If you are searching for a beautiful house plant to incorporate into your indoor plant collection, consider the Alocasia ‘Maharani’.
This tropical indoor plant is also known as the gray dragon because of its leathery leaves that look and feel like dragon scales.
Its leaves have a silver-green tone with a white veiny pattern and become stiff when fully mature. This makes the plant appear artificial.
Native to Southeast Asia’s warm and humid climate, this rare plant is low maintenance and creates a glamorous focal point in any home.
How do you care for Alocasia ‘Maharani’? Provide the plant with lots of indirect sunlight. Use well-draining potting soil, and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Keep the temperature above 65℉ and humidity levels at approximately 60%. Fertilize once a month during the growing season using diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer.
Caring for Alocasia Maharani: Basic Guidelines
Use the above summary table as a quick guide to ensure your Alocasia ‘Maharani’ receives the necessary care.
However, read on to discover how to keep this “gray dragon” producing stunning silver-green foliage while remaining happy and healthy.
Complete Care Guide for Alocasia Maharani
This southeast Asian beauty has become popular among indoor plant fantatics because of its unique, leathery leaves and artificial appearance.
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is one of the rarest Alocasia varieties around and is considered a dwarf plant, only reaching heights of 14 inches.
Alocasia Maharani at a Glance
- Plant type: Tropical
- Scientific name: Alocaisia reginula x Alocaisa melo ‘Maharani’
- Average Height: 14 inches
- Average Width: Does not spread
- Growth Rate: Slow
- Produces Flowers: Yes
- Common Pests: Spider mites, mealybugs, scale
- Life Expectancy: Long life expectancy with adequate care
- Difficulty of Care: Low maintenance
Ideal Soil for Alocasia Maharani
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ enjoys well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. The soil should be well aerated and porous.
Make your soil mix using three parts potting soil, one part coco coir, and one part sphagnum moss.
This will ensure the soil has sufficient nutrients and drainage while remaining moisture retentive and aerated.
Alocasia Maharani Water Requirements
The “gray dragon” does not work to a schedule as its needs change depending on the season.
Check that the top layer of soil is dry before watering. Water thoroughly until water seeps through the drainage holes.
Allow the container to drain thoroughly in a sink or bathtub before replacing it onto the container tray.
In the summer, water once a week. However, reduce your watering schedule to once every 10 days in the winter.
Alocasia Maharani Lighting Needs
Avoid direct sunlight as this can scorch the leaves. Instead, choose a south- or west-facing room and place the plant 3-4 feet away from any windows.
In its native environment, the Alocasia ‘Maharani’ can be found growing in the dappled light of other plants and therefore enjoys medium-light to shady lighting conditions.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity Range for Alocasia Maharani
The ideal temperature range for this rare beauty is between 65-80℉ (18 – 27℃). Naturally a lover of the warmth due to its tropical heritage, it thrives in cozy indoor temperatures.
Note this plant is not frost resistant and will not tolerate cold temperatures.
Does Alocasia Maharani Need High Humidity?
This plant thrives in high humidity and enjoys humidity levels of between 60-80%.
To increase humidity levels, use a pebble tray (learn how easy it is to make one here) or mist regularly. However, dry the excess moisture off the foliage after a few hours to prevent fungal diseases.
Best Location for Alocasia Maharani
When placing the Alocasia ‘Maharani’, you will need to consider lighting, warmth, and humidity requirements.
A warm south- or west-facing window protected from indirect sunlight by a sheer curtain or frosted glass is a good position for this plant.
Alternatively, kitchens and bathrooms with their high humidity levels are ideal homes for the “gray dragon.”
Alocasia Maharani Growth Habits
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ grows to a maximum of 14 inches in height. Its leaves can grow up to 8 inches in length. This is a slow-growing plant that can take two to three years to reach its full height.
However, if kept warm and toasty indoors, its growth rate can increase.
