How To Grow And Care For Dragon Scale Plants

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
Dragon Scale Plant
Photo by courtesy of Tri Rohmat

Are you looking for a unique and exotic addition to your home? If so, you should consider the dragon scale plant, also known as Alocasia. This eye-catching plant is sure to add some flair to your houseplant collection. This article will guide you through growing and caring for dragon-scale plants, from choosing a pot to tackling common problems. With our help, you’ll be able to successfully grow dragon scale plants and enjoy their beauty for years to come.

What Are Dragon Scale Plants?

Dragon Scale Plants, or Pilea Cadierei, are a unique, eye-catching houseplant species quickly becoming a popular choice amongst plant lovers. Also known as the aluminum plant, this tropical species is native to southern and eastern Asia but is commonly found throughout Southeast Asia.

Dragon Scale Plants may look delicate but are quite hardy and can survive in various environments. In their natural habitat, they thrive in warm, moist, and well-drained tropical forests.

This houseplant species is characterized by its aluminum-like leaves, which feature deep greenish-purple centers and bright silver-green edges. Each of these striking leaves is bordered by a thick, dark metallic line that gives the plant its unique dragon scale appearance.

The growth habit of Dragon Scale Plants differs from other houseplants. These plants tend to grow in a rosette pattern, forming a domed shape with the leaves fanning out in all directions. During the spring and summer months, vibrant yellow-green flowers may appear.

For those interested in cultivating a Dragon Scale Plant, all that is needed is some bright indirect light, average humidity, and an occasional misting. These plants are fast-growing and require regular weekly watering. With the proper care, these plants can live for many years, growing more extensively and impressive with each passing season.

Choosing a Pot


The size of the pot should be suitable for your dragon scale plant. If the pot is too small, the plant may not have enough room to grow and spread its roots, leading to stunted growth. On the other hand, if the pot is too large, there may be too much soil and space for the plant, leading to over-watering and root rot. As a rule of thumb, you should pick a pot that is slightly larger than the current root ball of your dragon scale plant.


Dragon scale plants prefer terracotta or ceramic pots over plastic ones, as the terracotta or ceramic material retains moisture better than plastic. The pot should also have plenty of drainage holes at the bottom so that excess water can escape and prevent root rot.


It is essential to find a pot that has adequate drainage. This helps reduce the risk of root rot and allows excess water to escape. You should also consider adding a layer of gravel or stones on the bottom of the pot to increase drainage further and keep the roots of your dragon scale plant healthy.

Soil Requirements

Dragon scale plants need well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. A combination of peat moss and composted leaves is ideal, but a cactus mix or potting soil will work if that isn’t available. Be sure the soil is slightly acidic, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

Dragon scale plants can tolerate a wide range of soil types, but understanding what they need is essential to successful growth. You can quickly grow and care for these beautiful plants with suitable soil, watering, and a little care.

Light Requirements

Dragon scale plants thrive in bright, indirect light. They do not like direct sun, which can burn their delicate leaves. A south or southwest-facing window is a great place to set up the plant’s pot. You can also move the pot outdoors during the warmer months as long as it is protected from direct sunlight.

When indoors, dragon scale plants can tolerate lower light levels, but their growth will slow. Be sure to avoid any dark corners, as these can cause the plant to become unhealthy and pale.

When outdoors, move the pot away from direct sunlight into the partial shade. If the temperature gets too hot and direct sunlight is unavoidable, use a sheer curtain to diffuse the light.

Watering Needs

Watering needs for the dragon scale plant can vary slightly depending on the season, but the general rule is to water regularly and lightly. In warmer months, the soil should be moist but not soggy.

During the winter, the soil should dry out between waterings. Check the soil by sticking your finger up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, then it’s time to water.

Overwatering is one of the biggest concerns with this plant, as it can cause root rot and other problems, so be sure to only water when needed. You can also use a moisture meter to help you gauge when it’s time to water.

The dragon scale plant does best in humidity, so consider using a humidifier or regularly misting the leaves to keep the soil and atmosphere at optimal humidity.


Dragon scales can overgrow quickly and become overcrowded if not regularly trimmed. Removing dead, damaged, or diseased leaves and healthy-looking leaves blocking sunlight from reaching the lower leaves is also essential. It’s important to note that dragon scales are prone to getting sunburns, so you should be extra careful when pruning to leave enough leaves to provide adequate shade.

When pruning dragon scale plants, use sharp scissors or shears to ensure a clean cut.

Start by cutting off dead or damaged leaves at the base of the stem. For healthy leaves blocking sunlight, you should cut them as close to the stem as possible without damaging new growth.

You should prune your dragon scale plant every 3-4 months or when the plant’s foliage starts to get overcrowded or overly shaded. After pruning, check for new growth and lightly fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Always be gentle with your dragon scale plants, and never over-prune them.


You can either use a liquid or a granular fertilizer, or you can make your fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer is typically applied directly to the soil as a solution, while granular fertilizers are sprinkled over the ground like salt. If you choose to make your fertilizer, use all organic ingredients such as compost, seaweed, and fish emulsion.

Generally, you should fertilize your plants once a month during the growing season and once every other month during the dormant season. Additionally, you should constantly water your plants before and after applying fertilizer. This will help the fertilizer to be absorbed more easily.

Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit when fertilizing your dragon scale plants.

Different plants may respond better to different types of fertilizer, so consider trying other products. In the end, you’ll be able to find a fertilizer that works best for your dragon scale plants and keeps them healthy and happy.


Repotting a dragon scale plant can be intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner gardener. Fortunately, these plants are easy to care for and don’t need frequent repotting. When the time does come to repot your dragon scale plant, there are a few steps you should take to ensure the best results.

The first step is to gather your supplies. You’ll need a pot that is one size larger than the one the plant is currently in, a sharp knife or scissors, a potting mix formulated for succulents, and an optional watering tray.

Once you have your supplies ready, start by carefully removing the dragon scale plant from its pot. Be careful not to disturb the roots too much, as this could damage the plant. If the plant has become root bound, it’s a good idea to trim some of the roots before transferring it to the new pot.

Next, fill the new pot with the potting mix, leaving enough space for the dragon scale plant. Place the plant in the pot and fill the sides with potting mix. Gently tap the sides of the pot to settle the soil and ensure the plant is stable.

Finally, water the dragon scale plant. If you have a watering tray, place the pot to create a humid environment. If not, simply water the plant directly. As with all succulents, make sure not to overwater. Water every few weeks or when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Common Problems and Solutions

As beautiful and unique as dragon scale plants are, they can come with some common problems requiring extra attention and know-how. 

One of the most common issues you might encounter with your dragon scale plant is too much direct sunlight. Dragon scale plants prefer indirect sunlight; too much sun can cause sunburns or patches of discolored leaves. If you find your dragon scale plant getting too much sun, move it to a shadier spot or a new location where it can get protection from the rays.

Another common issue with dragon scale plants is overwatering. These plants are very particular about how much water they get; too much can be destructive. Make sure you’re watering your dragon scale plant no more than once a week, and allow the top inch of soil to dry out before you water again.

Dragon scale plants are prone to pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. To prevent this, you’ll want to watch for any signs of pests and treat the plant as soon as possible with a high-quality insecticide or fungicide.


Dragon scale plants can be a wonderful addition to your home, but they require extra attention and care. With the right setup, appropriate watering, and thoughtful pruning, you can easily maintain your dragon scale plants to ensure they flourish for years to come. Growing dragon scale plants also allows you to use your creativity and bring your own artistic flair to your home’s decor. With these tips, you can enjoy and admire your dragon scale plants in no time.


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