Alocasia Purple Cloak
- Alocasia princeps,
- Elephant Ear,
- Purple Cloak
Native to the tropical island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, the Alocasia princeps or Purple Cloak is recognized for its dramatic v-shaped, dark green leaves with deep purple-red undersides. The Purple Cloak, like other indoor Alocasias, remains compact, with most staying under 4 feet tall. Once mostly found in the greenhouses of collectors, the Purple Cloak is one of the jewel Alocasias that are becoming more popular and readily available for plant lovers.
The Purple Cloak prefers medium to bright levels of light. A west or east-facing window where the Purple Cloak’s leaves are safely shielded from the direct rays of the sun will usually offer enough sunlight for the Purple Cloak to thrive. The Purple Cloak should not be exposed to harsh, direct sunlight, as its sensitive leaves will burn.
The Purple Cloak prefers slightly damp soil, which can be achieved with watering once weekly during the summer and once every other week during the winter months. We’d suggest only watering when the top layer of soil (2-3 inches) has started to dry out, being careful not to overly saturate your Purple Cloak, as overwatering can result in root issues (or potential death). Too little moisture in its soil and you could start to see brown, crispy leaf tips on your Purple Cloak.
The Purple Cloak thrives at temperatures between 60⁰F and 80⁰F. It is attuned to higher levels of humidity than most plants, with 60-80% being optimal. You may want to supplement with extra moisture by placing your plant near a humidifier, including a pebble tray filled with water underneath your plant (not touching the roots or bottom of the soil), potting your plant in a planter with a reservoir, or keeping your plant in a terrarium. Misting the leaves can be effective, when done daily, but be sure to wipe excess water from your plant’s leaves. Over an extended period, misting with too much water can result in water build up on the leaves that results in leaf loss.
Always ensure your Purple Cloak is healthy and happy before attempting to fertilize your plant. Fertilizing your Purple Cloak is important during the spring and summer months. Soil in the jungles of Indonesia, where the Purple Cloak hails from, is rich with limestone and calcium, so any fertilizer containing substrates of these nutrients would be best to help your Purple Cloak thrive. Use a premium, nutrient-rich fertilizer and dilute it about half the amount suggested by the bag or box no more than once a month during growing season. When the weather starts to cool, ease the Purple Cloak off the fertilizer and eventually stop completely.
During fall and winter, the Purple Cloak enters a state of semi-dormancy
It’s not unusual for Purple Cloaks to drop leaves (sometimes ALL of them) during the winter months.
It’s not abnormal for Purple Cloaks to experience leaf loss outside of the colder months as well, as their unique structure and root system only allows them to support so many leaves at one time.
Spider mites are the most common pest you’ll have to contend with in your care of your Purple Cloak but wiping down leaves and stems with soapy water and increasing the humidity can help to keep your plant mite-free.
Purple Cloak are also highly toxic when ingested, so you shouldn’t allow pets or children to mingle with your Alocasia.
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