aka dracaena marginata, dracena compacta, dragon tree
Some types are called “dragon trees”, but a better name might be giraffe trees! Their canes can grow over 6 feet. If you want a plant that goes floor-to-ceiling and is easy to care for, look no further. Description: Madagascar / Subtropical / indoor tree / mistaken for palm / Many varieties including snake plant
Dracaena species vary so much, they can look like entirely different species. There’s distinct varieties of dragon tree, like (Dracaena marginate) and (Dracaena fragrans). Other popular varieties include Corn plant (Dracaena deremensis) and Cornstalk (Dracaena fragrans).
no direct light, please
Medium to bright indirect light is best. This plant can also tolerate low light rooms. Choose East or West facing windows when possible.
water + feeding
irregular watering is okay
Allow soil to get half dry before watering and don’t overwater, especially in winter, when the soil should not get wet. This hungry fella likes monthly feedings Spring to Fall.
toxic to humans and pets
Ingestion can cause mouth, stomach irritation and vomiting. If your pets like to munch leaves, keep this out of reach.
Handles average indoor temperatures, but doesn’t like sudden temperature changes, including cold drafts or blasts from heat vents.
loves a little extra
It’s a tropical plant so humidity is welcome.
Can grow to more than 6 to 8 feet indoors.
low light controls the height
This plant grows steadily in bright, indirect light. Once you’ve reached your desired height, transfer to a darker corner of your house. It will survive just fine, but not grow.
cousin to asparagus
You would never guess by looking, but Dracaena is part of the aspragaceae family. Just remember, Dracaena is poisonous when ingested!
beyond the basics
soil & potting
This plant likes a light, well-draining soil like Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Succulent Potting Mix. Or add some potting sand or perlite to regular potting soil. A layer of sand on the top will also help prevent rot. You pot must have good drainage and don’t let Dracaena sit in water. If you see water collecting in the drainage tray, dump it.
when to repot
Every 2-3 years in the Spring, especially in the earlier years. Increase the pot size by 2 inches each repotting. When your Dracaena is all grown up, you can get away with just replacing the top few inches of soil.
Cut a stem off the plant, and remove the lower leaves. Put the cutting in water to stimulate root growth. Then cut a 2 to 4 inch stub off the bottom of a stem and insert it halfway into a dry potting mix like Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Succulent Potting Mix.
Most common pests are scale insects and mealybugs. Check under leaves when you’re dusting. See our Pest control section in Plant 101 for how to identify and deal with pests on your plant!
brown tips on leaves?
Not enough water, or dry air. Most common in winter when furnaces are running.
Check soil more often and water when mostly dry. Add a humidifier to the room. Mist regularly. Put the pot on a pebble-filled tray of water. Consider moving to a room with more humidity like bathroom or kitchen.
yellowing leaves at the base?
Not really a problem! This is natural. That’s how Dracaenas grow. Older leaves fall off to allow for new ones. You can also gently pull off yellowed leaves. If new leaves are growing, everything is fine.
Overwatering or possible root rot. Wait until soil is medium dry between watering and ensure the pot has good drainage. If the wilt is bad, allow the soil to completely dry before watering. If the problem persists, check for root rot and remove any affected roots. Other moisture control techniques: Poke holes in soil to let oxygen at the roots. Put the pot (with drainage holes) in a tray lined with dry soil. Or go for a total do-over, and repot with a soil that’s formulated for drainage like Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm and Succulent Potting Mix. For more information check out our Plant 101 section.
soft discoloured stems?
Overwatering causing root and stem rot. Cut back any soft, rotting stems. Remove your Dracaena from the pot and cut away any black, mushy roots. Get a sterilised new pot and start over. If the roots are all mush, you can still save your plant baby! Propagate from the top of the plant.
plant not growing?
Not enough light. Dracaena is cool hanging out in low light corners of your house, but it takes brighter (indirect) light to make it grow. This gives you the power to control the height of your plant! When you’re at the right height, move to a shadier spot.