This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
This plant, better known by the synonym of Alocasia metallica, ranks amongst the most useful of stove fine-foliage plants. When well grown, and red-spider kept away, a good specimen is a telling object, and more especially so when a crop of young leaves has just developed - the metallic hue of the foliage is then most chaste and beautiful. Its culture is extremely simple: cutting the stems into bits half an inch in length, and no more than just buried in an open sandy compost, renders its propagation in any quantity a very easy matter. The eyes, of course, require bottom-heat to start them quickly; the tops of the shoots make plants very much more quickly than the eyes do. Let us suppose a plant has been struck in a 5-inch pot - if the shoots are strong and the leaves large, a 6-inch pot would be better - which pot has been about half filled with drainage, and the compost well permeated with roots; then prepare an 8 or 9 inch pot by inverting a 3-inch pot over the hole in the bottom, and fill more than half-way up the pot with crocks; place a layer of the turfiest part of the compost over these, and the pot is ready for its occupant. In potting, keep the collar of the plant at least level with the rim of the pot, rounding it off to 3/4 of an inch below the rim at the sides.
The compost most suitable is the most fibrous turf, and the same quality of peat if come-at-able, in equal proportions, and used in lumps, with a free admixture of coarse silver sand; bits of charcoal and a few half-inch bones mixed with it will be of advantage. If the aim of the cultivator be to get up a large specimen in the shortest possible time, keep the plant in a warm stove, constantly syringed to keep down red-spider, which affects it, and the roots in a moist condition. When another shift is required, put it into a 12-inch pot, filling it well up with drainage, and potting after the same manner. A 15-inch will be a suitable-sized pot for another shift. If this size be fixed on as the largest pot the plant is to occupy, dressings of the same as the compost used for potting will be found useful at intervals. Those who are fond of using manure-water will find this a subject that will, when it has well filled the pot with roots, put away almost any quantity. Young fresh-grown plants in 6-inch pots are useful for furnishing vases, or other room-decoration.
The same treatment will be found suitable for Anthurium Lindenii, Scherzerianum, etc, Maranta Veitchii, and others. Alocasia Mac-rorhiza variegata does well in the same compost, though a larger proportion of turfy loam is better for this plant than would be safe to use for the others. If there is any secret in the successful culture of these plants, it is to be found in using a compost thoroughly open, and giving, so to speak, unlimited quantities of water when once they are in full growth at root. R. P. B.