We all know a few legends about dragons, bat-winged, scaly monsters that breathe fire and we all secretly wish to keep one as a pet. If you would like to have a Dragon Scale in your very own home, then you should consider the beautiful Alocasia Baginda or the Dragon Plant.
Admired for its exotic emerald-green leaves with prominent venation that reminds of the mythical Dragon scales, this plant is an all-time favorite among gardeners and houseplant lovers. Alocasia Baginda is not only gorgeous, but it is also very easy to grow and care for.
Dragon Scale is a rhizomatous plant part of the Alocasia genus and the Araceae family. Native to Southern Asia and Eastern Australis, this plant is a tropical perennial that usually grows in the rain forest. The genus has over 70 species that can be found in the wild. The arum or Araceae family is known for its distinctive flower borne on a spadix and surrounded by a leaflike bract called a spathe.
Alocasia Bagindas are low-maintenance and can be easily grown as indoor houseplants or even in greenhouses. Although they have some particular growth requirements, they are not very difficult to care for.
The Dragon Scale plant has been extensively cultivated and even hybridized. Some of its most popular varieties include the Alocasia Baginda Pink Dragon, Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon, and Alocasia Reginula Black Velvet. Alocasia Baginda Pink Dragon is a superb addition to any plant collection. Its pink stems and prominent veins can decorate any dull corner of your home.
About Dragon Scale Plants
- Alocasia Dragon Scale plants look great when displayed alone or among other plants in your garden. The kitchen and the bathroom can be great locations, as they are warm and humid. Small Dagon Plants also look amazing on the coffee tables as the centerpiece in your living room.
- Alocasia Baginda can thrive outside in the growth zone 9b to 11 and indoors in the growth zone 4b to 11.
- Unfortunately, Alocasia plants have a no. 4 toxicity level. This means that ingestion can cause swelling and ulceration in the throat. Make sure to keep pets and young children away from this toxic plant.
- Although it does well both indoors and outdoors, it needs to be moved inside before the frosty winter arrives. Alocasia Baginda likes to grow in tight containers, so it will also thrive in terrariums.
- With the right amount of care, Alocasia Baginda can stay green and beautiful during all seasons of its entire life cycle. They can live for decades in the proper environment.
Alocasia Baginda Features: An Overview
- Provided the proper conditions, Dragon Scale plants can grow up to 3 feet tall (1 m) and spread about 1,6 feet (50 cm) wide.
- However, every plant has its own growing capacity, so don’t worry if yours doesn’t grow as much as others. Avoid trying to feed it more or overwater it, because it will not make it grow faster or bigger.
- The Dragon Scale has silver-green leaves that turn darker towards the center. The lower side is pale-green with prominent maroon venation that appears faint on new leaves but quickly deepens as the leaf hardens.
- Although Alocasia Baginda blooms, its flowers pale in comparison with its majestic leaves. You might notice tiny purple spathe flowers that are pretty much insignificant.
- Dragon Plants are not drought resistant, as they prefer moist environments. They thrive in humidity, so it’s a good idea to mist them now and then.
Growing Alocasia Baginda
Alocasia Baginda prefers bright, indirect lighting conditions, but it can also withstand partial shade. Direct sunlight must be filtered through a sheer curtain, as it can burn its delicate leaves and damage the plant. Indoor plants can be rotated to make sure all parts get plenty of light. A window facing north, east, or west can be suitable for this rainforest beauty. If you place it outdoors, make sure to move it to a more shaded area during the hottest hours of the day. You can also use artificial growing lights if you place it in a darker room.
Dragon Plants do well in temperatures between 55°F to 80 °F (13°C to 27°C). Because of their tropical origins, they cannot survive cold winters, so keep that in mind if you are planning to plant one in your garden. Also, cold drafts or direct contact with heaters, fans, or air conditioners can be harmful to the plant. As soon as it gets cold, Alocasia Baginda will stop growing and look unwell. This is called dormancy, a state similar to hibernation.
