The Alocasia Pink Dragon is truly a stunner!
What makes it unique is its HUGE elephant-ear leaves with light green veins. Leaves grow from light pink stems. 🙂
Each leaf looks a bit leathery and textured (not smooth!). Despite it eye-catching leaves, lots of Alocasias like the Pink Dragon get a bad rap for being too high maintenance.
While we admit they are not the easiest to grow, you CAN get it right with a couple of tips.
Care-wise, your Alocasia Pink Dragon is well-suited to mild, indoor temperatures, loves high humidity (>60% is ideal), and around 6 hours of bright indirect light a day.
But – and here’s the MOST important bit – they are pretty intolerant to overwatering, so you’ll definitely need to pay attention to your watering practices, and choose a free-draining potting mix (we like a ratio of ~20% moisture-controlled potting soil to ~80% chunky amendments like bark or perlite to lighten the mix).
Let’s dive into the details. 🙂
How to care for your Alocasia Pink Dragon
Like most other tropical houseplants, the Alocasia Pink Dragon needs bright, indirect sunlight (around 6 hours of indirect sun a day).
While 1-2 hours of gentle morning light is beneficial, anything more than 3 hours of direct light risks scorching its leaves. (YES, it’s a fine balance we know…)
On the other hand, too little light leads to stunted growth.
For this reason, placing your plant about a foot (90cm) away from a North or East-facing window is perfect.
You may also notice that your plant’s leaves angle toward the light – this is another way your plant tries to capture as much light as it can! Regularly rotate your plant so that it grows evenly, and maintains that healthy, bushy look. 😛
Perhaps the most important parts of caring for an Alocasia Pink Dragon are WATERING + GETTING THE RIGHT SOIL MIX.
This guy prefers the top 2 inches (5cm) of their soil to dry out before watering.
The time of year will also play a part in how often you water the Alocasia Pink Dragon.
- In the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, expect to water the plant about once every 7 to 10 days.
- In the fall and winter, the amount of watering will decrease, and you may only have to water the Alocasia every 14 days or so.
But the exact frequency really depends on climate, humidity levels, evaporation rates, how much sunlight its getting and the type of soil used. A whole lot of things!
To ensure you’re not overwatering or underwatering the plant, always check moisture levels before watering. Insert your finger 2 inches (5cm) into the soil.
If it feels damp, wait a day or two before checking again. Only water the Alocasia Pink Dragon when the top 2 inches of soil is dry!
Alocasia Pink Dragon are native to tropical Australia and Southeast Asia, which means they need higher levels of humidity than what most homes have.
The average humidity level for residential homes is ~40%, but the Alocasia Pink Dragon needs a humidity level of between 50-60%.
The good news is that you can increase the humidity in the room by using a drip tray or humidifier. We don’t recommend misting though – this can encourage bacteria or fungi to breed.
The best temperature range for the Alocasia Pink Dragon is between 65 and 85 degrees (18-29 degrees C).
Additionally, keep the Alocasia away from areas where the temperature can suddenly change, or there are cold drafts. For example, near a drafty door or under a heating or cooling vent is NOT a good idea.
Drops in temperature, alongside low light, will trigger dormancy in your Alocasia Pink Dragon. This just means that your plant will stop growing and drop leaves as it “hibernates” and waits for better growing conditions to come.
Though dropping leaves may appear dramatic, dormancy is a natural process that doesn’t harm your plant. You’d just want to be extra careful that you stop fertilizing completely, and water only when the topsoil is dry (which will be much less frequent), so that your plant can rest.
Alocasia Pink Dragon grows, on average, about one or two new leaves a month. This can vary depending on the health of the plant and the time of year.
Their active growing season is in the spring and summer months, which means this is when the plants will grow the fastest. Their growth will start to slow in the fall, and the plant will go into its dormant period in the winter.
At maturity, your Pink Dragon can reach about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall! Leaves can grow very large too.
Soil or Growing Medium
This Alocasia variety needs soil that is:
- rich in organic matter,
- drains VERY well,
- and can retain some moisture – but not too much!
