts or windows.

Dips below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) over an extended period can kill your plant.

Growth and Flowers, Maturity

Your rare and unique Alocasia Stingray has an interesting growth habit. New leaves form and split, emerging from old leaves.

When given the right conditions, your plant grows surprisingly fast during the spring and summer growing months. As with most plants, growth will slow during winter, when less light and warmth trigger your plant to go into dormancy.

At maturity, it can reach up to 2.3 feet (0.7m) in height and 1.6 feet (0.5m) in width when kept as a houseplant. However, it may take 5 – 10 years for your plant to reach this ultimate height!

Alocasia Stingray can very occasionally grow small white hooded flowers even when kept indoors. These have white centres and emerge above the foliage in mid-summer. However, like many others in the Aracaea family, these flowers are considered insignificant, especially when compared to their eye-catching foliage and stripey stems!

Soil or Growing Medium

A slightly acidic, airy and well-draining growing medium is best for your plant. Create your potting mix by combining in equal parts:

The perlite helps your potting soil become more aerated, while peat moss and potting soil give it a nutritious and slightly acidic growing medium. If are you are unsure of the soil’s pH; you can use a pH kit to determine this.

Alternatively, you can plant your Alocasia Stingray in LECA. In our experience, Alocasias take very well to being planted in this growing medium as it gives them ultimate breathability. Growing in LECA also reduces the risk of overwatering. You can read more about LECA here to see if it’s the right option for you.

side view of the alocasia stingray plant


Giving your plant a boost of fertilizer is essential, especially when it grows quickly in the spring and summer months.

A liquid houseplant fertilizer like this one is ideal. Dilute to half-strength every two weeks during the growing season. Hold off in the winter and fall months.

As your Alocasia roots can be pretty sensitive, apply fertilizer after you have watered your plant. This is to prevent fertilizer burn.


Repot your plant annually. As your plant grows larger, you can repot less frequently during early spring every 1-3 years. Don’t be too eager to repot, as this causes your sensitive Alocasia a lot of stress.

For this reason, if you plan on propagating your plant, do it at the same time as repotting. Also, don’t repot your plant shortly after taking it home – it will already be stressed from adapting to a new environment, so it’s best to defer this to a later date.


Unfortunately, your plant is 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. It’s best to place your plant away from children and pets.

zebra striped stems of an alocasia stingray

Propagation by Offset Division

A popular and easy way to propagate your plant is by offsets (baby plants).

  1. Water your plant 24 hours before propagation. This reduces the risk of transplant shock.
  2. Remove your plant from its container, being careful not to damage its roots. Use your fingers to gently coax your plant out of its pot, untangling compacted soil particles from delicate roots.
  3. Remove excess soil so that you can examine your plant’s roots. Your plant’s roots grow in clumps which often contain baby plants (called offsets). These individual root systems are easy to separate.
  4. Separate the clumps and place them into their own pot with fresh soil.
  5. Repot your plant back into its original container, adding fresh soil.
  6. Water both plants.
  7. You should expect that your plants will show some signs of stress after being separated and repotted. Wait a few weeks and observe your plant as it recovers.
  8. New growth is a sign of successful propagation!

Propagation through Rhizomes

Another way to propagate a mature Alocasia Stingray is through rhizomes, which are hidden under the soil’s surface. Rhizomes are modified stems that look like tubers.

  1. Water your plant 24 hours before propagation. This reduces the risk of transplant shock.
  2. Remove your plant from its container, being careful not to damage its roots. Use your fingers to gently coax your plant out of its pot, untangling compacted soil particles from delicate roots.
  3. Remove excess soil so that you can examine your plant’s roots and rhizomes. You may have to wash off the excess soil to fully expose the rhizomes.
  4. Identify a rhizome and using a sterilized knife, make a clean cut to separate the rhizome into two.
  5. Plant the separated rhizome into a new pot with fresh soil.
  6. Wait a few weeks for your rhizome to establish in its new home.

Additional care: Wiping down leaves

As your Alocasia Stingray gets bigger, it’s good to wipe down its leaves with a damp cloth and then wipe it dry. This helps clear away dust that gathers on its large foliage, which can clog its pores and reduce air exchange and sunlight from penetrating the chlorophyll! It also prevents common issues like Leaf Spot and Botrytis.

Common Pests and Issues

Getting the basics right with watering, growing medium and sunlight give you the best chance of a healthy plant. And healthy plants are the best defence against pests and diseases! But the occasional issue may arise. Here’s how to remedy the most common problems for your Alocasia.

Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot disease weakens plants by interrupting photosynthesis. It looks like irregular spots on leaf surfaces that may appear black, brown, tan or yellow. Thankfully, leaf spot disease usually initially only affects a portion of the plant’s leaves, giving you time to act to stop its spread!

