If you have noticed that the leaves and stems on your Alocasia Dragon Scale have started to droop, then this means there is definitely something wrong with your plant. Drooping is usually accompanied by signs of another problem, such as brown or yellow leaves but if drooping is the only sign of unhappiness, it may just mean that you have caught the issue early. This would be ideal as it means fixing the issue should be a lot easier.
Below we will go through each of the different factors that lead to your Alocasia Dragon Scale starting to droop. We will also cover how to treat the issue and prevent it from causing any more drooping leaves in future.
Too much water is the most common cause of drooping Alocasia Dragon Scale leaves
One of the main reasons why Alocasia Dragon Scale plants start to droop is too much moisture in the potting mix. It’s super easy to accidentally overwater your plants as it can be difficult to know how much and how often to water them.
If you have been overwatering your Alocasia Dragon Scale it can cause quite severe problems fairly quickly, this usually begins with drooping leaves but they can develop brown or yellow leaves or drop them altogether. If drooping leaves are the only thing that seems to be wrong with your Alocasia Dragon Scale, then this is good news – it means that the problem is in the early stages and should be easier to fix.
The reason why overwatering is so harmful to your Alocasia Dragon Scale is that it causes waterlogged soil which cuts off air circulation in the potting mix. This rots the roots as they can’t breathe and it prevents your plant from taking in any oxygen and nutrients. It also means that the roots can’t physically support the plant anymore. The combination of these two issues is why overwatering will often cause your Alocasia Dragon Scale to droop its leaves and stems.
How do I know if overwatering is the cause of the droopy leaves?
Before you take any drastic measures, you need to be 100% sure that overwatering is the cause of the drooping leaves. The first thing to do is to take your plant out of its pot which will allow you to closely inspect the potting mix and root system. If the potting mix feels soggy and clumpy, then this means your plant has been overwatered. If the roots are soft and mushy it suggests that this issue has been going on for a while and might take a bit longer for your plant to return to normal.
If your plant is very droopy and soft and you worry about damaging it further if you take it out of the pot, then use a moisture meter or the chopstick method to check the moisture.
How do I fix an overwatered Alocasia Dragon Scale?
The first step is to replace the potting mix.
It’s crucial that you switch out any waterlogged potting mix with fresh, high-quality soil. Don’t wait for the soil to dry out on its own as this risks causing more damage to an already rotting root system and resulting in your Alocasia Dragon Scale drooping even more.
Then trim off any soft and mushy roots/ leaves.
If your Alocasia Dragon Scale is trying to keep rotting leaves and roots alive, it will be wasting valuable energy that it could be using to recover and produce new growth. Use clean, sharp scissors to cut away dying growth. Never pull the roots or leaves from the plant as this risks damaging the plant further.
Adjust your watering schedule
It’s important to take a look at how often you were watering your Alocasia Dragon Scale, and how much water you were giving it each time. Cut back on one of these factors to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again. We also recommend checking the moisture level in the soil before you water to ensure it actually needs it. Moisture meters are great for this but you can also use the chopstick method or start lifting your plant to get a sense of how much it weighs when it needs water.
Underwatering can also cause droopy Alocasia Dragon Scale leaves
Another common reason why Alocasia Dragon Scale’s leaves droop down is consistent underwatering. Whilst your Alocasia Dragon Scale will forgive you for the odd time you forget to water it, over time if it doesn’t receive enough water then your Alocasia Dragon Scale will droop down and develop other issues. Drooping leaves tend to be the first sign of unhappiness so if you have caught the problem at this stage it’s good news as reviving your Alocasia Dragon Scale will be a lot easier.
How do I know if underwatering is the cause of the droopy leaves?
There are a few methods you can use to get an idea of how much moisture is in the soil of your Alocasia Dragon Scale:
Firstly one method we often use is the chopstick method where you stick a chopstick into the soil. If the soil is still soggy, some will stick to the chopstick as you pull it out. If the potting mix is dry, then your chopstick will come out pretty clean.
