Madagascar Dragon Tree

Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata

Madagascar dragon tree is a bold accent if you have the space. Its daring, upright form punctuates the decor like an exclamation point, adding excitement to any room.

dragon tree, dracaena marginata

This beautiful tree starts out as a thick tuft of spiky leaves. As it grows, the lower leaves naturally fall, leaving a cluster of dramatic, spear-shaped leaves above a bare woody stem. Its narrow, red-edged leaves can grow about 12-16 in (30-40 cm) long.

Clean it up. Those tall, upright leaves tend to be dust-catchers. If possible, take the plant outdoors when the weather permits and gently spray the leaves with tepid water. Or wipe them off with a damp cloth.

Keep it short. Slow-growing, this exotic house plant will eventually reach 6 ft (1.8 m) tall indoors. You can control its height by simply cutting off the top.

Take a stand. Give a young plant a boost by placing it on an indoor plant standThe tall, spiky leaves of the dragon tree looks spectacular by itself on a pedestal stand. Or combine it with shrubby and trailing plants for contrast. Take a look at these new ways to display your indoor plants.

Pruning tip: Prune it back in spring or early summer to control its growth. You can cut off the cane at any height. Within weeks, it will sprout a new cluster of leaves from where it was cut.

Dracaena care is easy. Dragon tree thrives in average room conditions, tolerating dry indoor air and low light levels that are deadly to most plants. This dynamic house plant also handles changing temperatures and humidity levels. Just don't overwater. It will not tolerate soggy soil, which can cause root rot.

Repot in spring when roots become coiled in the container or grow out of the drainage holes. Always use fresh potting mix when you repot a plant. Use a pot with drainage holes.

It even shrugs off pests, although dry air may attract spider mites to its leaves. Faded, yellowing leaves and webbing between leaves indicate an infestation. Regular misting with water will do double-duty, raising the humidity and keeping those pests away.

Buying Tip

This popular Dracaena house plant is easy to find. A few varieties are available.

The cultivar 'Tricolor' has green-and-cream stripes on its leaves with red margins and also goes by the name Rainbow Plant. 'Colorama' has similar coloring as 'Tricolor' with prominent red margins.

Dragon Tree Care Tips

dragon tree, madagascar dragon tree, dracaena marginata

Origin: Madagascar

Height: To 6 ft (1.8 m)

Light: Bright light. Avoid direct sunlight in summer, which may cause dry, brown patches on leaves. Give your Dragon Tree a quarter turn every week to expose all sides to light.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist spring through fall, slightly drier in winter. Do not let soil get waterlogged, which can cause root rot. Yellow leaves are a sign of root rot.

Humidity: Average room (around 40% relative humidity). Will tolerate dry air.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures (65-75°F/18-24°C). This tropical native doesn't like cold air, which can cause its leaves to fall off.

Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Cut sections of the cane into 4-6-inch (10-15 cm) pieces and root them like stem cuttings.

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