Alocasia Maharani : Proper Maintenance for a Stubby & Rare Plant

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Wanting to add more greenery into your tropical plant collection? With its cute size and artificial looks, Alocasia maharani will grant your wish.

As a native plant to Southeast Asia, Alocasia maharani or Grey Dragon thrives in a tropical area. It is a hybrid result between Alocasia reginula and Alocasia Melo. Beginners might think that this rare plant is hard to maintain. However, you will be fine after you scroll into the guide and tips below.

Quick Summary

Botanical name: Alocasia maharani
Family: Araceae
Genus: Alocasia
Hybrid: from Alocasia reginula and Alocasia Melo
Native: Southeast Asia
Nickname: Grey Dragon, African Mask, Indian Princess, Hardy Elephant Ears
Approximate Height: 35 cm
Mature size: 30-50 cm
Growth Rate: Slow
Foliage: Dark green when mature
Flowers: Bloom infrequently
Light Exposure: Bright indirect light
Soil: Moist and well-drained soil
pH: 5.5 to 6.5
Temperature: 15 to 27°C
Average Humidity: 60%
Pest: Spider mites, mealybugs
Life expectancy: Long with proper care
Difficulty Level: Low maintenance

Leaf and Flower

The foliage of Grey Dragon has rough texture. It appears with light green when young. After it matures, the leaves turn into silvery-dark green with visible veins which make it looks like dragon scales. Besides, the undersides have green and reddish color.

They grow upward instead up spread horizontally. It can reach 15 cm long. The thick leaf stands on a small thin stem. Due to its stiffness, it resembles plastic when you see and touch it.

The flowers have insignificant presence, particularly in terms of pollinating. Without pollination, no seed is available. It only blooms in a short time and usually grows in the early spring. The flowers would grow from the spadix in the form of small white flower.

flowering – source

Soil Composition

Criteria: porous, well-draining, rich of nutrients, moist, and aerated

Potting mix options: 

  • potting soil, coco coir, plus sphagnum moss (3:1:1 ratio)
  • coir fibre & perlite (or use peat moss as it is cheaper)
  • perlite and coconut husk (2:1 ratio)
  • recommended houseplant growing mix

Goal: to keep the nutrient and the necessary amount of water for the plant growth

Indication of wrong mix: the soil is still wet rather than gets dry after one week owing to the thick composition causing poor drainage

Problem solving: adding more coconut husk or perlite

Tips. Other alternative organic matters include horticultural charcoal, leca, and vermiculite. Vermiculite could replace perlite.

Watering Requirement

Even though a watering schedule is a way, the amount and frequency might change depend on the season. You should notice the change in sunlight and temperature.

How to water

At the beginning, pour the water slowly on the soil before continuing to the other parts of plant. Avoid overwatering because it will result in root rot and fungus development. Wait until 5 cm of the upper soil dry and the water drain at the pot bottom before watering it again.

Only use water that is free from mineral, salt, and chemical. The safest choice is to use distilled water or rainwater. If you don’t have it, let the water stays overnight before using it.


  • Usual spring and summer: one time every week
  • Hot day: 2 or 3 times a week
  • Fall and winter: one time every ten days or a maximum 2 times a month, or no watering at all due to dormancy

Tips. Moisture probe could help you check the soil moisture. Once the moisture probe shows figure 2 or 3, you can start watering your Grey Dragon.

Lighting Requirement

A long and bright sunlight in the midday would burn the leaves. Therefore, a few hours of morning sunlight will do for the plant growth.

In the wild, Alocasia maharani lives on the forest floor, under the canopy of other plants. Indirectly, other plants help filtering the hot sunlight above. Accordingly, you should try to imitate its natural habitat wherever you plant it.

For this reason, you should put the plant 100-120 cm away from the window in indoor setting. In addition, you need clean the foliage gently for two purposes. First, you get rid of the dust on it. Second, you could maximize the light absorption. Just simply use lukewarm water and repeat it every two-three weeks.

Temperature Requirement

On account of its nature, Grey dragon can do the best in indoor temperature. Especially if you live in a four seasons country, keeping the plant inside most of the time is better.

