Native to the Borneo and Malaya, this tender herbaceous perennial is a member of the arum family (Arceae) that also includes jack in the pulpit, skunk cabbage, caladium, and peace lily. Like other members of the family, the plant has an inflorescence that includes a spadix bearing many small flowers and is partially enclosed by a  leafy bract, called the spathe. Although the flowers are interesting,  the striking foliage of the plant is its big appeal.  The thick oval shiny leaves are carried on 2′ long petioles and are up to 18″ long and 12″ wide.  They are dark metallic green on the upper surface,  deep purple beneath, and  are puckered along the silvery prominent veins highlighted by an almost black midrib.  Plants add a tropical note to any garden but are usually grown as houseplants in USDA zone 9 and colder.   The genus name, Alocasia, is from the Greek prefix a meaning without/not, and Colocasia, the name of a closely related genus from which it was separated. The specific epithet, cuprea, is the Latin word meaning coppery and refers to the color of the leaves especially when young.

Type: Tender herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Spatha and spadix in summer

Size: 2-4′ H 3′ W

Light: Filtered shade

Soil: Fertile, humusy, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 10-11

Care: Keep warm,  evenly moist and in high humidity; fertilize with foliage plant fertilizer as directed on the package.

Pests and Diseases: mealy bug

Propagation: Division in spring

Companion Plants: Banana, hibiscus, tree fern, fatsia, canna, ginger, caladium

Photo Credit: Wikipedia






By Karen