How to Care for Alocasia Maharani?
A versatile plant with tropical origins, the Alocasia Maharani also goes by the name of Alocasia “Grey Dragon”. And deservedly so. Its stiff, textured leaves are eerily similar to that of dragon scales.
Although they’re not difficult to grow indoors, there are a few aspects that are crucial when it comes to tending to the needs of the Alocasia Maharani.
If you’re new to this species, my plant care tips for the Alocasia Maharani will prove to be a handy tool in managing its requirements.
Size & Growth
Besides its peculiar leaves, the Alocasia Maharani has another advantage — it’s a compact, small-growing plant that usually maxes out its size at one foot.
The plant is actually a hybrid of the Alocasia reginula and the Alocasia Melo. Because of its dwarf size, it can be grown in terrariums or vivariums.
Due to its tropical origins, the plant thrives in greenhouses. If you grow it in a pot, you can enjoy it as a tabletop plant.
In warm climates, you can grow the Alocasia Maharani outdoors. In climates where winter temperatures drop below 50 F, the plant can be grown outdoors only during the warmer seasons.
In terms of lighting, the sweet spot for the Alocasia Maharani is indirect, bright light. It tolerates filtered light and dappled shade, but not direct sunlight.
Keeping this plant outdoors in direct sunlight is out of the question — you’ll just end up with scorched leaves.
I mistakenly thought that the Alocasia would not mind direct light when kept indoors. Unfortunately, even when grown indoors, the plant should be protected from direct sunlight.
If you grow the plant in a window, make sure it’s not a window that gets hit by direct light all day, and especially during the warmest part of the day.
A bit of gentle morning sun or late afternoon sun is not likely to cause scorching. In any event, bright, indirect light is the best for this Alocasia variety.
Just as the plant doesn’t tolerate direct sunlight, it won’t do well in dark spots either, so make sure to place it somewhere where its light conditions are optimally met.
One of the chief difficulties in managing the Maharani variety’s care is adjusting its watering schedule so that you don’t end up overwatering the plant.
And if you don’t think you can end up overwatering it, let me tell you that the plant enjoys constantly moist soil.
Therefore, watering it is often a balancing act. You need to change the plant’s watering schedule depending on how warm and dry the air is.
When it’s warmer, you’ll need to water more often. When it’s colder and the air is more humid, you need to dial down the watering frequency.
Because of this, you may easily end up overwatering, which will cause rotting at the root level.
To avoid this, there’s one trick that has always worked out for me — checking the moisture level of the soil.
Every time before watering it, check that the top two inches of soil are dried out. If the top soil is still moist, you can water the plant thoroughly.
As you care for the Alocasia Maharani, you’ll notice that in the colder months, you’ll need to decrease watering and increase it again in spring and summer.
It’s easy to overwater these plants that do very poorly in soggy soil to the point where the entire plant can die if its soil is overly wet.
Another potential problem when growing this plant is getting its soil requirements right. Unfortunately, this isn’t the type of plant that you can plant in regular potting soil and hope for the best.
The Alocasia Maharani needs a rich soil that’s well-aerated and provides excellent drainage. There are a few substrates that you can mix and match to create a soil mix that ticks off all the boxes.
One mix that I use for moist tropical plants is one part regular potting soil, one part perlite and one part peat moss.
But there are other soil amendments you can use in combination with regular potting soil that will give you the same great results — coconut coir, vermiculite, sphagnum moss, and horticultural charcoal.
The key is to create a mix that will not compact and won’t hold onto excess moisture, allowing any excess water to easily drain.
You can avoid a lot of issues by creating a substrate that offers aeration and good drainage. If you don’t want to make your own mixes, simply buy commercially available substrates that are formulated for tropical plants.
Temperature & Humidity
The plant takes well to average room temperatures, so it’s no wonder that they’ve adapted so well to indoor growing conditions.
Temperatures between 59 to 86 degrees F are tolerated best. Keeping the plant in temperatures below 50 F for extended periods will eventually cause its death.
When temperatures rise above 86 F, keep an eye on the moisture level of the potting mix. You may need to water the plant more often because of an increase in evaporation.
If you live in USDA zones 10 to 11, you can even grow the Alocasia Maharani outdoors as a perennial plant.
If you live outside those zones, you’ll need to take the plant inside when temperatures dip below 59 F.
As a tropical plant, it’s no wonder that the Alocasia Maharani loves high humidity levels. And when I say high, I do really mean somewhere around 80%.
Unfortunately, you cannot reasonably maintain such high humidity levels indoors. Unless you use a humidifier.
Humidity at around 50 % is already considered low for this plant, so strive to keep it at least around 60%. One sign of low humidity is that the leaves of the Alocasia Maharani will start to become crisp around the edges.
Because it’s a slow-growing plant and one that stays small, you don’t need to adhere to a strict fertilizing schedule.
The Alocasia Maharani is not a heavy feeder. Using a weak formulation once a month during spring and summer is plenty for this plant.
For more abundant foliage and large leaves, you should opt for a fertilizer that’s higher in nitrogen.
As the colder months begin, the Alocasia enters into dormancy. With less resources used, the plant uses fewer nutrients, hence there’s no need for fertilizing.
Potting & Repotting
The best time to repot the plant is in spring as the plant comes out of its dormancy and enters into the growth stage.
Because of how slow the plant grows, you’ll need to repot once a year until the plant reaches maturity, and then only every 2-3 years to freshen up the potting mix.
Never oversize the pot. It causes more issues than it helps. Use a pot only one size bigger each time you repot until the plant reaches its maximum height.
How to Propagate Alocasia Maharani?
The Alocasia Maharani is propagated through ‘pups’ or ‘offsets’ that are grown by mature plants. You can divide these from the mother plant when you’re otherwise repotting the plant.
Once you manage to separate the pups, you can plant them in a well-draining potting mix and care for them just as you would care for a mature Alocasia plant.
Not sure what’s the problem with your Alocasia Maharani? Here are some frequently asked questions about the plant:
Why are the leaves of Alocasia Maharani Turning Yellow?
A number of things can cause the leaves of your Alocasia Maharani to turn yellow including overwatering, lack of light, sudden temperature changes, and even water and soil quality issues.
When in doubt, revisit my Alocasia Maharani plant care guide above to see where you may have deviated from the requirements of the plant.
How Much Does the Alocasia Maharani Cost?
The Alocasia Maharani plant isn’t very expensive. However, variegated versions of the plant can cost hundreds of dollars, while the price for a collector’s items can even cost a couple of thousands.
That said, Alocasia plants are comparable in price with philodendrons, except when it comes to very rare and special varieties, such as those that have variegated leaves or other unique coloration.
Does the Alocasia Maharani Plant Bloom?
Kept mainly for their foliage, the Alocasia Maharani can sometimes produce blooms. Unfortunately, they rarely do so.
When they do, however, the blooms form on long stalks that feature a floral chamber at the top from which a spadix and spathe emerge.
The spathe encases the spadix which contains the blooms, and which usually has a white or creamy coloration.
A plant with a tropical and ancient look, the Maharani is easy to grow if you know what tropical plants need. If you’re new to them, however, it can be an adjustment until you understand the plant’s requirements.
Apart from the basic care they need, one point of difficulty is managing the plant’s watering needs. As I mentioned, the best way to keep the plant happy is to prevent overwatering and drying out.
If you can fine-tune your plant’s watering needs and provide enough humidity, other aspects are much easier to manage.