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  Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasias
From: "John Criswick" <criswick at spiceisle.com> on 2009.07.15 at 22:33:44

Thank you very much indeed Peter !


From:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Peter Boyce
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 20092:07 AM
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasias


Dear John,


Apologies for the slow reply; have just beenattending the Nancy aroid conference, then to Munich to Josef’s collection, and then to Firenze to work in the Beccari Herbarium; just backtoday.


Alocasia robustais not easy and invariably reactsvery badly to transplanting. We have found the only way to grow successfully itis to plant  ex vitro into the final size pot (looks ludicrous for a longbut works) or to sown seeds (3 -4) into the final size pot or final growingplace.


In the wild it is a gap-phase plant, and incultivation needs nearly full sun or very light shade. It is also definitely aplant for a mineral soil; in habitat the largest plants are always in the localterat series red soils with light leaf litter cover.


Very best





From:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of John Criswick
Sent: 04 July 2009 02:19
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasias


Dear Peter,

          Doyou have any thoughts about the difficulty of cultivating A. robusta?  Igot one growing nicely in a 10” pot, but on planting it in nice,leafmouldy, well drained soil, it went into reverse and disappeared. Of courseI couldn’t grow it to maximum size in a container.




From:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of Peter Boyce
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 20096:56 PM
To: 'Discussion of aroids'
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasias


Dear Alison,


It is my belief that even in the wild forest Alocasia often go through periods of boomand bust; with the plants reaching a peak of physical perfection and the often soon afterwards ‘crashing’; the cycle in the wild seems to beameliorated by the rejuvenation induced by regular leaf fall, but in pots thereis a real danger that the pieces of the disarticulated rhizome do not get thechance to rejuvenate before they run out of stored carbohydrate, and then seemto lose the ability (will?) to re-grow.


Another factor that is only now becoming clear isthat Alocasia, and many otherterrestrial aroids too, I suspect, have some mycrorrhizal association. I firstbegan to suspect this on finding super-vigorous specimens with infeasibly smallroot systems in the wild. Clearly the roots were too small to support thenutrient uptake that the plants needed, and yet the plants were thriving. Thepoint was reinforced by observations of litter-trapping Schismatoglottis, notably species in the S. barbata complex, where investigation ofthe leaf litter revealed copious fungal hyphae and significant composting ofthe oldest leaf litter, with the plants rooting from the stem and through theleaf bases into this composted material and the decomposing leaves above. Fromour experiments we have observed a beneficial fungal population developing inthe leaf litter within a couple of months, and a notable increase in plantvigour at this time. In fact, we no longer apply fertilizer to our plants (aconsiderable saving in time and money with ca 10,000 individual pots...) andthis despite the fact that the nursery receives 5+ m of rain per anuum, andthus the flow-through of nutrients from the pots must be considerable.


On the subject of watering, our plants get wateredevery day, either from our virtually daily torrential downpours, or, in‘dry’ periods from overhead sprinklers. Even in dry periodshumidity seldom drops below 70%. The key is well-drained media and making surethat the rhizome is not totally buried. The crucial thing is that the leaflitter layer should not become dry (leaves crispy). The leaf litter (topmostleaves) remain damp and the leaves flexible.


One note, once you get the fungal hyphae communityunderway, the leaf litter will decompose fairly quickly. We ‘topup’ the leaves regularly to ensure that there are always fresh leaves ontop of the decomposing and composted ones.


Very best




From:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com [mailto:aroid-l-bounces@gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of STARSELL@aol.com
Sent: 30 June 2009 05:43
To: aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Alocasias


Dear Peter,


Thank you much forposting this!  I have two that I just

re-planted per yourbelow Rx.


I knew they were alivebut I had not seen much improvement

using the method Idescribed, at least they were not continuing

to decline.


I don't know whathappened to them.  All of my other Alocasias

are thriving.  One,a zebrina got knocked over and the stems

bent and would notstraighten; the other a cuprea just randomly

began to droop untilnothing was left but the tuber.


At least now I have somehope.  The pots do look funny though;

all that leaflitter.  But now I have real hope.


One question - aboutwatering this.  Do you guess at it?  Feel

the loam to see if it isdamp?  Go by the weight of the pot?


I wondered about leavingthe loam only damp and moistening the

leaf litter on the top?





In a message dated6/29/2009 9:38:06 A.M. Central Daylight Time, phymatarum@googlemail.com writes:

Hi Tsuh Yang,

Many Alocasia literally 'climb' through layers of leaf litter, rooting as
they go, with the older parts of the elongated rhizome gradually senescing
and eventually dying. After much experimentation, and not a few deaths, we
have settled pots half full of a mineral soil (locally produce red topsoil
mixed with river sand in 1:1 mix), with the rhizome at most half buried, and
the remained of the pot filled with leaf litter. The root growth at the leaf
litter/mineral soil interface is extraordinarily vigorous and with the loose
leaves the problem of bacterial rot is resolved. I would suggest that you
try planting our dormant rhizomes in this manner and see what happens.



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