Dracaena Draco, Dragon Tree Plant
Dracaena draco is an evergreen long-lived tree with up to 15 m (49 ft) or more in height and a trunk 5 m (16 ft) or more in circumference, starting with a smooth bark that evolves to a more rough texture as it ages. The “dragon tree” is a Monocot, with a branching growth pattern currently placed in the asparagus family (Asparagaceae, subfamily Nolinoidae).
When young it has a single stem. At about 10–15 years of age the stem stops growing and produces a flower spike with white, lily-like perfumed flowers, followed by coral berries. Soon a crown of terminal buds appears and the plant starts branching. Each branch grows for about 10–15 years and re-branches, so a mature plant has an umbrella-like habit. It grows slowly, requiring about 10 years to reach 1.2 meters (4 ft) in height, but can grow much faster.
|Common Name||Dragon tree, dragon’s blood plant, Drago, corn plant, ribbon plant|
|Botanical Name||Dracaena draco|
|Plant Type||Broadleaf evergreen tree|
|Mature Size||15–50 ft. outdoors, 3-4 ft. indoors (very slow-growing)|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to part shade|
|Soil Type||Any well-drained, porous soil|
|Soil pH||6.0–6.5 (slightly acidic)|
|Bloom Time||Begins producing a single flower after 10–15 years|
|Hardiness Zones||9–12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||The Canary Islands, northwest coastal Africa|
|Toxicity||Mildly toxic to pets (especially cats)|
Dragon Tree Care
This plant likes to grow in relatively bright light, but it may resent being in the full harsh afternoon sun. Indoor plants will do best in a location that gets a full 10 hours of bright but indirect light.
Dragon tree prefers a very loose, well-drained potting mix. A succulent/cactus potting mix can work well; or you can make your own mix by blending fine gravel, peat moss, and leaf humus in equal parts.
Allow the plants to dry between waterings, but not completely. These plants are more susceptible to root rot, so be very careful never to allow them to sit in standing water.
Temperature and Humidity
D. Draco is more cold-tolerant than other Dracaena species and can briefly tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In native settings, this plant absorbs most of its moisture from the air rather than the soil, so you may find it helpful to humidify indoor air, especially during dry winter months.
Feed your plants every six months with controlled-release fertilizer. Well-fed plants will develop a slightly reddish tinge to the edges of the leaves.