The Alocasia Pink Dragon is such a special plant and is one of my favorites. The Alocasia Pink Dragon’s scientific name is Alocasia calidora, however you will much more commonly see it referred to as the former. It is a fast growing tropical plant that sends up long, slender velvet pink stems. Large crinkled heart shaped leaves sit atop these long, arching stems or petioles.
This is by no means a difficult plant to care for but does take a bit of experience and some trial and error. I want to share everything I know about Alocasia Pink Dragon care so you can grow one of these fabulous plants in your home!
Table of contents
- Common Name: Alocasia Pink Dragon
- Scientific Name: Alocasia calidora
- Mature Size: up to 16” tall indoors; up to 4’ tall outdoors
- Sunlight: bright, indirect light
- Water: filtered water when top inch of soil is dry
- Soil: airy, well draining
- Temperature: 60°F-85°F
- Propagation: rhizome division or offsets
- Toxicity: toxic to humans and pets
Growth Pattern and Habits
The Alocasia Pink Dragon is a rare variety of the Alocasia genus. It is native to Southeast Asia and Australia and loves its warm and humid environment. This Alocasia is a fast grower, reaching up to 16 inches tall as a houseplant and up to four feet tall outdoors. Like all Alocasia, Alocasia Pink Dragon grows from rhizomes. Rhizomes are modified stems that are underground and grow horizontally. Both roots that support the plant and new stem shoots come from the rhizome.
The stems of the Alocasia Pink Dragon are stunning. They appear a soft, velvety pink. The slender stems, or petioles, are tall and arch away from the center of the plant. Each stem is topped with a fascinating heart shaped, waxy leaf. The top of the leaves are a dark green with silvery, translucent veins. Underneath is a moody burgundy color. An Alocasia Pink Dragon’s leaves are slightly crinkled and are slightly concave in nature. With proper care, a Pink Dragon’s leaves can reach up to twenty inches wide!
Gently wipe both the top and bottom of the leaves with a dry cloth to remove residue and dust. Do this weekly to keep your plant in pristine condition.
Because this is a fast growing plant, it is important to re-pot your Alocasia Pink Dragon at least once every one to two years. At this point, your plant will have likely doubled in size and need an upgrade. When looking for a new pot, choose one that is only one to two inches larger in diameter than the current pot.
Expert Tip – A correctly sized pot makes all the difference. A pot that is too big for your plant will hold too much soil. The plant will not be able to utilize all of the water the large amount of soil soaks up. This can lead to root rot and can make the plant more susceptible to diseases and pests!
Proper Alocasia Pink Dragon care means ensuring it receives the correct amount of light. This plant enjoys bright indirect light. This kind of light mimics the Pink Dragon’s natural habitat which is underneath a dense canopy of trees. The trees filter and diffuse the light so the sun’s harsh rays do not directly reach the Alocasia Pink Dragon.
At home, you can create an environment of bright, indirect light in a couple of ways! Make a home for your Alocasia Pink Dragon in an east or west facing window in a bright room. You can also place your Pink Dragon in a south facing window, just a couple of feet from where sunlight directly touches throughout the day.
Leaves are prone to sunburn so the Alocasia Pink Dragon’s light requirements need to be taken into account when you are looking for a place to house it. An Alocasia that receives too much direct sun will begin to have faded leaves. The color will be less vibrant. If the amount of sun exposure is not adjusted, you will then notice the leaves turning brown and crispy from sunburn.
An Alocasia Pink Dragon is happiest in slightly moist soil. Water your Alocasia Pink Dragon only when the top inch of soil is dry to touch. You can also use a moisture meter; if you do, water when the moisture meter reads “4”.
To water, place your potted Alocasia Pink Dragon in your sink. Completely saturate the soil until water is flowing out of the drainage hole. Let the excess water drain out before replacing the Alocasia Pink Dragon in its home.
Since it can be a delicate balance between the right amount of moisture and too much, I suggest potting your Alocasia Pink Dragon in a terracotta or clay pot. Terracotta pots are porous. This means that unlike glazed or plastic pots, they absorb excess water and allow for its evaporation. This can greatly help regulate the moisture level in the soil.
