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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Different Types of Alocasia (Elephant Ears) - Names & Images

The very fact to note that there are a huge cultivars and hybrids on Alocasia which indeed and impossible task to list down, let alone to identify accurately which proves futile in my part.

However, I would like to list down what I want to have in my garden - labeling their identity at the closest I can identity based on their family or genus - which may not be that impossible.

Here are the list of the plants - specifically these Alocasia which I had managed to cultivate and grow in my garden.  However, Alocasia have similar foliage traits and characteristics with Taro but not cultivated for food crop as they can be poisonous. Here - it's more cultivated for ornament purpose and therefore I suggest to do proper study and research if in the intentions to identify to grow edibles.

These are the outdoor variety which appears to be much hardier and easy to grow in comparison the the sensitive type known as Jewel Alocasia (which I had placed in a different category)

These variety are much larger and hardy in comparison which often labelled as Elephant Ears - often planted outdoors which receives open bright sunlight and rain.


on their Care and Cultivation on each plant types and their characteristics.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

14 Different Types of Colocasia (Taro) / Elephant Ears - Names & Images (UPDATED June 2022)



INTRODUCTION:

The very fact to note that there are a huge cultivars and hybrids on Taro / Colocasia which indeed and impossible task to list down, let alone to identify accurately which proves futile in my part.

However, I would like to list down what I want to have in my garden - labeling their identity at the closest I can identity based on their family or genus - which may not be that impossible.

Here are the list of the plants - specifically the Taro which is Colocasia which I had managed to cultivate and grow in my garden. I had found that Colocasia are plants that edible, hence Taro.

However, Alocasia have similar foliage traits and characteristics but not cultivated for food crop as they can be poisonous. Here - it's more cultivated for ornament purpose and therefore I suggest to do proper study and research if in the intentions to grow edibles.

Another factor that doesn't really help is the basic common name which is generally labelled as "Elephant Ears Plant" which spans to various different species : Colocasia / Alocasia / Xanthosoma
Hence - few of them are shown here based on my experience in cultivating them.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Here in this Collection - I'm actually focused on the Ornamental Purpose rather than Edibles, Hence it is very on the directions where it is more for Identity purpose together with Care & Cultivation Tips and Notes.

Please Note that this is purely based on my personal experience and self opinion. I do recommend to do your own personal research if my information do not tally with the general public.

GENERAL PLANT CARE & CULTIVATION NOTES:

CHARACTERISTICS:

I had found that most of the colored Colocasia types where the foliage coloration do change colors and producing veins like features - something to say that variants of colors and veins do change based on how much lighting and plant nutrients it receives.

This often happens due to lack or full sunlight expose and to some degree lack of nutrients to support the plant to change to its colored pigmentation - hence the plant reverts to green to make it's own food.
However, this depends on the plant variety - as some are hardy and some are super sensitive, being said the hardy type and may able to sustain and live longer with many conditions thrown at it whereas the sensitive ones succumb to root rot and withers away.

The best ideal condition would be in a situation where it is planted like bog / swamp like conditions as it very much behaves like an aquatic plant - and the factor is when it is actually planted in a wet feet - this helps the plant to regulate water intake well as it indeed a very thirsty plant.

Lack of water at the root ball can cause leaf burns at the edges and may also cause the leaf stem to wither during hot and dry climate. Another factor which is often unseen are the invasive like behavior where these produce lots of root runners out of it's designated growing pot - often overcrowding and may appear chocking as the lack of growth space. 

This is one of the factors where they tend to be sabotage itself as the root-ball raised above the planted potting media and sort of cut off from receiving necessary water intake - often there will be a need to arise where you may have to repot them, separating the heavy runners and setting back the root ball into a well balanced rich soil medium as to ensure good plant growth and set for the next cycle of re-generation.

At times, some Colocasia species may appear to go dormant - however I noticed dormancy does take place when the plant is not receiving adequate water or nutrients to begin with.

Also I had noticed many new varieties under the Colocasia types have been introduced which may be very similar and slight variant difference where identifying specifically in noting their difference can truly be challenging.

WATERING:

First thing First, You can get away with everything else but not without the Water Factor.
They need to placed inside a water-body most likely inside a water container. The leaves will have burned sides if lacking water.

If at all these were planted in non stagnant soil medium due ensure to put a pot saucer under the pot as to keep the medium almost soaking wet. However, this can also be slightly tricky if the plant develops root rot - hence do watch to get the right balance where no root rot takes place - the right balance soil mix actually helps where the medium doesn't contain rotting agents.

