Alocasia Cuprea Plant Care Guide

The Alocasia cuprea plants are unique, and houseplant collectors love to grow them thanks to their red, green or purple leaves. Their leaves give these indoor plants their personality as they are stiff, virtually plastic-like in appearance. Growers will see a metallic or silver sheen when the light hits the leaves just right. 

There are thick-leaved Alocasia cuprea and other varieties with thinner leaves. The thinner-leaved types can withstand more moisture in the soil than the thick-leaved plants. Leaves of the Mirror Plant can grow large and dominate the overall appearance, intriguing passersby. 

Also called Mirror Plant, Red Secret and Jewel alocasia, they can reach 12 inches to 18 inches in height in their ideal growing condition. Alocasia plants love tropical climates that are humid and originate from Asia and South America. 

Alocasia Cuprea Plant

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Botanical NameAlocasia cuprea
Common NameMirror Plant, Red Secret and Jewel Alocasia
Size12 to 18 inches
DifficultyMedium to Difficult
Pet FriendlyToxic
Air CleanerYes

Alocasia Cuprea Origin

Alocasia cuprea belongs to the genus Alocasia. It is native to Borneo, the largest island in Asia. The name, cuprea, is derived from the unusual coppery appearance of the leaves. 

Considered rare, Alocasia cuprea has been found outside its original habitat since it was brought to Europe in the 1850s. Thomas Lobb brought the plant to Europe for the largest family-run group of nurseries known as Veitch Nurseries. 

How to Care for Alocasia Cuprea

There are definitely some dos and don’ts in growing these beauties because these Jewel Alocasia require moderate care. 

Light and Temperature

Bright, indirect sunlight is a must if these indoor plants are to grow well. Avoid exposing them to direct light for over three hours per day. Too much sunlight can cause a dull look, and at times, the formation of brown patches. 

Growers like to place these houseplants n the north- or east-facing window, where they receive the right amount of sunlight but not too much. They end up thriving, putting a smile on collectors’ faces. 

In Winter, the lighting conditions change, with these beauties requiring an hour or two hours of sunlight. Monitor the soil, ensuring these Red Secrets don’t get overly dry. 

To enrich these plants’ photosynthesis, keep the dust off the foliage by using a dry clean cloth and gently wiping the leaves with the other hand supporting the foliage. Keeping the leaves free of dust increases these plants’ overall health thanks to the natural light they receive from the sun. 

Most growers keep their Mirror Plants in a range of 50° to 85° Fahrenheit during the day with success. During the night, these plants do well with temperatures from 54° to 65° Fahrenheit. 

The Alocasia plants grow better in high humidity conditions. The recommendation is to use a humidifier and set it between 80 to 95 percent humidity. Some growers place a humidity tray near the plants while also misting the Red Secret plants regularly to help raise the humidity. 

Water

Jewel alocasia plants need moderate water, so the soil becomes moist. The plants have a very sensitive root system. With that, the houseplants like lukewarm water. Try not to use tap water unless it has stood for 24 hours. That way, all the high levels of chlorine and fluorine have settled. Now, the water is suitable for the plants. 

Check to see if the plants have adequate moisture. Here, growers stick a finger into the potting mix about two to three inches down. Adequate moisture means the finger will feel moist after coming out of the soil. Some of the soil will stick to the finer as well. Ideally, water your Alocasia cuprea plants two to three times a week. 

Finding the proper moisture range for these houseplants is vital. Watering too little or too much is lethal to the Mirror Plants. The lack of enough water will cause greying and wilting leaves with very little growth. Conversely, overwatering results in wilting leaves, brown spots, the lower leaves rapidly yellowing and rotten stems. 

Fertilization

Dilute an all-purpose liquid fertilizer to 50 percent strength and use it during the growing season. Fertilize the Alocasia cuprea plants every two weeks. During the winter or cold months, refrain from fertilizing because it will cause leaf burn. 

Flowering

The Red Secrets usually bloom in late spring, with the flowers lasting for a few days, then fading. When flowers appear, the Alocasia cuprea plants are happy and thriving. In fact, these plants rarely grow flowers. But if one occurs, it’s an upright spadix surrounded by a reddish-brown spathe. 

