Alocasias exhibit a wide range of sizes, with some species remaining compact at 1 to 2 feet, while others grow over 12 feet tall with leaves that can span 3 feet in length. Despite this diversity, the majority of Alocasias available in plant shops and garden centers belong to the smaller subgroup of tropical aroids known as Jewel Alocasias, making them more suitable as houseplants. The Jewel Alocasias are aptly named, as they include some of the most popular and sought-after specimens in the modern houseplant craze, such as Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly,’ Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale,’ and Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo.’ These rainforest plants boast unique leaf textures, shapes, and variegation and are often referred to as elephant ears, a common name given to several species of plants with large, heart-shaped leaves belonging to the genera Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma. When grown indoors, Alocasias typically grow upright, with each new clump of leaves growing higher than the previous one while maintaining a similar width, giving them their characteristic upright elephant ear appearance.
1. Alocasia amazonica ‘Polly’
The most popular and widely available variety of Alocasia is undoubtedly ‘Polly,’ also referred to as the African Mask plant or Kris plant. This particular hybrid is a cross between Alocasia watsoniana and Alocasia sanderiana, and was first bred in the 1950s by Salvadore Mauro, the former owner of a now-defunct Florida greenhouse called Amazon Nursery. Mauro named the plant after his business. Alocasia ‘Polly’ has slender, dark green leaves with wavy, undulating edges and distinctive thick white veins that run through them. It’s a relatively small plant, growing to no more than 18 to 24 inches in height and 10 inches in width, with individual leaves reaching up to 16 inches long.
2. Alocasia amazonica ‘Bambino’
‘Bambino’ is an even smaller variety of Alocasia, a dwarf version of the already compact Alocasia x amazonica. This plant has arrowhead-shaped, deep green leaves with silvery green veins and striking purple undersides. Alocasia ‘Bambino’ typically reaches a maximum height and width of 12 inches, with leaves that generally span 6 inches in length and 2 inches in width. Its diminutive size makes it ideal for small spaces, making it a perfect plant for those with limited space.
3. Alocasia amazonica ‘Ivory Coast’
Alocasia amazonica ‘Ivory Coast’ is a striking cultivar that is a hybrid of Alocasia x amazonica and Alocasia ‘Aurora.’ Its arrow-shaped leaves resemble those of other Alocasia x amazonica species, but without the wavy, crinkled edges. The plant is fast-growing and well-branched, with brown-streaked, blushing pink petioles. Alocasia amazonica ‘Ivory Coast’ can quickly reach a height of 3 to 4 feet and a width of 2 to 3 feet, making it a relatively large plant compared to some of the other Alocasia varieties.
4. Alocasia micholitziana ‘Frydek’
Alocasia micholitziana ‘Frydek,’ also known as Green Velvet Alocasia, is a variety that shares many similarities with Alocasia ‘Polly’ in terms of its leaf appearance and general size, but can be slightly harder to find in commercial settings. The plant has dark green leaves that are velvety to the touch (rather than glossy), with undulating edges and prominent white veins that seem to glow against the dark backdrop of the leaves. This medium-sized variety (for an Alocasia) grows to a mature height of 2 to 3 feet and is slightly narrower than it is tall. The leaves can grow up to 18 inches in length when fully developed.
5. Alocasia reginula ‘Black Velvet’
For those seeking a darker and more mysterious Alocasia variety, the Black Velvet Alocasia (also known as Little Queen) might be just the plant they’re looking for. This variety features foliage with a rich, almost-black color and silvery white veins, and has a velvety texture that sets it apart from other Alocasia varieties. The heart-shaped leaves are also thicker and almost succulent-like in appearance. Black Velvet Alocasia typically grows to a height of about 12 inches and a width of 18 inches, giving it a more compact, bushier appearance than other Alocasia types.
