How to Grow and Care For Alocasia Maharani (vs. Alocasia Melo)
Alocasia Maharani is a rare, tropical houseplant native to South East Asia. Alocasia Maharani is a hybrid of Alocasia reginula and Alocasia Melo.
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You’ve probably seen Alocasias, also known as Elephant Ear plants, in your local garden center before, but look no further than the Alocasia Maharani, also called Grey Dragon, for a rare indoor plant to spruce up your space.
It gets its name from its stiff, leathery leaves that resemble dragon scales. Alocasia Maharani boasts unique foliage with its leaves bearing a silver-green tone white vein pattern that becomes stiff once fully grown.
It’s a tropical plant that is native to South East Asia and loves bright indirect light. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with rare plants, the Alocasia Grey Dragon is a great starter plant.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about caring for Alocasia Maharani!
What is a Alocasia Maharani?
Alocasia Maharani is a rare, tropical houseplant native to South East Asia. Alocasia Maharani is a hybrid of Alocasia reginula and Alocasia Melo. It goes by many other common names like Grey Dragon, Indian Princess, African Mask, and Kris Plant. With a similar velvety texture as the Alocasia Black Velvet and Alocasia Frydek, the Maharani boasts bigger and lighter green leaves.
Unlike larger elephant ear plants, It’s considered a dwarf plant (Jewel Alocasia), reaching heights up to 14 inches. As it grows, the bright green frail leaves transform into thick, sturdy dark green leaves with a bold green underside with a reddish undertone. Alocasia Maharani’s compact size and unusual leaf markings make it a wonderful addition to your houseplant collection.
Alocasia Maharani Vs. Alocasia Melo
Maharani and Melo have similar leaf textures since Maharani is a hybrid of an Alocasia Melo. However, Maharani has gray-colored leaf coats with white center veins, while Melo Alocasias have green veins that match the leaf color.
Alocasia Maharani Vs. Dragon Scale
Alocasia Dragon Scale and Mahrani are distinct in terms of their leaf appearance and feel. The Maharani's leaves have a much rougher and leathery feel than the glossier, greener sister Alocasia Dragon Scale.
Unlike the Maharani, Alocasia Dragon scale's leaves have a more portruted and blocky appearance. The color also differs between the two with the Maharani sporting silver-green leaves while the Dragon Scale sports a brighter, and lighter green color.
Alocasia Maharani vs. Silver Dragon
Although both Alocasia Maharani and Alocasia Silver Dragon don gray-colored leaves, the Maharani’s foliage is gray-green with muted, creamy veins while the Silver Dragon has distinct and blocky silver-colored foliage with dark green veins.
Alocasia Maharani vs. Black Velvet
Alocasia Maharani is a hybrid of the Black Velvet, they share some of the feel and color characteristics. Unlike the Maharani, the Alocasia Black velvet has distinctly deeper-green and darker velvety leaves with highly contrasted white veins. The Maharani has leaves coated in a gray light reflection paired with more muted creamy veins. Unlike the Black Velvet, the Maharani borrows its leaf texture from the Melo.
You can read more on Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Black Velvet here.
You can read more on Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Black Velvet here.
Quick Alocasia Maharani Care Guide
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How to Care For Alocasia Maharani
Plant care for Alocasia Maharani is similar to other Alocasias. Being a tropical houseplant, it loves warm climates and high humidity. Alocasia Maharani grows best in medium to bright indirect light in warm temperatures with high humidity.
Well-draining, houseplant potting mix is preferred. It loves to be watered once the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Fertilize once a month during the growing season in Spring and Summer. Here are some essential care tips to keep your African Mask plant thriving.
🏡 Growing Outdoors
Being tropical plants, Alocasia Maharanis grow well in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. They prefer temperature ranges in at least the 60s, but can tolerate as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit and up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re growing outside of the recommended hardiness zones, make sure to overwinter your plant by bringing it indoors during the colder months.
