How to Grow and Care for All Types of Alocasia longiloba Plants


Part of the Araceae family, Alocasia longiloba is a tropical plant. Before being widely commercialized as pet plants, the houseplant primarily lived in the dense rainforests of East and Southeast Asia.

Subsequently, your care routine should mimic its native humid environment. That includes providing partial shade, regular watering sessions, a well-draining potting mix, and occasional fertilizing.

What Are Alocasia longiloba Plants?

Alocasia longiloba, or tiger taro, belongs to the Araceae family. These tropical perennials make for exquisite houseplants.

The large pet plant is native to humid regions, including Central Malaysia, Borneo, and parts of China, like Guangdong, located near the southern edge of the country.

In terms of appearance, Alocasia longiloba leaves are distinctively arrow-shaped. They’re adorned with bright venation, particularly a prominent Y-shape at the center of each leaf.

There’s a Silver variation of tiger taro that offers a more frosted and cool-toned appearance compared to the original’s lush green foliage.

Size-wise, Alocasia longiloba can reach up to three feet in height and width after maturing, typically within five to ten years of growth. The houseplant’s leaves can extend between one and two feet.

Quick summary of Alocasia longiloba

  • Scientific Name: Alocasia longiloba
  • Common names: Tiger taro
  • Light: Full and partial shade
  • Watering: High to moderate water intake
  • Temperature: 54° to 86°F
  • Hardiness Zone: 9 to 12
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.5
  • Soil Type: Loamy, moist, and well-drained soils
  • Repotting: Every two years
  • Pruning: Cut dying leaves and remove debris
  • Size: 3 feet
  • Bloom Time: Spring and summer
  • Propagation: Seed and corm offset division

How to Care for Alocasia longiloba Plants

To maintain your Alocasia longiloba’s lush green foliage and sturdy, upright stance, here’s what you need to do.

Provide Sunlight

Alocasia longiloba prefers a stream of indirect light. You can filter the sun’s rays with a sheer curtain to lessen their intensity. Too much direct sunlight can potentially scorch your houseplant’s delicate leaves.

You’ll want to ensure your tiger taro plant gets at least six hours of filtered light. For this reason, place the pot in a west or east-facing window. Avoid south-facing windows because they tend to bring in too much heat.

If your tiger taro appears too leggy and can’t support its weight, you’re likely depriving it of enough sunlight—according to a growing guide from the University of Minnesota.

You can resort to artificial lighting fixtures if you live in an area with little to no sunlight. You’ll find LED and fluorescent options in the market. LEDs are typically more effective and versatile but tend to cost more. Meanwhile, fluorescent bulbs are cheaper but less energy-efficient.

Mix Soil

Tiger taro plants originally resided in rainforest settings. As such, they need moist and well-draining soil to ensure healthy growth.

You can purchase commercial houseplant soil mixes. Alternatively, you can create a mix of equal-part perlite, peat moss, and sand. Here’s how each ingredient helps your plant:

  • Perlite is ideal for soil aeration and drainage, which will prevent future fungal issues.
  • Peat moss’ main role is to maintain your soil’s pH. It also improves your potting mix’s moisture retention. 
  • Coarse sand encourages water drainage and avoids waterlogging. 

Pro tip: You can tweak your ingredient amount depending on environmental factors.

For instance, if your home is particularly humid, you can reduce the peat moss intake and increase the pro-drainage components. On the other hand, a dryer landscape would call for extra peat moss.

Add Water

As a tropical plant, it’s only natural your tiger taro requires a generous hand during watering sessions. Nonetheless, you also need to balance the intake because excessive moisture can result in a waterlogged mess and fungal diseases like root rot.

There’s no strict watering schedule you need to follow. Factors like your environment’s humidity, container size, and plant size can impact the plant’s moisture requirements.

The best method to determine when you should water your tiger taro is to check the topsoil. If it’s dry, add water, and if it’s still wet, leave it.

According to the University of Maryland’s care guide for indoor plants, another ideal indicator is your houseplant’s container weight. Lift it, and if it’s too heavy or light, that could mean that your tiger taro is over or under-watered, respectively.

In terms of how you can water your tiger taro, the most common method is pouring from the top. The water should then trickle freely until it reaches the bottom soil layer. Alternatively, you can try bottom watering, where you place a water saucer under the houseplant’s pot.

It offers several benefits, like keeping pests at bay from wet topsoil and reducing foliage damage. That said, it’ll still need the occasional top watering to drain the excess salts from your soil.

Control Temperature

You’ll want to keep your Alocasia longiloba at temperatures between 54° and 86°F – but the arrow-shaped plant will thrive best in the 60° to 80°F range. Subsequently, you can keep your tiger taro outdoors during the summer months in a partially shaded area.

Once winter hits, you need to shelter the Alocasia plant indoors, especially when temperatures dip below 45°F.

Likewise, temperatures running above 90°F can be damaging to the houseplant’s leaves, turning them yellow.

Provide Fertilizer

Fertilizing an Alocasia longiloba is a necessary care routine step. You’ll need to feed it every two weeks during its growing season, which falls between spring and fall. During winter, you can lay off the feed for longer periods due to the plant’s dormancy.

Another fertilizer scheduling method you can apply is feeding the plant after every four watering sessions. Extend the feeding timing to every six watering sessions once winter and late fall come around.

