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Dragon Scale Alocasia: A Unique and Exotic Plant

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The Alocasia genus is closely related to Colocasia (taro plant), a member of the Arecaceae family. This article reviews the Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale.’ 

Several Alocasia plants are called Jewel Alocasia, including Alocasia infernalis ‘Viery’,  Alocasia melo, and this the Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale.’ The A. infernalis is a dark green plant, and the A. melo is covered in pubescence, but the Dragon Scale is by far the most impressive.

Overview Of The Alocasia Dragon Scale (Alocasia baginda)

The Alocasia Dragon Scale prefers dappled, indirect light, porous, well-draining soil and temperatures between 68 and 77°F (20 – 25°C). Your Dragon Scale prefers the upper levels of humidity (60%) and should be kept out of drafts. 

Guard against over-watering all indoor plants, keeping the soil damp but not wet. Also in the Alocasia baginda genus is the Silver Dragon, but its foliage is much lighter than the Dragon Scale’s leaves.  

Alocasia Dragon Scale, also known as Alocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale,’ has an amazing, veined texture that is supposed to mimic dragon scales. The leaves contribute to the effect; they are robust and flexible, with a firm topside.

Alocasia Dragon Scale is a cultivated form of Alocasia baginda, which is endemic to Borneo’s tropical woods. As mentioned above, the Dragon Scale plant is one of the gorgeous Jewel Alocasias.

Another Alocasia baginda in the group is the Alocasia Silver Dragon. It’s worth checking out the Alocasia cuprea ‘Red Secret,’ another jewel.

The Alocasia Dragon Scale leaves are gloss green with vibrant maroon veins, creating stunning foliage with a luminous tone. The undersides are a pale cream color with vivid red veins. 

The hue of immature leaves deepens with age, and the plant can take up to 600 days to reach full maturity. A mature plant is about 3 feet (91 cm) tall. 

At any size, the plant is eye-catching and can stand alone or contrast effectively with other plants. It prefers small spaces and is a perfect option for a terrarium.

Alocasia Dragon Scale Care Summary

Scientific NameAlocasia baginda ‘Dragon Scale’
OriginBorneo
Light RequirementsBright but indirect light. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
WateringWater once the top third of the pot feels dry. Avoid overwatering, as it is the main cause of indoor plant failure. Ensure pots have adequate drainage holes.
SoilIt is critical to use a coarse, well-draining potting mix. Add some perlite and orchid bark to sphagnum moss in equal parts for a potting mix that drains well yet can retain moisture.
TemperaturePrefers warmer temperatures between 68 and 77°F (20 – 25°C). Cool temperatures can trigger a dormancy period.
FertilizerLow fertilizer feed regularly is better than occasional bulk feeds. A diluted, balanced fertilizer applied every week from early spring to autumn will serve your Dragon Scale Alocasia well.
HumidityHigh humidity is strongly recommended – ideally above 60%l.
FloweringThe Dragon Scale Alocasia rarely flowers indoors.
PruningThe Dragon Scale Alocasia has limited pruning requirements. Remove dead or damaged foliage as needed.
PropagationLike other tropical plants, Alocasia Dragon Scale is best propagated by root division. Vegetative propagation clones the characteristic of the mother plant.
RepottingRepot when the plant’s roots become compacted. The Dragon Scale Alocasia prefers being slightly rootbound.
Diseases and PestsAphids and spider mites spread diseases and are the most common bugs. Bacterial leaf spot diseases are fairly common in Dragon Scale Alocasia plants. Prune all affected foliage promptly.
ToxicityAs with all aroids, Dragon Scale Alocasia foliage contains calcium oxalate crystals poisonous to pets and children.

Dragon Scale Plant Light Requirements

Optimal lighting for a Dragon Scale Alocasia plant is bright, indirect light. is indirect but brilliant. Excessively bright light (direct) will scorch exposed leaves, and too little light will cause chlorosis (yellow leaves).

Grow your Scale Dragon Alocasia in a warm spot with ample bright indirect light, high humidity, and no drafts. Rotate the plant to keep growth balanced while avoiding direct sun.

Consider using a sheer curtain to filter the light if you have a lovely sunny window where the sun may be too bright. You don’t want to interfere with the plant’s energy source, but you also don’t want to frazzle it.

Outdoor Alocasia Dragon Scale Care

If grown outdoors, replicate the Scale Dragon Alocasia parent plant environment; under the canopy of a tropical forest. If your room has limited light, compensate by using artificial light.

