Uses: Houseplant, patio plant, or outdoor plant (in approved tropical zones)
Benefits: Air purifier: removes toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and other VOCs from the air. Unique and beautiful growth patterns, colors, and foliage. Easy to take care of.
Zones: 10 - 11
Sun: Bright indirect to partial shade. Avoid strong, full sun. A minimum 4 hours of bright indirect sun daily is suggested.
Life Cycle: Perennial
Mature Height: 20'+ Outdoors (easily kept around 5' or less indoors)
Mature Width: 10'+ Outdoors (easily kept around 3' or less indoors)
Dragon Tree is a popular and attractive houseplant with sword shaped leaves that have red throughout their edges.
A member of the Asparagaceae family of plants, it has been known to reach heights of over 20 feet high when grown outdoors in tropical climates, although it's typically kept potted indoors where it is easily kept less than 5 feet high and 3 feet wide.
It's a wonderful live indoor plant due to its variable size (though trimming and pot sizing), air cleaning capabilities (removes chemicals such as toluene, benzene and xylene), and the facts that it's drought-tolerant and thrives in a variety of lighting situations.
Dragon Tree Care
How to Water a Dragon Tree
We suggest watering an indoor Dracaena marginata every 6-10 days as needed during periods of warm weather and fast growth.
Dragon Tree will require less frequent watering during slower periods of growth such as over winter.
It's suggested that you only give this plant water when the top 1/2 of the soil in its pot is dry.
Like many other plants, too much watering will result in the yellowing of stems and leaves, eventually followed by root rot should the wet conditions persist. Too little water will result in the browning of the leaves (especially the tips), eventually followed by death should dry conditions persist.
Dracaena marginata does not do well with salt or fluoride in its water, so it's possible that you may need to give your plant distilled water depending on the water conditions in your area.
How Much Humidity Does a Dragon Tree Like?
Dracaena marginata prefers moderate to high humidity (above 50% RH), although it does quite well in average household humidity levels (30%-50% RH).
Particularly dry areas may require daily misting or the plant.
Humidifiers and pebble beds may be used to supplement humidity around the plant.
How Much Sun Does a Dragon Tree Like?
Avoid placing Dracaena marginata in areas that receive extended periods of strong, direct sunlight.
The best lighting is provided by bright indirect light as direct light could cause leaf burn.
Dragon Tree does great with lots of shade, but should get a minimum of 4 hours of medium light every day.
Too little light will result in gangly stems, poor growth, lack of vibrant color, and possible death.
What is the Best Temperature for a Dragon Tree?
Dracaena marginata prefer warmer temperatures and will likely die in extended periods of 50°F weather.
It's best to keep this plant in temperatures above 55°F to ensure its beauty and the integrity of its growth; however the optimal temperature range of this houseplant is between 65°F and 85°F.
Dragon Tree thrives outdoors year round in USDA zones 10-11, and will likely not survive living outdoors over winter in USDA zone 9 or cooler.
What is the Best Soil for a Dragon Tree?
Dracaena marginata prefers well draining, loamy soil mixes.
Our potting soil is a great choice for repotting a Dragon Tree.
What is the Best Fertilizer for a Dragon Tree?
Dragon Tree has a low need for fertilizations.
We suggest fertilizing on a bi-monthly basis between early spring and late fall, and using 30%-50% of the suggested dosage of fertilizer when doing so.
Winter fertilizations may be required on an even less frequent basis (or possibly not at all) if the plant is in an environment where the temperature and the amount of light that it's exposed to don't promote fast growth.
We suggest using a balanced liquid fertilizer, fish emulsion, or our slow release fertilizer. Be extremely careful not to overfertilize.
Trimming and Maintaining a Dragon Tree
It's suggested that you trim your Dracaena marginata on an annual basis to keep it looking its finest.
Trimming is best done in the spring, and should be accomplished with the use of a clean and sharp trimming scissors.
Stems may be cut as close to 8" from the soil, although it's advised to only cut them to half of their length (assuming their length is over 16"). This method will result in a plant that is both bushy and healthy.
We suggest lightly fertilizing after any extensive pruning.
A bushy plant can be also be encouraged by trimming or pinching new growth from the tips of the stems, which will signal the plant to sprout lower growth.
Topping a dragon plant and then strategically tending to the subsequent sprouts which will emerge from the stalk should (if done properly) result in a Dragon Tree that resembles the one in our product photo gallery.
Like most other plants, it's advised that any dead or dying leaves and stems be removed from the plant to keep it as healthy and clean as possible.
How to Repot a Dragon Tree
Dracaena marginata do not do well rootbound so it's suggested that you repot your plant if its roots begin to crowd its pot.
These plants are known to have somewhat powerful roots that are likely to break pots if they're too small.
You can repot your plant by placing the entire root ball into a larger pot then softly breaking up its root structure around the edges of its root ball prior to surrounding it with a lightly packed, loamy, well-draining potting mix.
It's advised to only slightly increase the pot size when repotting.
In situations of root bounding without the desire for a larger pot and/or plant, it's advised to remove your Dragon Tree from its pot and to trim away the side/lower roots and to replace their space with new potting soil.
How to Propagate a Dragon Tree
The propagation of Dracaena marginata is easily accomplished by placing a cutting in a glass of water or a pot of moist/wet soil, possibly with a slight amount of liquid fertilizer and/or rooting hormone (although neither are necessary). Change water as required to maintain its cleanliness.
It's best to provide propagation cuttings with ample light, but to keep them out of strong, direct sun.
You'll want the cutting to be of the top of a stalk, no less than 6" long. Remove all leaves from the bottom 1/2-2/3 of the stalk prior to placing it in its container.
Roots should begin to emerge from the cutting after 2-3 weeks, at which point the plant should be placed in soil (if not already in it) that is kept slightly moist until the plant becomes established.
Leaving the cutting in water/wet soil for too long after the establishment of roots will cause rotting and death.
What Size are the Dragon Trees for Sale?
Our Dracaena marginata ships in either a 4" grow pot and a 6" grow pot.
The 4" grow pot Dragon Tree will typically measure around 6" to 8" high and 6" to 10" wide.
Our 6" grow pot Dragon Tree will typically measure around 12" to 15" high and 8" to 12" wide.
We measure our plants height by measuring from the top of the soil.
How Large Do Dragon Trees Get at Maturity?
The size of Dracaena marginata at maturity can drastically vary based on pot size and trimming habits. An average mature indoor plant can easily be kept to around 5' of height and 3' of width, or less.
Outdoor Dragon Trees and those kept in very large pots can reach heights of 20'+ and widths of 10'+. It is a slow growing plant, and often takes at least 10 years to reach these sizes.
What is the Common Name of Dracaena marginata (also botanically known as: Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia)?
The common name of Dracaena marginata is "Dragon Tree"
Toxicity and Risks of Dragon Tree
Dracaena marginata is known to have a low level of toxicity to dogs and cats, but not to people (other than those with specific allergies).
Its toxicity is from the chemicals known as saponins which are present throughout the plant—posing a threat to pets if eaten in higher quantities.
Clinical signs of ingestion by pets can include vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Cats are known to also get diluted pupils as an effect of Dracaena marginata ingestion.