How This Plant Person Propagates Alocasia With Regular Success

African mask plant (Alocasia amazonica) against a white wall.

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

It’s always hard to choose a favorite plant, but in the last year or so, the alocasia has taken the houseplant world by storm. People love these gorgeous tropical plants. They have very distinctive arrow shaped leaves which come in all types of patterns and colors. The zebrina even has a stunning striped stem that leaves people speechless. But perhaps one of the coolest things about these plants is the way you're able to propagate them

They don’t have any nodes, so sticking them in water will not work. Instead, when you go to repot the plant, if you sift through the soil you’ll be able to find tiny little corms. Corms are tiny underground plant stems that grow within the roots. When you dig into the soil, you may find ten corms or you may only find a handful of them. It just depends on the plant and its care.

Once you have your corm, a lot of people often try to plant them in soil and hope that they grow. Unfortunately, this process takes a whole lot of patience. You have to make sure you’re not planting it upside down; you need to ensure that the soil is staying super moist; and you have to have an incredible amount of humidity to get these guys to sprout. 

Meet the Expert

Lizzie Colbert from @lizziesjungle is a plant parent and self-proclaimed Alocasia Corm Queen.

Seeing as this can be tricky, we came across another method on Instagram that Lizzie Colbert is finding great success with and spreading her knowledge with her followers. 

Her Method of Propagation: Humidity and Water

corm kit

@lizziesjungle / Lizzie Colbert

“My method of propagation is pretty basic and relies on high humidity and water only," Colbert explains. "The corm is placed in shallow water (I prefer to use filtered water) and then a dome or cover gets placed over it to seal the moisture inside."

Colbert has made the same mistakes other alocasia owners have made when attempting to propagate their plants. "When I first discovered corms, I tried them in soil but nothing happened, so I decided to try them in water because other plants propagate so easily in water," she says. "The trick is to leave the tip of the corm above water, because it needs to breathe."

Tip

Colbert uses tiny bottle caps that you can find at a craft store to grow her corms. The small bottles that come with the caps them act as great humidity domes. If you don’t have something like that, a shallow bowl with a glass placed on top is a great option. 

"After a few weeks, you'll notice the tip getting longer and roots beginning to grow on the sides of the corm. The process from corm to first leaf can take 1-4 months!” She emphasizes that patience is key during this process. 

"Some corms can take longer than others and every corm has its own DNA, like siblings in real life," she explains. "Corms can take their time so don't give up on it unless it's mushy, and don't transfer to soil unless the first leaf is out and the roots are plenty long!"

Even once you've planted the new baby alocasia in soil, Colbert still recommends using a humidity soil to support the plant while it acclimates.

Her Success Rate and Influence

“The success rate is probably 98% for me," she shares. "I have had a few die due to random rot, which I later discovered was caused by the abrupt changes in temperature and the varying use of heat/AC in my home."

Corm growing

@lizziesjungle / Lizzie Colbert

"If I had to guess, I would say 90% of my followers have been influenced to try my method,” says Colbert. She has nearly 6K followers on her Instagram page, which really goes to show that people are soaking up her method and giving it a go on their own.

We’ve tried Colbert’s Alocasia corm propagation method ourselves and it definitely works. While only two out of five of our corms actually sprouted, they’ve been planted into pon and are now thriving. 

Colbert's Alocasia Propagation Tips

"Make sure you only pull the corms that are big enough to propagate, about the size of a macadamia nut or peanut." she advises. "The smaller the corm, the longer it takes and the higher the risk of corm death."

corm sprouting

@lizziesjungle / Lizzie Colbert

Another pro tip to set you up for success: "Peeling the corm before plopping it into its little water bath can help speed up the growing process!"