How to Care for Alocasia Silver Dragon?
With a leaf pattern that resembles dragon scales, this compact tropical plant draws you in instantly, wherever you’d find it.
Indeed, you won’t find it in every nursery, but you may come across it periodically. When you do, make sure to grab one for yourself! You definitely won’t regret it!
The Alocasia Silver Dragon is a hybrid that resulted as a variation of the Alocasia Baginda. It’s a smaller and more interesting variety than its parentage.
If you’re worried about caring for it, don’t. While it looks like a plant that would have special requirements, it’s care requirements are easy to fulfill once you understand them.
Size & Growth
Beyond its interesting-looking leaves, the Alocasia Silver Dragon is also compact, making it an attractive choice even for small spaces.
The plant grows to about 1.6 feet tall, with leaves reaching a length of 6 inches and a width of about 3 inches or so.
When the plant is young, it’s even an excellent choice for growing in terrariums because of the warmth and high humidity in which the plant thrives.
The Alocasia Silver Dragon thrives in moderate to partial sunlight conditions. Because it grows under the canopy of trees, it doesn’t get access to full sun.
Full sun exposure would be too harsh on the silvery leaves, leaving the sun-burnt or discolored.
If you’re keeping it as an indoor plant, a location close to a bright, east-facing window will offer the plant adequate light without it becoming too much.
It’s important to note that this plant needs light and keeping it in complete shade, or a dark corner will cause problems including rotting issues.
So, make sure that you find a position, where the lighting conditions offer the plant the balance it needs to thrive.
Normally, the Alocasia Silver Dragon doesn’t need too much water, especially if it’s positioned to receive only dappled light and humidity levels above average.
Other than the environment, the quality of the potting medium will also determine watering frequency. If it’s planted in a mix that holds water (which I don’t recommend!), you’ll need to water less often.
The most common watering routine that works for most tropical plants as well involves watering the plant deeply, then allowing the top 2 inches of the potting mix to dry or to become slightly dry between watering sessions.
Keeping the soil evenly moist is the best for the Alocasia, but you also need a good potting mix to achieve that.
Usually, these mixes will contain peat, compost, or other aerating substances to ensure fast drainage and only little moisture retention.
With a potting mix that fits this description, the incidence of overwatering related issues can be reduced a bit, so it’s definitely worth investing in a good potting mix.
Temperature & Humidity
The temperature range preferred by the Silver Dragon is between 55 F – 80 F. Ideally, the plant should be kept at temperatures above 60 F to get the best growth results.
The plant can withstand high temperatures up to 95 F if it’s grown in a shaded area and watering is consistent.
You can keep the plant outdoors throughout spring and summer, but take it indoors once fall arrives and temperatures start dipping below 60 F.
The plant enjoys high humidity. If it were up to it, it would bask in humidity above 80%, however it can adapt to lower humidity levels as long as they’re kept at around 60% humidity.
Because you can’t control humidity levels outdoors, spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help reduce evaporation and retain enough moisture to make up for lower moisture levels in the air.
Fertilize your Alocasia on a bimonthly schedule. Use a good quality foliage plant fertilizer to sustain leaf development and vibrancy.
Because it’s a foliage plant, it does best with a fertilizer higher in nitrogen. You should also favor fertilizers with a higher calcium content such as those which include bone meal into their formulations.
This is because the Alocasia Silver Dragon is native to the island of Borneo, where they grow in calcium-rich substrates.
Potting & Repotting
Repotting is not something you will need to actively worry about with this plant. It doesn’t mind becoming a bit root bound.
That said, when the plant visibly outgrows its pot or roots are poking out, you should move it to a bigger pot.
I prefer using terracotta pots, but a sturdy plastic pot will also do. If you need to repot this plant, do so in spring-summer, when the plant’s metabolism is at its highest.
How to Propagate Alocasia Silver Dragon?
While you’re repotting the plant, it’s also a good time to see if you can divide the plant up with the intent of propagating it.
You’ll find that a mature Alocasia Silver Dragon produces small plantlets that you can separate and transplant to be grown in their own pots. Bulbils produced by the Alocasia can also be separated to propagate the plant.
Bulbils can be planted into moist potting mix (aim for 50:50 peat and perlite). Keep in a warm place, regularly moistening the potting mix.
In a couple of weeks, the bulbils will sprout into a plant, provided that you don’t allow the potting mix to become bone dry nor do you keep the pot in a cold place.
I wouldn’t categorize the Alocasia Silver Dragon as a beginner level plant, but I wouldn’t call it difficult to grow either.
Overwatering and lack of humidity are possibly two of the trickiest aspects to keep an eye on for a beginner.
In any event, the care requirements of this plant aren’t as different from the care requirements of other tropical foliage plants.
If you’re familiar with caring for tropical plants, you’ll be skilled to grow the Alocasia Silver Dragon as well.