What makes Alocasia robusta so hard to grow??

chris32599(9b-10a AZ usa)October 22, 2005

I have read posts saying that A. robusta is hard to grow, but they give little details of what they are...I just got a small plant which for now is doing good...but if they are hard to grow what are the issues around growing them.....

They do seem to be slower growing then other Alocasias, but other than that its doing good...

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planty01976(z9a)

Oh. no...here we go again....They die for no apparent reason. If you water them more than a cactus, they die. If you give them incorrect light, they die. If they get attacked by aphids, they die. If you do not provide proper air circulation, they die. If you look at them wrong, they die. Hope this answers your question.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 4:37PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

So, Planty, how does one grow it successfully? Who out there is growing A. Robusta successfully, and what is your secret? I want to know because I'd love to have one, too.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 6:11PM
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aroideana(Tropical Australia)

Even here in the tropics they seem hard to grow , the secret I think is to live in the Borneo jungle , then you may be able to grow it well . Seriously though , high heat and humidity, protection from any harsh winds , excellent drainage , and 1" of rain every morning followed by lots of bright sunlight filtered through a very high canopy of trees . Why the interest in this sp. anyway , just cause its got a big leaf ? No one will ever be able to grow it well out of its natural enviroment .

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 9:27PM
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chris32599(9b-10a AZ usa)

I think I am beginning to see...after reading posts and looking at pictures of this plant in its native habitat...the problem may be that we treat this plant like we treat most other alocasias and they don't like it....

Let me try to explain...in pictures of this plant in its native habitat it looks like it grows on hillsides or sloped land, in one picture the ground even looked rocky..thats why it likes fast draining soil...they grow as individual and I have not seen them in large clumps like we see other alocasia..also indicating that it like a dryer soil.... also I notice the forest, which was more open..

So this is now my theory, its not a moist loving lowland rainforest plant but a plant that likes the dryer soil of the hills in a tropical seasonal forest or monsoon forest...which would make them like stronger light and with a dryer soil...which is not the norn for most other alocasias....

monsoon forest also have lower humidity and better air movement then low spots in the wetter rainforest areas....what people don't understand sometimes is that not all tropical forest are the same...even the Amazon forest has areas that have dry seasons, while other areas don't...

What I will try is give it bright sunlight, and keep it in fast draining soil and grow it on the dry side..and see how it does....

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 10:55PM
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planty01976(z9a)

Susan, My secret is I bought a dozen of them last year and my last one either died or went into dormancy last month. I will never waste time or money on such an unforgiving species.

((So, Planty, how does one grow it successfully? Who out there is growing A. Robusta successfully, and what is your secret? I want to know because I'd love to have one, too.
Susan))

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 7:17AM
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randy_e(z9b FL)

Here's a photo of Me standing underneath my Alocasia robusta.
Randy

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 9:19AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Wow - that must be a really big plant in a really big pot! So what is your secret, Randy?

I think I am going to lean toward Planty's opinion in that I don't want to try to grow a plant with the intention of killing it, which is what it sounds like I would be doing.

Susan

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 2:09PM
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durch

These are no problem for me to grow here in S. Florida. Water when nearly dry. Mix that drains well. They are very sensitive to wet feet when grown in a pot, so I would suspect that 90% of the problems people have is with overwatering and or using a mix that doesn't drain quickly enough.
I grow in two different greenhouses. One has 50% shade factor the other 73% and I see little difference in leaf size or growth habit. High output fans run 24hrs and min. temp. is 55F. Fert is injected through drip irrigation. I mix a systemic pesticide in the potting mix, so spraying is kept to a minimum.
They're fantastic, and definitely space eaters, but I don't think they qualify as hard to grow. Just a bit intolerant.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 2:36PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

So, on a scale of 1 to 10, in relationship to other alocasias, where would you place them, Durch? And BTW, don't I see you over on the other aroid forum a bit?

