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You might see a photo of the Alocasia Dragon Scale and think, “Is that even a real plant?!” Yes, yes it is! And it indeed looks like it was taken straight off the back of a mythical, fire-breathing creature.
In this post, learn everything you need to know about the Alocasia Baginda ‘Dragon Scale,’ how to care for your dragon to keep it beautiful, and how to easily propagate it!
Where can I buy an Alocasia Dragon Scale?
You can easily find an Alocasia Dragon Scale for sale on Etsy! Check out this beautiful Dragon Scale from one of my favorite Etsy shops.
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale rare?
Yes, Alocasia Dragon Scale is considered a rare Alocasia. That, coupled with high demand, is why the price point can get a little high for mature specimens.
Is the Dragon Scale easy to care for?
This Alocasia is somewhat easy to care for, following its basic care requirements of bright, indirect light, a well-draining potting mix that holds some moisture, and frequent watering of small amounts in order to keep the potting mix consistent moist.
While this plant isn’t difficult, it would not make a great beginner plant because of its watering requirements—it can be tough to understand what consistently moist, but not wet, means. I’ll cover that further down!
Also, it has a dormancy period which might throw off some beginner plant parents.
How do you take care of Alocasia Dragon Scale?
This Alocasia will be happy with bright, indirect light.
It’s important to know that too much direct light will hurt the plant’s beautiful foliage. Meanwhile, too little light can send the plant into dormancy. Yes, this plant goes dormant! Don’t worry, I’ll cover this later.
If you don’t have enough natural light, you can avoid dormancy by using grow lights. Below are my absolute FAVORITE grow lights. The clip and the adjustable gooseneck lights are so convenient!
Your Alocasia’s potting mix should always be lightly, consistently moist. Don’t let it go bone dry, but don’t saturate the potting mix either.
Water your plant when you feel the potting mix is dry one to two inches down. That’s right—you should FEEL the potting mix with your finger. Otherwise, how will you know if you’re going to overwater your plant?
Here’s a tip for watering plants that like to remain moist: Water a small amount but more frequently, rather than saturating the soil less frequently but with every watering.
And remember, just as your plant can go dormant with too little light, the same is true with too little water.
Alocasia Dragon Scale needs a loose and well-draining potting mix that will still hold some moisture. This means it should be able to remain moist while allowing the majority of the water to drain out the bottom.
When should I repot Alocasia Dragon Scale?
You won’t need to repot your Alocasia often since it likes to be root bound. So, just repot when your plant looks like it needs more space. This will be around every other year but it ultimately depends on your plant’s growth rate.
Use a pot the next size up that has drainage, and repot during the growing season (spring and summer). Don’t repot your plant when it’s dormant.
Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer, diluted by half, every six weeks during the growing season (the spring and summer). A little bit of fertilizer goes a long way for the Dragon Scale.
Should you mist Alocasia Dragon Scale?
While Alocasia Dragon Scale likes a humid environment, I’d recommend you use a method that’s NOT misting. Constantly wet foliage can lead to disease, and I personally don’t find misting to be that effective.
My preferred method is to simply use a humidifier! It’s easy, low maintenance, and can cover many plants at once. I really like this humidifier because it can last 96 hours, so less work for me!
You can also take a look at more methods for creating humidity for houseplants.
You don’t need to worry about the EXACT temperature, but it’s important to know that the Dragon Scale will be unhappy if the temperature gets below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (around 16 degrees Celsius).
Native to Southeast Asia, it prefers warmer temperatures. Make sure you move it away from windowsills in the winter and other cold areas. If it gets too cold, it could start to enter dormancy.
A dying leaf now and then is normal, especially when a new leaf is emerging or if your plant is going into dormancy.
Simply remove the dead leaves gently, holding onto the main stalk with your other hand so you don’t pull the entire plant too hard.
If the leaves are dying due to diseases such as leaf spot, you should remove them in order to prevent spread. Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors, and be sure to sterilize them after, too.
Foliage and blooms
It’s no secret why it’s called the Alocasia Dragon Scale—just take a look at its gorgeous foliage! Its green leaves fade from light silver-green to darker green in its veins. They have a wrinkled texture with a slight sheen.
Dragon-like is the perfect way to describe it because it looks like a reptile’s skin!
Occasionally, Alocasia Dragon Scale blooms a spathe and spadix, but the plant is sought after for its foliage, not its blooms.
Cleaning the leaves
Large, showy houseplant leaves tend to collect dust and grime. You don’t need to stress over constantly cleaning your Dragon Scale’s leaves, but it’s a good idea to occasionally wipe them down.
You can use a damp cloth to wipe down each leaf while gently supporting the underside of the leaf. Removing extra layers of grime will help your Alocasia photosynthesize more effectively.
Alocasia Dragon Scale Dormancy
Alocasia Dragon Scale will go dormant in the winter and start growing again in the spring. So, if your plant starts to look sad or lose leaves around this time, it’s probably just entering dormancy.
If your plant happens to die back totally during dormancy, don’t worry! It can still come back in the spring since it grows from corms (similar to bulbs) under the soil’s surface.
You should not be doing anything—fertilizing, propagating, repotting, etc.—to your Alocasia, during dormancy.
Cut down on the watering significantly, allowing the top half to dry out instead of keeping the potting mix consistently moist. Provide it with medium, indirect light. It doesn’t need bright light during this time.