POTTING MEDIUM:

After many trial and errors - I had found that the best mix where it is very much putting them as layers before planting the root ball - usually I will place a layer of cotton fiber, fill the bottom with a good amount of compost mix with chicken manure, next with balance mix soil and placing the root-ball and fill it up - surrounding the root ball with river sand to ensure no root ball rot takes place.

The Potting Medium and Daily Watering Goes Hand in Hand.
This way, I really don't have to worry about root rot and water stagnation which may breed mosquitoes - especially in my region where Aedes mosquitoes can easily breed in such conditions.

LIGHTING:

This is very much the other important factor when it comes to Colocasias, these are Sun lovers, lack of it may not be good for them - usually they may produce few sprouts leaf foliage - often appearing sickly and green, the stem always appear too fragile and long - looking for strong light source hence it may fall and break under it's own weight.

Often times, when these get stressed, you will end up finding - mealybugs and spidermites infestation on the leaves usually a very bad and heavy infestation which may force you either to trim off the leaves or get rid of the plant altogether to cut the risk of infection to other healthy plants.

The main factor is always the lack of direct sunlight and open rain that creates the hardy factor where non of these pest may able to sit on the foliage due to these elements - however, with consistent application of pesticide - you may able to control and deter these infestation.

PEST CONTROL:

Don't take this factor lightly, once these pest made into your collection - it may take many weeks with strong regiment of constant application of pesticides to totally eliminate them from your garden. The most stubborn ones are usually the spidermites followed by mealybugs farmed by ants. Another stubborn pest would be scale insects and alphids.

Using the right pesticide and consistent application is the right key to eradicate these pest as the damage on the foliage can be very evident and heartbreaking.

Another pest which I'm intrigued to find are caterpillars from a moth species - seemed to be attracted to these foliage. Often find them munching away on rare and expensive Colocasia - do take note on that as the damage can be severe when your 3 leaf plant are gone eaten overnight.

FEEDING / FERTILIZER:

This is another key factor: Normally I use half strength diluted foliar fertilizer sprayed on the foliage on weekly basis. This helps to stablize the existing foliage and add new shoots - new leaf foliage growth. I found that Colocasia Black Magic seemed to grow fast and steady in comparison to other varieties.

PROPAGATION:

Propagation are usually done using rooted runners or root ball division when they form more than few colony like plants from the singular root ball area. This may require full uprooting and repot the whole plant - separating the plant-lets carefully as no minimize root ball damage.

Do refrain from putting a plant-let from the pot as you may accidentally snap breaking the plant into half without the root structure attached to the stem and leaf structure - it is always best to repot and you can ensure better success and stability of the plant when separating the babies from the mother plant.

PLANT SIZE:

I have seen this one looks larger and bigger when planted in bigger and deeper planter box, hence it does makes a difference when repot into bigger pots with more rich soil medium and good watering - they can grow much larger and in good balanced color.


MARKET PLANT PRICES:
(Updated June 2022)

I must say that at the current state in the plant market during the post-Covid season where all the plant prices had crashed or crashing and these are one of those price collapse victims where the supply overwhelmed the demand. It was somehow sold for a very affordable price even before the covid season - now much more cheaper like a common plant, hence most nurseries had ditched the idea of selling them expensive especially looking for the profit making.

What made the factors leading to downhill are the many variations with slight difference made into the market with different names - trying to squeeze whatever interest that can be garnered to hold on with they hype - riding with the trend setting and craze. Thus many Colocasias may have similar appearance with different names.

The slight characteristics may appear in the difference of petiole color, overall different leaf structure appearance (wavy or oblong) Leaf color - depending which colors are more (with the reverse version) and the worse - the unstable variegated counter parts where it can just suddenly disappear over time.

Apart from the Trending moments, it does have long-term interest with most gardeners:
It depends on each collector on what exactly they fancy and preference - as there are too many to chose from in cultivating with their favorite plant. However, as for now - there is a huge supply and many are not too keen in buying them now in fear of more further price drop that drove these plant prices much more lower.

A lesson to learn: Not to buy Trending Plants when they are sold in a high price.


Different Types of Colocasia (Taro) - Names & Images
Do click Below on the Plant Names for More Detailed Information on that Particular Colocasia below:




CHARACTERISTICS:

I had found that the foliage coloration do change colors and producing veins like features - something to say that it spans from the matt like black to grey shades and the other extreme of total green with some black veins.