The spadix looks like a small ear of corn covered with tiny creamy-white or yellow flowers. The foliage of the Alocasia plants can hide the spadix, so keep checking toward the ending of spring or the start of summer, and a flower might appear. 

Pruning

Alocasia cuprea plants are not bushy, so regular pruning is unnecessary. Consider it an annual pruning by creating more room for fresh growth. The right thing to do is to remove any leaves discolored, damaged, withering or old. That way, these indoor plants remain in good shape. 

The beginning of the growing season is the best time to prune the Mirror Plants. Use a sterilized, sharp pair of pruning shears and trim off brown leaves, yellow stems and damaged roots. These plants will benefit by focusing their energy on new growth in place of carrying the burden of dying or damaged parts. 

Avoid pruning in the winter because it’s a dormant time for these plants. If you prune in the winter, it’ll only stunt their growth. 

Repotting

Like most houseplants, their containers must not be oversized. A medium-sized pot is the best for Alocasia cuprea plants. If the planter is too big, then the indoor plants become overwatered. It’s like their roots drown in too much water. The system never dries and remains moist too long. 

The maximum size to transfer these plants is two sizes larger than their last container. Spring is the ideal time to repot, thanks to the houseplants coming out of dormancy. About every two years, these beauties need repotting. 

When the plants have overgrown their planters, such as roots coming out of the drain holes or poking out of the topsoil, they need repotting. 

Repotting also gives a chance to change the potting mix if the soil is not as fresh or healthy. If plants seem to thrive in their containers, try to bring some old soil to the new home. Quick-drying and well-drain potting mix with a lot of aeration help Alocasia plants thrive. 

Pests

Alocasia cuprea plants are unlikely to cause any problems with proper care. Regular treatments of insecticides protect these plants from pests and the damage they can cause. Some common pests are mealybugs, thrips, aphids, spider mites and fungus gnats. 

Mealybugs

Mealybugs attack any part of these houseplants above the topsoil. The buggers will cause a lot of damage because they multiply quickly. Female mealybugs, in one lifetime, lays close to 300 eggs. The males will fly at least a half-mile to impregnate the females. 

Take a damp, clean cloth to crush and remove all the cottony webs and insects visible. Use a toothbrush to scrub the stems gently. If there are infected flowers and leaves, remove them from the plants. 

Outside, gently hose down the plant, and replace the topsoil with a new, uninfected potting mix. When the plants dry off, apply organic or chemical-based pesticides. 

Repeat these steps weekly as necessary for up to an entire month. Also, use horticultural soap and neem oil. Some growers place a thin layer of diatomaceous powder on the topsoil. Others add it to water and mist the solution onto the Red Secrets. 

Thrips

These tubular-shaped, tiny flies are contagious and can severely harm Jewelry Alocasia plants. The buggers can access the plants through open windows and doors. Also, they come from infected newly purchased plants or soils. 

A yellow egg-like larva appears on the foliage. In seconds, minute white and black flies move around the whole plant, including soil, stems and flowers. 

Growers notice yellow, dark patches on their plants within a couple of days. These pests cause unbelievable damage because they scrap off cell membranes from the leaves. In fact, quick action solves and prevents the death of these beauties. 

Chemical pesticides, along with neem oil, insecticidal soap and diatomaceous, are effective measures to eliminate thrips and save the Alocasia cuprea plant.

Aphids

These pests can suck the sap out of the Red Secrets. Aphids only grow about a quarter of an inch, but they can look beefy if they’ve been busy. If not taken care of, these pests will kill the plant. Aphids are most active in the spring. Reproducing cycle is hustling and bustling. 

Take the plant outside and gently hose it down, eliminating any noticeable aphids. Next, wash the plant with soapy water as the buggers die when they come in contact with soap. Make sure the soap doesn’t irritate the plant before washing the whole plant. 

Try mixing three parts water and one part white vinegar, making a spray against aphids. Spray all the infected areas. Repeat once a week until there’s no evidence of the critters. 

Spider Mites

When small translucent bodies appear on the Mirror Plant, it has spider mites. These buggers hide in the folds or underside of the leaves. After some time, a formation of tiny groups of webs trapping bits of potting mix will appear. 

