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Alocasia Baginda “Silver Dragon”: Top Care Tips

Alocasia Baginda “Silver Dragon”: Top Care Tips

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Alocasia Baginda “Silver Dragon” is one of those tropical evergreens that magically draws you towards it in a nursery and won’t let you leave until you’ve purchased it.

It is a hybrid variant of the Alocasia Baginda and looks very similar to the original Baginda but much more strikingly crystalline and silvery. In fact, there’s something ghostly about the Silver Dragon with a texture that resembles dragon scales. 

Under dappled light conditions the glossy silver takes over the leaves whereas the veins take a deep green color. The leaves look like spades or pointy hearts but are actually peltate, i.e. the anterior lobes are joined together.

The shape of the leaves are often compared with dragon faces or elephant ears. Unlike the original Baginda, the Alocasia baginda Silver Dragon is a slightly smaller plant due to its hybrid nature.

Alocasia Silver Dragon is native to Eastern Borneo from the calcium-rich limestone regions – as tropical as it can get. This means you have to grow Silver Dragon in warm, moist, humid conditions for best results. 

If you’re planning on adding to your tropical grove or giving you room a tropical touch be sure to go through this Alocasia Silver Dragon care guide. We’ve compiled all the top hacks to grow this plant successfully.

 

Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon Care

 

Soil

Good drainage is key to keeping Alocasia Silver Dragon happy. They will grow beautifully if the mix you choose is quick-draining. But the soil you grow Alocasia Silver Dragon in needs to be soft. Very gritty or rough mixtures are not recommended. 

Generally any commercially available well-drained house plant mix substrate works. I would add aerating substances to this such as sterile mulch, garden compost or peat. Basically, soil that’s rich in organic matter and full of air holes created by the fauna living within it would be the best kind. This soil prep gives the roots the warmth and moisture-retentiveness that the plant thrives in. 

A bit of sand won’t hurt if the soil is sticky or clump forming. No more than 30% of the soil mix. But if you have to use quite a bit of sand to get the soil to loosen up then you’ve got the base soil wrong in the first place.

Protip: Further fortifying the soil with a few sticks or pellets of slow-release, organic plant food is ideal for Alocasia Silver Dragon care.

 

Light

Basically, what you need to ensure is moderate/partial sunlight i.e. about 70-80% filtered direct sunlight so that the leaves don’t burn. In the natural environment Alocasia Silver Dragon plants are found under the shade of trees where there’s a clearing.

They’ll have their leaf-faces turned to the side of light like a huddle of silvery dragons. It’s quite a surreal sight. The good news is that you can recreate this scene quite easily in your home garden. 

If you live close to the equator you can simply grow Alocasia Silver Dragon straight in the ground under the shade of a tree in a forgotten side of the garden with a light face. All the leaves will turn to the side of light. If you live in the colder zones you can grow Alocasia Silver Dragon in a pot and place it under a tree or your patio in the spring-summer months. 

You can also grow Alocasia Silver Dragon as an indoor plant, two feet away from a very bright east window. The best Alocasia Silver Dragon care hack is watching your plant carefully for signs of low light i.e. dull lusterless leaves.

Light is an essential part of disease management for proper Alocasia Silver Dragon care. It is prone to root rot if the light level falls to very low.

 

Watering

When you grow Alocasia Silver Dragon, watering depends on both soil and sunlight. If the soil is moisture-retentive as explained above and the light level is no more than dappled, you won’t need to water this plant very often. 

The leaves and stems of the Alocasia Silver Dragon are very fleshy and hold moisture well. It’s a good idea to let the top soil dry out just a little between waterings. However, be mindful even underwatering stresses the plant’s root systems too. 

I’ve observed that in the summers, you may need to water almost thrice a week while in winter, once a week seems to be enough. This is for the equatorial zones.

If you’re growing this indoors that the winter watering needs to be cut back even further to about once in 2 weeks or so. 

The bottomline is they like even moisture around the roots but not waterlogging. In the end for lush growth and plenty of new leaves, you’ll need to keep the soil evenly moist for the most part.

 

Temperature

The thick-leafed Silver Dragon plants love warm temperatures. You can grow Alocasia Silver Dragon between 55°- 80°F (13°-27°C). However, these tropical evergreens become slow growing under temperatures below 60°F (16°C). 

At low temperatures their metabolism slows down and they can maintain food production to sustain those large leaves. They may shed leaves and go into dormancy in low temperatures. So don’t hesitate to bring them inside as soon as the fall arrives. 

