Alocasia maharani, also known as Alocasia “Grey Dragon,” is a tropical houseplant that deserves a spot on the list of any plant lover or collector.
With its curious foliage and compact size, it’s ideal for any home.
Getting it right can be a little difficult at first, but our experts reveal their top tips and tricks in this care guide.
What Is Alocasia Maharani?
Alocasia maharani is a hybrid of Alocasia reginula and Alocasia Melo, and it’s one of the rarest varieties of Alocasia you’ll come across. Usually grown as an indoor plant, it’s prized for its unique foliage. Alocasia maharani is a bit of a dwarf compared to other plants in this family and rarely grows taller than 14 inches (35 cm). However, its small size makes it a perfect addition to terrariums.
Alocasia maharani leaves are round, between five and eight inches in size, and with a unique silvery-green color. As the leaves mature, they start to harden and develop a veiny texture, giving them the appearance of, as the name suggests, dragon scales.
The leaves of the Alocasia maharani produce insoluble oxalate crystals. This substance is toxic if ingested or if it comes in contact with the skin, eyes, or throat. So if you’re thinking of adding this plant to your collection, make sure to keep it away from pets and children.
Alocasia Maharani Care Guide
Alocasia plants can be a bit tricky for beginners, and Alocasia maharani is no exception. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the tips and tricks to keep this rare plant happy.
– Light Requirements
Alocasia maharani grows best in bright indirect light. It can tolerate medium levels of light as well as dappled shade but not direct sunlight.
The ideal room for Alocasia maharani should be facing south or west. Place the container at least three feet (one meter) away from the window to avoid exposing the leaves to direct sun. Although the plant needs plenty of light for healthy growth and lush foliage, direct sun exposure will scorch the leaves.
– Temperature Requirements
Alocasia maharani can grow in temperatures ranging from 59 F to 86 F (15 C to 30 C). When grown as an indoor plant, it will thrive in the average temperature found in most homes.
Alocasia maharani will struggle if temperatures dip below 59 F and may suffer irreparable damage if exposed to anything below 50 F for extended periods. Keep an eye on the plant if temperatures rise above 82 F (28 C), and provide your Alocasia with more frequent watering and a boost in humidity.
You can grow Alocasia maharani outdoors as a perennial plant if you live in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. For anything outside that range, bring the plant indoors as soon as temperatures drop below 59 F during the day. Avoid leaving it outside if you’re expecting cold nights, as the plant is not frost-tolerant.
– Water Requirements
Alocasia maharani likes to have its soil moist at all times but not soaked. Try to keep the soil moisture levels even throughout the year and avoid letting the plant go thirsty for too long. Incorrect watering will only stress the plant, making it weaker and more likely to suffer from pest attacks.
The correct way to water Alocasia maharani is using the soak and drain method. First, test the soil with your finger. If the top inch feels dry to the touch, give it a generous watering. Wait until the water starts dripping through the drainage holes, then allow the pot to drain in a sink before placing it back on the container tray.
Try not to water your Alocasia on a schedule. The plant’s watering needs will change depending on the season, the temperature, the age of the plant, and even the medium it’s potted in. During the summer, you may need to water it once a week, but in winter, when the plant enters dormancy, you will need to reduce the watering to once every 10 or even 14 days.
– Humidity Requirements
Alocasia maharani is a tropical plant that thrives on high humidity. You should provide the plant with humidity levels of around 80 percent, which is higher than you’ll find in most homes.
The most efficient way to meet Alocasia maharani’s humidity requirements is using a humidifier. You can also mist the leaves, but for this method to be effective, you will need to mist them at least once a day. Another solution is placing the container on top of a pebble tray, which will increase the humidity around the plant as the water evaporates.
Although Alocasia can tolerate humidity levels of 60 percent and even 50 percent in winter when the plant enters dormancy, you may notice that the plant starts to struggle. The most common sign that the humidity is too low is leaves that are starting to turn dry and crispy at the edges and gradually becoming brown.
– Soil Requirements
The best soil mix for Alocasia maharani should be nutrient-rich, porous, well-draining, and aerated. One of the most common problems for Alocasia plants is overwatering, which is often the direct result of soil mixes that are too thick and poorly draining. You can avoid many problems with this plant by making sure that it’s potted in the right type of medium.
To make your soil for Alocasia maharani, you can use three parts universal houseplant soil and two parts soil amendments. A mix of plant soil and perlite will provide your Alocasia with a blend of nutrients, moisture retention, drainage, and aeration.
Yet there are several other amendments worth considering:
- Coconut fiber: also known as coir, it will improve aeration and water retention in the soil.
- Vermiculite: a good alternative to perlite, it improves soil aeration and moisture.
- Sphagnum moss: ideal for increasing the soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients.
- Leca: these clay balls are perfect for creating pockets of air in the soil, giving the roots access to more oxygen.
