If you’ve been in a houseplant shop, you’ve probably marvelled at a plant with dark green leaves and zebra striped stems.
For many it’s the pinnacle of a tropical plant collection, and if you can keep one alive, it’s a demonstration you really know what you’re doing when it comes to plant parenting.
Native to the Philippines, this big-leaf tropical plant sometimes goes by the name ‘Elephant ear’. Confusing right?
Lots of other types of Alocasia, without the zebra stripes, also share the elephant ears nickname, but we’ll stick to its botanical name, Alocasia zebrina.
How to care for the Alocasia zebrina
As your Alocasia zebrina grows, you will start to notice baby Alocasias appearing around the sides of the main stems. These are offsets you can use to make new Alocasia plants, and they normally appear in the second or third year.
All you will need is some small pots and peat-free, multipurpose compost.
The night before propagating, water your Alocasia to help reduce stress on the plant.
How to propagate the Alocasia zebrina
Remove the parent plant from its pot and let any loose soil fall away. Carefully wiggle the newly revealed offsets away from the main stem, with roots attached.
Pot these on into the smaller pots at the same depth they were before, firming them in place.
Water again and keep them somewhere warm and humid until new leaves begin to emerge.
Plants can go dormant in winter, which can make them easier to care for. Leaves above ground will die while the tuber lives on in the compost ? George Hudson is the Green London Curator at the Garden Museum, @georgejwhudson