A lot of plant parents ask us if this method won’t cause too much damage to the root system but as long as you are careful and don’t prod around too much, it should be absolutely fine. If you notice a large root in your way, try and pick a different spot rather than forcing the chopstick through as this will break the root which you want to avoid.
Lifting your Alocasia Dragon Scale
Another way you can check the moisture levels in the soil of your Alocasia Dragon Scale is by regularly picking up your plant. After doing this before and after watering a few times, you’ll get an understanding of how heavy/light your plant is when it needs water and when it doesn’t. We do only recommend this for fairly small plants though as you don’t want to hurt your back.
Use a moisture meter
If you want to take the guesswork out of knowing when to water your Alocasia Dragon Scale (and prevent any more drooping leaves) we recommend you use a moisture meter. They are super affordable little gadgets that you pop into the soil and they will tell you how moist the soil is.
How to fix an underwatered Alocasia Dragon Scale
If your Alocasia Dragon Scale’s leaves are drooping due to a lack of water, then you need to make sure to reintroduce watering in the right way. You might be tempted to drown your plant in lots of water to compensate for the lack of it. However, plants can get quite stressed when their environment changes very suddenly so we recommend giving your Alocasia Dragon Scale a bit of water once a day for a week.
A drooping Alocasia Dragon Scale can also be caused by low humidity levels
If there aren’t any issues with how much you are watering your Alocasia Dragon Scale, and the root system looks healthy, then the drooping leaves on your Alocasia Dragon Scale could be due to a lack of humidity.
Alocasia Dragon Scales are native to the tropics of Borneo so they like quite humid environments and can struggle in homes with dry air. Although we could never reproduce the humidity levels found in the tropics (and if we could, it would be very uncomfortable for us to live in), there are a few things we can do to boost the humidity and prevent more drooping leaves and stems.
Misting your Alocasia Dragon Scale
One of the simplest ways to increase the humidity for your Alocasia Dragon Scale is to mist them with a spray bottle a couple of times a week. We recommend you do this in the morning as it leaves enough time for the water to evaporate throughout the day. If the leaves are still soggy when it gets colder at night, it can lead to the leaf rotting.
Give your Alocasia Dragon Scale a shower
To quickly raise the humidity for your Alocasia Dragon Scale, you can always give them a quick once over in the shower. This is quite a short term solution but is also great at removing dust that has built up on the leaves.
They’re relatively affordable little devices and they make keeping a consistent humidity level so much easier. They are a great investment for every plant parent!
Drooping Alocasia Dragon Scale leaves can also indicate temperature issues
Alocasia Dragon Scale plants are native to the tropics so thrive in warm temperatures meaning they’ll struggle in homes with cold drafts. Although the temperature might feel fine for you, if your Alocasia Dragon Scale is close to any doors or windows that are drafty, or if they are close to an AC vent, then this stream of cold air can be quite harmful to your Alocasia Dragon Scale and cause it to droop.
Cold air causes a few different problems for your Alocasia Dragon Scale. Firstly, it slows down the rate at which the potting mix dries out (which makes root rot a more serious issue). And secondly, cold air slows down the rate of enzyme activity which means your Alocasia Dragon Scale will start to droop.
Make sure that you draft proof any windows or doors that are close to your Alocasia Dragon Scale (and other heat-loving houseplants) as well as move them away from any air conditioning vents as these can be quite damaging to your plants during summer.
Those are the main reasons why your Alocasia Dragon Scale has become quite droopy. It’s important to act quickly once you notice your plant is drooping as this is commonly an early warning sign. The quicker you take measures to stop the issue, the quicker and more successful you will be at bringing your beloved Alocasia Dragon Scale back to its usual self.
To learn more about how to best care for your plant, check out our Alocasia Dragon Scale care guide.
Written by Billy Dawson