Place your Alocasia Maharani in partial shade and sun. It prefers bright to medium diffused light, but can do with a little bit of exposure to direct light.
Being a Jewel Alocasia, Alocasia Maharani is a more compact form of a standard Alocasia plant. When grown outdoors, they can be grown in a container or as a border plant. They plant well with coleus, begonias, and other annuals or perennials that grow well in partial shade.
If you’re growing your Alocasia Maharani outside USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11, you have to overwinter your plant since they are not frost-tolerant. You can either bring your plant indoors and grow it as a houseplant or you can dig up the plant’s tubers and store them until the following spring season.
To store as tubers, cut the foliage back after the first frost, clean off the soil and store the tuber covered in peat moss.
Alocasias like to partially dry out between waterings. As a rule of thumb, watering once a week during the growing season in Spring and summer works well. Make sure that the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry before your next water.
When the plant is dormant during the winter, reduce your watering.
Pro Tip: Use distilled water!
Alocasias can be sensitive to salts and minerals found in tap water. You can use distilled water or leave tap water out for 24 hours to help.
Alocasia Maharani thrives in bright indirect light to partially shaded, medium light conditions, so place them near west, east, or north facing windows in doors.
South-facing windows receive the most direct sunlight, so if you’re planning on placing your plant there, make sure to place it five feet away for diffused light. Overexposure to direct sunlight can lead to scorched leaves.
If growing outdoors, plant in an area with partial shade and part sun.
🌡️ Temperature and Humidity
Being a tropical plant, Alocasia Maharani loves warm temperatures and moderate to high humidity. Most indoor temperatures will do with the ideal range being 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid placing your Alocasia Maharani near spaces with cold drafts such as exterior doors, windows, or air conditioners or heaters during the winter. Drastic temperature changes can damage the plant leaves and stunt growth.
Alocasia Maharani loves nutrient-dense, well-draining potting soil mix. You will want a soil mix that retains moisture but also drains excess water to prevent fungal disease. Common houseplant potting mix will work, but you can supplement with perlite, peat moss, and coco coir to encourage aeration, moisture, and nutrition retention.
Peat moss helps retain waterwithout becomingg waterlogged. Perlite has a stronger structure than peat moss which allows it to better aerate soil preventing it from compacting.
You will want to fertilize Alocasia Maharani sparingly as they are sensitive and over-fertilization can cause root burn. A slow-release, liquid fertilizer can be a great option for this plant. You can use a heavily diluted (¼) strength fertilizer every two months.
Use a balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10 to 20-20-20. Best to fertilize during its active growing season from Spring to Summer and stop during the winter.
😎 Pruning and Maintenance
Due to its slow to moderate growth rate, Alocasia Maharani needs very little pruning. You will want to remove any damaged, dead, brown leaves to maintain the plant’s aesthetic.
The best time to prune is during the growing season in summer and spring to allow for faster recovery and more growth. You can, however, prune at any time during the year.
How to Repot your Alocasia Maharani
Alocasia Maharani is generally a slow grower outside of the summer and spring growing season, so it only needs to be repotted once every two to three years. The best time to repot Alocasia Maharani is when it has become completely root bound.
Symptoms of this include stunted growth, yellow leaves, or roots poking out of your drainage hole. The ideal time for repotting is during the growing season to allow for better recovery.
Pro-tip: This can be a great time to propagate your Alocasia Maharani!
Choose a new pot or container 2-3 inches larger than your old one. They love to be grown in clay pots.
Softly remove the plant from its old container and loosen up the soil from the roots.
Before you plant, fill your new container with well-draining potting mix.
Place your plant into the new container and backfill with soil. Water right after and maintain a regular care schedule.
How to Propagate your Alocasia Maharani
Alocasia Maharani’s can be propagated by seed or by offsets. The most common way to propagate Alocasia Maharani is by planting offsets from mature plants. As Alocasia grows, the root level of the plant can develop pups.