- Horticultural charcoal: you can add a bit of it to your potting mix to help protect the roots from harmful bacteria and fungi growing in the soil.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Alocasia maharani is not a heavy feeder. Unlike other Alocasia varieties, Alocasia maharani’s growth rate is fairly slow, and the plant only needs fertilizer applications once a month, in spring and summer. Use a diluted fertilizer solution for this plant. Universal houseplant fertilizers work best, or you can use one that has high nitrogen levels to promote abundant leaf growth.
Always make sure that the soil is moist before fertilizing your Alocasia. Pouring a fertilizer solution on dry soil will burn the roots, causing the leaves to wilt.
Do not apply fertilizers in winter. Alocasia maharani enters dormancy during the colder months, and as its growth rate slows down, it needs fewer nutrients. Also, if you’ve repotted your plant in spring and given it a fresh, nutrient-rich soil mix, you will only need to fertilize it once or twice in summer.
– Pruning and Maintenance
Alocasia maharani needs very little pruning. As the plant grows, it may start to shed some of its older leaves, which start to turn yellow. Simply remove these leaves when they have turned brown, which indicates that the plant has absorbed all the nutrients it needs from them.
Always make sure to wear gardening gloves when pruning Alocasia maharani, and thoroughly wash your hands and tools afterward. The leaves contain insoluble oxalate crystals, which can irritate the skin, eyes, and throat.
The wide, textured leaves can attract quite a bit of dust, which can gather along the leaf veins. Once a week, wipe the leaves of your Alocasia maharani with a damp cloth. This will allow their unique color to shine through and encourage photosynthesis.
– Repotting Alocasia Maharani
Alocasia maharani has a medium growth rate, so it only needs to be repotted once a year. The best time to repot this plant is in spring, as it enters its growth stage.
Pick a container that’s one size larger than the previous one. As with most tropical plants, plastic is the best material for Alocasia maharani pots since it prevents the soil from drying out too quickly. Make sure that the container has drainage holes at the bottom, as Alocasia plants don’t like having wet feet.
Alocasia Maharani Propagation Guide
You can use this method in spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. To reduce the stress to the plant, we recommend that you propagate your Alocasia at the same time as repotting it.
Here’s our step by step guide for Alocasia maharani propagation:
- Start by gently removing the plant from the container. Make sure that the soil is moist, and give the pot a bit of a squeeze to loosen the soil and make taking it out easier.
- Remove some of the soil from the roots, taking care not to break any of the main roots.
- Find the spot where each “pup” attaches to the mother plant, and use your fingers to slowly separate the roots. Try to hold the young plants from the base of the stem to prevent damaging them.
- Once the “pups” are separated, plant them in a well-draining potting mix, and give them a good watering.
- Keep the new plant away from direct light, and make sure that it has plenty of humidity.
- On average, your baby Alocasia maharani will take around three to four weeks to become established.
– Can You Grow Alocasia Maharani From Seeds?
In theory, it is possible to grow Alocasia plants from seeds. However, there are a few things worth bearing in mind.
First of all, Alocasia plants rarely bloom indoors, so it may take years before your plant produces a single flower. Second, pollinating Alocasia flowers is very tricky, and without pollination, there will be no seeds. Last but not least, Alocasia seeds have a very short life, and to germinate, they need to be planted before they dry out.
Alocasia maharani is a hybrid plant, which makes propagating it through seeds even more difficult. Alocasia maharani seeds are very rare, and propagating it this way is best left to expert horticulturalists.
Common Pests and Problems
The number one problem you may encounter with Alocasia maharani is overwatering. Signs that your plant is overwatered include yellowing, drooping leaves, or leaves that have a soft texture.
– Root Rot
If the soil of your Alocasia maharani is poorly draining, or if the plant is overwatered, there’s a very high chance that it will develop root rot. Remove the plant from the pot and inspect the roots. Cut off any brown or mushy roots and repot your Alocasia in a well-draining potting mix.
– Spider Mites
Alocasia maharani can be very susceptible to spider mites, especially if the air in the room is too dry. Common symptoms include leaf discoloration, yellow specks and grey areas on the leaves, and stunted growth.
Here’s a recap of what we’ve discussed about the proper care of Alocasia maharani.
- Bright, indirect light, high humidity, and regular watering are essential for a thriving Alocasia maharani.
- It is a slow grower, and it rarely grows taller than 14 inches.
- Propagate this Alocasia through plant division in spring or summer.
- The leaves of Alocasia maharani contain insoluble oxalate crystals, so keep the plant away from pets and kids.
- Spider mites and fungal diseases caused by overwatering, such as root rot, are the most common problems for this plant.
Alocasia maharani can make a stunning addition to any home. While it can be tricky for beginners, it’s well worth the effort. Are you ready to get planting?
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