6. Alocasia infernalis ‘Black Magic’
For those who desire an even darker Alocasia variety, the Alocasia infernalis ‘Black Magic’ might be a perfect choice. Its metallic purplish-black foliage deepens as the plant matures, and in certain lighting conditions, the leaves appear to shimmer with a mysterious red gleam. This variety has a moody and glamorous appearance that will appeal to many plant lovers. Alocasia ‘Black Magic’ typically grows to about 15 inches in height and 6 inches in width, with leaves that can reach up to 6 inches in length.
7. Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo’
Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo‘ is a Jewel Alocasia variety with uniquely thick and deeply ridged leaves that may appear artificial due to their texture. Its rough-textured leaves come in shades of jade green to bluish-green and have prominent, intricate veins. Alocasia ‘Melo’ has a dramatic, shrub-like growth habit, reaching a height of 1 to 2 feet with leaves spanning up to 20 inches in length and 10 inches in width.
8. Alocasia maharani ‘Grey Dragon’
‘Grey Dragon’ bears resemblance to ‘Melo’ because it is a hybrid of Alocasia rugosa ‘Melo’ and Alocasia reginula. This Alocasia variety is one of the rarest with its muted, silvery deep green leaves. Although it belongs to the same genus, ‘Grey Dragon’ is relatively smaller in size compared to other Alocasia species, growing only up to 14 inches tall, with leaves that typically span up to 6 inches in length.
9. Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale’
The Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale‘ variety is known for its breathtaking appearance with silver-green leaves that have prominent deep green veins, resembling large scales that are slightly hardened. The undersides of the leaves are cream with striking burgundy veins. With its impressive size, this Jewel Alocasia can reach a height of up to 3 feet and about half that size in width.
10. Alocasia baginda ‘Silver Dragon’
The unique and beautiful foliage of this variety makes it a highly coveted plant. Alocasia baginda ‘Silver Dragon’ has silvery-blue leaves with sage green to dark green primary and secondary veins, much like ‘Dragon Scale.’ This is a relatively small plant, typically growing no more than 3 feet tall and wide, with leaves reaching only about 6 inches in length even when fully mature.
11. Alocasia zebrina
Alocasia zebrina has the same shield-shaped leaves as other Alocasia plants, but lacks the typical white veins. It is easily recognizable by the black and yellow zebra-like markings on its petioles. This unique Alocasia can grow up to 3 feet in both height and width.
12. Alocasia zebrina ‘Reticulata’
Alocasia zebrina ‘Reticulata’ is a cultivar that shares the zebra print-like pattern on its petioles with its parent plant, Alocasia zebrina. However, it is set apart by the unique interlacing pattern on its leaves, which resembles a net. This uncommon variety typically grows up to 3 feet tall and wide.
13. Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’
The distinctive feature of Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Stingray’ is its zebra-like markings, similar to Alocasia zebrina, but with a unique leaf shape. The round, ribbed leaves point upwards and outwards, with a long, whip-like tail at the terminal end that resembles a stingray with its “wings” and sharp tail. The regular ‘Stingray’ can grow up to 3 to 5 feet tall, while the dwarf strain ‘Baby Ray’ reaches a maximum height of 2 to 3 feet.
14. Alocasia cuprea ‘Red Secret’
Alocasia cuprea ‘Red Secret’ is an exceptional variety of Alocasia due to its remarkable reddish-pink foliage. Its young leaves initially appear coppery-green with a pink iridescence, which turns into a more intense deep green color as the plant matures, but the pink sheen remains. The veins are so dark that they give an almost blackish appearance. The plant can reach up to 3 feet in height and width, and the leaves can grow up to 12-18 inches long.
15. Alocasia cucullata ‘Hooded Dwarf’
Also known as Buddha’s Hand, Alocasia cucullata ‘Hooded Dwarf’ is believed to bring good luck and is commonly found in Buddhist temples in Thailand and Laos. This cultivar features glossy, emerald green leaves with prominent veins on the undersides and wavy, upturned leaf margins. As its name suggests, ‘Hooded Dwarf’ is a compact plant, growing up to a maximum height and width of 3 feet with leaves that can reach up to 12 inches in length.
