The first thing you’ll notice about the Odora is its striking beauty. The rhizomatous evergreen plant is known for its distinct lush green foliage, which is borne on sturdy stems.
These leaves are shaped like elephant ears, making them look fairly similar to the likes of taro and Colocasia gigantea.
What sets the Odora apart is the fact that its leaves point skyward, while those of most Colocasias point downward.
Any new leaves that form on this plant tend to have a lime green hue, and they glow beautifully till they start to age and get outshined by younger leaves.
Another part that draws gardeners to the Alocasia Odora entails its flowers.
The blossoms tout a gorgeous pale peach spathe and spandex. Better yet, they have a lovely scent, which becomes more prominent at night. This explains why the plant is also referred to as the night-scented lily.
The secret to helping your Alocasia Odora thrive is to lay a good foundation, and that starts with using a quality potting mix. When choosing the medium to grow this plant in, consider one that has proper drainage.
This ensures that the plant doesn’t sit in soggy soil, which would otherwise cause the rhizomes to rot. If you are using regular soil such as loam or sand, be sure to incorporate a bit of organic matter to enrich it.
Personally, I prefer to make my own potting mix as opposed to using store-bought versions. It usually consists of soil, perlite, and peat in the ratio of 1:1:1. Adding perlite and peat improves not only drainage but also aeration. Plus, it’s well-draining.
Since my window is located strategically, I prefer to place my Odora on the windowsill. However, I always install a curtain sheer to filter the direct rays of the sun. This way, the foliage doesn’t get scorched.
Ideally, natural light is the best form of lighting for houseplants. This is because it strikes an excellent balance between blue and red light. But not everyone is able to provide this type of light.
If you’re growing your plant in a basement or other space with zero access to natural light, you’ll have to supplement with artificial light sources.
Specifically, I’d recommend fluorescent bulbs, which are 2 and ½ times more effective at transforming electrical energy into light energy. The latter is what plants need to grow.
Moreover, these light fixtures produce very little heat. It means that you can place your Alocasia as close as you want to the light source.
Here’s one thing you need to know about Alocasias. They prefer growing media that is slightly on the drier side.
It means that you’d rather underwater than overwater, although neither of these situations is ideal. So in terms of frequency, wait until the top 2 to 3 inches of the top layer of soil/potting mix dries before watering.
By following this principle, I end up watering my Odora just once every three to four weeks.
In addition to checking the water levels, another way to determine whether you’re overwatering your plant is to watch out for signs. The most common signs of overwatering include:
- A collapsed base
- Moldy potting mix
- Yellowing of older leaves
- Plant death
The Alocasia Odora prefers a spot with a warm temperature. This is not surprising given that it’s a tropical plant. The ideal temperature is one ranging between 15°C and 30°C (59°F and 86°F).
Avoid placing your plant near doors and windows that are opened frequently as it doesn’t tolerate cold temperatures very well. On the same note, don’t place it near air conditioning units.
When it comes to humidity, you’ll want to provide moderate to high humidity; no less than 70%. So if you live in an arid climate, you might want to invest in a quality humidifier.
Alternatively, consider misting your odora with a spray bottle, to prevent its leaves from drying and wilting.
A pebble tray is another feasible solution. To create a pebble tray, look for a waterproof tray; should have almost the same width as the base of your pot.
Next, place pebbles inside that tray, then put your potted plant on top of them. Fill the tray with water but ensure the pebbles sit slightly above the waterline.
How does placing your pot on a pebble tray aid in humidity? Well, the water inside the pebble tray will begin to evaporate. As a result, the moisture levels around the plant will increase.
Generally, Alocasias are heavy feeders. It means that you’ll have to arm yourself with quality fertilizers to feed your Odora.
When it reaches peak growing season- which typically happens in spring and summer- feed your plant once every two weeks.
You can then reduce to a frequency of once per month in winter. This is because it won’t be able to make the most use of nutrients when the temperatures plummet.
Since it’s a rhizomatous plant, the easiest way to propagate the Alocasia Odora is using its rhizomes.
If you’re growing your plant outdoors, start by digging around it; dig no less than 12 inches so that you don’t damage its root system.
Next, carefully lift it from the ground surface. This should reveal several long tubers just slightly underneath the ground surface.
If you’re growing your Odora indoors, follow a fairly similar process. However, dig just enough to avoid wrecking its root system.
The next steps are incredibly easy as all you’ll need to do is brush away the soil and partition the tubers. You can then grow each of these tubers in its own pot.
Simply; fill a different pot with your preferred mix, preferably one that is rich and damp.
Plant your new rhizome so that it’s at the same depth as it was before. After planting, place the container in a partially shaded spot.
Remember to water your new plant as needed. You should start to see new growth before long.
If provided with all the right conditions, your Alocasia Odora can grow very fast.
It means that if your plant is growing very slowly, it could be that it’s suffering from the stem or root rot. This could also mean that it’s not receiving enough light.
When it comes to size, the Odora grows up to 8 ft. (240 cm) high with a spread of 2 to 3 ft. (60 to 90 cm). Its leaves are particularly large, growing up to 2 ft. (60 cm) long and 1 ft. (30 cm) wide.
Like other Alocasias, Odora doesn’t need to be repotted often. In my experience, I repot my plant just once per year, once it becomes root-bound.
If you’re planning to repot your plant, ensure you transplant it to a potting mix with traits similar to the original one.
It means that it should be rich with proper drainage. Although the pot also needs to be larger, just go a size or two higher. This way, it doesn’t compromise the soil’s drainage.
Another thing I like to do is to divide the rhizomes of my Odora, at least once every year. This keeps it at a manageable size.