For the frosty weather zones, beware these plants are not adapted to frost conditions at all. Even within your greenhouse keep them away from cold drafts from the doors. On the other hand, they can take heat up to 35°C (95°F) as long as you grow Alocasia Silver Dragon in shade and with consistent watering.       

                             

Humidity

Just like other members of its genus, Alocasia Silver Dragon care requires as much humidity as you can give it. They occur in the warmer coastal areas in the far south east. 80% to 100% humidity levels is what they would love. 

All tropical aroids love moisture but aren’t finicky about it. However, Alocasias are a tad touchy about humidity. In the summer months when your plant stands outdoors, spreading a thick layer of sterile mulch around its base is also great to make the air muggy. 

In winters when they’re brought indoors, they really suffer under 50% levels which is often the case inside our homes. So you want to grow Alocasia Silver Dragon inside your house during winters, bring all your humidity guns out. Your spritzers, misting cans, humidifiers, pebble trays etc. 

Just one word of caution, give the plant good air circulation too. If the leaves are damp all day that’s another problem.

 

Fertilizer

Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon grows in the limestone outcrops on the island of Borneo. These places have calcium-rich substrates. Along with rainwater the soil increases the pH, releases calcium into the soil. 

Proper Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon care requires calcium rich soil not just for cell growth but also for disease resistance. To fortify the soil with calcium you can use bone meal fertilizers. Alternatively, you can add a calcium rich tomato fertilizer. 

Apart from calcium you can use any domestic fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Avoid low quality and cheap fertilizers as they accumulate and form crystals which are not plant friendly. Also, whenever you use fertilizers make sure you thin down the concentration by at least a third of the prescribed dosage.

Silver Dragon responds well to regular feeding, so a bi-monthly schedule works well. The rest of its nutrient needs are met by all the organic stuff you add to the soil such as manure, compost, mulch etc.

 

Propagation

Plant division is the main Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon propagation method.

You’ll find a lot of plantlets at the base of mature plants which you can separate. Alocasia Silver Dragon produces bulbils in abundance under the soil. You can even separate the bulbils for propagation.

 

Growth

Alocasia Silver Dragon is compact compared to other species in the genus. These hybrid Alocasias grow up to about 0.5 meter (1.6 feet) tall. The leaf size goes up to about 15 cms (6 inches) in length or so with a width of about 5 to 8 cm. 

The more juvenile plants are often used in terrariums mainly because of their love for humidity. When planted in soil it can get taller and wider depending on available space and soil nutrients.

The flowers are inconsequential compared to its majestic leaves. But the new leaf whorls are very attractive because they are bronze colored.

Due to its size it is quite versatile in home gardens and makes for a great indoor plant.

 

Potting and Pruning

Alocasia Silver Dragon, in my experience, survives a surprisingly long time in the same pot. They like it root bound as long as the roots are able to breathe. The best pot for this plant is a terracotta planter.  

However, if you must repot it or separate the plantlets, the best time to do it is when the plant is in its growth phase at the start of spring-summer. 

This plant doesn’t need much pruning. You can prune off the old fading leaves. You can also prune off any distorted leaf because that could indicate an infection. You should eliminate the infected leaf before it spreads.

Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon Care Tips

 

Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon Propagation

I recommend you propagate your Alocasia Silver Dragon plant during the mid-spring or summer season when the plant is growing actively. You can propagate Alocasia Silver Dragon by clump or division method. 

 

Propagate Alocasia Silver Dragon with root clump division 

  • Please prepare a potting mixture with the right soil-mix and add some water to it.
  • Next, remove the Alocasia Silver Dragon parent plant from its pot and wash off the soil sticking to its roots with a hose
  • You will also notice the roots are organized in multiple clumps. Carefully separate the clumps with the roots using your fingers or use a sterile knife to separate them
  • Put each clump in a separate container and water them
  • Care for the pots as usual. The clumps’ root systems will immediately start growing

 

Propagate Alocasia Silver Dragon with bulbils

  • Silver Dragon grows bulbils on stolons under the ground and sometime even above the soil
  • Wait for the bulbils to grow slightly like at least a centimeter wide like a shallot
  • Cut the bulbil off the stolon with a sterile knife right at the base 
  • Immediately plant it in a starter potting mix that’s even moist. 50:50 peat and perlite or evenly wet sphagnum moss are good starters for the bulbil.
  • Moisten the mix regularly with lukewarm water and place the pot in a warm place 
  • In two to three weeks the bulbils will sprout into a plant 
  • The mistake you shouldn’t make is to let the pot be in a cold place or let the substrate go dry

 

Common problems with Alocasia baginda Silver Dragon

 

Caterpillars

If you find “cheese holes” along the edges it means caterpillars have been snacking on the crunchy leaves of Alocasia Silver Dragon. You’ll just need to get rid of the caterpillar that’s causing it immediately.