You would be able to control the ideal temperature of 15-27 degree Celsius by using various stuffs inside the house. Remember that Alocasia maharani is weak to frost and draft. In case you plant it outside, don’t forget to put it inside when the temperature drops under 10°C.

When it is inside, don’t position it near cooling vent, opened window/door, or heating. This is to make sure that plant is not shock by the sudden temperature change. Thus, it still better to take precaution even before the temperate falls too low.

Humidity Requirement

This plant also enjoys growing in high humidity area from 60% and above that. Hence, you need to take extra care during a dry day with low humidity. You don’t want your plant develops brown spot or turns crisp here. By following the tips below, you’ll be able to enhance the humidity level when necessary.

  • Utilize pebble tray. Prepare an empty tray and put the pebbles inside. Then add water, but it should not soak the pebbles completely. Lastly, put it under or near the pot, a space with good aeration.
  • Utilize humidifier. The easiest way to maintain humidity level for your plant.
  • Mist the plant occasionally. However, make sure the leaves don’t stay wet for hours because it could attract fungus. You better dry it before it’s too late.
  • Gather several plants around. The combination of them would boost the humidity level your plant need. If your room doesn’t allow this arrangement, you could put it in inside a greenhouse.


In a growing season, this plant need fertilizer once a month. A plant needs fertilizer since the soil will lost its nutrients over time.


You will never go wrong with balanced, diluted, and liquid fertilizer in mild dose for Grey Dragon. Furthermore, It’s going to be fine as long as you use organic fertilizer or universal houseplant fertilizers and then follow the instructions. Another option you can try is high nitrogen level fertilizer. Gardeners usually use it to foster the leaves’ growth. As an additional information, over fertilization would scorch the plant and eventually kill it.


Spring and summer are the best time to feed it. Only fed the plant when the soil is still moist. You should stop feeding it after the end of summer. In autumn and winter, Alocasia maharani doesn’t need more nutrients as the growth is slower. During this period, it isn’t active so you can leave it alone. With the right care and a luck, you might be able to see the flowers bloom.

Read also : Alocasia Azlanii (Red Mambo): Grow and Care Tips


Grey dragon doesn’t need routine pruning because it has a slow growth rate generally.

Time: Once a year in spring.

Method: Use gloves and clean tools to remove the dead, damaged, and yellow leaf. Wash all tools used as well as your hands after you finish. By doing this you protect yourself from toxic content of Alocasia maharani.

Addition: Clean the leaves from dust using damp cloth. Do this every week to promote photosynthesis.


Time: spring and summer (when the plant is actively growing)

Criteria: a healthy and mature plant

Basic Preparation: gloves, sterile shears or knife, new pot with drainage holes, quality potting mix.

You can choose the methods mentioned below that suit your preferences.

By Offset

Because of the plant nature, this method a ready available option for everyone. In fact, the baby plants (pups/clumps) grow all year. You can easily find them at the same level of root. ONLY use or separate these parts when they have reached 2.5 cm in height.


  1. Move the plant from its old pot to a clean area.
  2. Straighten out the roots.
  3. Clean the plant from the upper soil.
  4. Cut the root to split the pups.
  5. Put the pup inside a good pot with fresh soil.
  6. Last, place the pup in a place that provide bright indirect light.
  7. Water it well to keep the soil moist.

Note: A larger size of offset would increase the chance for successful propagation.

By Division

Time: when you see the roots poking through the pot drainage holes.


  1. Slowly take the mature plant from the pot.
  2. Shake it slowly to remove the soil attached to it.
  3. Separate the rhizome either by using fingers or sharp knife.
  4. Commonly you would obtain around 2-5 pups on each plant.
  5. Finally, re-plant the pup in the same requirement above.

Note: You need to wait 3-4 months before it could establish itself as an individual greenery.

By Seed

Early preparation

In the autumn soak the seeds in distilled water. Leave them alone for one night. Here, the seeds should be wet because dry condition would hamper the germination process.


