Last Updated on January 21, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Welcome to our Alocasia Cuprea care guide.
Alocasia cupreas are tropical plants, and they are a real treat for any plant lover!
It is admired for its bright, attractive, sizeable heart-shaped leaves.
Alocasia cuprea plants are relatively easy plants to care for.
However, they are quite picky about their surroundings.
Here are several helpful quick tips to keep your Alocasia cuprea happy.
Quick Alocasia Cuprea Plant Care Guide
The Alocasia cuprea plant thrives in humid areas above 80% with bright, indirect light. It needs moderate watering of 2 to 3 times weekly during growing seasons.
Plant Alocasia cuprea in organically rich and well-draining soil and provide diluted fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks from spring to summer.
Alocasia cuprea is quickly becoming a houseplant favorite!
They do, however, need a bit more TLC than most plants in order to develop their beautiful leaves.
So, let’s look at some care tips required for proper Alocasia cuprea care.
But before we continue to a more detailed Alocasia cuprea care guide, let’s get to know the species first.
Alocasia Cuprea Characteristics
Alocasia cuprea, commonly known as Elephant’s Ears, belongs to the alocasia plant family and is quickly becoming the most popular of its species.
Alocasia cuprea is native to Borneo’s forests in South America and grows in USDA hardy zones of 3 to 11.
This plant was brought into Europe in the 18th century by Mr Thomas Lobb, and it was, interestingly enough, quite the popular shrub during that time.
The alocasia genus consists of roughly 70 species, of beautiful flowering plant varieties all presented with amazing bold foliage. Two of the more famous members of the alocasia genus are Alocasia macrorrhizos and Alocasia amazonica.
There are a few common names given to alocasias.
Different titles are typically given according to individual features or foliage of each plant.
Jewel alocasia is one of the more popular names and was given to the plant for its amazingly shiny foliage.
Mirror plant is another common name. This name was given due to its plastic-like and shiny-looking foliage.
Alocasia Cuprea Red Secret
This name, which is also commonly known as Alocasia cuprea red, was given to this species due to the reddish shade that is seen on the leaf surface of this plant.
Growth & Size
A. cuprea is a lot smaller than its cousins and only matures to under 2 feet in size. However, its brilliant foliage can easily outgrow the plant itself, ranging in size up to 3 feet!
Alocasia cuprea is a tender perennial boasting large and brilliant, heart-shaped foliage.
These spectacular leaves are bright green with coppery hues and metallic sheens and unfold upward in a glorious whorl, revealing their beautiful reddish-brown undersides.
The Alocasia cuprea rarely produces flowers. But its flower head consists of an upright spadix which is surrounded by a reddish-brown spathe. If the alocasia happens to bloom, the spadix — which resembles an ear of corn — will be covered in tiny flowers.
Blooming usually happens in late spring and the flowers only last for a few days.
Much like other alocasia plants, the Alocasia cuprea also carries toxic traits.
Ingestion or even close contact with the plant’s sap—which contains calcium oxalate crystals—may cause skin allergies, ulcerations, and other health complications.
Be sure to keep this shrub away and out of reach of pets and children.
If surrounding temperatures drop below a certain point, the Alocasia cuprea will slowly stop growing, start shedding its leaves, and adapt to a dormant state.
Control the temperature to avoid this from happening and your plant will stay fresh and healthy all year round.
Alocasia Cuprea Light Requirements — Indirect Light vs Direct Sunlight
Alocasia cuprea thrives in bright, indirect light. Although tolerant to direct sunlight, too much direct sunlight can yellow or scorch the plant’s beautiful leaves due to the Alocasia cuprea’s natural habitat being a forest floor beneath a canopy of trees.
However, it’s also essential to note that too little light or under-lit home spaces may cause the plant to lose chlorophyll, ruining its attractive foliage and ultimately killing it.
Therefore, select a smart space with dappled sunlight or bright, indirect sun.
A smart spot to place your elephant ear would be beside an east or north-facing window.
These windows often provide a lot of bright light.
If you feel that the plant is getting too much direct light, simply cover the window with a sheer curtain. This will act as a filter and decrease the intensity of the sun’s rays.
Try to avoid the west-facing window.
Alocasia, being a tropical plant, thrives best in a warm temperature.
Average indoor temperatures are usually sufficient for healthy plant growth.
The ideal temperature range for Alocasia cuprea is between 50 °F to 85 °F.
During the day, the preferred temperatures start at 50 °F, while temperatures should be above 54 °F at nighttime.
Alocasia cuprea has poor cold and frost tolerance and is not fond of the winter season, so be sure to keep them far away from icy drafts.
Along with radiators or heating systems, these conditions may cause your alocasia to dry out, causing brown spots on its leaves.
Watering your Alocasia cuprea is simple; it has average water requirements similar to most other houseplants.
Alocasia cuprea has poor drought tolerance; so, try to keep the soil moist, but remember that alocasia does not like sitting in soggy, water-logged soil. Instead, allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions slightly. Use a pot with drainage holes to aid in excess liquid drainage.
Dense soil due to excessive watering will decrease oxygen flow in the soil. Good amounts of oxygen are crucial for healthy plant growth.
A moderate watering of two to three times a week is perfect for summer. Whereas once every ten to fourteen days is sufficient for winter weather.
A rule of thumb is to check the soil by inserting your finger into the soil. Once the upper two inches of soil is dry, you should water your plant. If the soil is still moist, do not water your plant just yet.
Soggy soil for a prolonged period of time will eventually cause root rot, which can be very damaging to your plant. Root rot is one of the biggest problems when it comes to overwatering your mirror plant.
