The Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’, also known by its scientific name Caladium praetermissum, is actually no longer considered part of the Alocasia family. It is, as its scientific name indicates, a part of the Caladium genus which are native to the tropical areas of Central and South America. To avoid confusion in this care guide, I will refer to this plant as Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ or A. ‘Hilo Beauty’.
So without further ado, let’s dive deep into the details for Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ care’!
Table of contents
- Common Name: Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’
- Scientific Name: Caladium praetermissum
- Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide; can be fast growing in optimal conditions
- Sunlight: bright, indirect/filtered sunlight
- Water: water thoroughly and allow top 2 inches of soil to dry; high humidity
- Soil: nutrient rich, arid/well-draining soil
- Hardiness Zone: 9-11
- Propagation: rhizome/root division
I absolutely love the stunning Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’. It is a tropical variety that was created back in the 1980s by the Munich Botanical Gardens. Initially it was considered part of the Alocasia genus, however was later reclassified as part of the Caladium Genus.
The Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is identified by its long slender stems and large, chubby arrow-shaped leaves. They also resemble elephant ears which is why you may have heard of this plant referred to as the Elephant Ear plant. The leaves have a unique camouflage pattern with dark green and a lighter yellow-green. The edges of each leaf are gently rippled, giving the face a lovely texture.
Growth Pattern and Habits
Alocaisia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is a fast growing plant that can reach a mature height of three to four feet and a spread of approximately two feet. The ‘Hilo Beauty’ grows from a central base, sending up slim, delicate long stems that are a dark bluish-black. On the end of each stem is one thin but broad leaf. The stems fan out into a V-shape and the leaves drop gently to the sides.
This plant grows from rhizomes which are long horizontal stems that act like roots underground. They are fleshy and brown in color. Along these stems you will find distinct nodes, or bulges, along its length. This is where you will notice the stems appear from.
Leaves, once the plant is mature, can reach up to 3 feet long if grown outdoors outdoors. A ‘Hilo Beauty’ can reach this indoors as well if the indoor environment can closely mimic its outdoor habitat, however you can usually expect leaves to be about one foot long.
Spring and summer are the active growing seasons for Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’. This is where you will experience the joy of new stems erupting from the soil. Leaves will stay green, lush and healthy through the fall months. As winter approaches, your ‘Hilo Beauty’ will enter its dormant stage.
During dormancy, you may notice that the older, lower leaves will begin to brown. This is normal and is a sign that this stem needs to be cut at the base. Pruning your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ will keep it healthy and pest free!
When grown in a pot, an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ should be replanted approximately every two years or anytime you see the rhizome stems sneaking through the bottom drainage hole.
Tip: When choosing a new pot, pick one that is about two to three inches larger in diameter than the old pot. This will give your ‘Hilo Beauty’ room to grow! This sizing up isn’t too big so you won’t have to battle with overly moist soil.
Providing the correct amount of sunlight is crucial when caring for an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’. If you are growing your ‘Hilo Beauty’ indoors, it should receive bright light throughout the entire day but the light should be indirect or filtered.
Bright but indirect light can be achieved a couple of different ways and it’s dependent upon where you put your plant in your house. An Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ would do well directly in front of an eastern facing window in a bright room (usually one that has two or more windows) where it receives gentle morning sunlight. Because morning light is less intense than that during the afternoon, it is ok if your ‘Hilo Beauty’ is in the direct rays during this time. For the rest of the day, the plant should be out of direct rays but in a room that is still bright!
Tip: If you lack a room like the one described above, you can always supplement natural light with a grow light. A bulb that is 15,000-20,000 lux should be used for a ‘Hilo Beauty’.
Another way to obtain bright indirect light is to place the plant a couple feet away from a south facing window. In the northern hemisphere, south facing windows will receive the most direct sunlight. Be sure that your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is not in the direct rays, especially during mid day. Using a sheer curtain over southern windows is helpful too!
If you live in the appropriate USDA Hardiness Zone (zones 9-11) and want to plant a ‘Hilo Beauty’ outside in the ground, plant it in an area of the garden that receives shade for about 80% of the day. The light requirements for an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ that is planted outdoors is the same as one that is grown indoors.
Preferably, when planted outside this plant should only be in direct sunlight in the early morning. Dappled or filtered light that makes its way down to a ‘Hilo Beauty’ through surrounding trees or plants is ok too!
An Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is a varietal in the Caladium genus which is a genus that originates from Central and South American tropical forests. They like rain and they like moist soil! However, don’t get this confused with oversaturated soil that leads to standing water at the bottom of the pot. Controlled watering of an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is important to its care.
To best mimic the natural rainfall a Caladium would receive in the rainforest, completely drench the soil. In a sink or a deep tray, let the excess water drain through the drainage hole. This method will completely permeate the ‘Hilo Beauty’s’ soil but prevent additional water from suffocating the roots. Plants need oxygen to survive!
The frequency of watering an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ depends on the climate you live in and time of year. Avoid a strict watering schedule and only water your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ when the top two inches of the soil are dry.
To avoid overwatering, plant your ‘Hilo Beauty’ in a container with a drainage hole.
An equal mixture of organic potting soil, peat moss and perlite creates a fantastic soil blend that your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ will love. This plant prefers slightly acidic soil of 5.5 to 6.5 pH. Peat moss lowers the pH of your soil to keep it in this ideal range.
Peat moss is also a great medium to add to soil as it retains the appropriate amount of water without holding onto excess. Perlite is used to ensure the soil stays loose; it helps the soil from compacting too tightly around the roots after watering.
