Dragon tree (Dracaena) belongs to the asparagus family – Asparagaceae. It is an evergreen houseplant with a striking appearance. It is known for its thin leaf strips that protrude from the sturdy stems. The dracena requires little maintenance and is a great air purifier. It also adds beauty and elegance to any room it decorates. What the needs of the plant are and what care the dragon tree requires is the subject of this article.
Table of Contents
- What you should know about the dragon tree
- Dragon tree care – pay attention to these factors
What you should know about the dragon tree
Dracaena is an attractive plant with green, sword-like, red-edged leaves. This showy spiny tree is native to Madagascar and is known as an entry-level plant for home gardeners. It is low maintenance, drought tolerant and virtually indestructible. The slow-growing plant can be planted year-round and has tiny white flowers in the spring (although it rarely blooms indoors).
The dragon tree is usually grown as a houseplant in a pot and pruned to 2 feet or less. However, outdoors and in warm climates, it can grow up to 6 m tall.
Important: Dracaena is toxic to cats and other pets.
Dragon tree care – consider these factors.
Thanks to their tolerance of a wide range of temperatures, dragon trees are popular as large potted plants for homes and offices. They should be planted in well-drained soil and watered regularly during the growing season. Although they can thrive in a variety of lighting conditions, they do best with indirect, bright light.
Do not place the plant in direct sunlight
Dragon Tree Care and Location: dracaena grow best in bright light, but can survive in partial shade. Keep in mind that plants kept in less light will grow slower and produce smaller leaves with less intense color. Also, make sure your dragon tree is not in a place with direct sunlight – its foliage can burn easily.
Use loamy soil with peat moss.
If you are growing the dragon tree as a potted plant, use a loose, well-drained potting soil – loamy soil with peat moss is ideal. Make sure the container you choose has room for the plant’s extensive root system.
Dragon tree care – water sparingly.
As with many drought-tolerant plants, it’s easy to overwater the dragon tree. To avoid drowning it, wait to water until the top half of the soil is dry (this can often take three weeks or more). If the plant develops brown leaf tips, it’s usually a sign that it’s either getting too much water or that the water you’re using contains too much salt or fluoride, which can cause discoloration. To avoid fluoride, water your dragon tree with distilled or non-fluoridated water. If the dragon tree is drooping yellow leaves, it usually means it needs more water.
Temperature and Humidity
Dragon trees prefer higher temperatures between 21 and 26 degrees Celsius. Normal indoor humidity should be fine for them, but if your home is particularly dry, you may consider lightly humidifying the plant with a spray bottle every few days.
Dragon tree care – fertilize only in the spring
Dragon trees have a relatively low need for fertilizer and it is not an essential ingredient for a thriving plant. However, to boost their growth, you can fertilize them lightly with a balanced controlled-release liquid fertilizer in early spring. Do not fertilize in the winter.
Repot every second or third year.
Because these trees grow so slowly, they generally only need repotting every second or even third year.
When to repot: When the roots of your dragon tree outgrow the pot, it will show you by bulging out the sides.
Pot size: If you want your plant to grow taller, find a plant pot that is 5 inches larger than your current pot. If you want your plant to stay the same height, you can reuse the same pot and simply replace the soil. You may have to cut back some roots to do this.
Get your hands dirty: spread newspaper on the ground, take the plant out of the pot and shake off as much of the old soil as possible so you have clean roots. Place the plant in the center of the pot, add new soil and tap it down firmly. Water the soil thoroughly and place the plant in a location with bright, indirect light. Your plant will need 2-4 weeks to recover from the shock and get used to its new home.
Dragon tree care – pruning
It is perfectly normal for a dragon tree to shed dead leaves on its own. Simply pick them up and dispose of them. To keep the plant trimmed and neat, remove leaves that look like they are about to fall off, or trim back the stems with sterile, sharp pruning shears. Sterilize your pruning tool with a clean rag soaked in a household remedy such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, then rinse it with water and wipe it dry before using it on your plant.
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