Under-watering may, however, also be lethal to your precious elephant ear.
Alocasia cuprea thrives in well-draining, aerated, and organically rich fresh potting soil.
Due to Alocasia cuprea being susceptible to root rot from overly hydrated soil, try using a loose, well-draining soil mix filled with rich, organic matter.
Tip: Add a fair amount of well-draining peat moss and perlite or a mixture of coir fiber and perlite to your soil. Peat moss and coco coir will ensure that enough moisture is retained for the plant to absorb, while perlite ensures that the soil drains excess water well.
Alocasia are generally quite heavy feeders, so using fertilizer is beneficial in order to maintain a thriving plant.
When feeding your Alocasia cuprea however, you’ll want to note the plant’s growth cycle and alter your feeding accordingly.
The plant actively grows during the warm months and turns slightly dormant during winter.
Therefore, the Alocasia cuprea requires more nutrients and food during its active growth period to thrive.
So, feed your plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength every two to four weeks from spring to summer.
During wintertime, stop feeding altogether. The build-up of salts will burn your plant’s leaves. This is commonly known as fertilizer burn.
Native to tropical lands, it’s no surprise that the mirror plant likes areas of high humidity.
Ideally, moisture levels of 80% and higher are required for the plant to thrive optimally.
If you live in a drier, less humid area, I recommend adjusting the environment to increase the humidity to prevent its leaves from drying out.
Here are three valuable recommendations:
Plants strategically placed in groups tend to have higher levels of moisture available in their surroundings. Plant your Alocasia cuprea in between a few other plants to ensure a high humidity level is maintained.
Using a room humidifier will help you maintain the desired humidity level for your plant.
Pebble-Water Tray Method
Another alternative would be to use the pebble method. Place your Alocasia cuprea on top of a water-filled pebble tray. Keep the water level below the upper surface of the pebbles. This will create a micro-climate effect for your Alocasia.
Tip: Keep your Alocasia cuprea in the bathroom — your plant will love you for it!
Does My Alocasia Need Pruning
Even though this plant grows fast, the Alocasia cuprea are a small variety of alocasia plants that don’t grow out of control or extend outwards, making their maintenance relatively low regarding pruning.
That said, you’ll want to prune its discolored, damaged, or dying leaves to keep your plant healthy and looking fresh.
There is no specific time set for pruning your elephant ear, and it does not have to be done regularly as it does not have the bushy nature of some other houseplants. And the alocasia does not get fuller every time it gets pruned.
When you decide to prune, always be sure to use clean and sterilized pruning shears or gardening shears to prevent the spread of plant diseases.
Always prune during the plants growing season starting early summer.
An unfortunate downside to owning an Alocasia cuprea plant is that they are quite sensitive plants prone to various pests and diseases.
Signs of a disease-infested plant are brown or black spots on the leaves and a yellowish rim around these spots. Cuprea plant pests to keep an eye for include the following:
Spray the mirror plant with warm soapy water every few weeks to keep the plant dust-free and prevent these pests from raiding your plant. In addition, if an infestation occurs, use an ultra-fine insecticidal soap with neem oil, or plain neem oil to kill the pests and their eggs.
Be sure to inspect every part of your plant as pests often like to hide on the bottom of the plant’s leaves or in the soil itself. During inspection, wipe the elephant ears’ leaves with a damp cloth to remove any excess dust.
Does Alocasia Cuprea Need Repotting?
Your Alocasia cuprea plant needs repotting into a larger container approximately every two years for the roots to be able to stretch out. Ensure repotting occurs during spring.
However, the mirror plant is far better pot-bound for as long as possible due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting issues like transplant shock.
So, only repot once the alocasia has visibly overgrown its pot or roots start appearing through the pot’s drainage hole.
Always place your houseplant in containers with drainage holes.
How To Propagate Alocasia Cuprea Mother Plant
When propagating a mother plant, the ideal method is through root division when repotting rather than taking cuttings.
Rhizome Root Division
A mature plant will create baby offsets that you can divide at the root level from the original plant and grow separately.
Gently pull the roots apart or use a pair of pruning shears if the clumps are too intertwined. Gently shake off any excess soil.
Plant the divisions in pots using the same potting mix as the mother plant. Keep them out of direct sunlight and maintain average moisture.
Before you know it, you’ll have another gorgeous Alocasia cuprea plant.
You can also place the divisions in water. This method is called water propagation.
Cut the roots of a baby plant that are part of the mother plant with a sharp knife or pruning shears.
Gently separate the baby from the mother and place the juvenile into a smaller pot with soil. Due to the juveniles already having their own individual root system, they should quickly start growing into mature plants.
Tip: Cutting away offsets as soon as you see them should be avoided. Let the baby plants reach a size of at least 1 inch before separating them from the parent plant. You’ll have a greater chance at successful propagation if you wait for the offsets to become bigger before cutting them away.
Propagation from a stem cutting unfortunately is not possible with the Cuprea alocasia.
To summarize – to have a happy, thriving mirror plant, you will need the following for its environment:
The Cuprea alocasia plant grows best in bright, indirect sunlight or dappled light. Avoid too much light.
An organically rich and well-draining soil.
Regular watering (approximately two to three times per week during spring and summer) — avoid over watering and let the soil dry between waterings.
High humidity, low humidity can be damaging.
Add diluted fertilizer to your plant pot in the growing seasons.
Keep an eye out for pests and fungal infections. Use neem oil when needed.
Once you’ve figured out the basics of caring for your Alocasia cuprea plant, you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of your lovely houseplant.
Good luck and enjoy!