Alocasia cuprea is a plant native to the jungles of Borneo, the largest island in Asia. The plant is a rhizomatous or tuberous perennial from the Araceae family. Alocasia cuprea is also known as the Alocasia Red Secret or Jewel Alocasia. This ornamental is a rather rare tropical plant to find in nurseries but it is a valuable find among houseplant enthusiasts. Be sure that if you encounter one you will certainly fall in love with its unique metallic shine foliage.
This plant is very interesting and attractive but you will have to be extra cautious when handling it. Alocasia cuprea can be highly toxic to humans and pets too. It is recommended to wear protection gloves when handling it and to keep it in a spot where your curious furry companions won’t reach.
|Botanical Name||Alocasia cuprea|
|Common Name||Red Secret, Jewel Alocasia, Mirror Plant|
|Plant Type||Tropical perennial|
|Mature Size||up to 30-50 cm (12-20 inch) tall|
|Sun Exposure||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil Type||Loose and well-draining|
|Soil pH||Mildly acidic, Neutral|
|Bloom Time||Late Spring, Early Summer|
|Flower Color||Insignificant, White|
|Hardiness Zones||10-11 (USDA)|
About Jewel Alocasia
- Alocasia cuprea derives its name from the unusual appearance of its foliage, which has a coppery colour. This colour appears especially on young leaves, while the back of the leaf is a deep purple. There also exists a greener leaf form of the plant. While there are many forms of Alocasia cuprea, there are only two recognized types. The main types of Alocasia cuprea can be easily distinguished by their inflorescences, principally the colour of the floral chamber, which can be wine-red or mostly green.
- Alocasia cuprea was brought from its native habitat in Borneo to Europe in the 1850s by Thomas Lobb for Veitch Nurseries.
- Alocasia cuprea has many nicknames, but the most used ones are “Mirror Plant” and “Jewel Alocasia”.
- Jewel Alocasia is recognised as one of the most spectacular and intriguing foliage plants in the genus and is a parent of several hybrids. Its occurrence in the wild is sporadic, but it also occurs in very densely abundant local populations.
- This plant makes a great tropical plant to mix with other groups of tropical plants. It can be a great gift idea if you have a plant-loving friend or member of the family who enjoys growing tropical plants.
- The best thing about Alocasia cuprea is that it is an easy-going plant that does not require a lot of effort. This plant will thrive in your home as long as you give it plenty of indirect light, the right type of soil, and some water. The most important thing to keep in mind when growing Alocasia cuprea is to avoid overwatering.
Jewel Alocasia Features: An Overview
- The Alocasia cuprea plant has a pretty slow to moderate growth rate and it will need from 5 to 8 years to reach maturity. Once the plant reaches maturity, the size of your Alocasia cuprea can grow from 12 inches (30 cm) to 18 inches (45 cm) in height. The stems are short in contrast with the oversized leaves.
- The Alocasia cuprea has an interesting appearance as its foliage makes it look like a plastic plant. Their leaves have a metallic-like appearance. Its colour is a combination of green, red and plum shades which gives you the impression that it is made of copper. Their surface has a shiny look. The leaves are stiff and shaped like an arrow. When you touch them, have a crumpled feeling. If you take care to ensure enough light, the leaves will remain vibrant and glossy. The lack of humidity will make the tip of the leaves burn.
- Alocasia cuprea does flower during the last month of spring and the first month of summer. The flowers generally last only a few days, but you can miss them as they are not as attractive as the leaves.
- Flowering will occur only in plants that are fully developed and ready for reproduction. The flowers are white and green in a cover that encloses the spadix. The spadix resembles a corn ear and it contains many small flowers. After a while, the flowers will become seeds and you can harvest them and use them to propagate new Alocasia cuprea plants. Propagation through seeds is not as efficient as propagation through root division.
- Although the Alocasia cuprea plant has very interesting foliage, the scent is not one of the things that make it stand out. When smelled, this plant does not have any outstanding smell at all. This can represent a plus if you are not a big fan of strong scents or if you are sensitive to fragrances in general.
Growing Jewel Alocasia
A good thing about Alocasia cuprea if you want to grow it yourself is that it does not require so much fuss. It can develop and thrive with only the essential needs taken care of. If you already have an Alocasia plant, the cuprea species’ needs are roughly the same. The most important aspect you will have to take care of is ensuring it does not get overwatered.
As the species originates from tropical jungles you will need to place the Alocasia cuprea in indirect sunlight as it is used with the shadow of trees. When kept indoors, light necessities consist of exposure to bright, indirect light for about 6 to 8 hours a day. Still, avoid exposure to full sun, particularly if the light is harsh because it may burn its tender leaves. The best placement would be a north or east-facing window.