 

Leaves dropping all of a sudden

If the plant is exposed to a cold draft in your greenhouse for being next to the entrance or window, that could cause all the leaves to droop.

 

Sudden wilting or drooping of leaves

The most common reason for this is root rot caused due to waterlogging. Check the plant’s roots. They should be white and healthy.  If they look brown and slushy then it’s a root rot. There’s little that you can do to save the plant. Just look for plantlets that you can save and repot in better soil.

 

Leaf yellowing 

This may start with the lower leaves first, before spreading to all of the leaves. One of the common reasons for this is salt buildup due to over fertilization. Water deeply three or four times, each time letting all the water drain out.

This should help wash off the salts. These plants are sensitive to excessive chlorine too. If you have a system of rainwater harvesting in your garden then that’s the best watering hack for Alocasia Silver Dragon care.

But most home gardeners don’t have that option. The next solution is to sit the water in a bucket for 2 days before using it to water your Silver Dragon. 

 

Leaf edema 

If you find damp waterlogged discolored blotches on the leaf this is the result of chronic overwatering causing disease in the plant. Change the soil and make it a very loose aerated one. Get rid of the diseased leaves.

 

Wet brown spots on the leaf

If the spots have a foul smelling ooze to them then it could be bacterial leaf spot disease common in Alocasia Silver Dragon.

It is important that you get rid of the affected leaves immediately. The bacterial spreads through water droplets on leaves. Cut down the watering and mainly stop getting the leaves wet. 

 

Common pests

Alocasia Silver Dragon care is quite easy when it comes to pest control. These are hardy tropicals that are naturally pest resistant. Occasionally you may find sucking pests and most commonly aphids.

The easiest way to get rid of aphids is to blast them off the leaves with a strong stream of water. An insecticidal concoction made from neem oil and horticultural soaps is safe to use on your Silver Dragon to keep it free of sucking pests. 

Another Alocasia Silver Dragon care hack is to use a solution of vinegar diluted with 3x the water. and spraying the underside of the leaves. All of these measures must be carried out on the morning of a sunny day

 

Tips for growing Alocasia baginda Silver Dragon

  • Place the plant in bright dappled sunlight
  • Avoid under and overwatering the plant
  • Use well-draining soils with good aeration and fortify it with a calcium rich fertilizer
  • Use the plant’s soil to assess when to water it. Dry it out partially before watering
  • Avoid chlorine buildup in the soil by using rainwater or distilled water 
  • Limit water to the roots by using a breathable terracotta pot that is slightly small in size relative to the plant
  • Use sterilized or disinfected equipment on the plant
  • Do not frequently repot the plant

 

FAQ’s on Alocasia baginda Silver Dragon

 

Can you grow Alocasia Silver Dragon in water?

The Alocasia Baginda plant can be grown in water. However, ensure that the plant is not kept in direct sunlight as it may promote algae growth. Change the plant’s water regularly and mildly fertilize it twice every month.

 

Is Alocasia Silver Dragon toxic for humans and pets?

Yes, this plant is toxic and best not consumed by pets or humans.

 

Is it a good idea to add lime to the soil to grow Alocasia Silver Dragon?

It’s true that Alocasia Silver Dragon does well if it has calcium fortified soil. Adding hydrated lime is often recommended to prepare the soil for such plants. However lime is very corrosive and if done wrongly it can kill your plant. I wouldn’t recommend using lime for home gardeners. Using a tomato fertilizer is a much better solution to introduce calcium into the soil.

 

Conclusion

Alocasia Baginda Silver Dragon looks very similar to Alocasia Baginda “Dragon Scale” and a bunch of other Alocasias. The truth is several Alocasia plants do look quite similar to one another and they are all equally exotic. 

The Silver Dragon gets my vote because it’s one of the smaller hybrid varieties and a lot easier to manage growing indoors. The leaf coloration is so enchanting that a small plant can change the appearance of the whole room.

If you enjoy growing easy maintenance plants like Alocasia Silver Dragon then I recommend that you explore varieties like Marble Pothos and Monstera Adansonii, all great tropical evergreens for indoor growing.

Happy gardening!

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