This often happens due to lack of sunlight and to some degree lack of nutrients to support the plant to change in black pigmentation - hence the plant reverts to green to make it's own food.
However, in comparison to other counterparts - black magic Colocasia is very much a hardy type and may able to sustain and live longer with many conditions thrown at it.

The best ideal condition would be in a situation where it is planted like bog / swamp like conditions as it very much behaves like an aquatic plant - and the factor is when it is actually planted in a wet feet - this helps the plant to regulate water intake well as it indeed a very thirsty plant.

Lack of water at the root ball can cause leaf burns at the edges and may also cause the leaf stem to wither during hot and dry climate. Another factor which is often unseen are the invasive like behavior where these produce lots of root runners out of it's designated growing pot - often overcrowding and may appear chocking as the lack of growth space. 

This is one of the factors where they tend to be sabotage itself as the root-ball raised above the planted potting media and sort of cut off from receiving necessary water intake - often there will be a need to arise where you may have to repot them, separating the heavy runners and setting back the root ball into a well balanced rich soil medium as to ensure good plant growth and set for the next cycle of re-generation.

I might not suggest that Colocasia Black Magic goes dormant - however I noticed dormancy does take place when the plant is not receiving adequate water or nutrients to begin with.

Also I had noticed many new varieties under the Colocasia Black Magic wing have been introduced which may be very similar and slight variant difference - to name a few: Black Runner, Black Magic variegated, Colocasia Madeira and a few others.







INTRODUCTION:

Most of the plant identifying details are listed in the earlier posting of this blog. Here I want to showcase the unique features of the foliage display where there is a slight spider web like features at the mid-rib - the coloration tones are slightly shaded in appearance.

I must say that I had found that this particular plant changes its coloration often due to the amount of light it receives - too bright sunlight and the darker the leaves and too shaded, it reverts to green and the balance between both coloration when lacking nutrients where it makes it's own food in the photosynthesis. (hence the green coloration on the foliage)



CHARACTERISTICS:

Often confused with the common "Black Magic" variety however it is now identified as Black Magic variegated - very much earlier it was known as "Black Marble" The characteristics are very much similar except this one has blotches were the blacks and the green doesn't mix.

Not so much in the popular list as the "Black Magic" steal the show and rather perhaps still appears to be more affordable and widely in circulation. The Variegated version is very much like an acquired taste - whether it would be added as a collector's list if there is a die-hard fan for this particular breed.

I must say, in the listing, at most, people are fine to collect it if is offered as a free plant or an exchange for another common type of Colocasia among gardeners but I highly doubt anyone would be willing to spend a considerable amount of money for this one - even though it might be rare.

Plant Care & Cultivation is very much similar like most of the Colocasia species.





CHARACTERISTICS:

One of the strong characteristics of Colocasia Black Ripple is this visible corrugation - these dent's and hollow features that is only available for this particular type. 




CHARACTERISTICS:

This particular Colocasia have very strong similarities like Black Ripple Colocasia however the leaves do not have any ripple effect on them. Also this particular one does not have a glossy effect rather very much behave like a darker version of "Black Magic" however, it does not turn green when lacking bright sunlight - "Black Magic" however will revert to green tones when lacking the required sunlight.

The veining however does have slight glossy effect in appearance especially the central main midrib areas on the foliage surface. Also the leaf stem appears dark in coloration in comparison to Black Magic and Black Ripple.


CHARACTERISTICS:

This particular Colocasia have very strong similarities like Black Ripple Colocasia however the leaves do not have any ripple effect on them. Also this particular one have a strong glossy effect similar like Black Ripple - almost with metallic sheen however not very evidently visually strong like the Electric Blue Gecko.

There have been a lot of discussion and confusion added in actually identifying the true Electric Blue Gecko. Based on my opinion, this particular one was initially sold as "Black Coral" and eventually re-labelled as EBG for a stronger visible coloration on this particular variant.

I had also seen where confusion is added when Black Ripple Plant is also labelled as Electric Blue Gecko - As for me, I know that I don't own one (EBG) as I know the coloration are very strong and visible - especially the blue tones.



CHARACTERISTICS:

I find this particular one quite interesting as it has a reverse coloration at the midrib giving the shade appears like the water color effect at the center except at the midrib and the perimeter of the foliage.

These need bright direct Sun Area (they can survive in shade area but will loose the black coloration)
They needed grown on direct sun with a swampy condition - loves wet feet conditions.

The foliage appears to be waterproof with watercolor painting like dark plum coloration except at midrib and leaf perimeter edges. Also the stem has dark burgundy coloration.



