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If you’re looking for a really cool plant with some crazy foliage, take a look at Alocasia Dragon Scale. This plant has striking leaves that resemble dragon scale (hence, the name!). There are a few key things to know when taking care of this plant.
Alocasia Dragon Scale main care directions.
- Light. Place this plant in bright indirect sunlight, near a south, east, or west facing window. This plant works under plant grow lights like T5 Barrina grow lights (this is what I keep my Alocasia Dragon Scale under).
- Water. This plant likes to stay moist, do not let the soil fully dry out. Stick your finger in about one inch and if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
- Soil. Well-draining potting mix is a must. Use a homemade recipe or a high quality potting mix like Fox Farm Ocean Forest.
- Humidity. Alocasia need high humidity in the 50%+ range.
Alocasia Dragon Scale thrive in the home with these care tips.
Alocasia Dragon Scale thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. This would be an area in your home that is getting a decent amount of sunlight in throughout the day. If you have a south, west, or east facing window, these areas are ideal.
If you don’t know which direction your windows are facing, use a free Compass app on your phone. This is the easiest way to check and it’s worth it to know what kind of sunlight you’re getting into the home.
South facing windows gives you the best amount of sunlight all day long. It’s also some of the most intense, which is why it’s important to place a sheer curtain on the window to break up some of that strong sunlight.
If you put your plant near a north facing window, expect it to grow really slow because this area of your house gets very little sunlight.
Don’t have a lot of sunlight coming into the home? No worries, use plant grow lights like I do. I have two greenhouses and one shelf that store about 100 plants. They’re all growing under T5 Barrina plant grow lights. T5 Barrina plant grow lights is a full spectrum sunlight replacement. They are incredibly easy to install and haven’t raised my electricity bill a noticeable amount. You can even use these lights for plants in a seedling, vegetative, or flowering cycle. These lights include double-sided tape, clips, and cable ties. I use the double-sided tape to stick the lights on.
Alocasia’s in general like to stay moist, so it’s no surprise that Alocasia Dragon Scale prefer the same. If you let your Dragon Scale dry out for too long, you’ll notice the leaves start to shrivel up. This can even lead to leaves falling off, so don’t let it get to this point.
Figuring out when to water your plant is easy. Stick your index finger in about one inch deep, or touch the soil on top. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your plant. Remember, these type of plants love to stay on the moist side.
If you have trouble knowing when to water your plant, I find a moisture meter really helps. I use this moisture meter and it’s easy and convenient to use. This handy tool doesn’t require batteries and helps me check plants in hard to reach places. Insert the moisture meter probe about 2-5 inches into the soil. If the meter reads on the dryer side, it’s time to water the plant.
Alocasia Dragon Scale thrive in well-draining soil. This is a must for this kind of plant. Well-draining soil is important because compact, dense soil often leads to root rot and once your plant gets root rot, it’s not looking so good for the plant.
What does well-draining soil look like? Something like Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting mix is a great option for those of us that don’t want to make our own potting mix. This potting mix has a blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, sea-going fish and crab meal, forest humus, moss, and other key ingredients.
If you do want to make your own potting mix, an easy recipe calls for 40% coco coir, 25% perlite, 25% orchid bark, and 10% vermiculite.
Well-draining soil is a must for Alocasia Dragon Scale, not an option.
If you have a ton of houseplants you need to repot in new potting mix, your money goes further if you make your own potting mix instead of buying a pre-made bag.
Alocasia Dragon Scale thrive in temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (15°C and 29°C).
Fertilizing your houseplants is one of the best things you can do to encourage growth.
There are many fertilizers on the market to choose from and it can get a little confusing, so I’m going to keep things as simple as possible. You can choose from a granule-based fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, or natural fertilizer like worm castings.
It doesn’t really matter which fertilizer you use, but there are key things to know. If using a synthetic fertilizer (you’ll know if it’s synthetic if the NPK ratio is something like 20-20-20) you need to dilute the recipe in half. This is because synthetic fertilizers are really strong and can damage your plant.
It’s also important that you only fertilize during the active growing season. This is typically March through October for many of us.
How often you fertilize is up to you. I fertilize every watering because this keeps things simple for me, but you can choose to fertilize every other watering, bi-weekly, once a month, etc.
You’ll notice some plants need fertilizer more than others. For example, Monstera Deliciosa is one of those plants that are heavy feeders.
I use both Liqui-Dirt (plant food, not technically a fertilizer but it has everything your plants need to grow healthy) and Dyna-Gro fertilizer. With Dyna-Gro, I get a spoonful and mix it into a gallon of water. I use this gallon to water my houseplants.
Alocasia Dragon Scale need high humidity. Alocasia’s are already known for being plants that are a bit sassy, so don’t skimp out on this tip. I have my plant in a greenhouse getting about 50% humidity and it’s happy. I don’t even have a humidifier in my greenhouse – the plants simply work together to create a microclimate of higher humidity.
