Dragon Tree care is not complicated. The Dragon Tree is from the Dracaena family which is relatively easy to care for and keep alive. It’s also commonly referred to as the Madagascar Dragon Tree and scientifically known as Dracaena marginata. This post looks at watering, fertilizing, propagating, lighting requirements, and more.
Dragon Tree Plant Facts
The Dragon Tree species can be found in different leaf colors, shapes, and sizes. The plants also have different types of trunks. The leaves of the Dragon Tree plant are significantly slim compared to the other species that have arching leaves.
Dragon Tree leaf colors are a green center with different edges. The edges can either be dark red, red and yellowish stripes or red.
The leaves are formed on the canes that grow from the trunk’s sides. The canes need to be trained to grow upwards, otherwise; they grow facing all directions.
The Dragon Tree leaves are also useful in telling the state of your plant. If you notice brown soft leaves, it’s an indication that the room is too cold and the plant is getting negatively affected. It could also indicate the plant is waterlogged. Provide higher temperatures as well as check the soil.
Brown leaf tips are an indication of cold drafts, underwatering or dry air. Remedy these issues and you will see your plant return to normal growth.
Dragon Tree is one of the plants listed as an air filtering plant by NASA. The plant has been shown to reduce the amount of xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene.
The plant is slow-growing especially when growing indoors. It can take between 8 and 10 years to reach between 2 to 3 feet.
Dragon Tree Plant Watering
The watering requirements of the Dragon Tree plant are minimal compared to other high maintenance house plants. This is one of the plants that will do well if you aren’t constantly on top of it. Check this post on 30 other low maintenance houseplants that you can try.
Water the plant when it’s completely dry. When you water, do so thoroughly and not misting kind of watering. The foliage will start talking to you and telling you are not watering on time when the tips of the leaves start turning brown.
However, it’s important to note that not all browning of the leaves’ edges is caused by water. The plants over time are going to have brown tips and that’s part of the plant’s life. If you don’t like the brown edges, you can cut them off using scissors. Make sure to disinfect the scissors to avoid spreading any infection that could be present on the leaves.
Dragon Tree Plant Soil
The Dragon Tree can do well in an all-purpose potting mix. Watering through is also important because it will tell you a lot about the soil. If your soil is too porous that means that the water is just pouring right through when watering and your plant is probably not going retain enough moisture in the soil.
If you find that you’re watering your dracaena a lot like every couple of days you should think about changing your soil out. You could also add some peat moss or coco coir to help absorb and keep the water near the roots.
Leaching and Fertilizing Dragon Tree Plant
Leached the soil which means getting rid of salt buildup and mineral build-up is also part of Dragon Tree care. Mineral buildup happens when you use water that has high salts and minerals. You can test your tap water and if you discover you have these minerals in your water you should consider using distilled water or filtered water.
If you notice that your plants are starting to get yellow spots and brown tips too often and too prolific it is time to leach them. You can do so by taking your plant and placing it under the sink or outside and using a hosepipe. Slowly run water through the soil to flush out any of the salt build-up and the mineral build-up.
Let the plant rest a day or two and then fertilize it again. The Dragon Tree plant doesn’t love to be fertilized a lot. I just put like a worm casting or some sort of organic fertilizer at the top. I only top dress it like twice a year once in the spring and again in the summer.
Overfertilization is a bad thing for the Dragon Tree plant. You can also use a complete liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season and then slow-down in the fall and then stop in the winter.
Basically, watch your plants for signals, if they are still growing and producing new growth, you need to feed them. The growing season depends on where you live. If you live in the tropics or anything higher than zone 8, your plants are probably going to continue growing and not go dormant.
Dragon Tree Plant Temperature
The Dracaena does well in temperatures of between 650-800F. They can also tolerate lower temperatures but I wouldn’t go lower than 500F. They love warm winters. You can go hotter if you want to but you will need to water all the time.
Dragon Tree Plant Humidity
The Dracaena is a little sensitive to dry air. Although they definitely tolerate it more than other plants. If you’re concerned about the level of humidity, you should consider investing in a humidifier.
You can also mist the leaves in the morning. I like misting my plants in the morning because they are able to dry out throughout the day so they don’t sit at night with wet leaves and get bacteria.
Dragon Tree Leaf Loss
It’s completely normal for the Dragon Tree Plant to lose lower leaves. The plant is pushing out new growth on the top and the leaves at the bottom start dying. As part of the Dragon Tree care, you have to keep pulling these off throughout the season.
There is no need to worry as long as the plant looks lovely, full and healthy. In fact, as you keep removing the leaves, the canes become more visible and are a great structural element of your plant.
Dragon Tree Pests
The only time you should be concerned is if the leaves are falling off from the top. You should look very closely at what’s going on with your plant because sometimes they’re susceptible to mealy bugs and Thrips.
Thrips are very hard to see but the mealybugs are easy because they’re white. To treat the plant, you need to kind of run it under cold water as part of manual removal. Then you need to spray the plant with neem oil or horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.
Controlling the pests is important because if you don’t the bugs will decimate your plant. It’s also worth noting that leaves can also begin falling from the top because of overwatering and root rot.
Dragon Tree Leaf Cleaning
I suggest that you guys do clean the leaves. The plants need to produce energy using their leaves and keeping the leaves clean makes the process efficient. All you really have to do is take some room-temperature water and just clean them with a rag.
I would definitely not use leaf shine on any of your plants because it just clogs the leaves’ pores. Clean the leaves as often as you can, the plant will thank you and not only look pretty but also grow faster.
Light Requirements for Dragon Tree
The light requirements for a Dragon Tree plant are bright indirect light. The brighter the indirect light you can give them, the better they’re going to grow. They will become healthier, bushier and lose fewer leaves. But you might need to be watering them more often if you’re putting them in a brighter light area and especially if it’s warm.
The plants don’t like direct sunlight because it damages their leaves. So if you’re wondering can the Dragon Tree plant grow outdoors? The answer is yes. It can but will do better in a shaded location without direct sunlight.
Dragon Tree Propagation
Propagating Dragon Tree is easy. Choose and make cuttings that are a couple of inches long. You can apply the rooting hormone but its optional and establish the cuttings in moist soil.
Keep the soil moist for a couple of weeks and just watch it and let those roots grow. Give it a lot of light and also give it a lot of warmth which helps when propagating.
Dragon Tree Re-potting
Dragon Tree care also includes re-potting. Although the plant is a slow-grower, re-potting is necessary after about two years. You can use all-purpose soil mix when re-potting. Re-potting should be done during Spring.
Dragon Tree Cats and Dogs
The Dragon Tree is poisonous to cats and dogs. The plants contain saponins which are toxic to cats. If ingested, the toxins can cause vomiting, drooling, incoordination, and weakness in your pet.
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