Dracaena (Dragon Tree) - Care tips
Dracaena (Dragon Tree)
Dracaena is also known as dragon tree. The word Dracaena comes from the Ancient Greek word Drakaina, meaning "female dragon". With about 120 recognised species, the Dracaena family is not immensely large. This family is native to Africa, South Asia, as well as northern Australia and Central America. The family was investigated not long ago and, in the process, DNA testing was done. This showed that Sansevieria are in fact Dracaenas too. However, we are still keeping the 'Sansevierias' out of this family exploration. We have written a separate page for the Sansevieria. Quite an unusual fact, though, isn't it?
Dracaena species are generally low-maintenance. Still, some species are tropical while others are found in dry environments and tolerate much more drought. So it does vary! They are just ideal houseplants, especially the tropical species are easy to maintain in the house. When you buy a dracaena, you usually buy a species characterised by spear- or grass-like leaves protruding from one or more thickened, reed-like main stems. In their native tropical environment, some Dracaena plants can grow more than 2 metres tall, but as houseplants, most stay under 2 metres.
Dracaena plant care tips
Light and placement for Dracaena
Dracaena plants grow best in bright, filtered or indirect light. Direct sunlight this strong plant can also tolerate, but only for a few hours. If she stands in full sun, we advise you to keep a close eye on her. You don't want her leaves to burn.
Dracaena should be kept constantly moist during the growing season (spring to autumn). Water it thoroughly every week during the active growing season and drain excess water through the pot, into a container or bowl underneath. In winter, during the dormant period, give it small amounts of water every fortnight.
Dracaena plants do well with monthly feeding with a water-soluble fertiliser for houseplants (PLNTS nutrition for example). Do this only in spring and summer. In autumn and winter, when the plants grow more slowly, it is better not to give any additional fertiliser.
Dracaenas are usually quite easy to take cuttings by letting stem cuttings take root. Even a bare piece of stem often produces a new plant. Using clean sharp pruning shears, cut a 10 cm piece off the stem and then remove the leaves. For example, it is possible to just "decapitate" the top of the plant and use this part to grow a new plant. Do dip the bottom of the stem briefly in cutting powder and then plant the stem in a small pot filled with moist potting soil. Place the newly planted cutting in a spot with bright indirect light and keep it moist until leaves begin to sprout. This can really take several weeks. Repot the new plant when it outgrows the pot. It is also possible to hang a cutting in water and let it develop roots and then plant it in potting soil.
Most common pests on Dracaena
Although pests on dracaena are not common, your plant may suffer from scale insects, mealy bugs and some other stinging and sucking insects. Too much nitrogen sometimes promotes excessive new growth, which attracts aphids and other insects that eat dracaena and weaken the plant. As you may know, a healthy, adequately fertilised plant is less susceptible to insects and diseases than a weak plant. Not sure which plant pest is bothering your Dracaena? Then check out our PLNTSdoctor page and find out immediately what to do to save your plant too.
Are Dracaena poisonous for your pets or children?
Unfortunately, this houseplant is toxic to pets, according to the ASPCA. Also for us humans, this plant can be toxic. So keep an eye on your pets and/or small children. You don't want them to get sick, but of course you don't want your plant to be damaged either.
Dracaena plant for sale
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