A few years ago, it was almost impossible to find an Alocasia Dragon Scale in your local plant store, but now they aren’t too difficult to find which makes us incredibly happy! Their moody and striking leaves make them stand out in any urban jungle. However, if something isn’t quite right with the care or environment, your Alocasia Dragon Scale may start to develop brown leaves. There are several reasons for this so we have gone through each of them below so you can determine what’s causing your Alocasia Dragon Scale’s brown leaves.
Overwatering can often cause brown leaves
Although your Alocasia Dragon Scale doesn’t like to have really dry soil, over time consistent overwatering will lead to root rot. This means your Alocasia Dragon Scale isn’t able to get all the nutrients and the leaves will begin to turn brown (the leaves may also droop down too as the stems become weak).
To figure out if overwatering is definitely the cause of your Alocasia Dragon Scale’s brown leaves, check the moisture levels in the soil using a moisture meter. If you find the potting mix is waterlogged and clumpy then replace it with fresh dry mix straight away rather than letting it dry out naturally. This means your Alocasia Dragon Scale can start to recover and this should prevent any more brown leaves.
It’s a good idea to trim off the damaged roots so that your Alocasia Dragon Scale can focus on new healthy growth rather than wasting energy trying to revive the dying roots and leaves. It may take a month or so for your Alocasia Dragon Scale to get back to regular health and green growth because the root system has been damaged.
Top tip: waterlogged soil can give off a nasty, damp and musty smell so get up close to your Alocasia Dragon Scale and other houseplants every once in a while to try and spot any issues before it affects the leaves.
Too much sunlight can also cause brown leaves
Sunlight is another factor that can cause Alocasia Dragon Scale plants to develop brown leaves. Though a lack of light can also cause several issues, the main problem lies is with direct sunlight. There is often a misconception that there is no such thing as too much light for houseplants. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Direct sunlight will very quickly scorch and burn the leaves of your Alocasia Dragon Scale which is irreversible. It will dry out and burn the leaves, causing brown/ yellow patches across the leaves. This is a bigger problem in summer as sun is more intense and out for a lot more of the day.
Brown leaves can indicate a lack of humidity
If the issue doesn’t lie in the watering or sunlight, it could be a lack of humidity that is causing your Alocasia Dragon Scale’s leaves to turn brown. You can tell this by looking at the leaf tips and edges as these will start to turn brown with dry air. Alocasia Dragon Scales like quite humid environments and can struggle in homes with dry air. This can be especially damaging in winter months when we often have the heating on for several hours a day. There are several ways you can increase the humidity for your Alocasia Dragon Scale:
Misting the leaves
One of the simplest ways to increase the humidity for your Alocasia Dragon Scale is to mist the leaves with a spray bottle several times a week.
Place your Alocasia Dragon Scale over a tray of pebbles with fresh water over the top. Over the day water from the tray will evaporate giving your plant above exactly what they’re looking for.
Give your Alocasia Dragon Scale a shower
To quickly raise the humidity and wash down your Alocasia Dragon Scale of any long-standing dust, you can always give them a quick shower. Simply pop them in the shower and wash them down with lukewarm water (keeping the water pressure fairly low so you don’t damage the leaves) this will clean off the leaves and give the soil a good soaking.
Move your Alocasia Dragon Scale to the bathroom
If you’re lucky enough to have great lighting in your bathroom you can move your Alocasia Dragon Scale in there to increase the humidity. The running water from your showers means bathrooms tend to be one of the most humid in every home.
Buy a humidifier
These relatively affordable little devices make keeping a consistent humidity level much easier. Some will allow you to place them on a timer so they run on a fixed schedule, and some will even have a built-in monitor so they automatically turn on and off to keep the humidity exactly where you want it.
Want to know more about how to raise the humidity for your Alocasia Dragon Scale and other houseplants? We have written a whole guide on this.
Temperature extremes can cause brown leaf tips
Alocasia Dragon Scale plants don’t like rapid changes in temperature, so you should make sure you keep them out of areas that are often drafty, for example, drafty doors, windows or air conditioning vents.
You should also keep them away from heating vents and radiators as the hot dry air that is produced can quickly turn your Alocasia Dragon Scale’s leaves brown. Try moving your Alocasia Dragon Scale to a spot with a consistent temperature and keep an eye on any changes for a few weeks.
Watch out for overfertilisation
Another cause of brown Alocasia Dragon Scale leaves is too much fertiliser/ plant food. We recommend fertilising your Alocasia Dragon Scale with a water-soluble feed, making sure that you dilute it more than it says on the bottle. Every plant is unique so having one recommended amount for every plant just doesn’t make sense! Plant type, environment, size and maturity all impact how much fertiliser your houseplants need.
You should be fertilising your Alocasia Dragon Scale once a month during spring and summer and not at all during the colder darker months. This is because your Alocasia Dragon Scale will go dormant during the colder, darker months of autumn and winter so won’t be producing any new growth.
If you are fertilising more often than this, or at the full recommended strength, then this may be causing your Alocasia Dragon Scale to develop brown leaves. If you think this is the case then replace the potting mix and hold off on the fertiliser for a few months (and reduce it when you do reintroduce plant feed). The other alternative is to not fertilise your Alocasia Dragon Scale at all. We don’t always and it doesn’t do any harm. It’s kind of an added extra sometimes.
Those are the top 5 reasons why Alocasia Dragon Scale plants develop brown leaves. We recommend keeping a close eye on your plant so you can spot any warning signs early as this will give you the best chance of bringing your plant back to full health.
To find out more about how to care for your plant, as well as solve any other common issues or learn how to propagate them, check out our Alocasia Dragon Scale care guide.
Written by Joanna Turner