The Alocasia Baginda is a rhizomatous plant from the Alocasia genus and the Araceae family. It is well-known for its large, beautiful leaves that are metallic silver-green with even darker veins on their surface, which give the plant a resemblance to a dragon’s scales, hence giving it its popular name “Alocasia Baginda Dragon Scale” or “Alocasia Dragon scale”. Not only is this plant pretty, but it is also very easy to take care of, making it a popular hit among houseplant lovers.
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Aroideae
- Genus: Alocasia
About the Alocasia Genus
The plants of this genus are all beautiful, tropical perennials from the Araceae family. They are native to the tropical as well as the subtropical areas of Asia, Eastern Australia and are widely cultivated everywhere else around the globe. There are over 70 species falling under this genus, all belonging to the wild, but what’s amazing is that they are easily grown and kept as houseplants as well. They are commonly grown as pot plants indoors or even in greenhouses. They do have some particular light and warmth needs inside the house but they are not much stressful to care for.
Common Names and Synonyms
- Alocasia Silver Dragon
- Alocasia Dragon Scale
- Elephant Ear Silver Dragon
Origin and Distribution
These plants are native to South-East Asia but are also commonly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of Eastern Australia.
Structure and Features of Alocasia Baginda
Foliage and Stem
The leaves of a Dragon Scale plant are broad, oval-shaped, and insanely dark silver-green. The veins on their surface are an even darker shade of green and give the plant a similar vibe to a dragon’s scale, as mentioned before. The undersurface of the leaves is pale green with dark prominent veins. They are velvety in texture and grow on large petioles that grow up to 2 meters long.
Lucky for the plant owners, this plant is evergreen. This means that it stays tall, green, and beautiful throughout its life cycle during all the seasons of the year if kept in the right environment and given the right care.
Alocasia Baginda Height
If given the proper Alocasia Baginda care, these plants can grow up to 1 meter tall and spread about 50 cm wide. Although, every plant has its own individual growing capacity, so don’t be worried if yours doesn’t grow as tall. And don’t try to overwater and feed it too much because that will not make your plant grow faster or taller but it will surely kill it.
Alocasia Dragon Scale is very particular about the temperature it is kept in. Because it is a tropical plant, it loves warmer environments but it is not too fond of the cold. If exposed to frosty cold temperatures, it will start slowing its growth and even droop and look unwell. If left in that environment for too long it may even die. Hence, it is not temperature tolerant and you need to be very careful about where you put the plant if you decide to grow it.
Alocasia Dragon Scale Flower
If the plant blooms, it grows insignificant purple spathe flowers that are barely a sight to look at. They can be easily missed. Therefore, the plant’s foliage is its primary attraction.
Alocasia Dragon Scale plants are not drought resistant. They love water and look unwell if not given the right amount of moisture.
These plants are very humidity tolerant. They thrive in high humidity and don’t complain if you mist them now and then. Just make sure their foliage doesn’t stay wet for too long as that can attract diseases.
Unfortunately, these plants are not disease resistant and you need to look out for problems like Crown, Stem, and Root Rot diseases, Leaf Spot and Xanthomonas. These diseases may show on the leaves and stems of your plant as dark brown or black spots that are surrounded by a yellow rim. The root cause of any of these is an inadequate watering routine, more commonly an excessively frequent one. If your soil is water-clogged and the foliage is too wet, your plant has more chances of catching a fungal infection. So, make sure you keep your watering routine in check and keep your plant’s foliage dry.
In case your Alocasia does get affected, remove the dead and damaged leaves and isolate the plant so it doesn’t spread the infection to the other plants. You can use a commercial fungicide to fight the microbe and give it time to heal.
Apart from fungus, mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mites are also very likely to attack the plant if not paid attention. The best way to prevent these unwanted visitors is to keep the plant clean. Spray your plant with warm, soapy water every few weeks and wipe it clean. This also gets rid of any dust buildup on the surface of the broad leaves.
In case your plant does get infested, use Neem oil as a natural remedy. If you need something stronger, spray commercial insecticide oil to kill the pests and keep them away. However, be careful with it. Only spray a small amount as too much of the poisonous chemical can kill the plant. Also, make sure you wear protective garments before you do so.
If given the proper care and environment, Alocasia Baginda can grow relatively fast, especially during the summer season. However, do not be alarmed if the growth rate decreases during the winter as that is when the plant becomes dormant and it is completely normal for it to stop growing.
Alocasia Dragon Scale Size
With the optimum environment and care, it can grow up to 1 meter in height (5 feet) and spread to an area of 50 cm. However, if the proper care was not provided to the plant in the growth period, you might witness a stunted growth of the plant at its maturity.
Unfortunately, as beautiful as these plants are, you cannot let your children and pets play with them. They are extremely poisonous and should not be ingested at any cost. They may even irritate your eye.
Because these plants have a perennial life cycle, they are very durable and last as long as decades if given the proper care and environment to grow.
Since these plants require a very particular range of light, humidity, and temperature to live in, they are not the easiest plants to maintain but they are also not the most stressful. On a scale of high to low, their maintenance level is intermediate.
Like all Alocasia plants, this one becomes dormant in the winter and fall seasons as well. During this time, the plants “sleep” and almost completely stop growing. There is no reason to panic or over-feed the plant hoping it to “wake up”. Just give it time, water as needed, and let it rest through the season.
Alocasia Baginda Care
Alocasia Dragon Scale plants thrive in bright, indirect lights and moderate humidity. Artificial growing lights and an indoor humidifier can be very helpful if you decide to grow the plant indoors. Pot it in chunky, well-drained soil and put it in a well-lit, warm, and humid spot to grow in.
