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All About Growing Your Own Dragon Tree

By Alicia Smith
Share to PinterestAll About Growing Your Own Dragon Tree

Enliven your living area with an explosion of foliage. Easy to grow and easier to take care of, spice up any room with a dragon tree. Great for all decor styles and tastes, you can't go wrong with this eye-catching plant.

Originally hailing from Madagascar, Dracaena marginata is a low-maintenance housemate that only requires a little light and water for a joyful payoff.


Planting your dragon tree

A dragon tree requires loose and loamy well-draining soil — a succulent soil or peat moss is ideal, and adding a few stones to ensure good drainage is okay. But the critical factor is drainage.

When planting, make sure there's plenty of room for the primary root growth. Clean off the old soil as much as possible and place the plant in the center of the new pot. Water it initially, and in a few weeks, it should settle happily into its new home.

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Space requirements for a dragon tree

Spacing isn't a huge concern for these houseplants. A little root wrap is fine, and depending on the size of the pot, a few chutes can live together. They're slow growers, so transplanting every two or three years is sufficient. If your plant reaches a height you like, instead of transferring it to a larger container, you can simply change out the soil and use the same pot to stagnate stem growth while keeping the leaves continuously exploding.

Share to PinterestYoung gardener checking Dracaena
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Sunlight requirements

Lighting isn't a critical factor for d. marginata. Even though it can grow outdoors in hardiness zones 10 to 12, it doesn't like direct sunlight, inside or out. Its leaves will burn easily, so it's best to give the plant bright but indirect light, or partial sun. But remember that light plays a part in the visual aesthetics. Low light will cause smaller and less vivid leaves.

Share to PinterestDracaena marginata indoors
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Watering requirements

The dragon tree doesn't require much watering. If the surface soil is moist, there's no need to hydrate the plant. Let it cycle through until the soil drys out. A weekly watering is more than acceptable, and during the winter, it's fine to decrease this frequency. Indoors, misting the leaves will keep the plant clean and eliminate dryness.

Share to Pinterestdracena marginata with water drops closeup
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Pests that can harm a dragon tree

As houseplants, dragon trees face common pests. The largest threat is spider mites, which thrive in warm and dry interior climates. Due to their size, they're often not detected until there's physical damage to the plant.

Other damaging pests include scale insects and the related mealybugs. Between the two, there are thousands of varieties. However, they're very similar in that most prefer new growth. Yellowing leaves that drop off are a good indicator of an infestation.

Share to PinterestClose-up of Red spider mites on leaf
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Potential diseases and problems

D. marginata doesn't face many diseases, especially when living as a houseplant. Its most common problem is root rot. Too much water will do more harm than good.

Make sure that the top few inches of soil are dry before watering. Just like under-watering, the primary sign of over-watering a dragon tree is drooping leaves. Check the bottom of your soil for moisture if your plant looks unwell. If it's wet, forego watering for a day or two. If the situation continues to decline, it likely has root rot and requires fresh, dry soil to survive.

Share to Pinterestrotting of the root system of soil
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Special care

There's no special care for dragon trees. They're easy to grow and keep alive. Very similar to succulents, they almost thrive on neglect. If you want, you can occasionally add nutrients. Incorporating a controlled liquid for root growth once or twice in the spring is more than adequate. Never fertilize in the winter.

Share to PinterestGreen dracaena marginata in black flowerpot
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Propagating your dragon tree

Dragon trees are one of the easiest plants to propagate. You can forget about any specific maintenance or materials, including rooting hormone. There are two main methods to propagation, and both involve taking a stem from the plant. Use a sterile tool, cut a branch at a 45-degree angle, then remove all leaves.

Put the stalk in a cup of water, cut side down. Place it in a bright area such as a windowsill and change the water every few days. In a week or two, you'll have roots. Let them grow for a bit, then plant. The second way is to skip the middleman and, after cutting, place the stalk directly into soil. In a few weeks, the roots should take.

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Benefits of a dragon tree

Keeping your dragon tree as an indoor plant obviously enhances the aesthetics and vitality of a home or office. Easy to maintain, it's a great boost in morale for beginners or those without a green thumb. Houseplant varieties offer the added benefit of extra oxygen. Large leafy houseplants like the d. marginata provide a healthier living environment.

Share to PinterestGreen dracaena marginata in black flowerpot in living room
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Varieties of the dracaena species

D. marginata is only one of over 100 species of dracaena, which means "female dragon." These varieties can be found scattered across the globe in Africa, portions of Asia and Australia, and even in the Americas. They're typically seen in bush or tree form.

A popular family member is d. draco or dragon's blood tree. Similar in appearance, it's a bit bushier and contains a red resin. Other common relatives are d. fragrans, or corn plant, and d. reflexa variegata. Even within itself, d. marginata has quite a few varieties, including the bicolor, colorama, and tricolor.

Share to PinterestDragon Blood Tree Forest in Socotra Island, Yemen
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