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Alocasia Silver Dragon is a rare tropical indoor plant with exquisite leaves, sought after by plant enthusiasts everywhere. It has a fussy personality and demands specific conditions to survive and flourish. This Alocasia Silver Dragon care guide will discuss everything you need to know, including its characteristics, vulnerabilities, and care requirements.
Alocasia silver dragon is an exotic beauty, a variety of Alocasia baginda indigenous to Borneo, where it grows in the tropical forests. Alocasia silver dragon is also known as the African Silver Mask and the Elephant Ear Silver Dragon.
Alocasia Silver Dragon: Description
Alocasia Silver Dragon is one of the most sought-after plants because of its beautiful silvery-green leaves that look like dragon scales.
Alocasia silver dragon is one of the “Jewel Alocasias,” a group of stunning small indoor alocasias with beautiful foliage and dark green veins.
Silver Dragon Alocasia is a variant of one of 97 species of the Alocasia genus that belongs to the Araceae family. It is a rhizomatous flowering perennial plant that grows 1.5 to 2 feet tall, approximately the same width.
Long pink stalks pop out from the rhizome root, and the leaves of the Silver Dragon Alocasia grow out from these.
The leaves are shaped like a heart, are velvety to the touch, and can grow up to 6 inches in length and 3 or 4 inches in width.
The pronounced veins give the leaves an appearance that reminds one of dragon scales, hence the name.
The foliage changes color as it grows, giving each leaf different hues of silver and green and creating a glorious display of color.
Does Alocasia Silver Dragon Flower?
Mature plants can produce flowers, but this is rare for the indoor silver dragon alocasia. The flower is pale in color and reminds one of a lily, which makes sense considering they are both aroids, a subfamily of the Araceae family.
The plant will flower from the end of winter to early summer.
Is Alocasia Silver Dragon Toxic?
Like the rest of the Araceae family, Silver Dragon Alocasia is toxic. The whole plant contains calcium oxalate that irritates the skin and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in animals and people.
Other possible symptoms are a swollen tongue and pharynx, leading to breathing difficulties and sharp throat pain. The bottom parts of the plant contain the most poison.
The Full Scientific Classification Of Alocasia Silver Dragon
From beginning to end, this is the family tree of the Alocasia Silver Dragon:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Clade: Tracheophytes
- Clade: Angiosperms
- Clade: Monocots
- Order: Alismatales
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Aroideae
- Tribe: Colocasieae
- Genus: Alocasia
- Species: Alocasia baginda
Care Requirements Of Alocasia Silver Dragon
The Alocasia Silver Dragon is not recommended for beginner gardeners because it requires precise care and is not easy to keep alive unless you stick to the regimented care routine that this exotic plant demands.
Light Requirements Of Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragon is a light-sensitive plant, so one should not expose it to direct sunlight. It flourishes when it has a lot of filtered light.
One should keep it well away from very sunny windows or areas in the room as the leaves burn easily.
For even growth, it needs equal lighting on all sides, but one can only achieve this in a greenhouse, which is not always available.
The plant grows towards the light and distorts its shape. To prevent this, turn the pot once a week so that all the leaves get enough light.
If one places the Alocasia Silver Dragon in an area with insufficient light, the leaves will lose their deep color, and the silvery hue may disappear. In addition, the leaves will not grow to their optimum size.
Best Soil For Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragon requires specific soil conditions for it to flourish. It should be aerated, porous, nutrient-rich, and a mildly acidic to neutral pH reaction, ranging between 5.0 and 7.5.
Water should flow quickly through the soil to prevent it from accumulating around the roots, which will quickly rot if they become soggy. You should also not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Mix the following ingredients to create an ideal soil for the Alocasia Silver Dragon:
- 1 part standard potting soil
- 1 part perlite or coarser sand
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 handful of compost. This will improve the nutritional value.
The peat moss and compost are slightly acidic and will help maintain a good pH factor.
An extra tip to create a healthy environment for your Alocasia Silver Dragon is to use beneficial bacteria, fungi, and other natural products to create a microflora that benefits the soil and gives your plant those added extras that enable it to flourish.
Water Requirements Of Alocasia Silver Dragon
The correct watering rhythm is key to successfully cultivating Alocasia Silver Dragon plants. They don’t stand up to overwatering, but if the soil becomes too dry, the tips of the leaves could turn brown or twist around.
If one understands the difference between moist soil and wet, keeping the Alocasia Silver Dragon happy will be easy. The moisture level is perfect when the bottom half of the substrate is slightly moist. It should not be wet or totally dry.