Expert Tip – To best water your Alocasia Pink Dragon, use filtered water so harmful chemicals aren’t introduced to your plant.
The best soil for an Alocasia Pink Dragon is one made of a mixture of organic soil, peat moss and perlite. This mixture provides a balance of rich nutrients without compromising an airy composition. The nutrients come from the organic potting soil. Peat moss helps both hold on to moisture and drain excess water. Perlite keeps the soil airy and prevents compaction.
Every month or so it is a good idea to stick a chopstick (or even a pencil or capped pen) in your soil and create multiple, small holes to aerate the soil. Regular aeration helps prevent compaction, introduce extra oxygen to the roots and allows water to spread more evenly through the soil. All three of these benefits will greatly increase the health of your Alocasia Pink Dragon and encourage strong new growth.
Temperature and Humidity
Luckily, the Alocasia Pink Dragon is a very happy house plant and does just fine in normal household conditions. Ideally an Alocasia Pink Dragon will do best when kept in temperatures between 60°F-85°F, which is well within normal ranges for us.
This plant does like humid conditions. Do this by adding a pebble tray underneath instead of misting the plant. Misting can increase the chance of pest or fungal infections, and even root rot depending on how heavy handed you are. If your bathroom receives bright light, this would be an ideal place for your Alocasia Pink Dragon.
Because Alocasia Pink Dragon plants grow quickly, it is important to provide them with additional support and nutrients during the spring and summer growing months. I do this with a slow release fertilizer once every six weeks starting in March and ending in September.
When choosing a fertilizer, confirm that the packaging has the following information:
- Slow-release formula
- Balanced N-P-K ratio
A slow release formula delivers a controlled release of nutrients over a longer period of time than instant fertilizer. This leads to more sustained and equal growth. It also prevents fertilizer burn which is devastating to an Alocasia Pink Dragon.
Slow release fertilizer formulas are not powder or liquid. Instead they come in small beads or pellets. Before using the fertilizer on your Alocasia Pink Dragon, read the instructions and don’t over fertilize!
Alocasia Pink Dragon is a tropical plant that grows and spreads by rhizomes. These are modified, underground stems from which new plants and roots grow. Alocasia Pink Dragon propagation can be achieved using two methods. These two methods are by dividing rhizomes or by separating the new offsets from the mature plant.
Propagation by Rhizome Division
Rhizomes are the underground stems that grow horizontally through the soil. Rhizomes contain nodes from which stems grow. When you propagate an Alocasia Pink Dragon (and all other plants with rhizomes) by dividing its rhizomes, you will get new plants that are genetically identical to the mature plant! Here is how to propagate an Alocasia Pink Dragon using rhizome division.
- Carefully remove your Alocasia Pink Dragon plant from its pot. Gently shake the plant to remove the soil from the roots and rhizomes.
- Lay the plant down on a flat surface.You will notice clumps of thick, root-like clumps. These are the rhizomes and the focus of Alocasia Pink Dragon propagation.
- Identify a section of rhizome that is at least two inches long. Using a sterilized knife or pair of scissors, carefully cut this section away from the original plant.
- It may be hard to visualize if there are a lot of roots attached, but try to find as many “eyes” as possible. These are bumps along the rhizome from which new stems grow. Using the sterilized knife, cut the rhizome up into pieces, ensuring each piece has at least one “eye”.
- Plant each new rhizome section into new soil, two inches deep.
- Keep the soil moist until you see new growth popping out of the soil. At this time, switch to caring for your new Alocasia Pink Dragon as you would an established, mature plant.
Propagation by Offsets
When providing proper Alocasia Pink Dragon care for your plant, it is not uncommon for it to sprout new offsets (new baby plants) from the base. These can be separated and planted in their own containers and grown as an individual plant. The following steps walk you through Alocasia Pink Dragon propagation from these new, baby offsets.
- Carefully remove your plant from its pot and gently remove the soil from the area around the new stem.
- This stem will be attached to a rhizome; using a sterile knife, separate the new Alocasia Pink Drago from the mature plant. You want to retain a portion of the rhizome and its roots.
- Plant this offset into a new pot with fresh soil. Do not water for the first week.
