Alocasia baginda is one of many Alocasia varieties commonly grown as houseplants. Since the 1950s, these dragon plants, or dragon scale plants as they are sometimes known, have been grown within many homes. They are prized for their lush, exotic emerald green leaves with scale-like appearance.
The blooms of the Alocasia Baginda are just as beautiful as the foliage, though they are not the primary reason to grow these plants. The flowering season begins around late spring or early summer.
This plant is native to Southern Asia and Eastern Australia. It is a rhizomatous plant, which is a part of the Alocasia genus and the Araceae family – a tropical plant whose natural habitat is the rainforest. It can grow to around 31 to 70 inches tall.
The most important things to look at to understand where and how to grow Alocasia baginda are:
- Temperature and humidity
- Soil/ potting mix requirements
Alocasia baginda in its natural habitat can be found under a canopy of bigger trees and plants. We should mimic those rainforest conditions as closely as we can inside our homes when trying to grow these plants.
So we should grow this plant in indirect or filtered sunlight. The foliage if exposed to direct sunlight will be scorched, and the browning of leaves and its eventual death. Indirect but bright sunlight is your best shot at keeping the dragon scale plant happy.
Temperature And Humidity
To prevent this Alocasia losing or not reaching its full beauty, you need to ensure that your plant is kept away from hot or cold drafts. The ideal temperature for an Alocasia Baginda is 61℉ to 81℉ (anything outside this range can result in stunted growth or eventual death).
The plant does better where there is higher humidity. Mist the plant, fill a pebbles tray with water and place the plant above it, and/or group houseplants together to raise humidity levels when the air is dry inside your home. Or grow your dragon plant in a more humid part of your home.
Soil/ Potting Mix
Alocasia baginda favors well-drained, moist soil, with a slightly acidic pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
It is best for environmental reasons to choose a peat-free potting mix. If the soil appears to be too heavy, then it is recommended that you add one part of horticultural grit or sand to the mix.
Whilst it is easy to care for the Alocasia baginda, be careful because these plants tend to be very sensitive when the environmental conditions are not quite right. The plant’s sensitivity can extend to minerals such as chlorine and calcium, even to excessive salts.
Ensure that you always use a balanced fertilizer and watering must be done with water low in chlorine or spots begin to appear on the leaves.
Water to maintain soil moisture throughout the growing season, but make sure excess water can drain away freely. Water much less in the coldest part of the year. Try to water at the base of the plant and avoid wetting the leaves.
A sweating Alocasia is a sign that its potting soil is too moist; although the plant favors moist environments, it detests sitting in an overly moist one.
You won’t need to feed these plants as much as many others. Unless growth is poor and the plant seems weak, feeding once every six weeks or so with a dilute, balanced organic houseplant feed should be sufficient. Feed only in spring and summer and not during the period of dormancy over the winter months.
Propagating Dragon Scale Plant
It is important to note that the Alocasia Baginda cannot be reproduced through cuttings of its leaves or stem but through its offset and clumps (produced by the plant). It is propagated by splitting and cultivating the offsets independently. Mid-spring is the best propagation time.
Frequent repotting is inadvisable and not required. Alocasia baginda will do just fine when root-bound. If there arises a need for repotting, then it should be done in the spring season; at this time the dragon plant is just exiting its dormant phase. You should take note that repotting becomes very necessary when the plant has outgrown its pot. A common symptom to know when this happens is the yellowing of leaves.
Common Pests And Diseases
The dragon scale does encounter a few problems with the likes of spider mites and mealybugs. Treating when infested by these is easy. Soap or a simple organic insecticidal spray on the leaves of the affected plant will clear the problem.
Other problems that affect the Alocasia baginda include leaf spot – this causes black or dark brown spots to appear on the leaves. These spots are sometimes rimmed by yellow. Addressing under or over watering will often help with this issue.
The Alocasia Baginda needs more water compared to other Alocasia species and may droop due to a water shortage/ underwatering. It may also be drooping because it does not get enough light. Nutrient deficiency is also another reason, so ensure that you fertilize the plant so it gets enough needed nutrients.
Before you choose to grow Alocasia baginda as a houseplant, note that it is poisonous to humans. The plant contains toxins that can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation in the mouth and throat. Ingestion may also lead to severe consequences like respiratory problems, swallowing difficulty, and even seizures.
Cats are generally not affected by the plant but it can still pose some risk to them and it can be deadly to other pets like dogs; it can make them ill due to a substance called calcium oxalates. If ingested in high quantities, it could lead to kidney failure.