Why is my Alocasia Dragon Scale dying?

Last Updated: August 26, 2022

One of the rarer Alocasia plant types, the Alocasia Dragon Scale can be an expensive one to replace so it’s all the more concerning when it starts to show signs it’s dying. You want to make the right diagnosis quickly so that you can start treating the issue as soon as possible. The longer the problem goes on, the trickier it can be to successfully revive it. 

Below you’ll find an outline of all the most common reasons why your Alocasia Dragon Scale might be dying, as well as treatment methods and how to prevent it in future.

A dying Alocasia Dragon Scale can indicate overwatering

If the leaves on your Alocasia Dragon Scale have turned yellow and are quite limp then your plant might be dying due to overwatering. Too much moisture in the soil will mean that the roots will have started to rot and become damaged. This stops your plant from getting any water or nutrients which is why it has started to die. 

Alocasia Dragon Scale plants like some moisture in the soil but hate it when it’s waterlogged and soggy. This means that getting the right balance can be tricky as you don’t want the soil to be bone dry for extended periods of time as it can cause the roots to crisp up (more on that below).

Before making any changes to how you water, check the soil to see if you are right in thinking your Alocasia Dragon Scale is dying due to being overwatered. If the soil is clumpy and waterlogged replace it immediately with new fresh and dry potting mix. This will give the roots the best chance at survival and help to revive your dying plant as waiting for it to naturally dry out simply risks more damage.

Too little water can also cause your Alocasia Dragon Scale to start dying

Like overwatering, too little water can also be harmful to your Alocasia Dragon Scale. Although it won’t die on you suddenly if you forget to water it every once in a while, if the problem goes on for several weeks, then this will start to have an impact on your plant. Underwatering will cause the roots to become crispy which prevents your plant from getting the needed oxygen, moisture and nutrients from the potting mix, which is why it will start dying, unfortunately. 

The signs to look out for to suggest your Alocasia Dragon Scale is dying due to underwatering are; light brown spots, patches or entire leaves, leaves falling off your plant, bone dry potting mix and crispy roots and the soil coming away from the pot at the sides. 

To solve the issue and revive your dying plant, your first instinct might be to give it loads of water straight away but this can actually be harmful to your Alocasia Dragon Scale if the soil goes from one extreme to the other. Yes, plants get shocked too if there is a sudden and dramatic change in their environment! Instead, you want to reintroduce frequent watering for a week or two and this should solve the problem.

Then moving forward, it’s important that you increase the frequency of your waterings to ensure the soil doesn’t fully dry out for long periods of time. 

Direct sunlight might also be to blame

Another problem that may be causing your Alocasia Dragon Scale to start dying on you is too much direct sunlight. They thrive in bright but indirect light and if they are placed close to a window during summer, the intense sunlight can scorch their beautiful leaves. This is unfortunately irreversible so we recommend trimming away any burnt leaves to help revive your dying Alocasia Dragon Scale.

To solve this issue and revive your dying Alocasia Dragon Scale, move your plant a little further away from the windows during the summer so it gets less of that intense light directly falling onto its leaves. It’s a good habit to get into to move your plants around a bit depending on the seasons so that they are getting the right light level. However, just make sure that other factors such as humidity and temperature are still in the ideal ranges. 

Low sunlight levels can also cause a dying Alocasia Dragon Scale

Although (as we’ve just been through) direct light can cause leaf burn, not enough sunlight can also be really damaging to your Alocasia Dragon Scale and might be why it’s dying. 

If you think that your Alocasia Dragon Scale isn’t getting enough sunlight then move it to a brighter spot in the home and monitor how it reacts. You might also need to watch out for other environmental demands as a result of moving your plant to a spot with more light as the soil may dry out quicker meaning they need more frequent watering and maybe more misting too. 

Low humidity levels might be to blame

Another reason why your Alocasia Dragon Scale is dying could be a lack of humidity as they struggle in homes with dry air. This can be especially damaging during the winter months when we often have the heating on for several hours each day.

Dry air will cause the leaves to go crispy, become limp and droop down. Here are a few ways you can increase the humidity and revive your dying Alocasia Dragon Scale:

  1. Misting the leaves regularly 

    We recommend getting into the habit of misting your Alocasia Dragon Scale a few times per week to boost the humidity. In winter it’s important that if you do mist that it’s done mid-morning so that you allow enough time for the water droplets to evaporate before temperatures drop at night. Wet and cold leaves are the perfect combo for leaf rot.

  2. Build a pebble tray

    Place your plant over a tray of pebbles with fresh water over the top. Over the day water from the tray will evaporate giving your dying plant a good humidity boost.

  3. Move your Alocasia Dragon Scale to a different room 

    The running water from your showers and the steam from cooking make bathrooms and kitchens the perfect place for humidity-loving houseplants like the Alocasia Dragon Scale. Just make sure there is enough sunlight and your plant will love it.

  4. Buy a humidifier

    They’re relatively affordable little devices which keep a consistent humidity level in your home. Some humidifiers have features built-in so you can put it on a schedule or make it automatically turn off once it has reached a certain level.

A dying Alocasia Dragon Scale can also indicate pests

Although fairly rare on plants that don’t spend any of the year outdoors, Alocasia Dragon Scales can begin to die if they are infested with pests. Insects such as mealybugs or spider mites can take hold of the plant and suck on their nutrients which will cause leaf damage. Over time these leaves will begin to fall off the plant.

Most of the time you can spot the pests crawling on the leaves which makes confirming the problem fairly easy (though using a magnifying glass will help confirm the issue). Other signs of pests are brown or yellow spots, small holes in the leaves and white webbing/powder across the stems. 

Although spotting pests isn’t always difficult, treating them can be a bit of a pain. Check out our guide on how to treat and prevent spider mites on your plant.

Those are the most common reasons why an Alocasia Dragon Scale might begin dying. Once you have made the right changes to the care or environment of your plant, it’s crucial to keep a close eye on it to ensure things aren’t getting worse. 

Take a look through our Alocasia Dragon Scale care guide for more details on how to keep your plant from dying in future!

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