Learn all about alocasia frydek, an elephant ear variety that looks exotic and hard to care for but isn’t! Read about what this plant needs to thrive, including how to propagate it.
All about alocasia frydek care!
Hello hello! Today I am writing about a plant that looks harder to care for than it really is. It’s an alocasia frydek, aka alocasia micholitziana “frydek.” I don’t actually know why I assumed this one was super rare and hard to care for.
It just looks high maintenance to me. And that’s saying something for an alocasia plant, all of which I consider to be high maintenance 🙂 Maybe that’s because I always see it on Instagram.
And generally when I see plant influencers with huge followings posting about a plant, I assume it is rare and expensive. Especially when it looks as good as frydek.
Maybe at one point it was super trendy and hard to get your hands on, but I’ve been seeing it pop up at local nurseries in my area for very reasonable prices! Mine is a decent size, and I paid $14.99 for it. It has three leaves, one of which recently unfurled. So let’s chat about it.
Where is alocasia micholitziana “Frydek” from?
Alocasia micholitziana is from the Philippines, so I assume frydek has similar origins. I was unable to find what elephant ear plants frydek is a hybrid of. But according to the Missouri Botanical Garden, it is a hybrid.
This elephant ear variety reminds me a lot of alocasia polly (see my alocasia polly care guide for more) because of its elongated, heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are generally more narrow and pointy than some other elephant ear plants, giving them kind of an other-worldly look (at least to me).
Frydek has gorgeous deep green leaves with a velvet sheen and light green/off-white veining. It’s really the velvet finish on the leaves that take this plant from “oh, a cool elephant ear” to, “I need this plant right now” for me.
Is alocasia frydek rare?
Alocasia frydek is not as rare as some other alocasia varieties, but I haven’t seen it pop up in big box stores. To me, if I can find it at a local independent nursery for $14.99, I don’t consider it rare!
However, this may not be the case for where you live. So rarity can depend on geographic location and access to high-quality nurseries. You can always consider buying it online (affiliate link), and there are plenty of reputable sellers who are selling them for reasonable prices!
How much light does an alocasia frydek need?
Alocasia frydek’s lighting needs are very similar to those of other alocasia plants: bright, indirect light. This will encourage healthy, prolific growth. It can do just fine with some medium levels of indirect light—but it might not be as vigorous of a grower.
Too much direct sunlight will lead the leaves to fade or even burn, so watch that. I generally do not have any issues with this on my indoor plants—even in my sunniest windows. But where you live may differ. Experiment with placement and watch the growth patterns to assess if you need to move your plant.
I’m planning to take my frydek outside for the spring and summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it does with the extra humidity! I plan to put it under a large shrub that I’ve pruned the bottom off of, creating a nice shady spot.
How do you water a frydek alocasia plant?
Alocasia frydek is not super drought-tolerant, but it also doesn’t want to live in a swamp. When you water your frydek, do so thoroughly, letting all of the excess water drain out of the drainage holes. Then wait until the top several inches of soil dry out before watering it again.
If you overwater your frydek, it will die by root rot. The roots and tubers that frydek sprouts from will turn a grayish-brown and mushy from sitting in too much water. Underwatering signs might be drooping leaves or browning edges (though these can also be symptoms of other things like lack of humidity or too much/too little light).
When I water my alocasia plants, I generally just use tap water because I’m lazy. However, I also rinse off the tops and bottoms of the leaves to ensure they remain clean. This is also a good practice for pest management.
A surefire way to help you ensure you are not overwatering or underwatering is to let the top few inches of soil dry out—but it’s also important to make sure you have your plant in proper soil. That’s because soil that is too heavy retains too much water, leading to rot.
It’s important to use a well-draining soil that helps facilitate easy drainage through the plant’s root system and out the pot’s drainage holes. It also helps encourage aeration by teeny creating pockets of air in the soil, which help keep the root system happy.
I still have my frydek in its nursery soil. And honestly, I usually look at the nursery soil to help me decide what I should repot a plant into. Any indoor potting mix will probably work just fine, but I also throw in some extra perlite and coco coir for good measure.
Perlite helps with drainage, which coco coir helps retain moisture without being too heavy. Plus it is a great alternative to peat moss, which is not a sustainable resource. (Read more about soil amendments in my houseplant soil 101 post!)
Just keep in mind that the lighter your soil, the faster it will dry out. Light is also a bit part of this equation, as is temperature. Keep an eye on things and establish a routine that works for your environment!
Alocasia frydek care: Temperature & humidity needs
While frydek hails from a tropical climate, it does quite well in a variety of normal household temperatures. It is not cold hardy and should not be kept outside in temperatures that are consistently below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It does best in 70s or 80s Fahrenheit during the day. Definitely not frost hardy!
