Alocasia silver dragons are plants that possess a magical aura owing to their textures and rigidness. You’ll naturally drift towards the plant when spotted, and don’t be surprised if your palms are left feeling it from the upside and downside.
The silvery shade with a touch of crystalline attributes will resemble the scales of a dragon. Although a hybrid type of the alocasia baginda, the origin of the plant stems from Eastern Borneo, where the land is rich in calcium-based limestone territories.
However, don’t get intimidated. DIY gardeners consider the growing and maintenance procedure for these plants to be simple, and all you need to do is begin the process.
Rest assured, the sublime aesthetics of this plant will bless your outdoor or indoor garden. Let’s now talk about how to grow and care for alocasia silver dragon plants.
Bonus Read: Have a look at the 23 best terrarium plants to grow.
Features Of The Alocasia Dragon Scale
Here are some features of this plant that make it a favorite amongst decorative gardeners:
These plants grow greenish-silver leaves that gradually begin acquiring darker shades as they approach the center. This contrast rewards the lighter area with a more vibrant visual. Speaking of the lower side of the leaves, they showcase pale cream colors. What’s best, these undersides accommodate maroon veins that will excite any enthusiastic gardener.
As the plants mature, the leaves begin to flourish with deeper color shades. If you are open to the idea of a terrarium, their tight-space preference makes them a fantastic candidate for the same.
Even better, whether you are looking for plants that offer contrasting looks to existing foliage or you want a standalone green beauty, alocasia dragon scales fit the bill.
Be informed that these plants can easily grow three feet in height and spread to about one foot in width. Also, refrain from overwatering or overfeeding your plants since such gardening decisions will never positively influence their growth. Factually, the plant will struggle to process large amounts of food and water. This makes them struggle even in their most suitable environmental conditions.
Gardening enthusiasts can rejoice owing to this plant’s ability to remain evergreen permanently. Irrespective of the season, provided you let it flourish in its ideal environment, expect this striking wonder from the plant kingdom to uphold your garden’s elegance.
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#4. Weather Tolerance
Alocasia silver dragon plants will thrive in humid conditions. Because of their tropical origins, you must keep them away from cool climates. Make sure to put it in a region with warmer temperatures.
Sadly, its sensitivity to the weather is so high that the growth intensity steps down if exposed to frosty weather. Moreover, it will begin to show signs of drooping and express traits of malnourishment. Thus, be extra mindful regarding where you decide to grow the plant. If indoors, keep it under the influence of sunlight or a heater.
Even worse, if the plant remains wet for prolonged durations, it would be approaching death through pests and diseases.
#5. Poor Disease Tolerance
Such plants will struggle to survive when infested by diseases. Start considering the application of homemade compost or insecticides and pesticides if diseases such as leaf spotting, Xanthomonas, or root and stem root begin to arise.
Such diseases can often be identified through a yellow rim populated with ugly brown or black markings.
Remember, these diseases are initiated through improper watering cycles. While inadequate watering is also harmful, excessive watering is the biggest evil for alocasia silver dragon plants. Thus, avoid instances of water-logged soil and dry the foliage when it seems too wet. The dryness will knock away the chances of your plant falling victim to a fungal infection.
If your plant struggles with diseases, don’t discard the whole of it. Depending on the severity of the infection, cut the diseased leaves and stems. Furthermore, isolate it from your other gardening efforts to restrict the spread of disease to nearby plants.
#6. Poor Pest Tolerance
As bad as the disease tolerance of this plant is, the pest tolerance levels are an equal disaster—especially pests such as spider mites, aphids, or fungus-inducing bugs.
Your best bet at steering these harmful bugs away is maintaining and abiding by a hygienic plant cleansing ritual. Simply spray soapy, warm water every three weeks and wipe the stems and leaves clean. More than creating an atmosphere that repels pests and causes them discomfort, you will also sweep clean dirt particles that hinder absorption processes with the plant.