First of all, Alocasia maharani rarely produces fruit or berry in which you could find seeds. Moreover, if you set it up as an indoor plant, the lower your opportunity to have flower from it. No flower no seeds. Consequently, plant lovers consider it as an unfavorable method.

If you are lucky, plainly get the seed by removing it. However, you must do it quickly before the seeds dry. It shows that the seeds has short lifespan to begin with.


  1. Spread the seeds in a container containing well-draining and aerated potting mix.
  2. Lightly water the seeds.
  3. Cover the container with plastic bag to maintain high humidity.
  4. Bring this package under bright indirect sunlight.
  5. Make sure the soil is moist but not too wet.
  6. To increase the rate of germination success, put a heat meat below the container. It works to warm the seedlings.
  7. When a few months have passed you would see the seedlings grow taller. After they reached 5 cm, transfer them into bigger container. Next, just follow the correct guide for planting the Grey dragon.

Note: You must wait for the flower to bloom and you have to wait again longer till you can see the visible result. Rather than being persistent with this method, you should leave it to the expert.

Info: You cannot propagate this plan using stem cutting method.

By Water


  1. Soak the clean pups in a clean glass of water. ONLY let the root in water, NOT the whole pups.
  2. Change the old water each week with the new ones to prevent contamination.
  3. The plant is ready to transplant in the soil after the rooting system develops.
  4. You can plant these pups in water as well.
  5. Once the plant develops the rooting system, you can transfer them to the soil.

Disadvantage: excessive water would block the oxygen consumption, it makes the pups weak which later invite diseases.

Note: doing propagation and repotting at once will reduce the plant stress.

leaf textures – source

Alocasia Maharani Repotting Requirement

There is no need to repot the plant often as it has slow pace of life. Since Alocasia tends to be a root bound plant, it would prefer to be in the same pot longer. Despite its miniature size, the plant requires repotting once every 2-3 years. Furthermore, replacing the soil 1 time a year would nourish the mineral and nutrients. Similar to propagation, it is the best to do this in early spring.

Indication for repotting

  • Roots peeking through the drainage holes and top soil
  • Soil is unable to hold the moisture
  • Leaves turn yellow
  • The pot/container is swollen because the plant grows bigger


  1. Prepare a container with size around 5-7 cm larger compare to the old container. You can choose various pot material available. Additionally, many use plastic pot as it holds the soil moisture from escaping too fast. Just make sure that it has enough drainage holes and could retain the necessary moisture.
  2. Water the plant about one hour before repotting.
  3. Use gloves to remove the old plant carefully. This step will be easier since you have watered the plant earlier.
  4. Slowly release the soil from it using your finger (while wearing the gloves).
  5. Fill just half of the container with recommended potting mix.
  6. Put the root inside and add more soil. The limit should be the same as the soil line of the previous pot.
  7. Thoroughly water the plant, but don’t give it too much.

A correct care includes humidity, temperature, moisture, and light will help the plant deals with stress after repotting.

Read also : Alocasia Stingray : All You Need To Know About

How to Handle Disease and Pest

In general, Alocasia maharani has a strong “immune” and it will face any problems bravely. Sadly, neglecting the plant care could possibly hurt the plant someday.

Spider Mites

Visible sign: leaves color looks pale, leaves become yellow, white webs attached to the leaves

What you can do

  • Cut the affected leaves and get rid of them from the plant
  • Mix warm water( 1 liter) and dish soap (1 teaspoon)
  • Fill the spray bottle with the mixture above.
  • Spread the entire leaves with it.
  • Or you can wash both the leaf and stem using the same mixture (above). Next, let them dry.
  • Set the plant apart from the rest of greenery.

How to avoid

  • Keep a minimum of 60% humidity level.
  • Clean the leaves from dust on a regular basis.
  • Frequently check for any pest appearance. In case of poor pest infestation (or the pest always go back), ask for a help from garden center.

