Common Name: Red Secret Alocasia, African Mask, Elephant Ears
Botanical Name: Alocasia cuprea ‘Red Secret’
This alocasia is so shiny and pretty that you might fall into a trance and lose track of time! The intricate leaves have deep ridges and texture, almost reptilian-like but glow with a radiant burgundy red! It is easier to care for the Alocasia Red Secret like all indoor plants when you understand more about its origin. These are subtropical plants that hail from Asia and Eastern Australia. In nature, these plants grow underneath a tree canopy, so they require filtered sunlight to grow successfully in your home! Learn more about caring for Alocasia Red Secret!
Alocasias are adaptable and can handle a range of light from low to bright indirect. The amount of light the plant receives will dictate how quickly it grows. If you want your plant to push out new leaves actively, then make sure the Alocasia Red Secret is in a spot where it can receive plenty of bright indirect light. The plant will survive but not grow as quickly when placed in an area with lower light levels. If you bring your African Mask outdoors in the warmer months, put it in a spot that receives partial shade. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. Place your Red Secret in a north, or east-facing window to provide indirect light throughout the day!
Water Alocasia Red Secret plants when the top couple of inches of the soil is dry. Alocasia Red Secrets have medium water requirements. Even consistent moisture is ideal, but they do not like to have continually soggy soil. Cut back on watering during the colder months if the plant is not actively growing.
All Alocasias love loose nutrient-rich potting soil. Use a soil medium that can retain moisture but also allows for draining excess water to avoid root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your Alocasia Red Secret into a compost-rich soil mixture with fewer drainage materials. Learn how to create your own universal soil mixture for all your indoor plants!
As a subtropical plant, Alocasia Red Secret prefers warmer temperatures more in line with its native environment. Average room temperatures above 60°F will be perfectly adequate! If you place your Elephant Ears on a patio or outdoor area during the warmer months, then make sure to bring them back inside well before the temperatures drop below 50°F. Avoid placing the plant near an exterior door, drafty window, or in front of an air conditioning or heating vent. These temperature fluctuations can inhibit growth and potentially damage the leaves. Keep in mind, Alocasia Red Secret may go dormant in the colder months. Although they may not lose all their leaves, they will stop growing and should be kept in slightly lower temperatures to enjoy their downtime!
Alocasia Red Secret houseplants thrive when they receive lots of humidity which makes sense given their subtropical origins. Placing the houseplant in an area with high humidity is ideal. If you live in a dry climate or just don't have an area with enough humidity, then consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water. These options can help give these plants the extra boost of dampness they crave. Learn how to increase the humidity for your Alocasia Red Secret and other indoor plants!
Routine fertilizing, especially when the houseplant is actively growing, can help these plants push out new growth. Varieties known for exceptionally large leaves can benefit from feedings. A diluted complete liquid fertilizer, a fish/seaweed emulsion, or a slow-release fertilizer are all excellent choices for Alocasia Red Secret. Alternatively, you can top dress the soil with organic compost or worm castings to provide them with a slow and steady supply of nutrients throughout the growing season. Do not fertilize your Alocasia Red Secret if the plant is dormant. Learn all about how to fertilize your indoor plants!
Slow-growing Alocasia Red Secret rarely grows taller than 2’ indoors and needs plenty of indirect light and humidity to reach maturity.
Pet Friend or Foe
Alocasia Red Secret is toxic to pets! Foe!
- Rotate the pot a quarter turn every time you water your Alocasia Red Secret. This will ensure the plant receives even sunlight and prevent it from growing towards the light and becoming top-heavy.
- Alocasia Red Secret likes to be a bit root bound, so there is seldom an urgent need to re-pot. However, these indoor plants tend to outgrow their pots since they can be fast growers. When it's time to re-pot your Alocasia Red Secret, select a pot that is 1-2" larger than the current pot or carefully separate the roots to divide the plant and re-pot into multiple containers. Routinely dividing the plant can help keep it at a more manageable size if space is limited.
- Alocasia Red Secrets have a rhizome-type root system. These thick roots will store extra water for the plant. The nodes are located on the roots; therefore, to propagate an Alocasia Red Secret, remove a section of the root and plant it in soil. A new plant will sprout from the rhizome with enough time and the right conditions.
- Under the right conditions, your Alocasia Red Secret will bloom. The flowers feature a spathe and spadix but are typically concealed by the leaves. The foliage is the real showstopper.
- Alocasia can attract mealy bugs and other pests, and the best way to control any pest problems is to use organic methods such as neem oil. Learn how to use neem oil to protect your houseplants from pests!