Fertilization Type & Schedule for Alocasia Maharani
Potted Alocasia ‘Maharani’ requires fertilizing once a month in the growing season. You can use an organic fertilizer, such as worm castings, or a balanced but diluted liquid fertilizer.
(My plants do exceptionally well with this organic indoor plant food.)
Fertilizer is not required in the winter as the plant requires fewer nutrients when not actively growing.
Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
Stunted growth and yellowing, drooping leaves are the first signs of nutrient deficiency. Several factors can influence this phenomenon, such as inadequate lighting, water, or humidity levels.
Pruning Alocasia Maharani
This plant does not require heavy pruning due to its slow growth rate.
Instead, prune once yearly in the spring when the plant is actively growing. Wear gloves when removing dead or yellowing leaves as the plant leaves contain toxins.
Does Alocasia Maharani Produce Flowers?
Indoor Alocasia ‘Maharani’ flower infrequently and are usually grown for their unique leaves. Flowering can occur in early spring, but the flowers are tiny and develop in small clusters on a spadix.
Is Alocasia Maharani Toxic?
This plant is toxic to pets and humans. Each part of the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which are an irritant and can cause swelling of the mouth and throat.
Alocasia Maharani Propagation
The most common way to propagate the Alocasia Maharani is by planting offsets.
Throughout the year, pups (baby plants) develop at the root level of the main plant. These pups can be separated when they reach 1 inch in height.
This method is best done in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. Propagation using seeds is possible, but seeds may be hard to obtain because indoor plants may not flower.
Propagation of Alocasia Maharani With Offsets
Tools you will need for this method include gardening gloves, a sterilized knife, new containers, and fresh potting mix.
1. Remove Adult Plant From Container
Wearing your gardening gloves, remove the main plant from its container, and place it on a clean surface.
2. Untangle the Roots and Remove Pups
Use your fingers to untangle the roots and gently remove excess soil. Then using your sterilized knife, carefully separate the pups by cutting the roots attached to the main plant.
3. Fill Containers With Fresh Potting Soil
Fill the new containers with moist, well-draining soil, and carefully place a pup in each one.
4. Water Pups Thoroughly and Place in Bright Indirect Light
Keep the soil moist while the pups acclimatize to their new container homes.
Repotting Alocasia Maharani
This plant has slow growth habits, so it only requires repotting every two to three years. However, changing the soil once a year is advised to replenish nutrients and minerals.
When To Repot Alocasia Maharani
The best time to repot the Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is in early spring when plant growth is active. This plant only requires repotting once it has become totally rootbound as it enjoys a snug container.
Signs the plant has outgrown its “dragons den” include roots appearing through the drainage holes, yellowing leaves, and reduced growth.
Signs That It’s Time To Repot
- Soil does not retain moisture
- Roots showing through drainage holes
- Yellowing foliage
- Roots showing above the soil line
- Plant container bulging
How To Repot Alocasia Maharani
Successful repotting of the Alocasia ‘Maharani’ requires a few basic tools. These include gardening gloves, a new plant container, fresh potting soil, and water.
1. Choose a New Container 3 Inches Larger Than the Old One
A plastic container will prevent moisture from escaping too quickly. Ensure the container has sufficient drainage to allow excess water to escape.
2. Gently Remove Plant From Current Container
Remove the plant from the container, and use your fingers to loosen the soil around the roots.
3. Fill the New Container Halfway, Add Plant & Fill With Soil
Using well-draining, nutrient rich potting soil, fill the container halfway. Make a small well in the soil and place the root ball into it.
Add more soil until the container is nearly full and the soil line of the plant is the same as it was previously.
4. Lightly Water and Ensure the Soil Remains Moist
Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the excess water to drain before placing it onto a container tray.
5. Place Plant in a Warm Area With Access to Bright Indirect Light
Repotting can be stressful for plants, so ensure the plant has access to the correct light levels, moisture, warmth, and humidity. A little tender loving care goes a long way.