Here’s how:

  1. First, gather and destroy fallen damaged leaves and dispose of them securely. Growth on affected leaves can re-infect other parts of the plant or new healthy plants it comes into contact with.
  2. Isolate your plant from other plants to prevent contamination.
  3. Trim off any damaged leaves, again carefully disposing of them. Make sure to sterilize your gardens shears using 70% isopropyl.
  4. Apply a fungicide that contains chlorothalonil to contain the spread of the infection. Chlorothalonil is an effective broad-spectrum pesticide.


Botrytis, also known as grey mould, is another common fungal disease spread by wind or water. You can identify this fungus by greying lesions on leaves or steaks on leaves that turn fuzzy and grey over time. In addition, fungi feed on nutrition from the plant causing it to droop or yellow.

According to Penn State Extension, this fungi can produce 60,000 spores on a piece of plant tissue the size of a small fingernail! To remedy this, follow the same procedure as Leaf Spot disease, isolating your plant and applying a fungicide. The quicker you act, the better!

In addition, refrain from misting your Alocasia too frequently to avoid the spreading of fungi.

Spider mites, Mealybugs and Aphids

Spider mites, mealybugs and aphids are other common houseplant pests that may occasionally infest your plant. Use an insecticidal soap spray or neem oil to remedy. Our guides on spider mites and mealybugs will help you identify these pests and show you how to get rid of them.


Large leaf of the Alocasia Stingray in the wild
Alocasia Stingray in the wild

Why is my plant drooping?

There are three most common reasons for this:

  • Too little light. Is your plant getting at least 7-8 hours of bright but filtered light? If not, try a grow light.
  • Improper watering: either too much water or too little. Check the soil’s moisture to determine whether the plant is over or under watered. Overwatering is more common, and the plant is susceptible root rot.
  • Too little nutrients. Your plant does need to be fertilized, so ensure you are using a high-quality liquid fertilizer once every two weeks at half strength during the spring and summer months.

Why are my plant’s leaves turning yellow?

Yellow leaves are a sign of stress. If your plant is not dormant and the leaves are all starting to yellow (not confined to 1-2 older leaves), then the two most common reasons are overwatering or too much sunlight. 

  • Check the soil’s moisture to confirm if overwatering is an issue. Check that you are watering your plant correctly and using a well-draining potting mix so that water isn’t sitting stagnant in the pot.
  • While your plant doesn’t like direct sunlight, it still wants plenty of filtered bright light. If you can’t find a sufficiently sunny location to keep your plant happy, try using these grow lights. They are affordable and well-made.

Why are my plant’s leaves turning brown?

Brown leaves can signify a number of underlying issues. The most common problems are i) too little humidity, ii) too much intense sunlight, and iii) too cold temperatures. Review the conditions your plant is exposed to and adjust accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Alocasia Stingray rare?

Yes, it is a rare plant. Definitely expect to do a bit of hunting and pay a bit of a premium. However, you can usually find a few available from reputable sellers on Etsy.

Is the Alocasia Stingray a good houseplant?

Yes, Alocasia Stingrays make wonderful houseplants. It is a moderately easy plant to grow, and less fussy than most Alocasias. If you’ve grown Monsteras, Pothos and Philodendrons and want a change from these usual houseplants, Alocasias are a great genus to try out, and the Stringray is an easy one to start with.

The Alocasia Stingray has such unique foliage and stripey stems, so when grown well, it can be eyecatching and a statement piece for your home.

Does the Alocasia Stingray go dormant?

In colder winter months, the Alocasia Stingray can go dormant when triggered by a drop in temperature and light conditions. Your plant naturally senses that growing conditions are not optimal, so it decides to preserve its energy.

During this time, you may notice your plant dropping its leaves. It will not put out new growth. Don’t fret; your plant is still alive; it is just conserving its energy for the upcoming growth season!

On the other hand, if you live in a climate that is warm and sunny year-round, then it’s unlikely your plant will go dormant.

Is Alocasia Stingray a hybrid?

Adding to the plant’s mystique, the origins of the Alocasia Stingray remain largely unknown. Botanists are divided in opinion, some believing that they are a naturally-occurring cultivar. Others think that this rare and exotic species emerged as an interspecific hybrid.

Can you grow the Alocasia Stingray in water?

Some people have documented growing Alocasia Stingray in water as a growing medium. But we personally have seen the best growth with semi-hydroponics, namely, LECA!

Similar Plants and Varieties

Another Alocasia with similarly zebra-striped leaves, the Alocasia Zebrina

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.

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