How to Grow and Care for Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) Indoors


Dracaena draco, Dragon Blood Tree

Botanical name: Dracaena draco
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Common names: Dragon Blood Tree, Canary Islands Dragon Tree, Dragon Tree, Drago

Description

Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) also called Canary Islands Dragon Tree, Dragon Tree or Drago is a hardy plant which features a gray trunk topped with tough sword-shaped green leaves.

When the Dragon Blood Tree bark and leaves are cut, they secrete a reddish resin which is one of the substances known as "dragon's blood"; hence the common name.

If grown in good light, the leaves in Drago are red-edged. Naturally, the old foliage arches downwards.

Size

In its natural habitat Dragon Blood Tree is a giant tree but indoors it only grows to a height of about 4 ft.

Canary Islands Dragon Tree is a slow grower, taking about 10 years to reach a height of 4 ft.

Origin

Dracaena draco (Dragon Tree) is native to Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and western Morocco.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Dracaena draco are available online in various sizes at Etsy. Buy Dracaena Plants online from Etsy.

Dracaena draco, Dragon Blood Tree

Dracaena draco Care Indoors

Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warmth and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding.

Dragon Tree has no need for high humidity but does well in average room humidity. Repotting is only necessary when the plant becomes pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat and tidy. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Dragon Blood Tree grows best in bright, indirect light; close to an east- or west-facing window is ideal for the development of the red-edged leaves.

In low light the Dragon Tree will lose its variegation. Keep it away from direct sunlight to avoid sun scorch on the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering

Water Dragon Blood Tree thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season and maintain soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Avoid overwatering and wetting the tree trunk of Drago as it can lead to stem rot at the soil level.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it cal lead to root-rot disease.

Dragon Tree is a tropical plant, therefore, use water at room temperature to water your plant to avoid plant shock.

Ensure that the water is free of chlorine, flourides and other chemicals to prevent brown leaf tips. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature

The best temperature for Dragon Blood Tree is average warmth with a minumum of 130C. Keep it away from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop and eventual death of the plant. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Dragon Blood Tree. If the air is too dry especially where temperature is too high set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Dragon Blood Tree every 3-4 weeks during the growing period with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Dragon Blood Tree at the beginning of the growing season when roots begin to grow through the drainage holes as it prefers to be slightly root-bound.

Use a pot at least 6 in. wider than the tree-trunk. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil.

Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

Soil

The best soil for Dragon Blood Tree should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for this plant. Purchase quality Potting Mix for Dragon Tree from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Dragon Blood Tree involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. The Dragon Tree is a slow grower and does not require regular pruning. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Propagation

Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) can be propagated at beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings.

How to propagate Dragon Blood Tree from stem-tip cuttings

Take 2-3 in. long stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Dragon Blood Tree. Ensure each cutting has some leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from.

Dip the lower cut-end of the cuttings in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.

Fill your rooting container with free-draining rooting soil. Lightly moisten the rooting mix.

With a pencil or similar object, make a hole in the moist rooting mix. The hole should be slightly wider than the diameter of the cutting.

Insert the cutting in the previously made hole in the moist rooting mix.

Cover the container with clear polythene sheet. Place the set up in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the new Dragon Trees are well established after which you can begin routine care.

Dracaena draco, Dragon Blood Tree

Photo Credit: Daun.com.my

Dracaena draco Problems Indoors

Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) problems indoors are due to cultural faults (improper care). They include brown leaf tips, yellowing, leaf spots, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Brown leaf tips and yellow edges

There are four possible reasons for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Dragon Blood Tree. One possible reason is dry air.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Dragon Tree is underwatering.

Maintain the soil consistently moist during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Dragon Blood Tree is chemical accumulation in the soil.

Use chemical free water and regularly flush out salts from the soil by running a stream of water throught the soil. Allow it to run for a few minutes. Repeat the process several times.

The fourth possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Canary Islands Dragon Tree is cold draughts.

Protect the Dragon Blood Tree from cold draughts or place the plant away from cold draughts.

Plant dying

Dragon Blood Tree is prone to root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil due to poor drainage.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid soggy soil.

Reduce watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist.

Another possible cause of the death of Dragon Blood Tree is keeping it too cold.

Maintain an average room temperature and protect the plant from cold draughts.

Dragon Blood Tree could also be dying from accumulation of salts in the soil.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times.

Yellowing lower leaves

Yellowing of the lower leaves is a natural process in Dragon Blood Tree. As the plant matures it sheds the lower leaves. Each lower leaf turns yellow and dries leaving a crown of leaves on top of the cane-like stem.

Soft, curled leaves with brown edges

If the temperature is too low Dragon Blood Tree leaves become soft and curled and the edges turn brown. Maintain an average room temperature for the Drago and protect it from cold draughts.

Brown leaf spots

Dragon Blood Tree will form brown leaf spots if it is underwatered. Maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold season but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Bleached dry leaf patches

Direct sunlight will cause bleached dry patches on the leaves of Dragon Blood Tree. Move it to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight.

Pests

Dragon Blood Tree pests; Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat it appropriately for these pests.

Is Dragon Blood Tree toxic?

Dragon Blood Tree (Dracaena draco) is toxic to both humans and pets.

The leaves contain alkyds which if ingested they may cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, loss of appetite and depression.

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