Care and Grow for All Types of Alocasia Cucullata Plants

As a distinguished member of the Araceae family, the Alocasia cucullata has it all: A unique look, vibrant colors, and a simple care routine. 

Yes, you don’t have to put in that much effort to enjoy that plant’s stunning aesthetics. All you have to do is use well-aerated soil with proper drainage. You want to keep it moist all the time but don’t over-water it.

Fertilize your plant once every two weeks to a month, and place your pot somewhere warm with bright, indirect light. That should be enough, even if you’re growing an Alocasia seed. 

What Are Alocasia Cucullata Plants?

The Alocasia cucullata is a stunning flowering plant that belongs to the distinctive Araceae family. It’s famous for its long stems, glossy foliage, prominent veins, and thick heart-shaped leaves.

It has many names: The hooded dwarf elephant ear, Chinese taro, Chinese ape, and Buddha’s hand. That last one is because it’s usually kept in Buddhist temples to bring good luck.

The Alocasia cucullata’s distinctive aesthetics made it a popular indoor houseplant. Yes, you can provide the ideal environment for that plant inside your house. 

Be careful, though: This Alocasia can grow to become 8 ft tall and 4 ft wide. So, you might want to make a spacious room for it.

Quick Summary of Alocasia Cucullata

Now you have a general idea about the Alocasia cucullata. Let’s go more in-depth, though.

  • Scientific name: Alocasia cucullata
  • Common names: Hooded dwarf elephant ear, Chinese taro, Chinese ape, and Buddha’s hand.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Watering: When the top two inches of the soil dry
  • Temperature: 64.5°-77℉ (18°-25℃)
  • Hardiness zone: 9-11
  • Soil pH: 5.6-6.5
  • Soil type: Moist, well-draining, slightly acidic
  • Repotting: Every 1-2 years
  • Pruning: During the spring or summer
  • Size: It can grow 8 ft tall and 4 ft wide
  • Bloom time: Spring and summer
  • Propagation: The division method

How to Care for Alocasia Cucullata

That’s probably the section you’re here for. Don’t worry. We’ll go through the care routine as thoroughly as possible. It’s not that different from other topical houseplants’ care routines.

Here’s the gist of it: Grow your Alocasia in well-draining soil and place the pot somewhere with bright, indirect light.

You want to keep tabs on the soil’s moisture levels and water it whenever it feels dry. Finally, fertilize it once every two weeks to a month, and you’re done!

Of course, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Here’s the detailed version:

  1. Provide Bright Light

The Alocasia cucullata is native to tropical Asian lands, which means it thrives on bright light. You don’t want to expose it to the sun directly, though, as it can burn its leaves.

Stick to bright, indirect light. We recommend keeping it in front of north-facing windows. They face away from the sun, meaning they don’t receive direct light.

That doesn’t mean you can’t place your plant in front of a south-facing window, but you’ll have to reduce the intensity of the sunlight. Rolling the blinds down or closing the window should do the trick.

Here’s the catch: When you place your indoor plant in front of a window, only the side facing the window receives sunlight. So, keep rotating the pot for even light distribution.

  1. Mix Your Soil

The Alocasia cucullata prefers to stay moist all the time. So, you want to use soil that retains enough moisture to keep it hydrated but drains excess water to prevent root rot.

You can find that type of soil mix in local gardening stores, but we can’t recommend mixing your soil at home enough. It gives you the freedom to add all the ingredients you want, ensuring you provide your plant with the perfect soil mix.

So, how do you mix soil at home? Combine one part soil mix, one part perlite, one part peat moss, one part worm compost, and sprinkle some horticultural charcoal.

It seems like a mishmash of random ingredients, but each component in that mix serves a purpose. Perlite aerates the soil, peat moss helps it retain moisture, worm compost improves its structure, and charcoal protects it from bacteria.

So, don’t skip any of these ingredients, and feel free to add other components that might benefit your plant.

  1. Add Water 

Alocasias’ water intake depends on the climate. There isn’t a specific schedule to follow. However, we can tell you how to identify when your plant needs water.

Touch the top two inches of the soil, and only water it when it feels dry. Don’t let it dry out, though, or you’ll be putting your plant at risk.

  1. Control the Temperature

As a tropical houseplant, the Alocasia cucullata prefers warm environments. So, keep it somewhere with temperatures ranging between 64.5°-77℉.

  1. Provide Fertilizer

The Alocasia cucullata doesn’t require a lot of fertilizing, but you still need to provide it with all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy leaves.

