Receive a Dash of the Rain Forest With Madagascar Dragon Tree

Originally from the East African island of Madagascar, where it grows as an understory rain forest plant, Red-edge Dracaena (Dracaena marginata), or even the Madagascar dragon tree, is a popular houseplant, as a result of its low light and water needs and its comparatively compact sculptural form. It features thin green leaves with subtle reddish stripes along the edges, and while it grows slowly, it can reach up to 15 feet. With good care a Red-edge Dracaena can benefit a patient owner with many years of dramatic greenery.

Madagascar dragon trees look best potted as a clump of 3 crops of various heights. Here a little pot was filled with what seems to be seven stalks, with excellent results, so don’t be afraid to go overboard.

As soon as your dragon tree has reached a height which you don’t want to transcend, repot every third year to refresh the potting soil, but use the identical size pot or one just marginally larger to slow its growth. You can even control the elevation by simply cutting off the shirt. Two new stalks will grow from the cut place within a couple weeks, and you can generate a tiny fresh plant from your own cutting.

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Dragon tree has minimal requirements and nearly mess-free growth. It’s the ideal plant for a bright corner place, and so long as you don’t let it find bone dry, and you maintain it free of germs and dust, it ought to flourish.

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While it’s sensitive to radical changes in light and temperature, and does not tolerate fluoride (seen in tap water, perlite and a few fertilizers), the tree is otherwise easy to care for. If the leaf tips turn into brown or another discoloration appears (like brown or gray spots, frequently caused by fluoride) tackle the problem straight away. The problem could stem from too little or too much light or watering, or a need for much more humidity, which can be offered by misting.


If your plant comes from a bright nursery, don’t put it immediately in a corner with just moderate light. Alternately, if your plant comes from somewhere dark, acclimate it to a brighter place slowly by regulating the light with curtains or moving it in to its new place over a couple weeks.


Regularly dust the leaves using a soft, damp cloth, cleaning the undersides as well as the upper surfaces. Eliminating dust clears the plant’s pores so it can swap air freely, and it will help prevent spider infestation. Plus, a dusty plant will not have the ability to operate its air purification magical.

Don’t use commercial leaf-shine products on dracaenas.

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As the tree grows, it will shed its leaves at the bottom and choose on a tall and lanky appearance. You can leave it as is or, to create a bushier plant, cut the tall canes down to the desired elevation with pruning shears.

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If you would like to disperse your dragon tree or encourage it to branch, cut off a stalk in the summer or spring, dip it in rooting hormone and plant it, or even root it into a vase of water. You should see root growth within a couple of weeks.

cathy Chilton

How to Care for a Madagascar Dragon Tree

Temperature: Prefers65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures that drop below 60 degrees can cause the lower yields to drop off. The plant will recover when the temperature is adjusted or it becomes acclimated to the new surroundings.

Light: set the plant in a place with bright to moderate indirect sunlight. Brown leaf tips and stains indicate that the plant is getting too much light. It’s not getting enough light when the leaves turn light and the variegation fades. Move it into brighter light gradually to avoid drooping leaves or those that drop off altogether.

Water: Dragon tree is relatively drought tolerant. Water it just when the soil feels slightly dry at a depth of 2 inches under the topsoil, and then water generously, with tepid water; the water should trickle through the drainage holes. Drain the drainage saucer an hour after watering. Never permit the kettle to stay in water, because dragon trees don’t like soggy soil. Too small water is better than a lot of, but don’t enable the soil to become bone dry. Watering around once a week is sufficient.

Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. The tree does not tolerate fluoride and reacts by creating yellow or brown scorched regions or brown leaf tips. With continual fluoride, the leaves will turn completely brown and die. Use bottled water to get rid of the problem of fluoride.

Humidity: Dragon tree benefits from a light misting a few times a week when the atmosphere is dry, especially during the winter. Misting also helps to keep the leaves clean and free of dust.

Soil: Use well-draining, perlite-free soil; dragon tree does not endure the fluoride found in perlite.

Feeding: Fertilize the plant using a liquid houseplant fertilizer, blended according to the package directions, every 2 weeks in spring and summer. In autumn and winter, feed every day. Avoid fertilizers containing superphosphates, which frequently contain fluorine.

Air purification: Removes airborne gases published by xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, found in lacquers, varnishes and sealers. Formaldehyde is found in adhesives used in MDF and other pressed-wood or wood-particle products, as well as in cigarette smoke.

Pests: Dragon tree can contract leaf spot diseases, which occur during prolonged warm and wet weather. Avoid mowing the plant from overhead to prevent these. When signs of leaf area are discovered, cut off the infected leaves immediately to prevent the disease from spreading. Thrips, mites and other chewing pests can frequently be controlled with horticultural oil or a comprehensive hosing down with powerful jets of water. Pests are most likely to infest stressed crops, so maintain your dracaena in great shape to avoid them.

Cautions: Dracaenas can be toxic to dogs and cats.

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