On the subject of temperature, you need to know that Alocasia cuprea enjoys warm temperatures. The reason why it thrives and is grown indoors is that the environment is more insulated and protected from the uncontrollable elements of an outside environment.
The recommendation is to keep Alocasia cuprea at a temperature range between 50°F (10°C) to 85°F (29°C) during the daytime and 54°F (12°C) to 65°F (18°C) during the nighttime. When kept indoors you will also have to prevent it from cold drafts. If you decide to grow your plant outdoors, be sure to move it indoors during the night to avoid a cold environment. Alocasia cuprea has low cold temperature tolerance.
- We package and wrap each plant individually with the utmost care. We are very accomodating and receptive. Feel free to message for any issues or requests.
- House plants are always healthy and gorgeous and it won't be hard to keep them that way. We have 3 main types of plants in our store, following these tips will ensure their and your happiness.
- There are Succulents, Cacti, and Leafy Foliage which are perfect indoor house plants. Succulents and Cacti should be watered only when their soil is dried. Foliage should always stay moist.
- Check our store to see all these types of plants and more like carnivorous, hoyas, and other wildly unique house plants.
- All our plants prefer to be in a bright shade (i.e.: not direct sunlight). They grow amazingly indoors and outdoors. The plants are also very low maintenance.
- This striking alocasia has metallic green and red-toned leaves. The deeply-ridged, textured foliage is impossible to ignore with its ultra-glossy shine. Native to southeast Asia, it thrives with warm temperatures and frequent waterings.
- Sunlight: Medium to bright indirect light.
- Water: Once every week. Allow top 2" of soil to dry.
- Pets: Not pet-safe!
- Care: Great choice for the intermediate plant parent.
- Alocasia Cuprea 'Red Secret' is a tropical plant with striking metallic leaves that have a unique, iridescent appearance that resembles hammered copper. It is also known as the "Mirror Plant" due to its highly reflective foliage.
- Plant is 4" in diameter, approximately 5-7" tall.
- All plants are special and unique! Your plant will not look exactly like the plant in the photos - colors and size may slightly vary.
- Live houseplants make the best home décor! Check out our full assortment.
- Not for human or animal consumption. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
Last update on 2023-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Related to the pruning process, you will not have to worry too much about it. If the foliage looks healthy, you don’t have to prune it. In case you want to propagate the plant you may cut the healthy stems or occasionally trim down the diseased or aged leaves.
If you decide to prune the plant, be sure to use sterilized tools. Also, be sure that the tools are sharp so that when you create the incisions the wounds will be clean and the plant will not be very damaged. The perfect time for pruning is the spring season because during this period the Alocasia cuprea starts growing and this way the recovery will be faster.
Alocasia plants in general, and Jewel Alocasia makes no exception, are big fans of high humidity. Providing n humid environment will increase your chances of growing a happy and healthy Alocasia. The ideal humidity for Alocasia cuprea is around 80%. It can be quite difficult to maintain these levels of humidity in your home, but a humidifier could do the trick.
Other ways to increase humidity for your Alocasia plants include growing it in your bathroom or kitchen, as these rooms are usually moister without forgetting that this plant will also require plenty of indirect light. If you have a large collection of tropical plants. you can group them together in one room where the humidity levels are usually higher.
The most common problems that you can encounter when you are growing Alocasia cuprea are leaves related. This includes rusty leaves, yellow leaves or the appearance of spots on the leaves. The good news is that these kinds of problems can be easily resolved. The pests that may create problems are spider mites, mealybugs and aphids. These types of pests are tiny organisms which can be found on the underside of leaves or stems. So you will have to be very careful to spot them.
Planting Jewel Alocasia
If you decide to repot your Alocasia cuprea you have to know that it will take about two years for the whole plant to outgrow its current pot size. An evident sign of outgrowing is when the roots start to seep out of the container’s holes. It is also advised to replace the old potting mix when repotting your plant. You will have to use a new pot that is slightly larger than the replaced one. Before repotting the plant, be sure to verify if there are any diseased or aged ones and remove them if you find any. Also, repot your Alocasia during the spring months, only when the plant is actively growing.
The ideal potting mix for Alocasia cuprea is hummus-rich and well-draining soil because the plant is exposed to overwatering and root rot. You can combine peat moss and perlite, this is one of the easiest ways to get these two characteristics. Another solution is to mix coco coir and perlite which work together to keep moisture and nutrients in the soil long enough for the plant to absorb them.