Dormancy involves your Alocasia Baginda dropping all its leaves and surviving as an underground corm. You should feel this corm firm and not rotten or squishy when you press your finger into the soil. To bring it out of its dormant state, take the pot and put it in a sealed plastic bag.
Next, place the bag in a hot place inside your house, such as on top of an airing cupboard or a radiator. Keep the soil moist and air out the bag to remove any condensation. After a couple of weeks, you should see a new leaf bud growing at the cop of the corm. It’s not safe to move the plant back in its place. Dragon Plants are fast-growers, so you should see beautiful new leaves in no time.
If your Alocasia Baginda shows yellowing and dying leaves, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. This plant can only hold a certain number of leaves at a time, based on its root system and general health. If you notice new leaves growing at the same time as losing the outmost leaves on the corm, it means that there is nothing wrong, it’s just a natural process. Just make sure to remove the fallen leaves as quickly as possible to avoid pests and fungus infestations. Cleaning the plant regularly is recommended, as well as removing dead or damages foliage.
Planting Alocasia Baginda
Dragon Scale Plants prefer moist, well-drained soil. The potting mix should be chunky, loose, and porous to ensure optimal growing conditions for the plant. Although Alocasia prefers more moisture than most Aroids, waterlogged soil will cause root rot. An Aroid mix or a Jungle mix amended with slow-release, organic fertilizer is ideal for these plants. You can also add peat moss or compost to the potting mix. Soils that look too heavy can be amended with some sand or perlite.
Alocasia Baginda does not like being repotted too often. This plant likes to stay root bound in a breathable pot for at least one year. However, if you must repot it, the best time to do so is in the spring when the plant comes out of its dormancy state. If you notice the plant has overgrown its container or that the current one is infected, you might have to change the entire pot and soil.
Watering Alocasia Baginda
This plant is a bit fussy when it comes to its watering requirements. Although Alocasia Baginda needs frequent watering, over or under-watering is an issue. In the summer, it is recommended to water two or three times per week. During winter, you can reduce the watering frequency to once a week. Always make sure that the upper 3 inches (7 cm) of the soil dry up between watering. Soggy soil will certainly cause other plant problems.
On the other hand, if you water it too less, Alocasia will become dry and droopy. If the air in your home is too dry, you can use an indoor humidifier. Alternatively, you can place the pot in a tray with pebbles and pour some water into it. The water will evaporate, making the air humid enough for your beloved plant. Be careful not to sit the pot directly on the water, as this will block the drainage holes.
Propagating Alocasia Baginda
The Dragon Scale Plant can be successfully propagated by plant division in the growing season, spring, and early summer. It is recommended that you take advantage of this opportunity to also repot your plant and move up to a larger container if needed. During this process, it is important to keep track of the plant and adjust your care accordingly.
Start by sterilizing all your equipment to prevent spreading any diseases. You will need a very sharp knife to cut a plant division from a healthy parent plant. Next, place the new baby plant in a new pot and sprinkle slow-release fertilizer around the base of the stem. Place it in a warm spot with indirect low light and provide regular watering according to the soil dryness.
After approximately 60 days, you will notice new shoot leaves emerging from the baby plant. The leaves will be pale green and fragile. After 90 to 170 days, your plant should have many new leaves. At this point, you can water twice per week in moderation. Keep abiding by the 3-inch (7 cm) dry soil rule.
Alocasia Baginda is a superb emerald-green plant with prominent venation that reminds of the legendary Dragon scales. Because of its unique foliage, this plant is an all-time favorite among gardeners and houseplant lovers. Luckily, this plant is not only gorgeous but also easy to grow and care for.
Native to tropical forests, Dragon Scale Plants love warmth, moisture, and humidity, so make sure to provide it with proper growing conditions. If you manage to do so, you will be rewarded with its beauty for decades to come.