The Dragon Scale Alocasia is a tropical plant hardy to Zone 10a but must be grown in pots to allow you to bring them indoors if temperatures drop.

Watering Dragon Scale Alocasia

The Alocasia Dragon Scale rare, like its sister, the Silver Dragon rare, doesn’t require as much water as species outside their group. Water the plant thoroughly, flushing residual fertilizer salts out and then allow it to dry.

Don’t water again until the top third of the pot is dry to the touch, then repeat the flushing. Remember the motto: soil dry helps my roots, not cry. Air is as important to roots as water is.

Alocasia Baginda Potting Soil

Continually wet soil prevents roots from breathing. Good soil is necessarily loose soil. Sand is loose but is unable to retain moisture. A potting mix that balances inert and organic materials is best.      

Inert material, like expanded shale, perlite, pumice, and chicken grit, helps a potting mix drain faster. Organic materials like coconut coir, compost, and sphagnum moss in a potting mix tend to help the mix retain water.

You want a well-draining potting mix that retains moisture – a mix of inert and organic (carbon-containing) materials. Excessive water retention, caused by compaction or too much carbon, can cause root rot. 

Over-watering, wet leaves and sodden mix can promote root rot and fungal infections. Water your Dragon Scale Alocasia almost as if it were succulent. If you suspect root rot, consider repotting.

Root Health

Remember that root health determines your indoor plant’s general health, so ensure the root systems have access to enough air. For your plants to thrive indoors, you must balance watering with drying, erring on the latter’s side.

Yellow leaves (chlorosis) are generally a sign of a watering problem – too much or too little. Affected leaves have had their water supply compromised by extended dry soil or a blockage in supply (root rot).

Dying leaves are part of the plant’s development, especially older leaves. The old leaves need to die so the plant can support new growth.

Dragon Scale Alocasia Humidity Requirements

You’re probably aware that most Alocasias believe they’re still in the rainforest and seek ridiculously high amounts of humidity – minimally 60%, but preferably around 80%. 

For growers outside of tropical regions, the question is how well an Alocasia Dragon Scale adapts to lower levels.

The answer varies; however some growers report success in humidity levels as low as 40%; however, these owners may have a superior watering schedule or light that makes their plant more resilient. The ideal humidity level for your Dragon Scale Alocasia is around 60%.

Raising Humidity Levels

If your humidity levels are low, placing a water-filled pebble tray near the plant or combining it with other tropical can help to raise them significantly. A room humidifier will most likely be required to achieve appropriate humidity levels (greenhouse).

During the winter, I use a humidifier to combat the drying effect of central heating and keep humidity levels above 60%. I monitor humidity levels with a digital humidity meter, which helps me determine whether additional measures are required.

A well-lit kitchen or bathroom is one option to consider. These areas feature high humidity and frequent steamy periods. Remember to manage air circulation to prevent pathogens from developing.

It’s difficult to determine whether the most crucial part of Dragon Scale Alocasia maintenance is soil, watering, or humidity. All are necessary to keep your plant in good condition.

Temperature Preferences

Your Dragon Scale Alocasia should be kept at temperatures between 68 and 77°F (20 – 25°C). Bring your plants indoors to avoid the first frost, taking them out again in early summer.

Dragon Scale Alocasia Dormancy

Dormancy can be triggered by cool temperatures or shorter days. The plant will cease actively growing. Dormancy is essential to plant health and follows a vigorous growing season.

As with similar plants, allow your Alocasia baginda to rest, reducing watering and cutting fertilizing. When its growing season starts, noticeable by new growth, resume watering and fertilizing.

Keep your Alocasia Dragon Scale away from any hot or cold drafts, as this may cause significant stress, leading to yellowing leaves and brown leaf tips.

How To Fertilize Alocasia Dragon Scale

You don’t need to add much fertilizer to provide excellent Alocasia Dragon Scale care. From spring through early fall, feeding with a balanced fertilizer once every six weeks is an excellent habit; use a half-dilution of the label’s recommended amount.

Overfertilization is more common than undernourishment in this plant because it is a light eater. Fertilizer that has not been applied contaminates the soil. The plant exhibits the damage as brown leaf tips and edges, but there is an easy cure.

Flushing the pot cleans the soil of remaining fertilizer salts and other pollutants. Run extra water through the soil and let it drain thoroughly. Repeat one or more times. Flushing the soil every few months is a beautiful technique.