The perlite also allows excess moisture to drain more quickly, this way prevents the soil from becoming soggy. Don’t forget to use to also use sterilized soil for Alocasia plants when planting and repotting them in order to avoid fungal or bacterial infections in the future.
Alocasia cuprea will be grateful if you invest in a good fertilizer as it is a heavy feeder. Alocasia plants benefit from a steady supply of nutrients, especially during the active growth season. The ideal way to apply fertilizer is once every two weeks during the warm season with a pause during the winter. An important thing to remember is that commercial fertilizers are too strong, so you will have to dilute them to half or a quarter of their strength before applying them to your plants.
Watering Jewel Alocasia
Alocasia cuprea doesn’t need any special treatment when it comes to watering. It has the same water necessities as any other plant which means that plant’s soil should be moist. But you will have to take care not to soak it in water.
Over-watering is dangerous for your plant as in the majority of cases it causes root rot. Oxygen can not get through if the soil is too moist and one thing you should know about oxygen is that it is as important to your plants as light and water. Without the essential amount of oxygen, the roots of the Alocasia cuprea will start to rot. As over-watering means death to your plant, so does under-watering.
If you don’t know when to water your plant, there are two ways to find out. The first technique requires sticking your finger into the soil. If after you pull your finger out, there is soil sticking to it, this means that the plant is hydrated. If there is no soil on your finger, then your Alocasia cuprea plant needs water. The second method resembles the first one the only difference is that you will have to stick your finger about two or three inches (5-7 cm) in the soil.
If the soil is hydrated, you will feel wetness at this depth. But if the soil is dusty in any area of these inches, you will have to water your plant immediately. To avoid overwatering, check the soil with the help of one of the techniques mentioned above once more before watering it. Regularly you will have to water the Alocasia cuprea plant two to three times a week.
Also, you will have to take into consideration the season regarding the frequency of watering. In summer, when the temperatures are high, there is more light and faster evaporation, and Alocasia will need more frequent watering. Adding that in spring and summer the plant starts to grow, so in consequence, they need more resources, including water. In winter, the Alocasia cuprea does not have the same water needs as it does in summer.
There are low temperatures, low light levels, slow evaporation and also the growth slows down which means that it will not require that many resources. This does not imply ignoring your plant. Even though the stalks of Alocasia cuprea can hold water, they will not resist prolonged periods without water.
Propagating Jewel Alocasia
If you want to have more Alocasia cuprea plants or just share them with your friends, the best way to propagate the plant is through root division. You can try to grow it from seeds or stem cutting, but the results may not be the ones you expect. The root division may seem a complicated procedure, but it is worth the work. Also, sometimes your plant will already grow baby plants, leaving you with less work to do.
Here are the steps for propagating Alocasia cuprea through root division. First, you will have to remove the plant from the pot. But be careful not to damage the roots. Examine the roots of the plant as there will be clumps of roots.
You will have to shake some of these baby offsets apart. If you cannot get the roots by shaking, use a pair of sterilized pruning shears. For the next step, you need to have the pot and soil ready. The soil needs to have a neutral pH and be sure not to fill the pot with too much soil at this point. Now it’s time to plant the new roots and remember to be gentle not to injure the roots. Fill the pot with more soil and that’s it. Now you have to be patient until your new Alocasia cuprea plant will grow.
Toxicity of Jewel Alocasia
As previously mentioned, Alocasia cuprea is quite toxic for both humans (children and adults) and pets which is why it is important to be cautious when growing it. The main issue with Alocasia is the high level of calcium oxalates that it contains in its tissues. For starters, make sure you always handle it with extra care and wear protective gloves.
Calcium oxalates are needle-like crystals that can cause irritation when they get in contact with exposed skin. In people with sensitive skin, calcium oxalates can cause dermatitis. Furthermore, ingesting any portion or part of this plant will cause severe discomfort like mouth pain, nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems. Be extra-careful with children and pets as they are easy targets of plant poisoning.
If you like plants with big shiny leaves, then the Alocasia cuprea plant is a perfect fit for you. With its arrow-shaped leaves, the Alocasia cuprea suits every corner of your house and it will make a perfect gift for a plant-loving friend. You may think that because it is a tropical plant, Alocasia cuprea might be hard to keep happy indoors. The good news is that as long as you grow it in a humid environment with plenty of bright indirect light, this ornamental plant will thrive and it will reward you with its beautiful coppery foliage. The most important thing is to understand the needs and requirements of your Alocasia. With attention and dedication, you can grow it successfully.
Are you growing Alocasia cuprea a.k.a Jewel Alocasia? Share your experience in the comments!