Alocasia Dragon Scale plants can be very particular about their watering needs, so you need to make sure you do not over-water or under-water the plant. Always allow the soil to become fairly moist before you water it again. (Note that it should be moist and neither completely dry nor wet) Moisture meters can be very helpful for you to make sure you don’t water the plant when it doesn’t need it. If you water it too much, the soil will become water-clogged. If you water it too little, the plant will become droopy and dry.
The watering needs of this plant also depend on the season. For example, your Baginda plant will need more water during the windy, warm days of the growing season, which is the spring and summer season, whereas, they will be dormant during the winter and fall days and will be conserving more water, needing lesser watering sessions.
Alocasia Baginda Soil
Loose, porous, and chunky, well-drained soils are ideal for these plants. A standard “aroid” mix works best if amended with an organic, slow-release fertilizer. You can add peat moss or compost as soil amendments too. And if the soil looks too heavy for your liking, adding some sand or perlite can solve the problem.
The Alocasia Dragon Scale loves a well-lit room but doesn’t mind some partial shade either. If you plan to pot it outdoors, make sure it is not under direct sunlight as that can potentially burn the leaves and damage the plant. Make sure you move the plant to a more shaded area during the intense hours of the day. If the plant cannot be moved, using a shade cloth may help mellow the sunlight and make the spot more livable for the plant.
However, if you decide to pot it indoors, placing it next to a window facing north, west or east may be your best shot. You can also use artificial “growing” lights and it will grow just fine.
These plants love to live in high humidity. If your place lacks moisture in the air, you can always use an indoor humidifier to solve the problem. If not, you can also put the pot in a pebble tray and pour some water into it. The water will evaporate and make the air suitably humid for your Alocasia. Just make sure that the pot is sitting on the pebbles and not directly on the water because that will block the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
As discussed earlier, these plants are not temperature tolerant and have a very particular range of temperatures they can thrive in. This range includes any temperatures from 16 to 27 degrees Celsius. Because of their tropical origins, these plants have a higher preference towards the warmer temperatures but as soon as it gets cold, they start to look unwell and stop growing. So, make sure you move the plant to a more suitable, warmer spot when the temperature outside starts to decrease.
Slow-releasing, organic fertilizers are Alocasia Dragon Scale’s favorite. You can feed it with a balanced fertilizer during all the seasons except when the plant is dormant. The growing season is the best time to feed your plant. This is the perfect chance to boost its growth with some compost, as well. Just be careful about the amount you give it. Too much of it can damage your plant because the salts will start accumulating in the soil. A moderate amount of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two or three weeks is enough for it to grow healthy. (Tip: Make sure you dilute the fertilizer with water according to the size and needs of your plant).
Alocasias like to stay root-bound so re-potting them frequently is anything but a good idea. Pot the plant in a well-drained, breathable pot once and leave it to grow for at least a year. The best time to repot the plant, if you have to, is the spring season when the plant comes out of its dormancy. However, if the plant has outgrown the current pot or has caught an infection, you may need to change the soil or the entire pot.
Grooming and Pruning
Alocasia Baginda plants can lose quite some leaves especially if unwell. These fallen leaves need to be removed as quickly as possible because they can be a very open invitation to pests and fungus. Simply remove the dead or damaged leaves and wipe them clean with oil or water. Cleaning the plant’s leaves regularly with oil or water is also advised since they are broad and can collect a lot of dust and bacteria.
Alocasia Baginda Propagation
The best time to propagate an Alocasia Dragon Scale plant is the mid-spring or summer season while you repot the plant. It is best to avoid doing this during the dormancy phase in winter.
You can do this by either clump or division method.
- Sterilize all your equipment and use a sharp knife or blade to cut a piece of a rhizome from the parent plant.
- Pot this rhizome separately and put it under bright lights and warm temperatures.
- Water it as needed and let it grow.
Week 1-3: Plant the rhizome and put it under a suitable warm, humid environment. Water it as needed and keep the soil moist (neither dry nor soggy or saturated).
Week 3-5: Tiny roots will start to appear by now.
Week 6-8: At this point, shoots will start to sprout. These can grow into leaves very fast depending on the care you give them and the individual genetic makeup of the plant.
Month 3-6: Keep watering it and feeding it appropriately and watch it grow tall and beautiful.
Some Common FAQs
Can You Root Alocasia Baginda in Water?
Yes, Alocasias can thrive in water as well. Just make sure that the plant is not kept under direct, scorching sunlight because that can lead to algae growth. Change the water regularly (after every few months) and add dilute, liquid fertilizer if you want to.
What is the reason behind Alocasia Dragon Scale yellow leaves and what is the fix?
This is possible if the plant is either too wet or too dry, meaning that you are either watering the plant too much or not watering it enough. That is easy to fix. Just monitor your watering schedule and make sure you only water the plant when the soil is moist. Using a moisture meter can help you with that. You can also simply use your finger to check if the soil is ready to be watered yet.
Displaying Alocasia Dragon Scale Plant
Because of how dark and pretty this plant is, it can be a great statement plant. You can display it all on its own in an empty corner or put it alongside other plants in your garden. Ideally, it looks great standing among other plants that are plain so that the foliage of your Alocasia Dragon Scale remains the focus.
If indoors, it likes rooms that are well-lit, warm, and humid. So, your kitchen and bathrooms are ideal locations for this plant. If small enough, it can also be a great choice as your centerpiece or to be placed on your coffee table.
Alocasia Baginda Dragon Scale is a beautiful, tropical gem that grows big, metallic green leaves and looks beautiful, both, displayed on its own or standing tall in a garden. It requires water only when the soil is moist and does not require a lot of frequent repotting. It thrives best in warm, well-lit, humid environments so it can be a great choice as a bathroom plant.