Keep in mind cold temperatures, low light, and lack of enough water can cause your Alocasia Dragon Scale to enter dormancy at any time regardless of whether or not it’s winter.
How to Propagate Alocasia Dragon Scale
You should propagate your Alocasia Dragon Scale during the growing season (the spring or summer), NOT during dormancy. Alocasia propagation is relatively easy!
Propagation by Division
A mature Alocasia will have multiple stems that appear to be coming out of a central clump, and it might also have separate plants that popped up in the pot.
- Remove the plant from its pot and gently dig down—you’ll find that these have separate root systems.
- Gently separate a piece. Try not to damage the roots as you do so.
- Pot up the separate section (or sections) into their own appropriately sized pots. Using a pot that’s way too big can result in overwatering.
- Water your plants, give them some time to adjust to their new homes, and continue to care for them how you normally would!
Propagation by Corms
A mature Alocasia Dragon Scale will have several corms. Corms store water and nutrients—they are similar to bulbs. Below is a photo of corms from my Alocasia Amazonica/Polly:
- Remove the plant from its pot and gently search around for little, brown chunks. These are the corms!
- Using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a knife, remove the corm away from the main root it’s attached to, snipping close to the corm and keeping the majority of the root attached to the main plant.
(Tip: Don’t remove all the corms from the mother plant. They store water and nutrients and it’s how your plant will come back after dormancy, especially if it dies back totally!)
- If you can, peel away the outer-most layer of the corm (it will be dark brown and then lighter on the inside). This will help it root faster. But don’t worry if it’s too tough to do.
- Next, place the corms into a small amount of water. Use a small container like a bottle cap or shot glass and add a few drops of water so the corm is sitting in the water, but the top of the corm is not underwater.
- Keep the corms in bright, indirect light.
- Keep the humidity high. Some easy ways to do this are by putting a clear plastic bag over the top or using a humidifier.
- After one to two weeks, you should see tiny roots sprouting from the corms. Eventually, a new stem will emerge from the top!
- Once you have a little plant growing, you can plant it in potting mix, water it, and start treating it like a normal Dragon Scale Alocasia.
Can you propagate Alocasia Dragon Scale in water?
Yes, you can root Alocasia corms in water. In fact, I’ve found that they root better in water than in potting mix. Check out my photo of baby Alocasia Amazonicas/Pollys sprouting from corms in water:
You can also put a mature plant that you’ve divided from the mother plant in water, but since the plant is already so used to growing in potting mix, there’s a risk here. It probably will not grow as well and you could even send it into shock.
If you want to have fun experimenting with different propagation methods, go ahead and try it! But this is definitely not the most effective method of propagating Alocasia Dragon Scale.
Dealing with Dragon Scale problems
Below I’ll cover some common problems, but remember, during dormancy your plant will not be as beautiful and bright as usual. So if your plant looks sad and it’s getting to be wintertime, consider if your plant could be entering dormancy.
- Leaf-Spot Diseases – It can be tough to save a plant with leaf spot unless you catch it early. You should immediately quarentine it from other plants. Then, remove infected leaves with sterile scissors, and make sure to sterilize them after, too.
- Excessively wet conditions (wet soil, leaves, etc.) cause cause this. This is one reason why I don’t like to mist plants.
- Droopy Stems – Your Alocasia Dragon Scale may be too dry. Alocasias store water in their stems and will perk back up after watering.
- In some cases, droop can also be caused by mushy stems due to root rot. This is why it’s important to feel the potting mix before you water!
- Yellow Leaves – The most common reason for yellow leaves is overwatering. This is especially tricky for plants that like to remain moist because it can be tough sometimes to tell how much water they need.
- Yellow leaves due to overwatering are usually not a death sentence. Just ease up on the watering and make sure you’re checking the potting mix first!
- Root Rot – Root rot is caused by consistent overwatering for a sustained period of time.
- If you catch the problem early, you might be able to save your plant. See my root rot post for help.
- Pests – Mealybugs, scale, and spider mites are all potential problems for Alocasia Dragon Scale.
Growth Rate and Size
In optimal conditions, Alocasia Dragon Scale is a fast grower and can grow to around three to six feet—it usually only reaches its max height in the wild.
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale Toxic?
Yes, the Alocasia Dragon Scale is toxic. Be sure to keep this plant away from your furry friends!
Alocasias Similar to the Dragon Scale
If you love the Dragon Scale, some similar-looking Alocasias include:
- Alocasia Sinuata ‘Quilted Dreams’ – It’s a similar shape to the Dragon Scale, but a brighter emerald color with a more wrinkly texture.
- Alocasia Silver Dragon – It looks similar to the Dragon Scale, but is more silvery and light in color. It kind of looks like it has a layer of frost over the top!
- Alocasia Reginula Black Velvet – It has very dark-green leaves that almost look black, with bright, white veins. Its shape is similar to the Dragon Scale.
- Alocasia Cuprea ‘Red Secret’ – Again, similiarly shaped, but with an absolutely stunning pink, almost-metalic-looking hue.
- Provide with bright, indirect light
- Keep the potting mix lightly, consistently moist
- Use a well-draining potting mix that holds some moisture
- It likes to be root bound, so repot it about every other year depending on its growth rate
- Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer, diluted by half, every six weeks during the growing season
- Provide with humidity and warm temperatures