Alocasia tiny dancer, also known as the tiny dancer elephant ear plant, is a captivating member of the Araceae family. This unique cultivar, hybridized by LariAnn Garner in the USA and introduced in 2013, brings a fresh take to the Alocasia genus.
Unlike its larger counterparts, such as Alocasia Poly, the Alocasia tiny dancer boasts a smaller, yet equally exotic, extravagant, and decorative form. In fact, its distinctive appearance earned it the esteemed ‘Most Unusual Aroid’ award at the International Aroid Society Show.
The Alocasia tiny dancer showcases all the classic characteristics of the Alocasia genus. Its slightly cupped leaves grow on long light green stems, creating a playful and bushy form. Each leaf reaches a length of 4 inches, featuring a pointed tip and a slightly upward bent leaf plate.
This petite plant, reaching a height of only 14 to 20 inches, is perfect for potting and can fit seamlessly into any space. Whether on a windowsill, in a terrarium, or tucked into small corners, the delicate and charming appearance of the Alocasia tiny dancer will bring joy wherever it resides.
While primarily grown as a houseplant, this extraordinary cultivar can also thrive outdoors in USDA climate zones 10 and 11, making it a versatile addition to any garden.
Proper Care for Alocasia Tiny Dancer
The cultivation of Alocasia tiny dancer is relatively straightforward, but attention to specific conditions, such as soil composition and humidity, is key to ensuring its thriving growth and successful home decoration.
Let’s delve into the details that will guide you in providing the best care for this captivating plant:
Alocasia tiny dancer hails from tropical regions and thrives in nutritious, light, airy, and well-drained soil. Aim for a neutral to slightly acidic pH ranging from 5.5 to 7. It’s convenient to use a ready-made potting mixture designed for tropical plants, available at well-equipped garden centers. Alternatively, you can create a homemade mixture consisting of standard potting soil for houseplants, peat moss, soil for orchids, and perlite in the right proportions.
The tiny dancer craves light but must be shielded from direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day. To ensure lush growth and vibrant foliage, provide at least 6 hours of indirect light per day. Position the plant near an east or west-facing window or on a north-facing windowsill. While it can tolerate slightly shady spots, insufficient light will impede its growth, resulting in fewer stems and scattered, inconspicuous foliage. In dimly lit areas, artificial lighting can supplement natural light as long as the heat does not harm the leaves.
Alocasia dislikes excessive watering as it can lead to rot, yet it also dislikes insufficient moisture, which hinders growth and causes dry leaf tips. Establish a watering regimen tailored to your plant’s needs, considering factors such as plant size, pot size, soil composition, ambient temperature, light exposure, and humidity. As a general rule, water once a week, allowing the surface layer of the substrate to dry before watering again. During winter, water less frequently to prevent complete drying of the substrate, as the plant enters a dormant state.
Being native to tropical regions, Alocasia tiny dancer thrives in elevated levels of air moisture. Aim for a humidity level of 50 percent or more, but avoid going overboard by trying to recreate a tropical jungle atmosphere. There are simple methods to raise humidity effortlessly:
- Misting: Spray the plant with lukewarm water every second or third day, primarily in the morning to allow the water droplets to evaporate throughout the day.
- Pebble tray: Place the pot on a tray filled with water and expanded clay balls. The water’s gradual evaporation will create favorable microclimatic conditions for the plant.
- Humidifiers: Use humidifiers, especially during winter when heating reduces air humidity below 30 percent.
Alocasia tiny dancer thrives in a consistently warm environment, with temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing it to drastic temperature changes, ensuring the difference between day and night temperatures does not exceed 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant can withstand a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a short period, but anything below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can cause irreversible damage.
To unleash the full potential of the tiny dancer’s accelerated metabolism, provide additional nourishment. Standard all-purpose water-soluble fertilizers for houseplants work well. Dilute the fertilizer in water at a ratio of 1:2, following the recommended concentration, and feed the plant every two weeks from March to October. During winter, suspend fertilization as the plant enters a dormant phase.
Alocasia tiny dancer prefers slightly crowded roots, so only repot when the roots outgrow the pot or when they begin to emerge from the drainage holes. Transplant in spring, right before a new growth cycle begins. Opt for a pot with drainage holes slightly larger than the previous one. Before filling the container with substrate, place a thin layer of tile debris or larger gravel over the drainage hole to prevent water accumulation.
Regularly remove withered, damaged, or potentially diseased leaves to maintain the plant’s aesthetic appeal and stimulate new leaf growth while preventing infections.
You can propagate Alocasia tiny dancer by dividing an existing adult plant. The leaves grow on stems that emerge directly from the tuberous root, forming clumps. If your plant has multiple clumps, you can separate them and grow them individually.
Here’s the process:
- Prepare a smaller pot with drainage holes, filling it halfway with a substrate similar to the one the plant currently grows in.
- Water the plant before division to facilitate removal from the pot.
- Clean the root under running water, inspecting and removing any suspicious or diseased parts.
- Dry the root with a paper towel and carefully separate the clumps.
- Place each clump in a pot, cover with soil, and lightly press to ensure stability.
- Water the plant, add more substrate as needed after the soil settles.
With successful propagation, new leaves will emerge within three to four weeks.
Alternatively, you can keep the new plant in lukewarm stagnant water with added fertilizer. However, be cautious of potential root rot and change the water every second or third day to maintain cleanliness.
Problems and Pests
Under ideal conditions, Alocasia tiny dancer is a hardy plant, resistant to diseases and pests. However, suboptimal care can result in adverse reactions. Inadequate watering and inappropriate lighting are the main culprits.
Excessive watering manifests as yellow and flabby leaves that eventually wither. High moisture levels create a humid environment, conducive to the development of fungal and bacterial diseases, identifiable by black spots on the leaves. This can progress to root rot, a challenging condition to reverse. Therefore, it’s crucial to water the plant carefully until you establish an optimal watering schedule.
Low humidity environments may attract spider mites, which create webs between the leaves, and mealybugs, which cause leaf deformation and white cotton-like deposits. Upon noticing pests, take the necessary measures to protect the plant. Rinse the plant under running water, use insecticide or neem oil solutions, and isolate the infested plant to prevent further spreading.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Alocasia Tiny Dancer be grown in a hanging planter?
While Alocasia tiny dancer is more commonly grown in pots, it can thrive in a hanging planter as long as it receives appropriate care and sufficient light.
2. Does Alocasia Tiny Dancer produce flowers?
Although the focus of the plant lies in its unique foliage, under optimal conditions, it may produce small flowers. However, the main attraction remains its striking leaves.
3. How do I prevent my Alocasia Tiny Dancer from becoming root-bound?
Alocasia tiny dancer thrives with slightly crowded roots, and repotting should only be done when necessary. Avoid using excessively large pots and transplant sparingly, only when the roots outgrow the current container.
Growing Alocasia tiny dancer is a rewarding journey. To create an optimal environment for this enchanting tropical beauty:
- Provide a warm spot with filtered light, protecting it from low temperatures and drafts.
- Use nutritious, well-drained soil, watering once a week and fertilizing during the growing season.
- Maintain adequate humidity through misting or grouping with other plants.
- Regularly remove old leaves, repot every other year, and inspect for potential pests.
By adhering to these guidelines, you’ll witness the tiny dancer’s graceful and captivating dance. Let the magic unfurl! Visit Ames Farm Center to explore more delightful plants.