- After one week, care for this new plant as you would a mature Alocasia Pink Dragon plant.
One yellow leaf is not an indication to panic, especially if the yellowed leaf is older and you notice new, healthy growth elsewhere. When providing top notch Alocasia Pink Dragon Care, it is necessary to remove aging leaves to make room for new growth.
When more than one leaf is turning yellow and has a mushy feel, this likely indicates overwatering. Remove all yellow leaves with sharp, sterilized scissors, let the current soil dry out for a couple weeks and resume a more conservative watering schedule.
Crispy Brown Leaves
Another issue seen in Alocasia Pink Dragon’s is crispy brown leaves. This is usually due to a combination of underwatering and too much direct sun exposure. You will likely notice this appearing along the margins of the leaves.
If you notice mushy, brown and/or yellow spots scattered throughout the face of the leaves, your Alocasia Pink Dragon may have a pest infestation or root rot.
Root rot is a common issue because the Alocasia Pink Dragon plant likes moist but not overly wet soil. Too much water suffocates a plant’s roots and can ultimately lead to root rot. You can identify root rot by inspecting an Alocasia Pink Dragon’s roots. Healthy roots are firm, pale and dry. Roots with root rot will be dark, mushy and slimy.
If you can still identify a large amount of healthy roots, your Alocasia Pink Dragon plant can be saved. The more damaged roots, the less likely it is that you can save your plant. Remove the entire plant from its container and gently remove excess soil around the roots. This allows you to identify the rotten roots. Remove with sharp, sterile scissors.
Unfortunately, an Alocasia Pink Dragon can be susceptible to a handful of indoor house pests. Mealybugs, spider mites and scale are three common insects that like these plants. It is also not uncommon to have fungus gnats because of the Alocasia Pink Dragon’s high water requirements.
Expert Tip – It is important, no matter the pest, to isolate the infested plant to avoid the spread to other plants!
Mealybugs are small, white, soft bodied insects. They tend to group up in crevices and under leaves and look like small clumps of cotton. Using an alcohol soaked cotton ball, gently wipe all affected areas of the plant to remove the insects. I also suggest spraying the plant with a 1:1 ratio of water and alcohol two to three times a week until you don’t see any more mealybugs appear.
Spider mites are another common Alocasia Pink Dragon plant pest. Fine, white webbing will likely be the first indication. Remove all the webbing and spray your plant two to three times a week with a 1:1 ratio of water to alcohol.
Scale can be a trick pest. Scrap off the scale insects gently and wipe all areas with an alcohol soaked cotton ball. You can also treat with neem oil.
Lastly, fungus gnats can be an issue! Fungus gnats love moist soil and so does the Alocasia Pink Dragon, so it’s not uncommon to see fungus gnats hanging around. The adults don’t cause harm to the plant (though are quite annoying when they fly in your face) but the larvae can feed on and burrow into the plant’s roots.
When you notice fungus gnats, hold off on watering your Alocasia Pink Dragon for a couple weeks. Add sticky gnat traps above the soil. Spray a minimal amount of a one part 3% hydrogen peroxide to four parts water solution on the surface of the soil.
Expert Tips – A fungus gnat’s full life cycle is about twenty eight days. After the first treatment and application of sticky traps, you will notice a significant decrease. However, it may take over a month for the entire problem to be solved.
Yes, the Alocasia Pink Dragon is toxic to both humans and plants. This is because it contains a mineral called calcium oxalate. These crystals are insoluble in a human’s or animal’s body and can cause severe irritation.
When ingested in small amounts, calcium oxalate can irritate soft tissues and cause localized swelling. In higher doses, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or kidney failure. Because of these issues, please keep your toxic Alocasia Pink Dragon high above curious hands and mouths. If you notice any of these symptoms or any unusual symptoms and suspect someone has ingested the plant, please contact the appropriate emergency services.
I absolutely love how unique the Alocasia Pink Dragon is with its velvety pink stems and crinkly leaves. You know now how to correctly water this plant, keep it happy in bright, indirect light and how to propagate an Alocasia Pink Dragon. Caring for an Alocasia Pink Dragon takes a bit of practice and patience but is incredibly worth it and a must to add to your collection.