Skip to Content

Anthurium VS Alocasia: Key Similarities And Differences

When deciding between Anthurium vs Alocasia it’s worth knowing the similarities and differences between the two plants to see which one you may prefer.

Generally speaking, both plants have very similar care requirements and the main differences are in appearance and size discrepancies.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for tropical houseplant both are good options, so let’s take a closer look at the two plants to see which one is suited for you.

Are They The Same Plant?

The first thing to know is that these are not the same plant, but they are from the same family Araceae. The Araceae family, often referred to as the arum family, comprises about 3,750 species of flowering plants.

So, while they are from the same family, they are still two very different plants. Anthuriums are often referred to as flamingo flowers or lilies, and Alocasias are often called elephants ear.

There can be some confusion there, so I thought it would be best to clear this up before I explain the differences and similarities between these two plants.

Similarities

I believe that the reason for the confusion between these two plants is because of how popular they are and how similar their care requirements are.

Popular Houseplants

If you’re into houseplants you’ll probably know that both of these plants are very popular options, mainly due to their appearance and low care requirements.

I’ve personally had an Anthurium Andraeanum for over 4 years now and it’s one of the easiest plants I’ve had in terms of keeping it healthy and happy.

Flowering

Both plants will produce flowers if the conditions are right.

Anthuriums will do this more readily, but you can still get Alocasias to produce flowers indoors as well. The flowers that they produce are also quite similar, consisting of a central spadix which is surrounded by a brightly-colored spathe.

Anthuriums can produce a wider variety of flower colors, however, with the most common being red.

Temperature/Humidity Requirements

Anthuriums and Alocasia are native to tropical areas, which means they like similar temperature and humidity levels.

More specifically, temperatures between 75°F and 90°F (roughly 23°C to 32°C) during the day, and down to around 60°F (around 15°C) during the night time. Humidity should ideally be around 50%-60% or higher as well.

Sunlight Requirements

Being native to tropical areas means that both plants are suited to light levels that mimic those underneath the jungle canopy.

This means providing plenty of bright and indirect sunlight will suit both of these plants well. Choose areas of the house that are east or west facing with large windows for ideal conditions.

Price

Both plants are relatively cheap to buy, and one is definitely not any more sought after than the other.

Most starter options cost between $10-$30, but this does depend on the specific variation as some can be much more expensive (for both plants).

Soil Type

A well-draining, nutrient-rich soil will suit both of these plants.

Perlite can be added to improve drainage, and you should consider fertilizing once per month during the growing season to supplement each plant with the key nutrients for growth.

Differences

There are quite a few key differences when it comes to Anthuriums vs Alocasia, so let’s take a look at the most significant ones.

Country Of Origins

Although both of these plants enjoy similar conditions, they are actually native to different areas of the world.

Anthuriums are native to places in South America such as Columbia and Ecuador and areas of the Caribbean, while Alocasias are native to tropical southern Asia in places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and New Guinea.

Appearance

The most common types of Anthuriums (Anthurium Adraeanum) and Alocasias (Alocasia Amazonica) look very different.

An Anthurium plant on a pink curtain
A Typical Anthurium (Anthurium Andraeanum)

Anthurium Adraeanum, for example, flowers regularly with bright red spathes and yellow/green spadix while Alocasia Amazonica – or most Alocasias, for that matter – do not regularly flower indoors.

Generally speaking, Anthuriums have heart-shaped leaves with little pattern, while Alocasias tend to have sharper-edge arrow-shaped leaves with more variation in color and vein prominence.

Alocasia Poppy next to a blue wall
A typical Alocasia (Alocasia ‘Poppy’/amazonica)

While there are lots of variations of each type of plant, the most common types are usually easy to distinguish between.

Size

In most cases, Alocasias are bigger than Anthuriums in terms of both leaf size and also overall plant size.

The biggest species of Alocasia, for example, is the Alocasia macrorrhiza – often called the giant taro – whose leaves can reach 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide with the plant itself reaching 15 feet in height.

Alocasias are usually bigger and leafier, while Anthuriums are often smaller with more flowers that are brightly colored.

Roots

Anthurium roots are quite thick and fibrous whereas Alocasia roots tend to be much thinner.

Final Thoughts

Both Anthuriums and Alocasias provide an easy-to-care-for beginner houseplant that will last for many years.

When it comes down to it, it really depends on which one you prefer aesthetically. If you have a lot of space to fill consider a variation of Alocasia, and if you want more flowers and bright colors Anthurium is probably a better option.