Here are my best tips for increasing humidity around your plants.
- Place a humidifier near your plants and run it daily
- Group plants together – this creates a microclimate of higher humidity
- Place a tray under the plant and fill with rocks and water – the water evaporates around the plant
- Put your plants in a greenhouse (I made a greenhouse with an IKEA cabinet and it stays around 50% humidity with plants, no humidifier necessary)
Propagating Alocasia Dragon Scale is a lot different than what you may be used to. You can propagate this plant by plant division since they grow via rhizome.
If you want to create more of this plant, gently take out the plant of the pot and divide the plants. Once you divide the plants at the base, you can transfer the new plant into your preferred potting mix.
If you’re lucky, you may also find corms in the soil. If you find a corm, transfer it to a new planter with potting mix. Stick the corm about an inch below the surface and water. I’ve done this with an Alocasia Regal Shield and was successful.
Related read: How To Get Free Or Cheap Houseplants
Alocasia Dragon Scale common questions
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale rare?
Alocasia Dragon Scale isn’t a rare plant but it’s also not a common houseplant either. You probably won’t find this plant at Lowes or Home Depot, but you may find this plant at a local plant store.
How much is a Alocasia Dragon Scale?
When I bought my Alocasia Dragon Scale in 2022, I paid $20 for a 6 inch pot with 5 leaves. This plant seems to really vary in price depending on where you buy it so I’d make sure to look out for good deals.
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale hard to take care of?
I haven’t had any problems growing my Alocasia Dragon Scale. It’s been one of those plants that I set and forget. I placed it in my greenhouse and water it once a week.
Do Alocasia’s like to be bottom watered?
Many people like to bottom water Alocasia’s because it allows the plant to only take in the necessary water they need.
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale a fast grower?
I would say this plant is at a medium speed of growth. It’s not as fast as a Philodendron Brasil and it’s definitely not as slow as a cactus. During the growing season, I’m seeing about one new leaf a month.
Related read: 15 Creative Ways To Display Houseplants In Your Home
Can Alocasia Dragon Scale grow outside?
I would advise against placing this plant outside because there’s too much to worry about. Many people are successful putting Alocasia’s outside (and they get massive!), but Dragon Scale seems to be a bit more sensitive to the elements.
Should I mist Alocasia Dragon Scale?
I wouldn’t worry about misting this plant. Your time is better spent on making sure the plant gets enough humidity with a humidifier or via greenhouse.
How big do Alocasia Dragon Scale get?
Alocasia Dragon Scale can get up to six feet tall in the most amazing conditions, but you probably won’t see this kind of growth in your home.
How do I make Alocasia Dragon Scale bigger?
Encourage growth on your plant by never missing a watering, giving the plant a good amount of sunlight throughout the day, and feeding a high quality fertilizer regularly.
Related read: Best Houseplant Books For Plant Lovers
Is Alocasia Dragon Scale toxic to pets?
Yes, this plant is toxic to pets. You can get more information on toxic and pet-friendly plants at ASPCA here.
Alocasia are known for getting pest/mite pressures, specifically spider mites. You want to keep a close eye on this plant, especially when you’re first bringing it home. I’ve seen so many spider mites on Alocasia’s at plant stores. This rule really goes for any houseplant, but especially Alocasia’s.
Best pest prevention tips:
- Use a natural or synthetic pest killer to prevent pests
- Check your plants once a week for pests
- Make sure not to overwater your plants (overwatering can lead to fungus gnats)
- Quarantine new plants for a week or two before putting them with the rest of your plants
- Regularly clean your plants foliage with a mixture of water and a drop of dish soap
Brown tips: If your Alocasia Dragon Scale has brown tips, this may mean your plant isn’t getting enough humidity. Raise the humidity around your plant with a humidifier or with some kind of dome you can put over the plant.
Curly leaves: If your Alocasia Dragon Scale has curly tips, this may mean your plant is thirsty or in need of higher humidity. Check your plants soil by sticking an index finger about an inch deep and if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
Yellowing leaves: If your Alocasia Dragon Scale has yellowing leaves, this may be a sign that your plant is getting overwatered. Only water when the top inch of soil is dry.
Key Points To Remember
Alocasia Dragon Scale is one of the coolest plants out there and has some incredible pillowy leaves.
Here are the main things to remember.
- Plant needs 50%+ humidity
- Place in bright indirect sunlight (south, east, west facing window or plant grow lights)
- Water when the top inch of soil is dry
- Fertilize during the active growing season (typically March through October)
Read more about houseplants:
- How To Get Free Or Cheap Houseplants
- 15 Creative Ways To Display Houseplants
- Hardest Houseplants For Beginners