A timeless indoor plant with a striking appearance, the Dragon Tree (dracaena marginata) is known for its slender striped leaves that burst out of strong trunks. One of the easiest plants to care for and a fabulous indoor air-purifier, the Dragon Tree requires little maintenance to bring beauty and elegance to any space it graces. Learn how to care for and grow your very own Dragon Tree.
Dragon Trees prefer bright indirect light, though they can adjust to medium to low levels of light. Keep them out of harsh direct sunlight, as too much of it can scorch their leaves.
Let your Dragon Tree dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly when topsoil is dry, usually once a week. Avoid overwatering, and note that your watering schedule may be less frequent during winter months.
The Dragon Tree is a slow grower, though it is constantly unfolding new leaves and shedding old ones. Indoors, the Dragon Tree can reach up to eight feet tall.
Common problems with Dragon Trees
Leaves falling off
If you see your Dragon Tree leaves falling off, worry not! The Dragon Tree naturally sheds its leaves, so it is not uncommon for you to find them at the base of the soil or on the floor. To avoid them falling to the ground, you may periodically prune your Dragon Tree by simply removing any dead leaves once a week or so. Also consider fertilizing your plant in the spring and summer to make sure there are enough nutrients to go around the many many leaves!
If your Dragon Tree is losing many leaves (think the floor is covered in leaves and/or the plant in general is showing other signs of distress), you may actually have a problem. Check first to make sure you are not overwatering — the soil should dry out in between waterings. Overwatering can lead to more severe ailments and that may eventually require you change the soil.
If you see leaves dropping on your Dragon Tree, it’s very possible you are either overwatering or underwatering. If you suspect it’s underwatering, give your Dragon Tree a thorough shower and let it completely drain out — it should perk up in within 24 hours. If you suspect overwatering, check the soil, particularly at the bottom of the plant. Is there moisture? Let the plant dry out before watering again, and if you expect a case of root rot, you may need to repot the plant with fresh soil.
Leaves turning brown
Are the new leaves of your Dragon Tree turning brown? This could be due to temperature fluctuations. The Dragon Tree does not like drastic temperature changes that could be caused by air vents (AC or heating) or drafts. Make sure your plant is protected from
How to maintain a beautiful and healthy Dragon Tree
Take care of your Dragon Tree and it will take care of you! Below are simple tips to continue caring for your Monstera over time.
Pruning - Remove dry or dead leaves all year round, but save any major pruning for the spring and summer months. If you would like to remove an entire stalk or branch of your Dragon Tree, simply cut them off at a 45 degree angle with sharp pruning shears.
Cleaning - With so many thin leaves, the Dragon Tree can be difficult to clean! We recommend regularly misting to keep dust off, and occasionally cleaning the leaves with a moist towel.
Repotting - Houseplants grow much slower than they would in the wild. Depending on the size of your plant and the density of the roots, this is nice to do every 2-3 years to provide fresh nutrients and encourage new growth.
When to repot - If the roots of your Dragon Tree are outgrowing its pot, it will let you know by bulging out at the sides.
Pot sizing - if you want your plant to grow taller, find a nursery pot that’s 2” in diameter larger than the current pot. If you want your plant to stay the same height, you can reuse the same pot and simply change the soil. You may need to cut back some of the roots to do this.
Get your hands dirty - spread out newspaper on the floor, remove the plant from the pot and shake off as much of the old soil as possible so that you have clean roots. Place the plant in the center of the pot, add new soil and pat down firmly. Water the soil thoroughly and place the plant in an area with bright indirect light. Your plant will take 2-4 weeks to settle from the shock and adjust to its new home.
How to propagate a Dragon Tree
The Dragon Tree is a simple plant to propagate. Though there are many ways to do this, water propagation is generally the easiest way to go about it. Follow these instructions to propagate your Dragon Tree:
Select a branch or stalk to propagate - Using sharp, clean scissors or shears, cut a branch off your Dragon tree at a 45 degree angle.
Place in water - Find a clear glass and fill with water. Make sure only the stem is submerged, and no leaves are sitting in the water.
Place in a bright area and wait! - Avoid any direct sun. You may need to change the water out every few days to keep it fresh. It usually takes just a few days for the root to start growing.
Transfer to soil - After a few weeks, transfer to indoor potting soil. Depending on the size of the branch and its roots, make sure to choose an appropriate size pot — you do not want an overly large pot for a small cutting or roots.
Keep hydrated - During the first few weeks, or until your plant feels firmly rooted in its soil, regularly water and drain your Dragon Tree. The soil should be just barely moist to the touch at all times.