Alocasia Silver Dragon is a gorgeous variety that stays relatively small, making it a wonderful type of elephant ear for a potted houseplant. Learn all about Alocasia Silver Dragon care, including how much light they need, what pests they are vulnerable to, and more.
Alocasia Silver Dragon care
I will start this off by being honest with you all. I do not own too many elephant ears. I absolutely love how elephant ear plants look, but generally I don’t have good luck with them indoors. My house is just so dry, and they generally aren’t fans of dry air.
Outdoors, however…I LOVE elephant ears! I have had many different kinds of alocasia, colocasia, and caladiums in my yard and on my patio. These are all different types of elephant ears–you can see my full elephant ear care guide for more.
I also have posts about how to harvest and store elephant ear bulbs in the fall, as well as care guides for the absolutely stunning Alocasia Regal Shield and Alocasia Dragon Scale plants! And today’s post is about the Alocasia Silver Dragon.
Alocasia Silver Dragon is a stunning plant with—you guessed it—silver leaves that have deep green veining. The plant is also called “dragon” because the leaves are highly textured, giving the appearance of dragon-like scales.
Is the Alocasia Silver Dragon plant rare?
“Is this plant rare?” It can be such a loaded question. What’s rare where you live might not be rare where I live—whether you’re looking at different areas of America or different areas of the world.
When it comes to Alocasia Silver Dragon, though, I would say that until recently it has been considered rare. When I would see it in local nurseries, it would be relatively pricey. A lot of that was just a supply issue.
There weren’t many Alocasia Silver Dragons on the market, but it was a popular plant! And that meant that they sold for a lot more. However, as is often the case, the price has dropped significantly. That’s because the company Costa Farms picked this plant up as part of their 2022 Trending Tropicals collection.
And what does that mean? Well, it means they are growing A LOT of them! And they are selling them through major retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s, and many more. This has obviously driven the price way down, but Alocasia Silver Dragons can still be hard to find depending on where you live.
Where is the Alocasia Silver Dragon from?
Alocasia Silver Dragon is a variety of Alocasia that actually comes from the plant Alocasia Baginda. If you look up the Alocasia Baginda, you’ll find that it looks a lot like the Silver Dragon…but it’s deep green!
Alocasia Silver Dragon is a hybrid. I tried to find more information about its origins and if the Silver Dragon arose from a specific mutation in the plant, but I couldn’t. Let me know if you know!
The plant is from Borneo, which is the third-largest island in the world. It’s in Southeast Asia’s Malay Archipelago and is shared by the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, Indonesian Kalimantan, and the tiny nation of Brunei.
How much light does this plant need?
Alocasia Silver Dragon will do best in bright, indirect light. Do not give this plant too much direct light or you will burn the leaves. Shoot for a location that gets several hours of bright afternoon sunlight.
The plant can live fine in medium light levels, but it will probably grow slower. The plant in general might also just not look as happy. If you notice that is the case, just give it some more natural light or add a grow light.
If you have your plant outside, keep it in bright shade. That means under a covered patio, under a large tree, or under some sort of shade structure or cloth. Some direct morning sun will probably be fine since that sun is weaker than afternoon sun.
Soil & water needs
Soil and water go hand in hand. You can plant your Silver Dragon in any well-draining indoor potting mix. Look for something labeled as “houseplant” or “indoor” soil. You can also throw in an extra handful of coco coir, which is a great alternative to the less-renewable peat moss.
The extra coco coir will help with drainage and moisture retention without keeping the soil too wet. It lightens things up while ensuring the plant gets the moisture it needs.
And that is important because the Alocasia Silver Dragon is incredibly prone to root rot. This plant does not like its roots to sit in water. And a heavy soil can really contribute to that.
In addition to using the right soil as a way to prevent root rot, giving your plant the appropriate amount of water is important, too. Only water your Alocasia Silver Dragon when the top two inches or so of soil have dried out.
This plant does not like to dry out completely, however. It’s a fine line that you can monitor by just sticking the ol’ finger down in the soil. If it’s dry down two inches, I’d water the plant thoroughly. Let all of the excess water drain out of the plant’s drainage holes.
If you do let your plant go too long without water, you might notice the leaves showing signs of distress like brown spots or borders, as well as crispy tips. (This can also mean a lack of humidity, so keep that in mind.)
Read more about houseplant soil and learn about the different soil amendments you can use with my Houseplant Soil 101 post!
