The Alocasia Dragon Tooth is also known as the Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth. And because of its leaves, some people call it the African Mask Plant as well.
This is a Jewel Alocasia. And it has stunning dark green leaves with deep veins.
It is a native to Southeast Asia.
How do you care for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth? The plant enjoys bright, indirect sunlight. It thrives in humidity above 60% and warm climates.
While it does like moist soil, it is prone to overwatering and waterlogging. Use well-draining soil and allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Alocasia Dragon Tooth Plant Care
The Alocasia Dragon Tooth thrives in medium to bright, indirect light. Here, it will grow faster and produce more lush, vibrant leaves.
Ideally give it at least 6 hours of this kind of light daily.
The plant can tolerate low light as well.
But the less light it gets the more its growth will be affected.
Therefore, if you want the plant to produce lots of beautiful leaves don’t leave it in too little light.
More importantly, if light get too low, dim or dark, it is will not only negatively affect the plant’s growth but also its overall development.
That’s because like other houseplants, the Alocasia Dragon Tooth relies on photosynthesis to produce its energy.
Photosynthesis in turn needs light to work since that’s what it uses as raw material to create the sugars (carbohydrates) the plant will use for energy.
So, if there’s too little light, the plant won’t be able to manufacture enough energy to push out new shoots, leaves or grow.
Because of this it will get weaker.
And in a desperate effort to get any extra bit of light, the plant will reach out and bend to whatever light source there is. This makes it leggy and become imbalanced physically.
Of course, there’s also the risk of overwatering with less light.
On the other hand, the Alocasia Dragon Tooth can likewise withstand a few hours of strong, direct light. But that’s about it.
If you leave it there longer or give it this kind of environment on a daily basis, you’ll see its lovely dark green leaves turn pale. They can even get scorched by the intensity of the sun.
Idea temperature for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The plant enjoys this warm climate because that’s what it is accustomed to these conditions in its native habitat, the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Eastern Australia.
Additionally, it can easily tolerate hotter temperatures as well.
However, the same is not true for the cold.
It is not frost hardy, nor does have good tolerance to the cold.
Instead, once the temperature drops under 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it will begin to struggle. Therefore, try to avoid this environment.
This also means that it is important to bring the plant indoors once the weather drops near this threshold if you leave the plant outdoors during summer.
It won’t be able to survive the winter outside.
Indoors, keep the plant warn during the colder months.
Avoid air conditioning, cold drafts as well as anything that can cause sudden or drastic fluctuations in temperature.
Ideal humidity for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth is 50% to 80%. It can withstand slightly lower than 50% humidity especially if it is well-hydrated.
Again, the plant’s preference for humid environments comes from its native habiat.
The tropical regions of Asia are located near the equator which makes the prevailing climate there not only hot but also very humid.
In general, the higher the humidity, the better it will be for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth.
However, you don’t need to push it too high just for the plant since this can make your home’s climate conditions less comfortable for you and your family.
That said, if humidity in your home is not as high as what the plant needs, you can get a humidifier.
You can likewise mist the plant regularly but be careful not to overdo this as excess moisture in the leaves can lead to fungal infections.
Alternatively, you can group it with other houseplants, place it on a pebble tray or keep it in the bathroom.
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How Often to Water Alocasia Dragon Tooth
The Alocasia Dragon Tooth has moderate water requirements. While it does enjoy moist soil, it dislikes excess water.
Never let the plant sit in water. The longer it stays there, the higher the risk of root rot. Similarly, it does not like drying out completely. So, you do want to be careful about that as well.
However, of the two you’re much better off erring on the side of underwatering than overwatering.
That’s because it can tolerate lack of water better than overwatering.
More importantly, it bounces back from being underwatered much faster with less consequences.
On the other hand, sometimes all it takes is one time of overwatering. And if you’re not able to spot root rot early enough, it will reach the point where there’s no saving the plant.
Therefore, allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings.
At the very least, wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried before adding more water.
If prefer to wait until half the soil has dried before I add more water. And I also know a few growers who will allow the top 3/4 of the soil to dry before watering again.
Any of these will work well.
The key is not to water before the top 2 inches of soil has completely dried.
Last but not least, when watering the plant, soak the entire root ball so the soil is completely saturated with liquid. This will allow the roots to get all then drink they want.
Then allow the plant to completely drain after that.
Alocasia Dragon Tooth Potting Soil
Since the Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth is prone to overwatering and root rot, making sure you use the right kind of soil is essential.
Here, well-draining soil is needed.
The plant does not like wet feet. And soil with good drainage will allow the excess water the quickly drain so its roots don’t end up swimming in water for long periods of time.
A simple recipe your can use for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth that works combines:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat
- 1 part perlite
In general, you can substitute coarse sand for perlite. This component increases drainage to avoid overwatering the plant and waterlogged soil.
However, I don’t like using sand because it has the tendency to get compacted as time passes.
You never want to use heavy, dense or compacted soil for the Alocasia Dragon Tooth as this will make the soil retain too much moisture for the plant.
Thus, if you do use sand, I highly suggest refreshing the soil annually to ensure that you’re using fresh sand that is not compacted.
Besides well-draining potting mix, it is very important to use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom.
This will allow any excess moisture that drains from the soil to escape out of the pot.
Otherwise, the liquid will just pool at the bottom of the container keeping the soil wet.
The Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth needs nutrients to grow fast, bigger and produce large, beautiful leaves.
While it will be okay without fertilizer, the plant will grow slower and you’ll visibly see the difference in number of leaves and size of the leaves about 1-2 years down the road.
When feeding, you can use a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during spring and summer. Dilute by 50% when applying.
This is the Alocasia Dragon Tooth’s growing season. And it is when you’ll see the plant push out leaves and grow fastest.
On the other hand, there’s no need to feed it during fall and winter.
It won’t grow much during the cold weather which will only increase the salt and excess mineral buildup in the soil.
Alternatively, you can likewise use fish emulsion or seaweed emulsion.
Of course, you can opt to use a slow release fertilizer as opposed to a liquid one as well.
The Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth is a moderate grower. It can reach about 3 feet or so in time.
This makes the plant quite manageable in terms of size.
Additionally, it won’t just suddenly give you an explosion of growth where you’ll need to figure out how to make enough space in your living room for it.
What’s great about the Alocasia Dragon Tooth is that it will get bushy over time with proper care.
This means you’ll see quite a few gorgeous leaves on a single plant. And the leaves grow nicely in that they don’t crowd one another or overlap each other too much.
Therefore, there’s really not much pruning to do for this plant.
In most cases, you’ll only prune it for two reasons.
- Encourage it to produce more leaves.
- Remove old, dying, discolored, damaged or diseased leaves.
How to Propagate Alocasia Dragon Tooth
The Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth can be propagated by root division.
Unfortunately, stem propagation and leaf propagation don’t work with this plant.
That said, the best time to propagate is during spring to early summer.
It is also worth noting that the Alocasia Dragon Tooth grows from rhizomes. As such, if you unpot the plant, you’ll see that its roots look different from many of your other houseplants.
Here’s you’ll see clumps or rhizomes.
The interesting thing about rhizomatous plants like Alocasia is that they will produce offshoots on short stems.
These offshoots or plantlets are “baby plants” with the potential to grow into a clone of the parent plant.
Once they reach at least 3 inches long, you can separate them from the mother plant and pot them into their own container with well-draining soil.
With proper care these will grow into new full sized Alocasia Dragon Tooth plants.
The downside to offshoots is that it is up to the plant when it wants to produce them. So, all you can do is check the soil at the base of the plant to see if there are any.
If there are, you can decide to leave them or propagate them.
But if there are no offshoots, you cannot propagate.
This is why root division is a more reliable way of propagating the Alocasia Dragon Tooth.
Here’s how to do it.
- Take the Alocasia Dragon Tooth out of its container. Then brush off excess soil and dirt to reveal the clumps.
- You can decide where to divide the plant. Often people just divide the mother plant into 2 equal parts. But you can split it into more divisions. And they don’t need to be similar sizes.
- Use your handle to gently sperate the clumps. Make sure each division has enough leaves and roots to be a new plant on its own.
- Plant each of the divisions into their own pots and fill with well-draining potting soil.
- Water the soil and keep it moist. Then leave the pots in bright, indirect sunlight.
Since each of the divisions already has roots and leaves, they can keep growing as new, smaller plants.
There’s no need to wait for the new plants to root like with cuttings.
How to Repot or Transplant Alocasia Dragon Tooth
The Alocasia Dragon Tooth is not a fast grower, nor will it grow into an overly large plant.
Additionally, the plant likes being slightly root bound. Therefore, you can keep it in its pot for while before having to move it.
Try to avoid repotting the Alocasia Longiloba Dragon’s Tooth unless there is a reason to.
Unless there is an emergency like root rot or overwatering, in most cases repotting only needs to happen when you see roots poking out of the pot’s drainage holes.
Similarly, if you see roots starting to come out from the top of the soil or the crevices between the pot and soil, it means that it is time to repot the plant.
When repotting, don’t overpot the plant.
Using an overly large container will increase the risk of overwatering.
Also, take this opportunity to refresh the spent soil with new, well-draining soil.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Alocasia Dragon Tooth is toxic to people and pets. That’s because it contains calcium oxalate crystals.
These crystals get activated once any part of the plant is ingested. And it will cause inflammation of the oral cavity as well as the digestive tract if swallowed.
This means chewing or consuming the leaves or stems can lead to pain, irritation and swelling.
Alocasia Dragon Tooth Problems & Troubleshooting
Unfortunately, the Alocasia Dragon Tooth is prone to pests.
Spider mites, aphids and mealybugs are common pests that will come and attack the plant as they enjoy feeding in its leaves.
When they do, they take the plant’s sap which contains moisture and nutrients.
The problem is that these pests multiply very rapidly. They have short life cycles which means they will lay eggs within a short period of time.
They also lay many eggs at once which usually take only a few days to hatch.
Therefore, try to keep the plant healthy, clean its leaves regularly and avoid stressing the plant to try to prevent these bugs from coming around.
You can treat the plant and the soil with neem oil once a month which helps keep these insects away as well.
Overwatering is usually the cause of diseases.
While the Alocasia Dragon Tooth is not very prone to them, diseases can happen often since a lot of these are dependent on how much your water and when you water.
Excess soil or leaf moisture is what bring bacterial and fungal infections since they grow in damp conditions.
Additionally, root rot can occur is you overwater the soil or allow it to get waterlogged.