Susan

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 3:14PM
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randy_e(z9b FL)

Not a big pot...I'm just real short. Seriously I've had the same experiences that others have had, grows pretty good for a while and then over night turns to mush.
Randy

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 3:46PM
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keiko2(D/FW7b)

I haven't had any problems with mine-- yet:). Considering all the advance warnings, I put them in clay pots with half oakleaf mold and half coarse sand. They have good color and are healthy, but really slow growing. I think I need to risk one in a richer mix next spring to see if it will grow faster.

durch,
What potting mix are you using for yours?

Thanks,
Keiko

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 4:36PM
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durch

I use a mix of canadian peat,pine bark, coarse perlite, and vermiculite then buffer it with dolomite.
I said in my earlier post that I thought 90% of the problems people experience were due to overwatering, and or wet feet. I think I should have added that overpotting (using a pot that's too large) is also a common problem. For example, it's no problem to grow a mac. variety to well over 3' in a 6" azalea pot, but if you pot up a 4" liner into a 10" or larger pot you are asking for root problems. Potbound then Potup and err on the side of neglect and I think your problems will be greatly reduced.

Susan - Hard to answer from 1 -10. I wouldn't say it's any harder than most others. Just a bit fussy about water.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 5:05PM
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jaxfl_dude(z9 Fl)

What is the light requirements for A. Robusta? I thought it was full sun but Durch seems to be doing good in 50 to 73% shade. I've got one I bought a year ago which I promptly killed (or so I thought) from too much fertilizer. It died down the soil, I left it in the pot and forgot about. In the spring a little leaf came up and now its about 2ft. It currently gets a good amount of sun so I'm wondering if I should move it. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 5:56PM
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rsieminski(9b)

Why this one? Why not Alocasia Macrorhiza (Borneo Giant). It's a big azz EE, and said to be easier to grow.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 6:23PM
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beachplant(9b)

I stuck mine out in the front yard, under the Japanese Yew and forgot about it. Then last week when weeding I was trying to figure out what that big leaf was growing through the fence, it was A. robusta. So the secret? High humidity Tally HO!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 11:01PM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Durch - so you use the Dolomite to counter the acidic properties of the peat and pine bark? Does this mean they like an average PH?

Susan

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 8:17PM
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AROIDIAN_att_net

It's been a while since I reported on Alocasia robusta, so I'm going to risk jinxing my luck and tell everyone what I've been doing with it.

I hypothesized that the A. robusta must have a symbiotic relationship with some fungus or bacterium, and that is what keeps it from going extinct in the wild. To test this, I looked for any biological products on the market that would offer this kind of protection. Currently, I am trying something called PlantShield (a fungus) and Companion (a bacterium). I've also used K-Phite, which is a systemic fungicide.

So far, my A. robustas are hanging in there, and have stayed alive through a cool winter and now into the south Florida spring.

When I first got A. robustas from Malesiana, they grey quite rapidly and I thought I'd have a problem with space, but they also died out quite rapidly too, just as has been reported by Planty and others.

If my tests prove conclusive, those of us who really want to grow A. robusta may be able to, finally. If not, you'll all have to wait for my hybrid of A. odora and A. robusta, tentatively called A. x "robodora"!

Meanwhile, I have gotten a lot of seedlings growing from crossing A. "Borneo Giant" and A. macrorrhizos "Big Mac", so if you want some, start lining up!

LariAnn

Here is a link that might be useful: Aroidia Research

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 1:17PM
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daveandlaura(8b-S. Louisiana)

Hi LariAnn,

What are the requirements for getting into the line and what do I need to bring with me if I do get in???

Thanks!
Dave

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 10:51AM
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lariann(z10 FL)

Dave (and all other interested parties),

Just send me an email indicating you want one or more and I'll reply back with the particulars.

LariAnn

Here is a link that might be useful: Alocasia

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 1:09PM
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lomodor(6)

no postings on this since 2006???wow..
i have a couple of larianns hybrids..and they have done well now for 2 yrs.. not the true robusta..but..im pleased with the hybrid!! :)
i find use of biological fungicide has been very useful on all my EE's..and amorphophallus..
the roots on the EE's and especially on my amorphs..are fantastic!!
hope to see more discussion on this.. hint..hint....

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:42PM
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