Alocasia odora is an evergreen perennial herb growing up to 0.5–1.6 m high, with rhizomes of about 4–10 m high and 3–5 cm wide. It has big, waxy, crinkled, arrow-shaped leaves, light green with a cordate base. The blossoms are a pale peach spathe and spadix. They are wonderfully fragrant, most particularly at night, and bloom in late spring through summer. The seedpods, packed with shiny red berries, are unexpectedly bold. Alocasia odora (Night-scented lily) can be used as medicine for the treatment of the common cold.
Species: A. odora
Scientific Name: Alocasia odora (G.Lodd.) Spach
Synonyms: Caladium odorum Ker Gawl., Arum odorum (Ker Gawl.) Roxb., Colocasia odora (Ker Gawl.) Brongn., Arum odoratum Heynh., Alocasia commutata Schott, Caladium odoratissimum K.Koch, Alocasia tonkinensis Engl.
Common Names: Night-scented lily, Asian taro, or Giant upright elephant ear.
How to care and grow Alocasia odora
It thrives best in bright, indirect light but will survive in shade. Avoid direct sunlight.
It grows well in a well-drained but moist, rich organic mix. It prefers the soil pH range of 5.6 to 7.0. Try to avoid wet, mucky, or dry, sandy soils.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Alocasia plants require less water during the winter when it’s dormant. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering.
It grows best in high humidity. To improve the humidity around a houseplant, place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water. You can also increase the humidity around an Alocasia Plant by placing a small humidifier near the plant or grouping plants together.
It prefers an average to warm temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 18 degrees Celsius – 24 degrees Celsius. Do not let the temperature remain under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilize your Alocasia plant with a diluted balanced fertilizer from spring every two weeks and stop at the end of August then start again at the beginning of spring. Too much fertilizer causes salts to build up in the soil and burn the leaves of an Alocasia Plant.
Remove any yellow leaves or those that develop brown or black spots from an Alocasia plant as that may be a sign of a fungal disease.
Alocasia odora is easily propagated by dividing the rhizomes, separate offsets, or root stem cuttings in spring or summer.
Pests and Diseases
There is no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for mealy bugs, scale, aphids, and spider mite. Spraying an Alocasia Plant with warm soapy water every few weeks helps prevent Mealy Bugs, Scale, Aphids, and spider mite problems. Overwatering, wet leaves, and soggy soil make an Alocasia plant susceptible to a variety of serious fungal infections.
Benefits of Alocasia odora (Night-scented lily)
- The rhizomes are used for the treatment of stomach ache, abdominal pain, cholera, and hernia, externally to treat abscesses, snake or insect bites.
- The corms are eatable and should be well cooked in order to destroy calcium oxalate.
All parts of these plants contain calcium oxalate crystals. This substance is poisonous fresh and, if eaten, makes the mouth, tongue, and throat feel as if hundreds of little needles are digging into them. However, calcium oxalate is easily broken down either by completely cooking the plant or by completely drying it and, in either of these states, it is safe to eat the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones, and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.