CHARACTERISTICS:

Colocasia esculenta 'Royal Hawaiian Aloha' commonly known as Colocasia 'Aloha' in short. The foliage appears to be slightly thicker than the common Colocasia types. The dark shades tones are very prominent against the olive green midrib and veins at the background. 

The leaf stem also appears to have the same coloration with the central midrib tones. This particular plant appears to be patented, not a native plant rather a hybrid crossed between Colocasia ‘Maui & Colocasia ‘Coal Miner’ Gold’which of a US origin.

Also these plants are fairly new in the plant market currently and sold for premium prices however due to a flood in the market - these types are facing major price drop, something to be expected as there will always be ups and down when it comes to popular plants and a huge supply over demand.


CHARACTERISTICS:

Colocasia esculenta‘White Lava’ is actually a patent works from the ROYAL HAWAIIAN series which of a US origin. 

This particular hybrid Colocasia appears to have many unique characteristics - the strong cream white midrib coloration with a purple dot at the center. Surrounding the foliage, there is a folded features like a ripple effect on the green background. The stem however has the dark purple coloration - which shows all the unique characteristics not found in any native Colocasias found anywhere around the world.

Also these plants are fairly new in the plant market currently and sold for premium prices however due to a flood in the market - these types are facing major price drop, something to be expected as there will always be ups and down when it comes to popular plants and a huge supply over demand.


CHARACTERISTICS:

Colocasia esculenta‘Morning Dew ’ is actually a patent works from Hawaii's Dr. John Cho works which of a US origin. 

This particular hybrid Colocasia appears to have similar characteristics like a common 'Lime Gecko" however has a darker burgundy stem coloration. The special features are the foliage appearance where the green leaves has speckles of golden blotches with dark and lime green tones. The stem however have the black steaks with striped like appearance.

Also these plants are fairly new in the plant market currently and sold for premium prices however due to a flood in the market - these types are facing major price drop, something to be expected as there will always be ups and down when it comes to popular plants and a huge supply over demand.



CHARACTERISTICS:

Colocasia esculenta 'Lemon-Lime Gecko' is a 2013 Brian Williams elephant ear hybrid that makes a 4.5' tall clump composed of upright dark purple stems, each highlighted by flesh-colored streaks. The leaves are green with lime-green flecking...quite a stunning specimen.

Colocasia esculenta  'Lemon Lime Gecko' is an older version hybrid cultivated on 2013 by Brian William also from a US origin. This particular one has a darker burgundy stem coloration. The special features are the foliage appearance where the green leaves has speckles of golden blotches with dark and lime green tones. Another unique features are a burgundy dotted appearance at the central part of the foliage. The stem however have the black steaks with striped like appearance.

This particular Colocasia is very much comes together in an older version similar like Black Magic, Black Coral and Black Ripple were introduced in the plant market in those years. Hence these are now considered common plants and the plant prices are very much affordable in comparison to the recent cultivated hybrids.



CHARACTERISTICS:

In comparison to so many Colocasia types - this one appears to be very much designed for a function rather than foliage showy display. Though it appears to be a plain green coloration with dark black stem and back veins - this one however collects water as the leaves designed in a cup shape.

The beautiful features will be in full display when it rains lightly on them and these cup like leaves does this symphony when they undo the collected water in a wavy manner pouring out the excess water one by one like a dance.

The foliage appears to be waterproof and also able to collect and store water for days - almost like a pitcher plant features.



This particular one is the most common type that can be easily found in any water body - like drainside, pond, bog, lake or puddle - they appear to be very much like Caladiums except they are all green. This is not so hardy - if uprooted and kept aside for few hours, they can easily wither and leaves dried up - therefore do give care to make sure this one is not totally dried if collected together with the foliage.

Otherwise, you can separately plant it with the tuber (keeping it separately in a dried condition for future planting)


Similar to the Swamp Taro, this one is also sensitive with it's foliage. 
The plus point is that - it has huge floppy leaves that can easily get damaged if proper care is not given. However, once established - they can look magnificent and graceful. 
Their appearance is very much in the cool dark green shades.



CHARACTERISTICS:

Originally used as a food crop and therefore it had spread all round the swamp/bog/wetland areas in my region. The interesting characteristics about this plant is that it has 3 pointed lobed dark blue-green leaf and sort of border lining around the leaf perimeter of which I had never came across to any other Taro plants. 