A good soil mixture that ticks ALL THOSE BOXES is:
That’s right. Not much potting soil at all (~20% of the mix), and much more (80%) chunky amendments to give your plant space to breathe, and for water to drain. 🙂
Alocasia Pink Dragons don’t require a lot of feeding, but they can benefit from the occasional fertilization. The risk of overfertilizing is much higher than under fertilizing, so it’s important to choose a gentle fertilizer that is diluted when applied.
We like using Dyna Gro Foliage Pro, applied just once a month during the spring and summer months at half strength. Incorporate this liquid fertilizer into its watering routine so that the fertilizer is applied at extra dilute concentrations.
Hold off fertilization during the fall and winter months. Your Alocasia DOES NOT need it!
Repotting and Transplanting
The Alocasia Pink Dragon doesn’t mind being a bit root-bound, which means you should only have to repot the plant once every 2-3 years.
Repotting may also be necessary if the plant is experiencing fungal diseases, such as root rot. No matter what the reason, however, you should only repot the plant during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.
Unfortunately, Alocasia Pink Dragon is listed as toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and even horses. This plant contains insoluble oxalate crystals that can irritate the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, and GI tract when consumed.
In extreme instances, it may cause the upper airway to swell, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
There are two main ways you can propagate your Alocasia Pink Dragon.
The first involves cutting off a part of its rhizome that has developed some roots and stems, and allowing this to grow in a separate pot. The second involves separating the mother plant from its offsets. Offsets are small baby plants.
Both require healthy and established plants. If you’ve recently bought a plant or relocated it, or it’s still fairly young, don’t propagate it just yet. Let it acclimatize and recover before stressing it out again!
For best results, propagate in the spring and summer months. Warmth, light, and humidity help your plant recover more quickly.
Propagation by Rhizome Division
- The day before propagation, water your plant and sterilize a knife blade with 70% isopropyl solution.
- Place your plant on its side and unpot your Alocasia Pink Dragon. Use your fingers to gently tease out the soil to reveal the rhizomes. Try not to damage the roots.
- Using the sterilized blade, cut off a healthy portion of the tuber that has a few stems and some established roots.
- Repot the tuber in an evenly moist potting mix. Choose a pot that is suitable for the size of the tuber and one that has drainage holes.
- Place the mother plant back in its pot.
- Keep both plants in a warm, humid location with plenty of indirect light. If you have a humidifier, place it next to the plants and set it at 80%.
- It will take about 6 weeks for roots to establish in the baby plant, and for your mother plant to recover. Your plants may show signs of stress in the meantime.
- New growth indicates your plants have recovered!
Propagation by Offsets
- Prepare by watering your plant the day before propagation, which reduces the risk of transplant shock.
- Carefully wriggle your plant out of its pot, using your fingers to free compacted soil to dislodge the rootball. Be careful not to damage the roots.
- Examine the roots of the mother plant. You should see some clumps (corms) growing underneath, with their own roots. These clumps are also called offsets.
- Gently untangle the corms from the mother plant. Again, try not to damage the roots!
- Pot the corms into a separate pot with fresh soil. Return the mother plant back to its own pot.
- For the next 6 weeks, ensure your new plant’s soil remains evenly moist but not waterlogged. If you have a humidifier, place it next to the pot and set it at 80%. Ensure your new plant is in a warm location with indirect light.
- Note that the mother plant may show signs of stress (eg, drooping leaves) but this is normal as it recovers.
- After 6 weeks, your new plant should be established in its pot, and your mother plant has fully recovered.
- Treat both plants as you would any other Alocasia Pink Dragon.
How about Propagation by seeds?
Seed propagation is not easy and takes a long time. Best to leave this to the professionals! 😛
Light pruning in the spring is only required when the Alocasia Pink Dragon has dead, diseased, or discolored foliage.
You don’t need to regularly prune this plant as heavy pruning can actually harm it. When you prune the plant, use a pair of sharp pruning shears and make cuts right above a leaf node.