The rule of thumb is that watering routines depend on the temperature, amount of sunlight, the season, and the soil.
The Silver Dragon Alocasia will become dormant when the temperature dips and there is less natural light between autumn and winter.
It won’t grow any new leaves while the plant draws energy for the upcoming growing season. One should water the plant once a week or every ten days during this phase.
Spring to autumn is an intense growth period for the plant, and one should water it twice to three times a week when the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry.
Optimum Temperatures For Alocasia Silver Dragon Plant
The glorious Alocasia Silver Dragon is cultivated as a pot plant when not in a tropical climate zone. It is happiest in a steady, year-round temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
It suffers when temperatures are near freezing point and has no resistance to frost.
In a continental climate, the Silver Dragon plant can spend the summer in the garden or on the verandah in the shade so that it’s not in direct sunlight at the hottest time of the day.
The Silver Dragon can even tolerate temperatures of up to 90 degrees if it doesn’t get direct sunlight and is watered regularly.
Alocasia Silver Dragon flourishes when it grows in temperatures that don’t change much, where there are no drafts, or cold or hot air flows from heaters or fans.
Humidity Requirements For Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragon needs 80% or more humidity in the area where it lives. Most homes only have 30-50% humidity levels, so one has to take more steps to up the levels, or the plant will die spectacularly.
Here are some ways to increase humidity levels:
- Pebble trays. Place a large shallow tray with water and the washed pebbles under the plant, ensuring that the roots can’t absorb the water. The water will evaporate and increase the humidity around the plant.
- Using a humidifier is the easiest way to control the humidity around the plant.
- Housing the Silver Dragon plant in the kitchen or bathroom will permanently give it naturally higher humidity.
- If you clean the leaves with a damp cloth will also increase the humidity slightly.
- Putting houseplants close together is a natural way to increase the humidity.
- A greenhouse will naturally have higher humidity.
Many tropical plants benefit from misting, but the Alocasia Silver Dragon doesn’t fall into this category.
As the minute drops of water fall on their leaves and collect in the veins and grooves, the plant can develop fungal diseases.
Feeding Your Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragon is not a fast-growing plant, so it doesn’t require a lot of extra feeding. One can feed them once a month with weak all-purpose plant food.
It isn’t necessary to feed it in the winter unless it is still growing new leaves or while it is in a dormancy phase.
Fertilizers For Alocasia Silver Dragon
Natural fertilizers are the best option for Alocasia Silver Dragon. Compost, mulch, or manure are good examples of this type.
When you add these ingredients to the soil, you’re making it more like the type of soil that the plant would grow in its natural ecosystem.
Use a ratio of one-tenth of the soil weight to prevent overfertilizing while still giving enough nutrients to the plant. It’s best to fertilize the plant at the start of the growing season.
Slow-release fertilizers come in tablets, sticks, and granules that you can add to the soil. It’s vital to follow the instructions on the packaging because they come in different strengths and have different ways to add them to the soil. Excessive fertilization could kill the plant.
Liquid fertilizer is also an option. One can dilute the product to a third of the recommended amount and water the Silver Dragon with it once a month.
Potting Your Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragon doesn’t mind being in a compact pot as long as air and water flow freely through the substrate.
If it was originally planted in the right size container, it can remain there for at least two years and does not need to be repotted every year.
You can transplant your adult Silver Dragon plant every two to three years, sooner if it outgrows its existing pot or if you notice the roots poking through the drainage holes.
Pruning Alocasia Silver Dragon
Alocasia Silver Dragons don’t need much pruning because they grow in a rosette. All you need to do is remove wilted, damaged, or diseased leaves. This increases the airflow between the leaves and helps to prevent bacterial and fungal diseases.
Propagating The Alocasia Silver Dragon
One can propagate this plant by splitting plants or dividing rhizomes.
Splitting The Plants
Adult plants normally develop a few clumps that grow in the same container. Each plant develops from its section of the rhizome root. So one can separate the plants, and each one can grow into an individual plant.
Before separating the clumps, give the plant a lot of water and allow it to soak into the soil. This will help remove the root ball from the container without causing too much damage.
Remove the plant and clean it, rinsing it if necessary.
You can divide the clumps when you can see the spot that each clump grows from. Make sure that each clump retains its leaf mass and rhizome.
Plant each clump in a separate container, using the same soil mix as they grew in before.
Dividing The Rhizomes
Dividing the rhizomes is a bit more tricky. Alocasia plants have thick, fleshy roots that look like elongated potatoes with tiny root veins growing out of them.