Feel free to mix your own custom soil by buying each element separately or look for a pre-mixed potting soil that has peat moss and is labeled as “fast draining”.
Temperature and Humidity
An Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is happiest when indoor temperatures are 65F to 75F. Luckily for us plant loving humans, this is comfortable for us too so you don’t need to turn your house into a greenhouse!
When caring for an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ planted outdoors, they do best when temperatures outside are 70-90F during the day. They can technically survive a few chilly nights into the 30s but do not tolerate frost. If you would like to enjoy this plant outdoors but live in climates with chilly, harsh winters, feel free to place your potted ‘Hilo Beauty’ outside during the spring or summer once average nightly temperatures are above 60F.
Tip: Before bringing a potted Alocasi ‘Hilo Beauty’ inside and placing it next to other indoor plants in the fall, spray the entire plant down gently with a hose. Keep the plant isolated indoors for a week or two and monitor for any pests. This way, you won’t be introducing new pests to your indoor plants.
High humidity, between 50-70%, is when an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ will be happiest! This can be achieved in the following ways:
- Pebble tray; fill a shallow tray with small uniformly sized pebbles. Add water. Place your plant on top. The water from the tray evaporates, increasing the surrounding air’s humidity level.
- If you have multiple plants that like high humidity, placing them close together in a group will help retain moisture in the air.
- You can try a small humidifier; a small table top one would work just fine!
- Lastly, the most stylish way to display your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is to put it in a terrarium. To keep the glass on the terrarium from fogging up, use a terrarium with a wooden base, as this absorbs any extra moisture that would cause fogginess!
Only fertilize your ‘Hilo Beauty’ in the spring and summer. Fertilize only once per four to six weeks. Use a balanced fertilizer that has equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. I prefer one with low percentages of each and most frequently buy a 1-1-1 fertilizer. Dilute to half strength in water.
The most reliable way to propagate an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is by dividing the rhizomes. Remember that rhizomes are technically a part of the stem and grow horizontally underneath the soil. Rhizomes are where new stems grow from. Follow these steps to successfully propagate your ‘Hilo Beauty’:
- While keeping the whole plant in its pot, gently remove soil until you see the thick rhizome and tangled mess of roots that are attached
- Choose the part of the rhizome you would like to remove; pick a large section of the thick rhizome and make a cut with a sharp and clean knife
- Cut the removed rhizome into ½ inch to ¾ inch pieces. Look for growth buds, which will look like little bumps. Sometimes they can be hard to identify so don’t stress out! That’s why dividing the rhizome into ½-¾ inch sections is important.
Tip: Keep the roots attached to each sectioned off rhizome
- Plant each rhizome section into a new pot, two inches deep under fresh soil. Ideally, pick a pot that is wide because rhizomes grow horizontally and need room to spread.
- Keep the soil moist until you see new growth popping out of the soil; at this time, begin caring for the new Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ as described above!
Brown Splotches on Leaves
If you notice scattered brown splotches on numerous leaves both old and new, you may have an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ with a fungal problem! Fungal infections are almost always due to overwatering, so first things first! STOP WATERING!
Remove the plant from the soil and gently knock off all the excess dirt. First, wash the rhizome and roots thoroughly with fresh water and then spray with a fungicide. Leave the plant on a paper towel or newspaper for four to five days in a cool, dry area to allow the roots to dry. Cut away any black and/or mushy roots and prune any of the damaged leaves
Repot in a freshly sterilized pot and new soil.
Brown Tips of Leaves
Leaves that have brown tips are usually telling you that they need a more humid environment. Add a pebble tray or humidifier or group high humidity plants together to help retain moisture.
Completely Brown Leaves
Leaves that are a uniform brown are a sign of too much fertilizing. Take your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ out of the soil and rinse the roots thoroughly with water. Repot the plant in new soil and be sure to only fertilize your ‘Hilo Beauty’ every four to six weeks in the spring and summer months!
If you notice that your ‘Hilo Beauty’ has yellowed leaves, make sure you note which leaves have changed color. If the yellow leaves are the older leaves, don’t worry! This is normal. Prune these old stems to keep your plant healthy!
If you notice newer growth is beginning to yellow or become faded and bleached, this is a sign of too much light. Adjust the levels of light your plant receives or the time of day it receives direct light. Recall an Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’s light requirements. It likes bright, indirect light best!
Unfortunately pests can be a problem for your Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’. Common pests include mealybugs and spider mites. Check out our post dedicated to plant pests to become an expert on pest treatment.
Mealybugs are very small insects that like to clump together on the undersides of leaves and between leaves and stems. Groups of mealybugs will have the white fluffy appearance of a cotton ball. Using a q-tip or paper towel soaked in alcohol, remove all insects.
Spider mites are another issue. You will know you have a spider mite problem if you see thin webs draped across your plant. You may also notice small holes in your leaves. Mist the entire plant with rubbing alcohol and remove all webs and visible insects. Repeat this twice a week until the problem is resolved.
Regular pruning is a great way to care for your indoor Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ to keep it bug free!
Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’ is toxic to both pets and humans, so make sure these are potted in places high above curious hands and mouths. If your pet has eaten a ‘Hilo Beauty’ you may notice oral swelling, excessive drooling and vomiting. If you notice ANY unusual behavior in your pet or someone in your household, please contact the appropriate medical professionals for help.
Now you know how to care for the gorgeous Alocasia ‘Hilo Beauty’! This is a stunning, unique plant to add to your collection. Share it with friends too as this plant can easily be propagated. It does well as an indoor plant but can thrive outdoors in the right environments. High quality Caladium praetermissum care is easily achieved if you follow the above directions.