Ask a Question forum: Colocasia (maybe) leaves yellowing and dying within a few days

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Sacramento, CA
Aug 8, 2017 8:39 PM CST
Hello all,

I have what I think is a Colocasia of some sort indoors that has been consistently growing leaves, but as soon as a new leaf opens, the existing leaf dies... I'm hoping someone has a clear idea of what's wrong before I mess with too much because it seems like it's on the brink. A summary of it's life so far:
- I bought it at home depot about 2 years ago
- it's always been indoors in Sacramento CA, in a corner of a sunny room (the photo makes the window look bright, but it's really always indirect light since the shades are down to keep the room temp comfortable, ~75)
- transferred it to a self watering pot, 3 gallon (I think), with normal potting soil
- at its best, it had 4 leaves, the biggest about 1.5 feet long; about 4 feet tall
- it used to have tiny, oblong, black bugs that I successfully killed off (starting to think they were helping some other problem)
- over the winter, one leaf at a time started to yellow from the veins so I tried an iron and zinc treatment
- I thought I saw signs of spider mites, so cut back weak leaves and treated with a little soap
- eventually I got down to one leaf that died within days of a new leaf opening, this has repeated for about 3 more leaves.
Thoughts? Photos of current situation attached. Thanks!
Thumb of 2017-08-09/visitor/7006d2
Thumb of 2017-08-09/visitor/778055
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Aug 9, 2017 7:03 AM CST
Your have a lot going on, from what I can see your soil looks very dense and it looks very wet, its not getting enough sun. There is a tropical forum you may want to re-post this down there for more answers. Welcome! There are a lot of smart cookies nodding on this board
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
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Aug 9, 2017 1:31 PM CST
Guess I would change the location, outside in partial shade
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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Aug 9, 2017 5:02 PM CST
The primary problem is inadequate light. Indoor light is much less intense than outdoor light. Indoors, a Colocasia should be right in front of a completely uncovered north or east window or a few feet back from a south or west window. Any window covering, including sheers, will usually block out most of the usable light. If you move it outside, keep it in shade at all times.

The pot is unnecessarily large for the plant and the extra soil is retaining moisture around the roots for too long and depriving the roots of oxygen.

Bottom line: More light and less water.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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Aug 9, 2017 5:33 PM CST

Plants Admin

I agree on all counts. The pot is too large and too wet. Your plant is an Alocasia, either Upright Elephant Ear (Alocasia 'Portora') or a sport Elephant's Ear (Alocasia Low Riderâ„¢) introduced a year or two ago. I grow Portora as a potted plant overwinter in undersized pots and water thoroughly every 7-10 or even 14 days. I also use a good potting mix with a lot of added perlite and medium pine bark.

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