Dragon Tree

Most of them grow outdoors, just not in Central Europe, but in tropical or subtropical regions. We are talking about the ever-popular houseplant. The name dragon tree is misleading. It is not a tree because the trunk does not grow in width. However, the plant has a palm-like, woody trunk. There are many different varieties. Most are valued for their brightly colored leaves and palm-like growth. The dragon tree is often confused with the club lily. The two plants are really very similar. In order to have final certainty, the plant must be repotted or at least pulled out of the pot. The dragon tree has yellowish roots. In the case of the club lily, on the other hand, they are white.

Dracaena varieties

  • D. marginata – entry-level kite tree, very easy to cultivate. Dark green, glossy leaves with red colored edges, height up to 200 cm
  • D. marginata “Tricolor” – variegated variant with green, pink-red and cream-colored stripes on the leaves
  • D. deremensis “Bausei” – beautiful dark green leaves with a wide white central stripe, height about 120 cm, diameter up to 50 cm, very long leaves up to 50 cm
  • D. deremensis “Warneckii” – very similar plant, but with two white stripes on the leaf
  • D. draco – blue-gray, sword-shaped, curved leaves with a narrow red border, up to 160 cm high and 60 cm in diameter
  • D. fragrans – shiny green, downwardly curved, very long leaves (up to 90 cm), up to 150 cm high and 50 cm in diameter
  • D. fragrans “Lindenii” – similar plant, but wide white stripes on the leaf margins
  • D. fragrans “Massangeana” – also similar, but with a broad yellow central stripe on the leaves
  • D. sanderana – dark green leaves with white edges and stripes, usually numerous side shoots in the lower part of the plant, usually only 100 cm high
  • D. surculosa “Florida Beach” – dark green leaves with cream-colored spots, strongly branched and small variety, max. 70 cm

Caring for the Dragon tree

Caring for dragon tree

Maintaining the dragon tree is quite straightforward. It needs sufficient water and fertilizer in the growing season, but very little in winter. If it is bright enough and a fairly high level of humidity is provided, the plant will thrive. It is important to turn the plant pot regularly so that the dragon tree grows straight, otherwise it will lean towards the light and become crooked.


As for the location, the dragon tree is one of the most undemanding houseplants. Although it likes it bright, it also gets by with relatively little light. The simple green specimens require the least amount of light. The more colorful the leaves are, the more brightness is required. Direct sun, on the other hand, is unfavorable for almost all dragon trees. Burns quickly occur.

  • Bright location without sun.
  • Morning and evening sun is accepted.
  • In any case, the plant needs warmth, temperatures between 19 and 25 ° C. The plants react to low temperatures by shedding their leaves.
  • In summer also like outdoors, but also here without sun, or only a little morning or evening sun.
  • The ideal location is a bathroom with a daylight window. Dragon trees like a high level of humidity and that is a given in the bathroom. In other rooms the air is often too dry and there are brown leaf tips.
  • Dragon trees always grow towards the light. This is why the planter needs to be rotated regularly to keep the tree straight.

Plant substrate

Dragon plant

The best substrate for plants is compost-based potting soil. It is beneficial to mix in sand because the substrate must be very permeable. Palm soil is also possible. Otherwise the dragon tree is quite undemanding as far as the substrate is concerned. In any case, you should always mix in lava gravel, expanded clay or gravel. Adding clay and humus is also ideal. As an alternative to peat, more structurally stable humus is recommended.

Planting or repotting Planting
is easy. The planter must be big enough. Containers with an irrigation system are best. In this way, the plant can always take exactly as much water as it needs. Small plants are repotted every two to three years; larger plants need to be repotted more often, usually annually, as the roots grow quite quickly and become large.

Watering and fertilizing

The dragon tree grows very well in hydroponics. The more modern variant is the culture in planters with an irrigation system. Lechuzza vessels, for example, are very suitable. Since dragon trees are larger plants, they also need an appropriate container. With this size, you only need to top up with water every 8 to 12 weeks after it has grown. This really makes work easier, but you have to be careful not to forget it. So the plant always takes just as much water as it needs. Fertilizer can also be added in this way.

  • Water abundantly from March to August!
  • Fertilize every fortnight!
  • Waterlogging leads to root rot.
  • Significantly less water and no fertilizer in winter!
  • Rest period from October to January.
  • In winter, spray the plant with soft and warm water, preferably daily!
  • Regularly remove dust from leaves with a damp cloth or shower off with the shower hose!


The dragon tree does not have to be cut, but it can. Above all, if the shoots below are bald due to a location that is too dark, they should be cut. This promotes branching and ensures dense bowls. Even if the tree has grown too big, it can be cut back and made smaller.

  • The ideal time to prune is early spring, but in principle it can be done all year round.
  • Long, bare branches are cut.
  • The interface with thick shoots should be sealed with tree wax.
  • In principle, dragon trees can be shortened at any height. They then form new side shoots underneath.
  • The cut shoots can be used for propagation right away, just put them in a water glass!


Wintering is uncomplicated. The plant has to be warm, needs a high level of humidity and is very sparsely watered. There is no fertilization at all. It is best to place the dragon tree close to the window, because there is already less light anyway. If it is still far in the room, it is too dark even for a dragon tree. The leaves lose their beautiful color and the plant looks worn out.


The propagation takes place by head cuttings, trunk pieces or ground shoots. The younger the cuttings or shoots, the more certain it is that they will take root. It is important to pay attention to the direction of growth. If you put a trunk in the soil the wrong way round, it will never take root. The best substrate consists of equal parts of sand and peat. Put a transparent bag over the planter!

  • Moisten the rooting substrate only once.
  • Then let stand covered for 5 to 6 weeks and do not water.
  • Set up bright but not sunny!
  • Water young dragon trees sparingly!
  • Repot after 3 months!
  • I myself simply put the cuttings in a glass of water and they all formed roots in no time.

Diseases and pests

Dragon tree Diseases and pests

As a rule, pests only occur in the wrong location, too low humidity and too much or too little water. Mostly it is spider mites or tripods that damage the plant. Scale and mealybugs can also appear. Combating the pests is important, but eliminating the cause of the infestation is important.

  • Too much moisture can lead to rot. The trunk becomes soft and the dragon tree dies, it literally rots.
  • Air that is too dry leads to brown leaf tips.
  • If the location is too dark, the colors of the leaves will turn green and fade.
  • Too much fertilizer leads to brown specks on the leaves.
  • These also occur with irregular watering.
  • Temperatures that are too low will result in chlorotic or necrotic bands over some leaves.
  • Planters that are too small can lead to sparse growth and sparse buds.
  • Muddy trunk ends can also have bacterial causes. This can also be recognized by the “fishy smell” and bacterial slime. This is called soft rot.
  • Fusarium leaf spot symptom – fungal disease, identified by the newest leaves in the center. Occurs when it is too wet.

Dragon trees are easy to care for indoor plants. They do not need a lot of care and forgive their owners many mistakes that they make when handling the plants. The plants need a good location and a suitable container (if possible, with an irrigation system) and high humidity and they are largely satisfied with that. Many varieties get by with very little light, only the variegated leaves do not. If you place these plants too dark, they lose their beautiful drawing. Otherwise, dragon trees are among the easiest houseplants to look after.

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