Alocasias in general can struggle indoors with a lack of humidity, so humidity levels are an important part of alocasia frydek care. Average household humidity levels can sometimes not be enough, so I recommend a humidifier or keeping your plant in a higher humidity environment like a large plastic plant prop box or a glass greenhouse cabinet.
Frydeks are vulnerable to spider mites, much like other alocasia plants. Spider mites thrive in warmer, dry conditions, so that’s another reason why higher humidity levels can be helpful.
It’s also why I like to completely rinse off the tops and bottoms of all leaves and stems when I water the plants. And why I like them outdoors! Where I live, humidity is super high in the spring and summer. Nature battles off a lot of pests that thrive indoors. 🙂
If you do notice webbing on the edges of your leaves, especially where the leaves meet the stems, it’s spider mites. I recommend rinsing the leaves and stems with cool water, then spraying it down thoroughly with a store-bought insecticide. Make sure to cover the bottoms of the leaves!
Fertilizing, pruning, and repotting alocasia frydek
Fertilizing alocasia plants is generally a good idea. I tend to avoid chemical fertilizers only because I have burned plants in the past, but you can use an over-the-counter fertilizer labeled “houseplants,” making sure to heavily dilute it.
Personally, I like using worm castings, Liqui-Dirt, or both for my plants. There is no risk of burning the plant with these options. For worm castings, I throw in a handful when repotting a plant (if the fresh soil doesn’t already have them!).
If I am not repotting a plant, I tend to add a layer of them to the top of the plant’s soil, working them in with a fork acting as a small “rake.” I also like using Liqui-Dirt these days, which is super easy. Just dilute some in water when watering your plants. I don’t do this ever time, maybe once a month when I remember.
Alocasia frydek can get up to several feet tall, but it doesn’t need repotted often. I generally only repot my plants when I see the roots growing out of the pot’s drainage holes. Or if the plant seems to be suffering for no other obvious reason and I take the plant out of its pot to find that its roots basically look like packed in ramen noodles!
Prune leaves as they die off. It’s not uncommon for older leaves on an alocasia to yellow and die off as the plant ages, matures, and pushes out new leaves. Don’t worry if all else seems to be coming along swimmingly.
Propagating an alocasia frydek
Like other alocasia plants, frydek can be easily propagated through division. With proper alocasia frydek care, it will mature and produce offset “baby” plants in the same pot. Once these baby plants get a few leaves, you can take the plant out of its pot and cut the babies off.
Take care not to pull or knock the roots off of the baby frydeks when you cut them off. Brlow is an example of a baby plant that I cut off of a much larger elephant ear. I simply potted this up, watered it, and the plant carried on happily.
Alocasia frydek issues
I have covered some of the issues you may encounter with your frydek—most of them are common to most varieties of elephant ear/alocasia. Let’s chat about them individually here.
1. Webbing on the leaves with yellowing and dying foliage
If you notice your leaves seem to be dying off one by one and also that small webs have appeared on the leaves, it’s spider mites. Rinse the plant off with cool water, spray it down with a houseplant insecticide, and trim off any dead foliage.
If your entire plant is beyond saving, which is sometimes the case with spider mites, you can cut the plant down to the soil line, treat it, and then wait for it to resprout.
2. Yellowing leaves with wet soil and no sign of mites
In general, yellowing leaves with wet soil and no other obvious issues is related to overwatering, soil that is too dense, or a combination of both. The plant is probably beginning to suffer the consequences of root rot.
I would recommend immediately backing off watering to see if things improve. If you need to lighten the soil up, repot it and add in amendments like perlite and coco coir to help facilitate drainage. Trim any mushy roots, and let the foliage that is going to die, die. Then trim and hope for the best!
3. Drooping foliage
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what might be the cause of drooping or wilting foliage. But if you’re pretty sure you’re not overwatering, consider whether the plant is getting enough sunlight. It may be struggling and need more bright indirect light.
If you withhold water from your alocasia frydek for too long, it also will begin to wilt. Give it a drink and it should perk back up if that was the issue. Don’t make a habit of this if you can help it!
4. Browning leaf tips
If your leaves are developing brown tips or edges, this may be a result of lack of humidity, lack of water, or both. I would lean toward lack of humidity, though I wouldn’t panic! Add a humidifier and see if that helps.
Is alocasia frydek toxic?
Yes, alocasia frydek is considering to be toxic because of the calcium oxalate crystals it contains. Ingesting any part of the plant can lead to swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, and it could also lead to short-term GI issues.
Keep this plant away from kids and pets that don’t have boundaries. Always contact your vet or doctor with questions 🙂