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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost two years ago to the day, I bought an alocasia from Black Jungle. The species wasn't labelled, and I don't have any photos. It had two leaves, maybe 3-5 inches long, on stems maybe 4-6 inches long. Fairly small plant. I put it in a terrarium, within two weeks both leaves had fallen off. I was left with a woody stump that protruded from the substrate about half an inch.
About 10-12 MONTHS later, it put out a new leaf, which fell off after I took apart the terrarium several months later and planted it in a smaller grow out tank. When I removed it from the first tank, it had an enormous root network, didn't go deeper into the substrate than 1/2 an inch, but was almost two feet across, growing across half my 55 gallon.
I recently moved it into my new 65 gallon tank, figuring why not, and the roots rotted off. Two months later, I have a little stump about the length of my thumb. It has started some very slow growing bulges on the side, I don't know if they are roots or leaves. Any suggestions on how to get this thing to start growing? I don't have much experience with alocasia, the few I have are kept as houseplants because they started growing so quickly, and have leaves bigger than my head. Don't quite fit in my 65 gallon! I'm not that invested in this one, its more of a puzzle that I want to solve.
 

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Leave it alone! Every time you change the environment of an dwarf alocasia their leaves fall off. That's just what they do. Then they put up leaves more adapted to that environment. You have never given this guy a chance to adapt. I keeps using up its resources to produce new leaves and you never give it a chance to build its resources back up.
 

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Those are new roots popping out. I got a bulb from George (ggazonas) and it popped roots out the side just like that. They kinda grew across the top of the soil so I tossed some more soil on top of them haha. We'll see how it turns out... Mine only has a couples inches of growth out of the top of the bulb but it looks like its doing well so far
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Leave it alone! Every time you change the environment of an dwarf alocasia their leaves fall off. That's just what they do. Then they put up leaves more adapted to that environment. You have never given this guy a chance to adapt. I keeps using up its resources to produce new leaves and you never give it a chance to build its resources back up.
After the initial planting, I moved it TWICE in two years. Is it that delicate of a plant? It survived as a stump for about 22 months!
 

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The group of alocasia typically used in terrariums is know as dwarf alocasia or jewel alocasia (probably a better name as not all are super tiny). These guys like conditions somewhat opposite of the others, preferring *very* well drained substrate, and if they have a rough texture to the thick leaves (like the species being sold as A. rugosa ) then they also want drier air. their root systems are a clue to their life cycle and is typical for a species that lives their lives in shallow, well drained pockets of substrates. Oddly enough that means in our tanks they may be better suited to be up out of the substrate that is often too wet for them. Also if their crown has you much water on it new growth may constantly be rotting. Another dormancy issue could be temps.
 

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Might as well. What is the substrate in that area anyways? ABG seems to be the way to go for these guys - it's meant for epiphytes anyways and is also great for plants with this type of life style. Getting air to the roots seems to be the biggest issue. All the ones I currently have growing in heavier substrate (which they were grown in before I got them) and in lower humidity situation, and their rhizome (not really a bulb, don't remember what the difference really is) is very clearly ABOVE the substrate in all cases. These are plants that are much easier to rot out than dry out when the humidity is high. You could probably grow these suckers with a rhizome on a rock or driftwood just above the leaf litter and they'd send roots right on down with high humidity. Make sure the crown gets to dry out as well so you don't rot new leaves!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The substrate is turface, covered in a layer of wood chips covered in a layer of leaf litter (slow decomposing). It's just sitting in the leaf litter. I'm tempted to pin it to my ecoweb background. The problem is it grows SO slowly, that I have no idea if I'm doing it right. I think its a form of rugosa, but that's my UNeducated guess.
 

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What kind of wood chips, do they wick water? How big are they compared to the rhizome? I suspect it wouldn't like the turface, doing better with larger chunks of stuff but the wood chips may help. The "rugosa" I am growing has it's rhizome completely above all substrate and it is one of the drier preferring jewel alocasias. You may not need to move it as much as make sure nothing sits on top of the rhizome.

I'm just worried that it's spent so much time dormant that it doesn't have much energy to come back :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Orchid mix wood chips. Firbark maybe? Large size. Great drainage.The plant dries out completely within several hours of misting. I'll just leave it where it is. It may be putting out roots at the base but I don't want to disturb it.
 

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Best you can probably do for now. If it was my personal plant I'd toss it on semi-hydro just to try and spoil it with nutrients and air but that won't fix the issue of it growing in the tank, just bring it back for a while to try and get it healthy enough to play with. It just may not come back from all of this after being dormant so long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One of the reasons I enjoy this hobby so much is the patience that you learn... the small things that change over time. Finally. A leaf! Thanks everybody! I'be had some recent plant disasters so this is even better news. I'be been trying to analyse my excitement over a leaf, in regards to the other things that go on in our day to day lives and came up with the conclusion "Stop thinking and enjoy it!" Anyway.
Its a very pale green, my camera was having difficulty, it took several shots before I got some that worked. Is the pale green due to it being a new leaf, the high light intensity, or both? The old leaves were much darker green. But the same size. I thought it was interesting that the leaf stemmed from the base of the stump. I wonder if more will come out on different areas or just where this leaf is.
I think I need to move the Biophytum and Peperomia!
 

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Honestly at this point, be happy about the leaf!

It may be so pale due to the fact that this is a plant with very little energy (it's staaaaaaaaaaaaarving!) so it is tossing it all into the leaf and hopefully will flush the leaf with color as it builds up energy since the leaf is now open. Don't touch it, don't disturb anything around it, talk to it with encouragement, and send it happy mental waves. It's happy enough right now and I'd just leave it until it actually gets it's full strength back. I'm wondering if some very dilute fertilizer may help as well (1/8th strength or less) but it depends on what else you have in the tank.

Sounds like since the original growth point had rotted out that it sent out a side shoot. More leaves from this growth will come from that same area, but when it's big and happy it will start sending off a little baby here and there off this rhizome as well.
 
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