I have alocasia sprouts all over my yard and can’t get rid of them permanently. I have tried Roundup and other weed killers but no luck. Any suggestions?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Ryan in Florida: Alocasia is a very large genus and within this genus there are even more species and cultivars. Commonly known as elephant’s ear, they are grown for their foliage and available in a wide range of sizes. Most are not considered to be aggressive or even hardy in the colder climates, but in warmer frost-free areas the rhizomes (underground stems) of these plants can spread and if not thinned regularly can become a maintenance issue, especially in moist areas. Alocasia macrorrhiza is one that is considered invasive in some regions. For some of the smaller plants it may be fine to let them naturalize in a certain area of the garden, but to have them growing in your lawn is another issue. So, as far as getting rid of them, the job may be daunting and take several seasons depending on the amount of spread and the size of your lawn. Digging out the rhizomes is ideal but may require some serious muscle if the rhizomes have formed a colony under your lawn. If there are just sections here and there, then by all means get out your spade and start removing them. If your lawn is a complete underground blanket of these fibrous rhizomes you may need to go another route. Eliminating the foliage will help in terms of stopping photosynthesis and eventually the roots will not have any stored energy to produce foliage. This is a process and not a sure fire fix. You will still have to be on the lookout for new ones popping up. You can continue to spray the foliage with glyphosate (Roundup or generic brand) and it should eventually help after several applications as long as it is absorbed, but it will also kill the grass that it comes into contact with as well. Sorry, there is no easy answer to your problem and you may never completely eradicate the alocasia, but keeping it under control may be the goal at this point.