On average, you want to fertilize it once every two weeks to a month and use a diluted, liquid fertilizer for maximum efficiency.

How to Grow Alocasia Cucullata Plants?

We’ve already covered how to care for a regular Alocasia cucullata plant. What if you’re growing seeds, though? Do you know how to care for those? 

Luckily, the routine isn’t that different. When you collect the seeds from the pods, wipe them with paper towels, then plant them in loose, loamy, slightly acidic soil.

Feel free to add any of the soil components we mentioned above. Water the soil regularly, but don’t soak it, and place the pot somewhere with bright, indirect light.

Eventually, your Alocasia will outgrow its container, and you’ll need to replace it with one that’s one or two inches larger.

How to Repot Alocasia Cucullata Plants?

Alocasia cucullata plants usually take one or two years to outgrow their pots. Ideally, you want to repot them during the summer or spring.

That’s their growth season. So, they’ll put more energy toward settling into their new home. Enough stalling. Here’s how you repot your Alocasia:

  • Fill the bottom third of the new pot with a proper soil mix.
  • Take your Alocasia out of its old pot and gently loosen the compacted soil if there’s any.
  • Plant your Alocasia in the new container and fill it with soil.
  • Water the soil to prevent/reduce transplant shock.
  • Place the pot somewhere warm with bright, indirect light.

Helpful tip: Stay from metal pots. They don’t provide good drainage and absorb too much heat.

How to Care for Alocasia Cucullata Plants in All Seasons?

Yes, the Alocasia cucullata’s care routine differs from one season to another. For example, they require more water during the growth season to grow healthy leaves.

However, they don’t need as much water in winter because they enter a dormant state during that season. The same thing applies to fertilizing. Do it during the spring or summer to get the best results, and avoid it in winter.

As we’ve already established, you want to place your plant in front of the windows to ensure it receives ample light, but only during the growth season. You’ll want to move it during winter, as it won’t handle the cold air.

As for repotting, do it during summer. If you repot it in winter, it’ll become too stressed and won’t grow well.

How to Propagate Alocasia Cucullata Plants? 

When you see the aesthetics Alocasia cucullata brings to your house, you’ll want to buy more. Unfortunately, the Chinese ape isn’t cheap. So, what can you do?

Learn how to propagate plants. It’s easy, quick, and inexpensive. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take your Alocasia out of its pot and loosen the soil around the rhizomes
  • Use a sterile knife to cut the part of the rhizomes that have established roots.
  • Place your rhizomes in a well-aerated potting mix and water them to help them settle.

What Family Do Alocasia Cucullata Plants Belong to?

The Alocasia cucullata belongs to the Araceae family, which includes more than 140 Aracaea types and 3000 species.

How Long Do Alocasia Cucullata Plants Live for?

It depends on how well you take care of them. If you provide an ideal environment, they can last for five years, maybe more. If you neglect them, though, they’ll only last a few months.

What Are Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Alocasia Cucullata Plants?

The Alocasia cucullata is a durable plant. That doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to pests or diseases. You need to learn how to identify potential threats so you know how to treat them.


Mealybugs are the most common type of pests Alocasias face. You can identify them through the sticky honeydew they leave on the foliage.

To get rid of them, wipe the infected spots with an alcohol-dipped cotton ball. That should eliminate them right away.


Alocasia cucullata plants face various types of diseases, like root rot, rust, and powdery mildew. The most vicious one among them, though, is botrytis. It’s a fungal disease that causes your plant to decay and lose its color.

Don’t worry. The treatment is simple. Just spray neem oil on the infected part of your plant, and it’ll regain its vitality in no time.

How to Tell If Alocasia Cucullata Plant Is Not Growing?

Keep a close eye on your plant to record its growth rate. You can also check the roots and the leaves. If they don’t look healthy, your Alocasia might be facing a disease that stunts its growth.

Are Alocasia Cucullata Plants Poisonous?

Yes, Alocasia cucullata plants contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves, which are poisonous to dogs and cats. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and mouth/skin irritation. 

How to Help Alocasia Cucullata Plant Grow?

Growing a houseplant is soothing and comforting, but it’s not easy. You’re bound to face an issue at one point. That could be droopy leaves, root rot, or color changes.

These problems usually indicate there’s a flaw in your care routine. Maybe you need to use less water, move it somewhere less sunny, or use better soil.

You don’t have to change your entire routine all at once. Do it one step at a time until you eliminate the source of the problem.