Alocasia Maharani Common Problems & Solutions That Work
Alocasia Maharani Common Pests, Diseases, & Problems
This low-maintenance diva is quite robust and doesn’t often struggle with pests and disease. However, as with all house plants, bugs and inadequate care can sometimes affect our leafy friends.
Below are some common issues that could affect your Alocasia ‘Maharani’.
Signs of Trouble
Leaves start to yellow or appear pale. In addition, white thread-like webs can be seen on the leaves.
Prune infected leaves, and discard away from other plants. Then make a solution of dishwashing soap and water.
Use one liter of warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Pour into a spray bottle and spray liberally over the entire plant, paying attention to leaf undersides.
Inspect and dust the foliage regularly. Maintain humidity levels of at least 60% using a pebble tray or humidifier.
Signs of Trouble
Wilting leaves become pale in color. In addition, honeydew secretions, white cotton-like residue, and black sooty mold can be seen on the leaves.
Combine a small amount of natural soap and half a teaspoon of neem oil. Add this mix to a spray bottle half filled with water.
Spray the plant until entirely saturated, concentrating on areas where mealybugs can be seen.
I use and recommend this organic neem oil – I use it to treat a variety of issues on all my plants with no ill effects.
Inspect the plant regularly for signs of mealybugs, and treat immediately should bugs be seen.
Signs of Trouble
Leaves develop brown or blackish spots with surrounding yellow rings.
First, trim the damaged leaves. Then remove the plant from its container and inspect the roots. Remove roots that appear black and mushy.
Finally, repot the plant in fresh potting soil, and apply a fungicide (try this organic copper fungicide) to the soil every other week.
Ensure the plant is not overwatered or allowed to stand in soggy soil conditions. Water once a week in summer and every ten days in the winter. Always check the top layer of soil is dry before adding water to the container.
Signs of Trouble
Tiny red, orange, or brown spots are seen on the foliage. The spots become more prominent if the disease is not treated, eventually developing into bumpy lumps.
Prune infected leaves immediately, and discard them away from other plants as rust is a fungal disease.
Ensure the plant has enough air circulation around it. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to perfect conditions for rust.
Instead, water at soil level to avoid splashing water onto the leaves and creating further damp conditions.
Alocasia Maharani Common Questions
Is Alocasia Maharani Rare?
A hybrid of the Alocasia reginula and Alocasia rugosa, the Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is considered a rare tropical stunner.
Its silvery green leaves are stiff and leathery, interlaced with veiny patterns, making it a favorite among plant lovers globally.
Unfortunately, they are pretty difficult to purchase due to their unique foliage and subsequent high price.
How Fast Does Alocasia Maharani Grow?
It is a slow-growing plant that can take between two to three years to reach its full height. However, this growth rate may be accelerated in warm indoor environments.
How Big Can Alocasia Maharani Grow?
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is called the dwarf of the Alocasia varieties as it only reaches a maximum height of 14 inches.
Alocasia Maharani vs. Silver Dragon
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is also known as the “gray dragon.” Its foliage is gray-green with silvery white veins while the ‘Silver Dragon’ has light-green silver-colored foliage with dark green veins.
5 Key Tips for Success With Alocasia Maharani
- Maintain humidity levels of at least 60% with a humidifier or pebble tray.
- Place the plant by a frosted or curtained window to provide adequate indirect sunlight.
- Maintain warm temperatures of between 65-80℉ (18 – 27℃).
- Wipe the foliage weekly to remove dust and promote photosynthesis.
- Allow the plant container to drain in the sink to ensure the plant is not standing in excess water.
The Alocasia ‘Maharani’ is a low-maintenance tropical beauty. Its exquisite foliage brings a touch of mystical beauty into any home.
This wandering dragon will fill your home with its magical color if provided with the right amount of care. Keep the growing conditions warm, moist, and balmy for optimum growth and health.
Image credit: M Antonio Webster