Common Name: Alocasia Regal Shield, African Mask, Elephant Ears
Botanical Name: Alocasia odora × Alocasia reginula
The Alocasia Regal Shield—famously known as the Elephant Ear plant—makes an architectural statement with long upright stems and extra-large, sculptural & deeply veined foliage that will soothe and mesmerize you. This indoor plant is a beautiful natural work of art that will wow all who gaze upon it! This bright upright houseplant can tolerate low light but prefers bright indirect light. Keep the soil moist but not soaked! Under the right conditions, your Alocasia Regal Shield will bloom. The flowers feature a spathe and spadix but are typically concealed by the leaves, but the foliage of Alocasia Regal Shield is the real showstopper. Learn more about how to properly care for this Elephant Ear!
Alocasia species 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 and produce the large leaves it is known for, then make sure the Alocasia Regal Shield 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 Alocasia Regal Shield outdoors in the warmer months, place it in a spot that receives partial shade. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. Learn about lighting needs for indoor plants!
Water Alocasia Regal Shield plants when the top couple of inches of the soil is dry. Alocasias have medium water requirements, meaning they need evenly consistent moisture, 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 Alocasia species 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 Regal Shield 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 Regal Shield prefers warmer temperatures more in line with their native environment. Average room temperatures above 60°F will be perfectly adequate! If you place your African Mask on a patio or outdoor area during the warmer months, then make sure to bring it 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, that Alocasia Regal Shield will 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 Regal Shield 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 an arid 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 Regal Shield 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 Regal Shield. 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 Regal Shield if the plant is dormant. Learn all about how to fertilize your indoor plants!
Spring and summer are peak growth seasons for Alocasia Regal Shield plants. Outdoor-grown Alocasia Regal Shield plants can grow at 3-5 feet each year. This is not the case for Alocasia Regal Shield plants grown indoors or in containers, which develop at a rate of 1-2 feet each year. Regal shield grows quite quickly in the correct circumstances, reaching a mature height of 5′ feet in as little as two years. Some outdoor gardeners have even managed to push the plant to a size of 9′ feet, which is rather unusual. It has distinctive Alocasia Regal Shield leaves on multiple stalk-like stems that range in length from 8 to 20 inches and are a deep blackish-green hue.
Pet Friend or Foe
Alocasia Regal Shield is toxic to pets. Foe!
- Rotate the pot a quarter turn every time you water your Alocasia Regal Shield. This will ensure the plant receives even sunlight and prevent it from growing towards the light and becoming top-heavy.
- Alocasia Regal Shield 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 Regal Shield, 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 Regal Shields 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 Regal Shield, 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.
- Find out the do’s and don’ts for your new indoor plants!