Alocasia California is an attractive plant It can tolerate winter temperatures down to 41 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time. The green leaves are undulated and very slightly sinuate at the margins. The midrib and primary surface veins are quite prominent and enhance the appearance of this plant. The vigorous self-heading habit make this Alocasia work well in mass or along a border.
Alocasia “California” can be used in the landscape as a backdrop, bursting out of contrasting plants of contrasting texture or color. Ferns make an excellent companion as do ti plants, especially the finer textured ones with black or purple leaves. Try using it in a bed of groundcovers, such as darkly colored liriope or mondo grass… maybe even ornamental sweet potato vine! I have personally chosen to place it alone in an island bed as the focal point of my garden, surrounded only by grass and paired with a black ti plant. To the right you can see my clump emerging after last year’s low of 20 degrees. If you are specifically going for a Southeast Asian or Balinese look as I am, Alocasia fits the bill perfectly since they are the “elephant ears” of the region and are used in courtyard gardens as well. If you are going for a Latin American flavor, I would go with a Xanthosoma or Yautia.
Landscape alocasias are usually upright, glossy and have stiff and succulent leaves. Xanthosomas are best characterized by a triangular leaf that is less glossy and upright than alocasias. Another plant that is commonly confused is the colocasia, which is only rarely pointed upright and is usually not as stiff and glossy as the alocasias. Even the glossiest colocasias point downward, so here’s a general rule of thumb to identify an alocasia. Alocasias are generally glossier, more upright pointing and more rigid than other “elephant ears. Once again, this isn’t set in stone, but this will usually help you out.