Elephant Ears, aka Alocasia Amazonica Bambino, is among the most exciting houseplants. The tiny plant easily fits shelves, tabletops, and other small spaces.
Moreover, the arrow-shaped deep green leaves adorn a striking variegation that immediately stands out.
Therefore, plant lovers adore Bambino Alocasia and are happy to grow several for home and office decoration.
We’ve developed this guide to help you care for your Alocasia Bambino for a healthy plant and beautiful home.
What’s Alocasia Bambino?
Also known as Elephant Ears, Bambino Alocasia, or Jewel Alocasia, Alocasia Bambino is a tropical aroid from the genus Araceae. Botanically, it’s known as Alocasia Bambino Arrow.
The plant is native to Southeast Asia, though you can also find it growing in Australia and the South Pacific Island.
Naturally occurring Elephant Ears resemble Alocasia Polly but are smaller, reaching between one foot (30 cm) and 40 cm.
The plants are easily recognizable by their simply stunning foliage. Light veins run across the deep-green leaves, with purple-toned undersides completing the set. It’s a phenomenon!
Is Alocasia Bambino Hard to Care For?
Unfortunately, Alocasia Bambino plants are delicate and more challenging to care for than other plants.
For one, the plant is highly susceptible to dry conditions. It easily withers and dries at the hint of drought.
At the same time, Alocasias require plenty of sunlight. It grows less vigorously, becomes pale, and may drop leaves without sufficient sunlight. Yet, it’s just as susceptible to direct sunlight.
Also, you must maintain a regular watering routine, sufficiently fertilize the plant, and watch out for pests and diseases.
Otherwise, the plant won’t live for long. So, it’s a demanding houseplant.
Caring for Alocasia Amazonica Bambino
Below is an in-depth guide to caring for Alocasia Bambino indoors. Seek professional assistance if you run into headwinds.
i. Soil Requirements
Alocasia Bambino requires a well-drained soil mix with organic matter to successfully grow indoors. In addition, the soil must remain moist without compacting water around the plant’s roots.
For this reason, a combination of potting soil, orchid soil mix, and succulent soil mix makes Alocasia Bambinos the happiest.
Choose an orchid mix rich in peat and a finer back mix. Then combine two parts of potting soil with two parts orchid soil mix and two parts succulent soil mix for the perfect rooting medium.
Alternatively, bite the bullet and get a professional soil mix from the experts. It sets you back at least $10/quart but guarantees healthier, more beautiful Elephant Ears.
You’ll also experience fewer pest and disease outbreaks.
ii. Light Requirements
Alocasia Bambinos are just as picky about lighting. While they require plenty of bright light, direct sunlight is a no-no.
It scorches the leaves, causing withering. Also, the leaves may drop prematurely.
At the same time, Elephant Ear plants don’t thrive in dark environments. The lack of sufficient light slows its development and inhibits chlorophyll formation, resulting in light green leaves.
Thus, location is a major factor for indoor Alocasia Bambino plants. We recommend placing it next to a west or east-facing window where it gets plenty of bright indirect light.
However, draw the sheers in the summer or move it away slightly for medium indirect light.
iii. Watering Requirements
The watering routine is the trickiest and most daunting part of the care routine. If the watering schedule or intensity is wrong, your plant will exhibit poor health with root rot and brown tips.
So, you must first understand how the plant behaves in its natural habitat. Alocasia Bambinos are tropical plants originating from the dry areas of South East Asia.
They don’t do well with too much water. So, avoid frequent watering. Ideally, water once a week when the top three inches of the soil are dry.
Secondly, don’t apply too much water when watering. Instead, 0.7 cups per plant suffice.
Most importantly, Alocasia Bambinos don’t tolerate wet feet. Although you should keep the soil moist, compacted wet soil around the roots encourages root rot and may invite fungi.
We recommend warm water as Elephant Ears are very sensitive to cold conditions.
iv. Temperature Requirements
Like other Alocasia plants, Elephant Ears prefer warmer temperatures, not scorching hot conditions. So, aim for 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit, equivalent to 18-29 degrees Celcius.
Fortunately, many homeowners set their air conditioners and heaters within the same range.
But we must warn you about drafts. Sudden gushes of hot or cold air stress the plant, resulting in colour change. Worse still, some leaves may not fully recover from the draft.
Premature leaf death stresses the plant further, slowing down foliage production and increasing the risk of pests and diseases.
So, please don’t put it too close to the air conditioner or heater. Also, keep it a few feet from doors and windows during the winter months.
v. Misting and Humidity Requirements
All houseplants require misting from time to time to keep the leaves hydrated and healthy. The Jewel Alocasia isn’t different. Regularly spray it with tiny droplets from a spray bottle or a canister for healthy plants.
We recommend daily misting between 7-9 am. Remember to cover each leaf’s top and underside.
But that’s not enough. Though it keeps the foliage hydrated, Alocasia Bambino plants perform best in a high-humidity environment, between 50% and 60% of relative humidity. So, you must humidify the plant regularly.
Fortunately, a portable humidifier easily solves the problem. Place the humidifier next to your Jewel Alocasia plant. Alternatively, set the plant pot over a pebble tray filled with water.
vi. Fertilization Needs
Fertilization is critical. However, you must understand a few things to avoid dangerous consequences.
First, quality potting mix has all the nutrients your Jewel Alocasia needs to grow healthily and strongly.