Mealy Bugs

Visible sign: the leaves get pale and wilt, black mold on leaves, trace of white cotton tuff on the leaves

What you can do

  • Blend organic neem oil (1/2 of teaspoon) and natural soap (a small amount).
  • Prepare a spray bottle and fill it half with water.
  • Pour the blend above into the spray bottle.
  • Spray the leaves until it covers all parts of the plant.

How to avoid

Regular inspection would help you notice and solve the problem quickly.

Root Rot

Visible sign: existence of black or brown spot surrounded by yellow circle on the leaves

What you can do

  • Prune the wounded leaves.
  • Completely take out the plant from its pot for further check.
  • Get rid of the roots that look mushy and dark.
  • Repot the healthy part of plant in a new potting mix.
  • Apply the recommended fungicide on the soil, one of the examples is copper fungicide.
  • Repeat this step every week until the plant gets better.

How to avoid

A good watering (amount and frequency) will prevent the soil from getting too soggy

Note. Pest won’t dare to get close if you maintain a high humidity level,


Visible sign: small brown, red, or orange spot appears on the leaves, it gets clearer if the condition is more severe

What you can do

  • Trim the leaves in question as fast as possible, then throw them away.
  • Isolate the plant from others from the time being to stop the spread of fungal disease.

How to avoid

  • Provide good air circulation.
  • Don’t overwatering.
  • Water close to the soil level so that the leaves aren’t stay damp.

Other Leaf Problems

Brown Leaves

  • Cause: dry soil, low humidity level, excessive sunlight, over fertilizing, pest, leaf spot disease

Leaves Droop

  • Cause: underwatering

Yellow Leaves

  • Cause: the leaves either too dry or too wet

Dropping Leaves

  • Cause: over or under watering


Follow the tips and guide above to control the humidity, watering, light, and soil moisture. Do it moderately, not less or too much.

Alocasia Maharani Toxicity Level

Alocasia maharani contains calcium oxalate crystals. This insolvable and poisonous content might cause irritation, swelling, and digestion problem when barely touched and accidentally consumed.

To avoid the worst scenario, keep the children and pets away from it. Likewise, use gloves and clean them after you’re done taking care of the plant.

Where to put Alocasia Maharani

The key for this contemplation is any place with bright indirect light, high humidity, and warm temperature. This is a list of spot you can choose for Grey Dragon.

  • On a table or shelf with good light
  • Near a south or west-facing and well-lit window
  • Close to a window with curtain or frosted glass material to filter the hot sunlight
  • Greenhouse
  • Terrarium with soft lighting
  • Vivarium
  • Inside a room with quality artificial lighting
  • Kitchens and bathrooms because they generate abundant steam and have high humidity level
mature form – source

Growth Habit and Rate

As a whole, the height can reach 30-60 cm while the leaves grow till 20 cm. You could expect 2-3 years to see it in a maximum height.

Planting it indoor will let the plant grows taller.

How to Obtain Alocasia Maharani

The fact that Grey dragon is a hybrid and rare plant has become a challenge for many enthusiasts. Its stunning foliage and dwarf size raise the price in the market. In short, you need to spare your time and money for it.

Alternative of Alocasia Maharani

For instance, if you happen to fail getting this plant, you might consider choosing other plant that resembling Grey Dragon.

§  Alocasia Melo

It also goes with the name Alocasia Rugosa. It has big and thick green leaves. The intense veins and rough surface complete the leaf appearance. Preparing a small container would be fine as this plant is short.

§  Alocasia Green Velvet

Others also call this plant Micholitziana Frydek. The size, color, and shape is similar to Polly. The dark green foliage has white veins.

§  Alocasia Black Velvet

A lot of gardeners has recognized the beauty of jewel on this plant. Instead of fake looking appeal, it comes with velvety look. Also, you can easily spot it due to its black leaf and silvery veins.

§  Alocasia Dragon Scale

The leaves of this plant could appear in silver or bright green tone. Additionally, the dark green veins here will remind you to dragon scale.

§  Alocasia Sanderiana

It is famous as Kris plant for others. Leaf characteristics are: v-shape, white or silver vein, as well as wavy edge. Some also said it is quite identical to Alocasia Amazonica.

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