Also this one has a dark bluish / black stem on it leaves and that is only of my interest in collecting all the dark, black stem plants of these kind.  The foliage has a none waterproof features where the water droplets appears on leaf surface, the characteristics of 3 pointed lobed dark blue-green leaf and dark border lining around the leaf perimeter. The plant appears to be Aquatic.



CHARACTERISTICS:

This particular type of "Elephant Ear Plant" aren't cultivated as an ornament rather found growing along roadsides or even swamp areas - there was a period where it was widely cultivated as a food crop around the Southeast Asia region until it fell out of popularity. Somehow these do have it's favoritism in some countries where its tubers were cooked and consumed. 

These were found all across the tropical regions from Asia to Americas - firstly cultivated as a crops, now very much as an ornamental plants. They do have an invasive characteristics where these may form a ripen clustered seedpod consumed by birds or few animal as propagation vectors.

There are some versions where the variegated types are also cultivated as an ornamental plants - often sold in the plant market as an exclusive premium plants, however these are truly giants and may show a magnificent  foliage display.
One of the specific variegated type was very popular and was known as Xanthosoma sagittifolium "Mickey Mouse" It used to be very expensive until it was over cultivated and price came crashing down - now, it is easily sold for RM30 per plant - 10X cheaper than what it used to be then.

However, variegated plant versions do prove to be slow growing and can be challenging when it is cultivated - often not so forgiving when the plant dies when it is grown in a wrong plant conditions. I guess those were plant trending moments when it was in highly popular in demand. Now, it is not so much.







Here in this video, I will be sharing my Tips and Hacks on How I care & cultivate my Black Ripple Colocasia and together with other Alocasia & Colocasia in my Collection. 

These types are commonly known as Elephant Ears due to the large leaf structure, though some of them are identified as different class and species names. 

I will be covering detailed information on soil medium, watering, lighting and fertilizer requirements. Also pest management. Also in this video are my time-line of the plant growth of how it appeared to be in 2 year duration. 

There in this Plant Collection: Colocasia Black Magic, Colocasia Black Ripple, Colocasia Illustris, Colocasia Tea Cup, Alocasia Yucatan Princess, Alocasia Black Stem & Xanthosoma - Blue Taro.

Dumbcane - Dieffenbachia "Mary'


I had written comprehensively on the Care & Maintenance of this particular plant, 
do check on the link below at the end of the post.

Here I want to showcase in detail specific individual dumb-cane plants.
These varieties are so huge with the countless number of cultivars and hybrids - it would be impossible to identity them.

And so my closest guess is that this is Dieffenbachia "Mary' or "Mars" which may accidentally mis-named and the name got stuck in the plant community.


Unlike most dumbcane where the plant is small to medium size - this one can grow into a giant size with lavish huge leaves like elephant ears - somehow makes a great compliment plant with other Colocasia & Alocasia species.


This particular one is very much of a cream with green splashes with green borders. The leaves are broad and heavy upright and may need to set with a support when it gets top heavy. 

It appears to have two-tone colors and hardy noticed white patches on them.
Each leaves has it's own characteristics. Also the midrib have slightly a brighter coloration from the rest of the foliage - sort of giving a visual impact.




They can get easily burned when exposed to direct hot sun and care is required that it receives bright indirect sunlight. Alternatively, I trim off the burned spend leaves and let the new shoot and foliage to take precedence.



Pictures Below:

I had found that this particular one tends to become greener and the coloration has a totally difference appearance when planted in shade.  

The colors seemed more jaded, the cream diminishes into light green and have more of a 2 tone appearance. The younger leaves are very much have a darker green coloration totally different from the matured plant.




Do click on my link below for more detailed information concerning on
How to Care & Cultivate Dumbcane Plant:
Dumbcane - Dieffenbachia - Best Indoor Plants

Monday, March 23, 2020

Caladiums Sold in Nursery


These are what currently sold in the market, these are the new hybrids where it is introduced during the CNY season. They haven't really made a come back in their popularity zone as everyone is aware about their setback - dormancy.


And therefore these are sold in a good price, normally spanning around RM10 - RM12 depending on their availability and generosity of the nursery owner. Sometimes they want to clear the stock and release them at the wholesale price - getting them at a good price is good but sometimes the plant condition can be a little bit detrimental especially when they going into dormancy.




Some cultivar are so interesting as they appear to dish out their normal green into the colorful array of unique red appearance. However it is, red somehow has it's best appearance for this plant especially not may plants are featured as such graceful as this.



Do let me know if you own a Caladium and how you care and cultivate them. Share your thoughts and experience and I would really love to hear from you.





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