After pruning, dispose of the plant litter and sanitize the pruning shears using dipping alcohol.
Common Pests and Issues
Ugh, Spider Mites
By far, the most common pest problem for Alocasia Pink Dragons is caused by sap-sucking spider mites. They can be controlled using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
You can easily tell if your plant is infected by looking at the underside of the leaves – if you spot a fine webbing, spider mites are present! Here are tips on identifying spider mites and getting rid of them.
Root (rhizome) rot
As for diseases, the Alocasia Pink Dragon is susceptible to root rot, which occurs when the plant is either overwatered, is living in the wrong type of soil, or a combination of both.
The good news is that root rot is completely preventable. Just ensure you are watering ONLY when the topsoil is dry, while also growing it in soil that is VERY free-draining.
Why are my Alocasia Pink Dragon leaves turning yellow?
The most common reason for the Alocasia Pink Dragon leaves turning yellow is overwatering. Other symptoms of overwatering include stunted growth, wilted leaves, soft stems and soggy soil.
As the overwatering continues, the plant will begin to drop its leaves, and root rot will develop.
If you have been overwatering the Alocasia Pink Dragon, immediately stop watering the plant and let its soil dry out before watering again. If root rot has infected the overwatered plant, the chance of saving it is low, but not completely hopeless. Repotting the plant in fresh soil in a sanitized container can sometimes rid the Pink Dragon of the fungal disease.
Why are my Alocasia Pink Dragon leaves turning brown?
Underwatering can quickly cause your Alocasia Pink Dragon leaves to turn brown. In most cases, the brown begins at the tip of the leaves, or along its edges.
At the same time, leaves will also start to feel dry and crispy, and may fall off the plant. If the overwatering continues, the Alocasia’s growth will begin to slow, and the stems can wilt and become brittle.
If you find yourself with an underwatered Alocasia Pink Dragon, you can typically revive it by simply watering the plant.
If the Pink Dragon is extremely underwatered, you may find that the water simply rolls off the top of the soil and doesn’t absorb into it. In this case, submerge the Alocasia Pink Dragon’s pot in water and let soak for about 25 minutes.
Why are my Alocasia Pink Dragon leaves shriveling up and dying?
While seeing your Alocasia’s leaves start to shrivel up and die can be SUPER shocking, sometimes it isn’t a cause for concern.
Occasionally, this plant’s leaves will begin to shrivel and die as the leaf ages. This allows the plant to make room for new leaves and is a completely normal process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my Alocasia Pink Dragon to grow faster?
The best way to encourage Alocasia Pink Dragon growth is to ensure it has sufficient sunlight (at least 6 hours/day). Mild indoor temps and high humidity (>60%) are also important!
Can I water Alocasia Pink Dragon with tap water?
Tap water typically contains additives, such as chlorine, fluoride, and salts, which can damage and discolor houseplants such as the Alocasia Pink Dragon.
Instead of tap water, consider using distilled, filtered, or rain water. If you do use tap water, let it sit out overnight to give the chlorine a chance to dissipate before watering your Pink Dragon.
Should I mist my Alocasia Pink Dragon?
No, please don’t.
We don’t like misting our Alocasias as this runs the risk of developing leaf spots as a result. Wet foliage breeds bacteria and pathogens, which is just bad news.
Other Alocasias we Love
- Alocasia Cuprea, the Mirror Plant, famous for its glossy copper-sheen
- Alocasia Tiny Dancer – winner of “Most Unusual” Aroid at the 2009 International Aroid Society show and sale
The Alocasia Pink Dragon has gorgeous pink stems and large, veined leaves. To help it thrive,
- Don’t overwater. Water only when the topsoil is dry, but check the soil moisture frequently.
- Use well-draining potting mix with 80% chunky amendments!
- Mild indoor temperatures.
- Sufficient bright indirect light, around 6 hours a day.
- Humidity >60%.
- Refrain from misting Alocasia leaves.
- Regularly inspect plants for spider mites, and apply neem oil preventatively!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.