These beautiful stove plants are grown entirely for the beauty of their leaves. They delight in our hot summers under glass and must not be allowed to go below 60 degrees in the winter months. They require shade in the bright days of spring and summer, and where the house is heavily shaded they will be greatly benefited by a little fire heat at night. In shaded houses during rainy weather and cold nights, even in summer, there is a dampness and stagnation that is very uncongenial to most plants, and exotics in particular should have a little fire heat.
The compost in which they delight is one-third fibrous peat, one-third turfy loam in coarse lumps and one-third chopped sphagnum, to which add some charcoal. Although the roots delight in moisture it must not be stagnant around them, and the pots should be filled within a few inches of the rim with broken crocks. Keep the roots and the potting material well above the edge of the pot and cover the surface of the compost with live sphagnum, in which the young roots thrive. They must be given an abundance of water in summer, but much less in winter. It is not only the water they receive on the surface that benefits them, but they require a humid, warm atmosphere. The above applies to the evergreen species such as metallica, regina and others.
The best time to increase your stock of alocasias is in the spring by dividing the stems or rhizomes, which when first taken off and started should have a close, moist and warm temperature and be away from all draughts of air. A Wardian case on the greenhouse bench with some bottom heat is the ideal place.
The herbaceous species do very well in good fibrous loam with a fourth of decayed cow manure. As winter approaches the evergreen species should be given less water and the herbaceous sorts gradually let go dry till the following March.
The leaves are large, from one to two feet in length. All are beautiful, varying in coloring and markings from the well known A. metallica or cuprea, a dark metallic bronze, to A. longiloba, green with silvery markings. Among the best species and hybrids are those above mentioned and A. hybrida, A. Jenningsii, A. Johnstonii, A. Sedenii, A. Thibautiana, A. variegata, and many others, all beautiful plants for the private collection.