Temperature & humidity
The silver dragon does well in a variety of household temperatures. It is not cold hardy, though. So if you live somewhere with four seasons, definitely bring this plant inside for the fall and winter.
Keep the temperature as consistent as possible…don’t put it by a heat or AC register, for example. Not only can this cause the temperature to fluctuate, but it can lead to increased dryness.
And as far as humidity goes…buckle up! Because the Alocasia Silver Dragon—and elephant ear plants in general—require a lot of humidity. Shoot for higher than normal household humidity levels, so 70% or more. The more the better!
This is generally not an issue for my elephant ear plants outdoors since I live in a very humid area. However, inside, it’s a huge issue for me. Even with my glass Ikea greenhouse cabinet and humidifiers, I simply cannot keep Alocasias happy in my house.
To boost the humidity for your plant, invest in a glass greenhouse cabinet and add weather strips to seal it. You can also use a large clear propagation box to retain humidity indoors. And, of course, there is the humidifier option! I hate humidifiers, but they go help a ton with these picky plants.
Growth rate & repotting
Since this plant stays relatively small, it doesn’t need to be repotted terribly often. It can grow to be about 2 feet tall. If you notice roots growing out of the pot’s drainage holes, it’s time!
Make sure you size the pot up about an inch and use fresh well-draining soil when you do repot. Since this plant is prone to root rot, check the roots when repotting to make sure everything looks healthy. If anything looks black and mushy, cut it off, lighten up the soil, and lay off the watering a bit!
Shoot to repot your Alocasia Silver Dragon—and most of your houseplants—in the spring or summer if you can. That way, if it experiences any shock from the transition, it should rebound quickly with warm temperatures, plenty of light, and good humidity levels.
I have traditionally only fertilized my plants using the slow-release fertilizer that comes pre-mixed into the soils I buy. And by working additional worm castings into the soil. But I’m starting to use Liqui-Dirt this growing season and will let you know how that goes!
I like Liqui-Dirt because it comes in a powder that you add water to. Then you use only a bit of this liquid concentrate in each watering session. Lasts a long time, and it doesn’t have chemicals in it, so there’s little to no risk of over-fertilizing and burning your plants.
Why is my Alocasia dropping leaves?
Dropping leaves can be a sign of many things. But sometimes it can just be a sign of age, which is totally normal! If your Alocasia Silver Dragon is dropping older leaves, and it’s not terribly often, just trim the dying leaves off.
I see this happen frequently with Alocasia plants, especially in the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant. And what happens when all of your leaves die off? You’ll be sad, but don’t panic. This can happen in the winter.
If it does, keep the plant. Water it once every 2 weeks or so and keep it in good lighting. When spring hits, you’ll likely notice the plant begin to resprout. I did just this with an Alocasia Polly a few years ago after a pest infestation.
Why is my Alocasia Silver Dragon yellow?
If the lovely leaves on your Alocasia Silver Dragon are turning yellow, it could be a sign of a lot of things. Generally with plants like these, it is a sign of overwatering. This can mean that you are giving the plant too much water or the soil you have it planted in is too dense.
Yellowing leaves on a Silver Dragon can also be a sign of spider mites. Spider mites move into your plant and live on its leaves, literally sucking the life out of them. This leads to leaves fading, yellowing, and dying off.
Alocasia Silver Dragons and pests…
And speaking of pests, let’s talk about spider mites. Spider mites are the pests that are the most likely to move into your Alocasias in general. Spider mites are super tiny, and sadly you probably won’t realize you have them until they have gotten pretty bad.
A sure sign of a spider mite infestation is very fine webbing on your plant’s leaves. Especially around the leaf tips and where the leaves meet the stems. If you see this webbing, treat your plant with an insecticide spray immediately.
I like Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, but you can use anything that has spider mites listed as a pest on it. You can also use rubbing alcohol diluted with water in a spray bottle. For more about this pest, check out my post about spider mites and how to get rid of them.
How can I propagate an Alocasia Silver Dragon?
Alocasia plants can be propagated easily by division. When you are repotting the plant, simply pull the plants apart. It will be clear where to break the plants apart because each plant grows in clumps from a tuberous bulb-like structure under the soil.
When you separate the plants, pot them up in fresh well-draining soil. Make sure to use a pot that is appropriately sized for the new plant’s root ball. And try to separate plants only in the spring and summer if you can!