16. Alocasia macrorrhiza ‘Giant Taro’
Alocasia macrorrhiza, also referred to as ‘Giant Taro,’ is among the largest of the Jewel Alocasia varieties. It is often confused with the edible taro plant (Colocasia), as it shares a similar name. With its massive, arrow-shaped leaves that are glossy green, it stands out. Compared to other Alocasia types, its leaves tend to remain more upright on the stem. As a potted houseplant, ‘Giant Taro’ can grow up to 6 feet in height and 3 to 5 feet in width, with leaves spanning up to 3 feet in length.
17. Alocasia longiloba
Alocasia longiloba, commonly known as “Narrow-Lobe Elephant’s Ear,” is a species of flowering plant in the family Araceae. It is native to Southeast Asia and is primarily found in regions like Borneo, Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia. Alocasia longiloba is known for its striking foliage. The leaves are large, glossy, and arrowhead-shaped, with long lobes that give the plant its name. The coloration of the leaves can vary, but they typically have a dark green hue with prominent veins. The undersides of the leaves often have a contrasting purple or maroon color.
18. Alocasia wentii
Alocasia wentii is a distinctive plant with large, deep green leaves that have unique, purple-bronze undersides. The leaves are shaped like an elongated heart and taper to a point at the tip, creating a “drip tip” that allows water to run off. This plant can grow up to 3-4 feet tall, and its leaves can span up to 3 feet long, forming a striking canopy.
19. Alocasia lauterbachiana ‘Purple Sword’
Alocasia lauterbachiana ‘Purple Sword’ gets its name from the long, narrow leaves with scalloped edges that resemble a sword. The top side of the leaves is glossy green, while the underside is a contrasting coppery purple hue. This variety can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The leaves, which are longer and narrower than other Alocasia varieties, can reach up to 2 feet in length and 2 inches in width.
20. Alocasia plumbae ‘Flying Squid’
Alocasia plumbae ‘Flying Squid’ is indeed an unusual variety of Alocasia with its narrow and curvy petioles that give it a distinct and interesting look. The leaves are small, only growing to around 2-3 inches in length and width, and have a deep, glossy green color. The plant is quite small, growing to only about 12 inches in height, but it makes a great conversation piece with its unique shape. It is also a relatively short-lived plant, with an average lifespan of around 5 years.
21. Alocasia portei
Alocasia portei, also known as the Malaysian Monster, boasts some of the most dramatic foliage among all Alocasias. Its deeply lobed leaves resemble a giant, tropical arugula, making it a true showstopper. This large-growing species can reach a height of 5 to 8 feet when fully grown, with leaves spanning an impressive 3 to 4 feet in length.
22. Alocasia odora variegata
Alocasia odora variegata boasts large, heart-shaped leaves with bright green coloration accented by mottled white to pale green specks and patches. The variegation pattern of each leaf is unique, ranging from solid green to nearly solid white, resulting in a distinctively patterned plant. This Alocasia variety is a dwarf cultivar, reaching a height of 3 to 4 feet, with leaves spanning up to 16 inches in length.
23. Alocasia nebula ‘Imperialis’
Alocasia nebula ‘Imperialis’ is often considered one of the rarest and most stunning Jewel Alocasias worldwide. Its thick, leathery leaves showcase a deep green to bluish-gray color on the upper side, and a wine-red hue on the underside, with prominent veins running through them. The petioles are light green, speckled with merlot. A mature Alocasia nebula ‘Imperialis’ grows up to 2 to 3 feet in height, with leaves that can reach up to 17 inches long.
Alocasias may require a bit of extra care and attention, but their unique and striking foliage can truly transform any indoor space into a lush and tropical paradise.