Minor Flowering

The Alocasia Dragon Scale is one of those species that can bloom quietly. It has little purple spathes that contrast with the gorgeous foliage.

Many growers clip the blossoms to conserve the energy of the plant. This can be done anytime; it will not harm the plant.

Simple Pruning

This plant requires pruning to remove dead and decaying leaves and stems. This reduces the possibility of rotting material spreading disease and attracting pests.

Cut the afflicted stem near the base with sterile tools cleaned with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

Alocasia Dragon Scale Dormancy

Dormancy is a key part of Alocasia Dragon Scale maintenance that should not be overlooked. It commonly happens in the winter due to low light or temperature, but it can happen anytime. Your plant may stop growing, and some of its present leaves may degrade or die.

Allow the soil to dry almost completely before watering, and keep light and temperature levels regular. In a few months, your Alocasia Dragon Scale will begin to develop anew.

Alocasia Dragon Scale grows from thick, nutrient-rich tubers beneath the soil. Even if all leaves fall off, do not discard your plant. Simply supply mild circumstances and wait for your plant to begin growing again.

When To Repot Alocasia Dragon Scale

It should be no surprise that the sensitive Alocasia Dragon Scale dislikes being repotted. Repotting is a watershed moment in a plant’s life; Alocasias might lose their leaves and go dormant following repotting. If at all possible, avoid doing it.

Repotting is best done in the spring. If the plant has outgrown its previous container, repot it in a pot that is one size larger or one or two inches wider in diameter. Overpotting may result in overwatering.

Propagating Alocasia Dragon Scale

Alocasias do not reproduce through a leaf or stem cuttings; instead, they produce offsets and clumps that can be split and grown individually. This is best done when you repot your Dragon Scale Alocasia.

The features and characteristics of the mother plant are reproduced in the new Alocasia baginda. Do not grow root cuttings in used soil; always use fresh soil. 

Alocasia Dragon Scale Care Tips

  • The Alocasia Dragon Scale can tolerate ordinary humidity but prefers greater levels. Raising humidity solves many of their problems.
  • Giving your plant a shower when watering is a good idea. It removes dust and bugs. Showers also deter spider mites.
  • An Alocasia Dragon Scale is concerned about water quality. They have discolored leaves when exposed to contaminants such as excessive mineral content, fluoride, or chloramines. This stressor can be eliminated by using rainwater or filtered water.
  • This Alocasia has a mind of its own at times. Follow the lead of the plant. If it goes dormant, move it out of direct sunlight and reduce watering. If it’s growing, provide light, water, and a light feeding schedule.
  • After transferring a Dragon Scale, expect some downtime. Even if the new site is only 10 feet away, they require adjusting time. Don’t add more water or fertilizer to get the plant to work.

Toxicity

Unfortunately, this plant is not suitable for pets or children. It contains calcium oxalate, which is insoluble and crystallizes into microscopic daggers that can irritate and potentially disrupt the digestive tract.

The greatest risk is edema caused by the calcium oxalate response. Alocasia Dragon Scale can also cause localized skin irritation or dermatitis.

Varieties

The Alocasia Silver Dragon is a popular and eye-catching version of the classic green Alocasia Dragon Scale. Much of its leaves are covered in bright silvery variegation.

There’s also an Alocasia Pink Dragon cultivar with rosy-colored stems. However, it is not a distinct variation of Dragon Scale, but rather a near relative.

Pests

These toxic Alocasias may not be pest magnets, but their thick, succulent stems are. Common houseplant pests like aphids, scale, mealy bugs, and spider mites may visit your Jewel. Spider mites, in particular, are difficult to eradicate once established.

Most infestations can be avoided by thoroughly spraying the plant with warm soapy water once a month. Prevention is the best medicine!

The same soapy treatment will work if your Alocasia Dragon Scale is already infested. Because insecticidal soap kills pests on touch, thoroughly immerse the plant in the solution. Treatments must typically be repeated.

Disease

Leaf-spot is the most common sickness, a sign of several diseases. A variety of infections, including Xanthomonas bacteria, can cause it. Excess moisture from overwatering, misting, or wet leaves can contribute to infection.

Isolate the plant if a disease is suspected, preventing further spread. Discard contaminated leaves safely and sanitize your instruments.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Closing

I hope I’ve answered all your Alocasia Dragon Scale plant care questions. It’s a plant that still awakens me when I gaze at the gorgeous foliage. Although it is expensive to buy and maintain, growing this fantastic houseplant is well worth the effort.