Once the spider mites move in, tiny transparent blotches and yellow leaves appear. Once these symptoms occur, quick action must happen before all the plants become infected. 

Crush and remove any spider mite on the plant. Then prune off the affected areas. Take the plant outdoors and gently hose the plant down. Let the foliage dry completely before applying any pesticides. Repeat this weekly until there are no more buggers. 

Spray neem oil onto the foliage, and other pesticides include diatomaceous earth, rosemary oil, cinnamate, herbal tea and horticultural soap. 

Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats do most of their harm to the root system. Small infestations do minor damage to established plants. If there are huge numbers, these buggers can reduce the size of the root system, leading to yellow leaves. These pests like to feast on the flower’s nectar, spreading diseases to other plants. 

Fungus gnats will not be a problem if the Alocasia cuprea plants have optimum growing conditions. However, these critters love the dark, humid and poorly aerated soils. Fungus gnats love cold weather and come through open doors and windows. They also enter via a poorly kept bag of compost and newly bought plants. 

Organic and chemical-based insecticides work best. Since these buggers fly, it’s hard to crush them or wipe them off. Scatter a thin layer of diatomaceous earth on the soil surface, preventing the females from laying eggs. Set out bowls to drown the gnats or spray clove and garlic water on the potting mix. 

Diseases

Keeping Jewelry alocasias well cared for means fewer worries about potential diseases. Some common ones are downy or powdery mildew, leaf spot, southern blight, rust disease and botrytis or grey mold. 

Downy or Powdery Mildew

Forms a white powder, and stems will become yellow if not treated, including stunted growth. Remove affected leaves and wipe the Mirror Plant with a clean cloth soaked in soapy water. Use a chemical-based fungicide. 

Leaf Spot

Orange, yellow or brown spots will appear. Chlorothalonil works best and defends the plant from future attacks. Isolate the plant and remove damaged parts, then treat. 

Southern Blight

Leaves and roots turn creamy yellow. Then, they turn a mushy brown color. To treat, remove the leaves and get rid of any gunk—splash with hydrogen peroxide for every three waterings. Try to avoid excess hydrogen peroxide because it could burn the Red Secrets. 

Rust Disease

Fungicide is the best treatment for severe cases. The Alocasia cuprea leaves look rusty, and then lesions appear. Remove and destroy the infected leaves immediately. 

Botrytis or Grey Mold

The disease attacks flowers and foliage of the Jewelry alocasia. Tiny black and orange spots appear, mold covering the entire plant and severe infection. Remove all infected areas and throw them away. 

Consider isolating the plant away from your home while administering the treatment for three weeks. A fungicide called Fighter works best. Consider gently washing the leaves outside before treating the houseplant. 

Once clear of symptoms, welcome the Alocasia cuprea back into the home, providing nourishment to allow fresh growth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Alocasia Cuprea rare?

Alocasia Cuprea is rare in its former native habitat, but collectors find them online, in nurseries and indoor plant shops.

Does Alocasia Cuprea like humidity?

The Jewel alocasia plants are tropical, so naturally, they thrive in high humidity. Some growers keep the humidity levels at 80 percent or above, keeping their plants in top condition.

Why is my Alocasia Cuprea drooping?

Under or over watering, insufficient nutrients in the potting mix, inadequate light or pets cause drooping leaves. First, review the Mirror Plant care tips in this article. Determine whether the watering schedule may need adjusting—these tropical plants like their soil to dry out somewhat between waterings.

Also, when seasons change, the light source changes as well. The plants may need to move closer to the sunlight from the window.

If it’s not any of the above situations, it could mean it’s time to repot the Alocasias because they grow fast in the summer and like room for their root system.

Is Alocasia Cuprea toxic to pets?

Like most plants of the Araceae family, these Red Secrets contain oxalate crystals — an insoluble substance toxic to pets and children. If eaten or it touches the skin and eyes, it will cause irritation. Keep these plants away from pets and children.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to their red, green or purple leaves, Alocasia cuprea plants are unique and require reasonable care described in this article. There are some dos and don’ts in growing these beauties. Follow these tips, and these houseplants will grow between 12 inches to 18 inches, developing large, gorgeous leaves. 

Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!

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