As per Utah State University’s fertilizer management page, fertilizer ingredients like nitrogen and phosphorus are essential to your plant’s growth. Those nutrients help compensate for all the leaf loss, rather than encourage growth.

You can purchase a ready-made, commercial fertilizer for houseplants. Just be sure to dilute the formula with water to avoid burning the roots and causing yellowing leaves.

How to Grow Alocasia longiloba Plants

Luckily, growing a long-leaf Alocasia from a seedling is straightforward. Begin by planting your stem-cutting or seed in a well-draining soil.

Apply the same care methods you would a mature Alocasia by watering it when the topsoil is dry and keeping it in partial shade or a spot with indirect light. As it grows, you’ll notice signs that your young tiger taro needs to move to a bigger home.

Those signs can include roots sticking out from the pot’s drainage holes below. Plus, when watering, the houseplant seems to dry faster than usual. That’s because roots are taking up more space, leaving no opportunity for water retention.

When repotting the plant, you need to ensure it’s during spring or an active season so it’s at its strongest to handle the stress.

How to Repot Alocasia longiloba Plants

Alocasia longiloba houseplants typically take between one and two years to repot. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Prepare a pot one size bigger than the original container.
  2. Create a well-draining soil mixture for the pot’s base using perlite, peat, and pine bark.
  3. Gently take out the Alocasia longiloba from its old container.
  4. Examine its roots for any signs of rot or death. Prune off those affected.
  5. Place the houseplant in its new pot at the center.
  6. Pile the rest of the soil around it and keep it compact.

How to Care for Alocasia longiloba Plants In All Seasons

Seasonal changes can impact your Alocasia longiloba care routine. You’ll be more busy caring for the plant in active summer, spring, and early fall seasons. During then, you’ll need to water the plant and shovel in fertilizer more frequently.

When the first signs of winter appear, you can take a step back and ease up on the watering and fertilizing. Instead, prioritize a warm spot where your tiger taro can rest until its dormancy period ends.

How to Propagate Alocasia longiloba Plants

When you propagate plants like Alocasia longiloba, there are primarily two best methods: through stem cuttings or basal offset division.

With stem cuttings, you do as follows:

  1. Search for a healthy stem in your tiger taro with some nodes and one leaf.
  2. Use a pruning knife to cut it off from below the node.
  3. Take out any leaves from the bottom section of the stem.
  4. Plunge the lower part of the stem into a rooting hormone powder.
  5. Plant the stem in a pot with well-draining soil.
  6. You can cover the stem with a plastic bag or container to preserve humidity.

As for the basal division method, you’ll need to:

  1. Remove the mother plant from its pot.
  2. Push down on the chosen offset division until it snaps off.
  3. Sort out the offset’s foliage and root system and plant it in a separate pot.

What Family Do Alocasia longiloba Plants Belong To?

Alocasia longiloba plants belong to the Araceae family. Araceae types distinguish themselves from other families with their bifacial leaves imprinted with netted or parallel venation.

The family also tends to have a spadix filled with small flowers and a spathe.

How Long Do Alocasia longiloba Plants Live For?

There’s no specific lifespan for an Alocasia longiloba. Indoor houseplants typically survive between one and three years. Nonetheless, some pet plants, with the right routine, can live up to 20 years.

Consequently, a tiger taro’s life expectancy rests on your shoulders. If you provide the right care and routinely observe the plant for any issues before they develop further, your tropical houseplant may age to be a decade old.

What Are Common Pest and Plant Diseases for Alocasia longiloba Plants?

Has your long-leaf Alocasia seen better days? You might notice its leaves yellowing, curling, drooping, or dropping. In these cases, it’s time for a check-up. 

In terms of pest problems, some of the most common culprits include spider mites, aphids, scales, and mealy bugs.

You can treat these parasites with a soap or insecticide-soaked cotton ball wipe all over the leaves.

As for plant diseases, Alocasia longiloba can be vulnerable to root rot, especially if you’re a little heavy-handed with the watering. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s horticulture division advises you to reduce soil moisture, avoid over-watering, and not use soil from your garden since it can contain fungi—allowing the root rot to flourish.

How to Tell if Alocasia longiloba Plant Is Not Growing

You can tell your Alocasia longiloba isn’t growing from its leaves. Give them a careful inspection and look for signs of yellowing, discoloration, crispiness, or droopiness.

These symptoms will offer better insight into whether you’re over or underwatering the plant. 

You might also be giving it too much sunlight, leading to scorch marks. The plant may appear leggy from trying to reach for the sun as well. 

So, consider all these factors when assessing your tiger taro’s stunted growth.

Are Alocasia longiloba Plants Poisonous?

Alocasia longiloba plants are toxic to humans, cats, and dogs because of the presence of calcium oxalate. The compound can cause irritation and mouth and throat burns. For pets, ingesting large amounts of calcium oxalate can lead to kidney dysfunction. 

How to Help Alocasia longiloba Plant Grow

If your leaves are facing problems like drooping and discoloring, you need to act fast to keep your Alocasia longiloba thriving. That can involve treating signs of parasites through insecticide spray and quarantining new plants.

You’ll also want to consider repotting the houseplant if you notice signs of root rot, such as a rotten stench, mushy stems, and wilting leaves.

You can follow a strict care routine but still face some of these issues along the way. For this reason, keeping a regular eye on your tiger taro every week will help you prevent diseases and parasites from festering.