So, there’s no need to apply fertilizer when potting or re-potting. Similarly, you don’t need to fertilize your plants if you refresh the potting mix twice a year.
Only apply fertilizer if you go longer without refreshing the potting mix.
Secondly, don’t fertilize Jewel Alocasias throughout the year. Instead, only apply fertilizer during the growing season from spring to summer (around March to September).
The plant goes into a dormant period during the cold weather (autumn and winter), requiring no fertilizer.
Finally, full-liquid fertilizers are the best for Alocasia Bambinos. But granular and slow-release fertilizer spikes are practical too.
Consider balanced 20-20-20 fertilizers and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best results
vii. Potting and Re-potting Requirements
Three factors are important when potting or re-potting Alicosia Bambino plants – the pot type, pot size, and potting time.
Fortunately, you can use a variety of pots for Jewel Alicoasia plants, provided it has drainage holes.
For instance, terra cotta pots are excellent if you can keep up with the watering requirements. A decorative pot with a drainage hole is another great option.
Meanwhile, the ideal pot size depends on the age of the plant. Generally, you want to start with a 14 cm grow pot for smaller plants.
But you must increase the pot size as the plant grows. Adding 2-3 cm to the previous size when re-potting provides extra space for a healthy plant without the pot looking oversize.
Your plants grow the healthiest if you re-pot every 2-3 years. Alternatively, re-pot when you notice the roots coming from the drainage hole at the bottom.
The best time to re-pot is early spring. However, you can re-pot anytime during the growing season.
viii. Pruning Alocasia Bambino Plants
The first question is whether you need to prune Alocasia Bambino plants. Fortunately, it’s not often necessary as it’s a dwarf variety that doesn’t grow taller than a foot.
Moreover, the plant rarely overgrows. The medium-sized leaves never exceed 15-18 cm long and about 5cm wide. Also, the plant maintains a compact shape throughout its lifespan.
That said, you may notice dead leaves after the dormant period. In addition, some leaves may wither or discolour due to stressors like irregular watering or poor fertilization.
In that case, cut the affected leaves gently using pruning shears.
Similarly, you may prune Alocasia Bambino plants to maintain a good shape and ensure healthy plants.
If so, focus on lower, older, or damaged leaves. More importantly, prune at the onset of the growing season, so the plant fully recovers by summer.
ix. Alocasia Bambino Propagation
You may wish to grow more Elephant ear plants without opening your wallet. In that case, you can propagate new plants at home through rhizome division from the mother plant.
The plant’s roots develop tubers you can separate, replant, and grow in a separate pot. Each plant has the same characteristics as the mother plant.
Remove the mother plant from the pot and gently separate some clumps without damaging too many roots. Each clump has an established root system.
Alternatively, propagate the tubers in water or soil if the mother plant lacks a strong root system. Fill a container with water or highly nutritious soil and place a tuber in the medium.
Then place the pot in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. The sprouting sheets are visible within a few weeks.
x. Pest Management
Finally, Alocasia Bambinos are prone to pest and disease attacks. Spider mites, thrips, and white flies are the most common pests.
However, you may come across many others like scale and mealy bugs.
Prevention is the first step to proper pest and disease management. You must identify potential causes and eliminate them during regular maintenance.
For instance, irregular watering is a major risk factor. So, develop a practical watering schedule and stick to it.
The soil type and conditions are also important. Therefore, you want to use the highest quality potting mix.
Besides prevention, be prepared to tackle any breakouts. Home remedies work exceptionally.
For instance, neem oil and horticultural oil stop most pests without harming the plant. You can also make pesticides at home to handle aphids and whiteflies.
If the problem persists, quarantine the affected plant and seek professional help.
Other Care Tips and Considerations
- Toxicity: Alocasia Bambinos are toxic, causing skin and eye irritation. So, don’t ingest any part of the plant. Also, wash your hands after handling the plant. Above all, keep it out of the reach of children.
- Height and growth rate: Alocasia Bambinos are fast-growing plants that reach maturity in a few months in the right conditions. However, it’s a dwarf plant that rarely exceeds 40 cm.
How Much Sun Does Alocasia Bambino Need?
The Alocasia Bambino plant thrives in bright, well-lit conditions. However, avoid direct sunlight as it scorches the plant’s leaves. At the same time, avoid shady conditions. Therefore, indoor Alocasia Bambino plants should be placed next to an eastern or western-facing window.
How Do you Care for Alocasia Bambino Dwarfs?
Alicosia Bambinos are sometimes called dwarf Alicosia because they’re shorter than other Alicosia plants. However, the care practices are similar. For instance, grow it in a light, well-draining potting mix. A combination of soil mix, orchid, and succulent soil provides the best potting mix. Also, ensure it gets plenty of bright light without putting it in direct sunshine.
How Often Should I Water Alocasia Bambino?
Alocasia Bambinos require 0.8 cups of water every nine days or about 0.7 cups per week. But you may also water if the plant shows signs of dehydration or if the potting soil is dry. Dip your finger in the first three inches of the potting mix and see if it’s wet. If it is dry, it’s time to water the plant.
Read also: Monstera Lechleriana Care Guide
Alocasia Bambinos are high-maintenance plants that easily wither and die without proper care. Therefore, you must clear your schedule to care for the plant properly.
Watering, temperature, light, and soil requirements are the most important. But you must also closely monitor the humidity, pests, fertilization, and more.