If you resort to the application of pest-killing agents, keep it as natural as possible. For best results, use margosa oil, better known as Indian lilac or neem oil. This is a refined vegetable oil collected by pressuring many fruits and seeds from the neem tree.
Warning: Overapplying any kind of chemicals, be it natural or manufactured, will poison the plant.
#7. Growth Speed
Alocasia silver dragon plants grow rapidly when placed in their preferred environment, especially weathers with similar characteristics as the summer season.
In case the growth speed of your plant plummets during the winter or rainy season, do not stress. Cold climates are known to make the growth speed of these plants dormant. Keep in mind; dormancy is a usual trait as a part of the plant’s reaction to low-light conditions. A small portion of leaves may even showcase deficiencies to the point that gardeners think they are dead.
These signs need to be embraced as part and parcel of growing and caring for an alocasia dragon plant. Once the soil is 100% dry, restart watering and reposition your plant in well-lit and high-temperature regions. Within a few months, thick and nutritious water-infused tubers begin to blossom under the soil. Since you cannot see it, keep patient till you watch your plant’s revival process come to life.
Growing And Caring For Alocasia Silver Dragon Plants
Most importantly, provide the plant the kind of humidity it requires. Since 80% humidity catalyzes its growth the most, try and get close to this value. Unless you have a proven result-oriented watering cycle, start positioning trays filled with water near the plant. You can even store them with a series of additional tropical plants to influence humidity levels.
You could either purchase a humidifier during the winters or position it in the bathroom since steam release is frequent during baths.
Try and position your plant under bright yet indirect lighting. Since direct sunlight can tarnish the foliage, place it near a sunny window or filter the sunlight through a curtain. Suppose you could choose an east-facing window, nothing like it! Simply place your plant two feet away from this window.
DIY gardeners should get into the habit of rotating the plant 90 degrees in a clockwise position. This rotation must be performed after each watering cycle. Besides providing balanced growth, you’ll equally expose all sides of the plant to the demanded lighting conditions.
If you are thinking of nurturing this plant outdoors, ensure it’s kept in a spot with sufficient shade. This blocks away excessive heat from the day. Complete exposure to sunlight will destroy the silvery texture of the leaves and lead to discoloration.
Bonus Read: Well-lit gardens could seem like a la-la land situation on party nights! Make sure to check these fabulous garden lighting design ideas.
Based on the soil and lighting conditions, watering requirements can be judged. In case the chosen soil has moisture-retention properties and the light exposure is enough, it won’t require much watering.
Tip: Water these plants like you would water succulents in your garden.
But do not underwater since it ruins the plant’s interconnected yet budding root system. Over that, wait till the topmost soil layer dries out and only then water. Since the fleshy leaves and stems are known to store moisture, you could unintendedly fuel it with more water than needed.
For gardeners residing in equatorial zones, three watering cycles must be conducted weekly during the summers and one weekly cycle during winters. However, if you decide to grow the alocasia silver dragon indoors, cut down the watering cycle to once every two weeks.
All in all, they excel in moisture-laden environments but cannot survive in waterlogged soil. Stick to maintaining an evenly moist soil condition throughout the plant’s lifecycle.
Note: Water the plant deeply, but wait for the top two inches of the mixture to dry before watering again. Also, while watering, soak the soil well enough to saturate most of it and flush it of residual contaminants.
The goal is to create an environment for the soil that constantly provides fresh oxygen for its roots. The soil chosen for these plants should have four primary properties:
Blend it with some soil amendments such as peat moss, any organic matter, or slow-release fertilizer. In situations where the soil seems overly bulky, mix in perlite or sand to loosen it up. All the ingredient types mentioned above will also boost soil fertility and improve its water-retention capacity. Above that, the air holes created by the existing fauna and other aeration substances increase ventilation and provides the roots with warmth.
Choose a seed starting mix that equips your plant’s root system to deal with overwatering troubles.