With a sterile knife, slice the rhizome into pieces that are at least an inch long. Make sure that each piece already has some little veins growing out of it.
Leaving 20% of the root above the surface, place the root pieces into a combination of perlite and moist peat.
Put the container in a warm spot and keep the soil moist. It will take two to four weeks for the rhizome to take root. Soon after, you should see new leaves appearing.
Each chunk of the rhizome prepared this way can develop into a new plant as long as one doesn’t allow the soil to dry out or overwater them, causing the root to rot.
Alocasia Silver Dragon In LECA
Alocasia Silver Dragon does well in LECA, a tradename for clay pebbles growing medium. Instead of growing in a soil mixture, the Silver Dragon Alocasia will grow in clay pebbles.
LECA works by capillary action, drawing water underneath the plant pot from a tray. As the stones touch each other, they pass the water from one stone to another.
As the Alocasia is planted in these pebbles, they pass the water to the roots in this way. The roots do not stand in water, so root rot is no risk.
When transitioning your plant to LECA, it is important to wash the pebbles before using them because they are full of clay dust. When you are satisfied that they clean, drain them in a colander.
While the pebbles are draining, wash all the soil off the roots of the Alocasia Silver Dragon, and allow them to dry to ensure that soil spots don’t become moisture traps that will cause root rot.
After placing the plant fairly deep in the pot, fill it almost to the top with LECA and make sure that your Silver Dragon is standing up straight.
Place a tray underneath the pot that will act as a reservoir to hold and provide water and a hydroponic nutrition solution to the plant when necessary.
When transitioning your plant to the clay pebbles, it is best not to put water in the tray until the LECA is dry to prevent root rot.
Alocasia Silver Dragon Problems
Although outdoor plants are more vulnerable to those kept indoors, the Alocasia Silver Dragon can also fall victim to certain things.
Pest On Alocasia Silver Dragon
Pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites love to make their homes in the Alocasia plants. You can repel most pests by keeping the humidity levels high.
To get rid of spider mites or thrips, make a solution of water and mineral oil and apply it to the plant once weekly for three weeks.
Spray the solution liberally onto all parts of the leaf, including the stem and petioles. The mixture will smother the pests but ensure that you kill all future generations. Thrips lay their eggs in the plant’s tissues and the nymphs make their homes in the soil.
Alocasia Silver Dragon Brown Leaves
Brown leaves with yellow marks usually mean that the soil is too wet or that the plant or soil is too cold. Alocasia Silver Dragon likes a warm, cozy spot.
Crispy, dry leaves indicate that the humidity level in the room is too low.
Pale and patchy brown foliage means that your plant is getting too much direct sunlight.
When the plant appears to be dying, it can mean two things. It can be going into a dormant phase if it has been healthy all year but is dying back in winter.
This is normal, and the plant will resurrect itself in spring. If it looks as if it is dying at any other time of the year, it probably will, unless you can nurse it back to health with vigilant Alocasia-specific care.
If the leaves suddenly begin to drop, it could be that they are in a draft, probably because they are near a door or window.
FAQ About Alocasia Silver Dragon
Here are some frequently asked questions about Alocasia Silver Dragon:
- Is Alocasia Silver Dragon the same as the Alocasia Dragon Scale?
No, the Alocasia Dragon Scale has dark green leaves, whereas the Silver Dragon plant has lighter green leaves with a silvery sheen. They are both varieties of Alocasia baginda, though.
- Can you propagate Alocasia Silver Dragon from stem cuttings?
Unfortunately, not. The plant requires part of the rhizome with little root veins already growing on them to survive.
- Should Alocasia Silver Dragon have any companion plants in its pot?
Sometimes adding other plants to the pot can help keep the moisture levels correct, so the Silver Dragon is less at risk for root rot. Certain types of ferns go well with Alocasia Silver Dragon.
- Which plants pair well with Alocasia Silver Dragon?
It is a perfect match for trendy houseplants like Begonia maculata and Xanthosoma.
Fun Facts About Alocasia Plants
Though not specifically the Silver Dragon variety, Alocasia symbolizes the “plant that grows up to the heavens.” It represents grabbing opportunities when they present themselves, whether risky or not.
It is also a wonderful tool in the discipline of mindfulness. As you focus on the beauty of all the parts of the plant, you begin to relax and appreciate the world around you.
Alocasia Silver Dragon is a rare and beautiful exotic plant with a very picky nature. It demands regimented care and dies easily if one doesn’t follow this to the letter.
However, if one sticks to the fine details of its care routine, it should flourish and do justice to its position as one of the Alocasia Jewels.