Once the offsets reach 1 inch in height, they can be disconnected from the mother and planted as new plants.
Propagating your Alocasia Maharani By Offsets
Get your gardening gloves, a sterile knife, new containers, and a well-draining soil mix.
Gently remove your adult plant from its container wearing gardening gloves
Softly loosen up the roots and remove excess soil.
Using your knife or shears, separate the offsets by cutting the roots attached to the mother plant.
Fill your new containers with fresh soil and place each offset in a container.
Water the offsets thoroughly and place in bright, indirect light.
It can take up to 4 weeks for your new offsets to establish.
Growing Alocasia Maharani From Seed
Although propagating Alocasia Maharani by seed is uncommon, it is even more difficult to find and buy the seeds! Not only must Alocasia bloom indoors to produce seeds, but it may take many years for the plant to produce even a single flower.
Even though this plant produces a flower, it may not contain the seed. The flower must be pollinated in addition to being produced, which makes propagating by seed even more difficult. The seeds of this species are sensitive and short-lived, so it is best to propagate them through division instead.
Common Alocasia Maharani Pests and Disease
Fortunately, Alocasia Maharani are generally pest resistant except for spider mites. The most common issue you’ll encounter is overwatering which can lead to root rot and fungal diseases.
Symptoms of Alocasia Maharani Root Rot
Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base.
If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our full guide on root rot.
Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including the Alocasia Maharani. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
Clean off the roots with sterile water.
Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.
Symptoms of Spider Mites
Large discolored areas made up of tiny dots. Web-like substances on leaves or small specks on leaves. Plant starting to wither or curl.
Spider mites are ectoparasitic arthropods that feed on plants. They prefer hot weather along with dry conditions, and they feed on a wide range of plants. Spider mites can be red, yellow, or orange, depending on the species. They are tiny, but they can be seen with the naked eye. Spider mites attack plants through their leaves, sucking the nutrients out of them.
They leave stalks behind as they feed. While feeding, spider mites create webbing, and drain the life from plants causing leaves on infested plants to turn yellow and brown. They can cover and kill an entire plant within a week or two if left uncontrolled in your garden.
If this is your first time managing spider mites, read our in-depth guide on how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants.
How to spot a spider mite infestation on my Alocasia Maharani?
Spider mite damage is different from that of cutting insects. There won’t be a hole in a leaf, but rather large discolored areas made up of tiny dots or stippling. You may notice that your plant leaves are covered in a web-like substance, as previously stated or you may notice small specks on the leaves, or if the infestation has gone further, you might see leaves or whole portions of your plant start to curl and wither. To treat spider mites, quarantine your plant to prevent spread. You can wash your plant with water to clear out some of the infestations initially and then use insecticidal soap or neem oil to spray your plant and wipe off spider mites. Repeat this process daily until the infestation is gone.
Common Alocasia Maharani Questions
Why is my Alocasia Maharani leaves turning yellow?
If your Alocasia Maharani has yellow leaves, it’s likely a sign of overwatering. Make sure you’re letting the topsoil dry between waterings. Yellow leaves can, at times, be a sign of over fertilization or nutrition issues, but more often than not, watering is the culprit.
Why are my Alocasia Maharani leaves turning brown?
Brown leaves are a sign of underwatering or low humidity. Alocasia Maharani loves consistently moist soil that’s not water logged and at least 50% humidity. Follow a proper watering schedule and use a small humidifier or pebble tray with water to increase humidity. Learn more about how you can increase humidity.
How often do I water?
During the growing season from Spring to Summer, generally water once a week. Let top soil dry between waterings. During winter months, you will want to slow down to once every week and a half.
Is Alocasia Maharani toxic to pets (dogs and cats)?
Yes, Alocasia Maharani is toxic to all pets. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that irritate the digestive tract when eaten.
Does Alocasia Maharani flower?
Yes, mature plants can bloom and flower. Their flowers are a typical aroid type of flower with a white to green spathe surrounding a white or cream spadix.
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