Note: If adding a significant amount of sand does not loosen the soil, double-check the primary component in the soil. There’s a high chance its constituents don’t suit the alocasia silver dragon plant.
Ideally, temperatures between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit boost the growth of these thick-leafed plants. These plants also begin to grow much more slowly when the atmospheric temperature reduces below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since the temperature is directly proportional to a plant’s metabolism rate, low temperatures lead to slower metabolism rates. Thus, despite their growth seeming to become dormant, they are actually sustaining their food production regimes within the large leaves, which is why it’s a good idea to bring them indoors in the fall season.
Tip: Do not expose them to temperatures above 95 degrees Farhenheit unless provided by shade and regular watering.
These plants thrive in soil conditions that provide calcium in abundance. This is because calcium equips the plant with disease resistance and boosts its cell growth. If you think the calcium content in your soil is low, blend in bone meal fertilizers for a better output.
Bonus Read: This guide teaches you how to use bone meal fertilizer in your backyard.
Fertilizers with a significant nitrogen content work well too. Just make sure it isn’t a low-quality, budget fertilizer that leads to unhealthy crystal formation within the soil. Also, stick to a bi-monthly feeding chart since the remaining nutrients are provided by adding organic elements (mulch, manure, etc.) to the soil.
Tip: Overfertilization occurs more commonly than undernourishment since the alocasia silver dragon plant is a light feeder.
Firstly, place these plants in terracotta pots, and if you want to re-pot, wait till spring-summer begins.
While pruning is not a compulsion for their solid build, feel free to prune away the faded leaves. Even leaves that seem to have caught an infection can be eliminated.
Here are two ways to propagate the alocasia silver dragon plants:
- Root Clump Division
Start by curating a potting blend comprising ideal soil constituents and a little water. Next up, detach the plant from its original pot and spray the soil away from its roots. Ideally, use a hose to ensure the roots are fully cleaned.
Most importantly, expect to see several clumps that give the roots organization. Use a sterile knife to divide these clumps from the roots. Finally, place these clumps in different containers and water them. Over time, you will witness the formation of clump root systems.
These plants form bulbils on their runners beneath the ground. Occasionally, these bulbils may also be visible on the soil’s surface. Cut them off from their lowermost point once these bulbils grow a centimeter wide (resembling a shallot).
Immediately choose a moist seed starter mix and plant these bulbils. Consider a 50:50 mixture of peat and wet sphagnum moss for boosting its growth cycle. What’s more, regularly moisture the starter mix with lukewarm water and keep the pot in warmer temperatures.
Within a maximum of three weeks, these bulbils will grow into plants. There’s no problem as long as the substrate doesn’t go dry and the pot is kept away from cold regions.
Problems Faced By Alocasia Silver Dragon Plants
Here are four common problems that can kill your plant:
- Leaf edema: Leaf edema can be identified through damp, waterlogged blotches on the leaf. These imperfections are discolored and arise due to excessive overwatering. Such instances lead to diseases and call for fresh, loose, and aerated soils. Don’t forget to discard these diseased blotches.
- Wilting or drooping of leaves: Again, this problem arises because of waterlogging that induces root rot. If the plant’s roots are brown and slushy instead of white and strong, you can be sure the root system is rotting. In such cases, saving the entire plant is next to impossible. Although, gardeners can pluck plantlets and re-pot them in healthier soil.
- Caterpillars: These are more manageable since you simply need to knock the caterpillar off the plant. You can spot caterpillar attacks when “cheese holes” are evident along the edges of the leaves.
- Sudden fall of leaves: This usually occurs when the alocasia silver dragon plants are exposed to cold or warm drafts. Be it near the door, window, or any area in your greenhouse, such drafts weaken the leaves almost instantly, and they begin to fall.
Exactly as the term “dragon” indicates in this plant’s name, it comes within the category of exotic plants. All DIY gardening lovers will be enchanted by witnessing how the charming coloration of these plants can alter the display of your indoor or outdoor garden.
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