Step-by-Step Guide to Grow and Care for Dragon Tree

The tall dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) has green leaves with crimson edges that resemble swords. The striking spiky tree, which is native to Madagascar, is an excellent choice for novice gardeners looking to add a tree indoors because it is virtually unbreakable, drought-tolerant, and requires little maintenance.

This tree grows slowly, taking up to ten years to reach a few feet in height, although it can eventually reach a height of around 20 feet. Still, it’s usually grown in pots as a houseplant, clipped to no more than six feet.

The dragon tree is poisonous to animals if consumed, so keep them away from it.

Common Names Dragon tree, dragon plant, Madagascar dragon tree
Botanical Name Dracaena marginata
Family Asparagaceae
Plant Type Broadleaf evergreen
Mature Size 15–20 ft. tall, 3–10 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade
Soil Type Loamy, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Spring (rarely flowers indoors)
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 10–12 (USDA)
Native Areas Madagascar
Toxicity Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats

How to Care Dragon Tree 

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Large potted dragon trees are a popular choice for homes and workplaces. These are the essential needs for care.

  • Plant in soil that drains well.
  • Give them regular irrigations while they’re growing.
  • They may grow in a range of light situations, but place in bright, indirect light.
  • When spring first arrives, fertilize sparingly.

Light

Your dragon tree should be placed in an area with indirect, bright light. These plants are also tolerant of some shade. Remember that plants grown in lower light levels will develop more slowly and yield smaller, less vibrantly colored leaves. Furthermore, be careful not to plant your dragon tree in an area that receives strong sunlight as its foliage is prone to burning.

Soil

When planting dragon trees in pots, use a loose, well-drained potting mix; loamy soil that has been supplemented with peat moss is best. Make sure the plant’s large root system can fit in the container you select. If this is the case, remove about one-third of the lava rock and replace it with potting soil. Certain types are imported from Hawaii.

Water

A dragon tree may require three weeks or longer before the top half of the soil is completely dry. Much like a lot of other drought-tolerant plants, overwatering the dragon tree is easy.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintain the warmer temperatures that your dragon tree like, which are between 70°F and 80°F. They should grow okay with normal household humidity, but if your home is extremely dry, you might want to consider giving the plant a little mist every few days with a spray bottle.

Fertilizer

In early spring, give a dragon tree a small dose of balanced, controlled-release liquid fertilizer. Fertilizer is not necessary for a growing plant, but it can stimulate new growth even though their need for it is quite modest.

Types of Dragon Tree

While dragon trees come in a variety of variations, the following are the most frequently found varieties at plant retailers and used as houseplants:

  1. Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’: This variety features green leaves with an ivory stripe running down the middle of the leaf. The edges are dark red.
  2. D. marginata ‘Colorama’: Although it has pink hues all over, this dragon tree is actually variegated with green and white stripes. It will require intense lighting to maintain its distinct hues.
  3. D. marginata ‘Bicolor’: This varietal of dragon tree has stripes that are both red and green, as the name suggests.

Pruning

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Dead leaves of a dragon tree naturally shed themselves. Simply pick them up and throw them away.

Remove any leaves that appear to be about to fall off the plant or trim down stems with sterile, sharp pruning shears to keep the tree looking nice and tidy. Before using your pruning tool on your plant, sterilize it with a clean rag dipped in a common household item, like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Rinse with water and wipe the tool dry.

Propagating Dragon Tree

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Stem cuttings planted in water can be used to multiply your dragon tree. Because it’s so simple, nurseries and shops frequently utilize this variety in dish gardens and easily propagate it. This should ideally be done in the spring when the plant is actively growing. The cuttings establish roots in approximately three weeks, and you don’t need to use a rooting hormone.

  1. Cut a long stem that is approximately 8 inches long with sterile, sharp scissors.
  2. Take out any leaves that hang low.
  3. In wet potting soil, place the cutting.
  4. The cutting should be placed in direct but bright sunshine.
  5. You can continue to take care of the plant as usual once new leaves have appeared, which indicates that the plant has grown new roots.

Dragon Tree Potting and Repotting

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To determine whether your dragon tree needs to be repotted into a larger pot, make careful to inspect it at least once a year. If you see roots poking through the drainage holes on the bottom of the container, the tree is root bound and needs a bigger container.

Select a new pot that is around two inches bigger in diameter than the one it is now in. Verify if it has a drainage hole or holes.

These trees usually only need to be replanted every second or even third year because of how slowly they grow. To replace any of the mixture that has compacted, you can refresh the potting soil once a year in the interim.

Common Pests

Dragon trees are largely resistant to disease, but they can still get mealybugs, thrips, and scale insects. Mealybugs are easily recognized because they create tiny, cottony, sticky deposits on the tree’s leaves. Additionally susceptible to getting spider mites, a common plant problem, are dragon tree plants. Although they are most common in warm, dry weather, mites are extremely hard to spot until they have already harmed the plant.

Common Problems with Dragon Tree

Even though dragon trees are rather low maintenance, there are a few things to be aware of.

Leaves Falling Off

Dragon trees might have yellowing and falling leaves as a result of overwatering. The roots of these trees are susceptible to too much moisture. Regularly examine the soil to prevent this. Watering too much is indicated if the top two inches of soil feel too damp.

Drooping Leaves

Your dragon tree may be showing signs of thirst if you notice that its leaves are drooping. It is not advisable to water a plant after it has totally dried out. Root rot may be the cause if the lowest leaves of the plant are drooping noticeably more than the rest of it. Additionally, make sure you are not overwatering the plant to prevent any issues.

Brown Leaves or Leaf Tips

Dragon tree leaves have the potential to turn brown if the soil is very wet or dry. When irrigating, be sure you’re striking the proper balance. Humidity deficiency can also cause browning tips and ultimately leaf loss. Use a humidifier or set the plant on a plate with water and pebbles to increase the humidity.

When the tips of the leaves of the plant turn brown, it usually indicates that the water you are using contains too much fluoride or salt, which can discolor the foliage. Use distilled or non-fluoridated water to water your dragon tree to prevent fluoride buildup.

Crispy Leaves

Your dragon tree may be getting too much direct sunlight if you observe that its leaves are becoming crispy. The leaves have the ability to crisp up and curl when exposed to intense light. It is advised to keep the plant in partial shade or indirect sunlight for optimal results.

Yellowing Leaves

There may be times when you see your dragon tree’s leaves turning yellow. Overexposure to direct sunlight may be the cause of this. The leaves can burn, get discolored, and droop.2. Before irreversible harm is done, move the plant to an area with more filtered or indirect sunlight. Additionally, yellowing leaves may indicate that the plant requires more or less water. Verify that you are striking the proper balance.

Also Read: Top 10 Houseplants with Fun Foliage

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