Dracaena Draco Dragon Tree Care

The Dragon tree (Dracaena draco) is a slow-growing monocot belonging to the asparagus family. It starts out with a single stem which takes 10 to 15 years to stop growing and make the first flower.

The Dragon Tree is a subtropical plant. [1] It is a tree-like species that grows in Madeira, Cape Verde, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Its botanical name is Dracaena draco but it is also known as the Canary Islands dragon tree or simply draco.

Dracaena dragon tree dracoPin

The name Dracaena comes from ancient Greek where it means blood of dragons. It was so named for the crimson sap that comes out of the tree when bruised or when the bark is cut. The horizontal reddish stripes of some mature trees also hint at mythological dragons.

The flower has a lilylike fragrance though less potent. Although the drago takes a long time to mature and barely reach 4 feet before its 10th year, it branches out a lot. After the stem stops growing, the crown starts developing even more.

Each branch can grow for about 10 to 15 years before it stops and begins branching out on its own.

As a member of the Asparagaceae family and Nolinoideae subfamily, the Dragon tree is related to over 100 subspecies of trees and shrubs classified as Dracaena plants.

Growing The Dracaena Draco Plant

The Dracaena draco doesn’t need special fertilizer or a lot of water. The plant has a high drought tolerance. However, it still requires well-drained soil.

The warmer the climate, the taller the tree will grow. It could easily reach 50 ft. after 15 or 20 years in hot coastal climates.

When kept as a houseplant, it may only grow to 4 to 15 feet, depending on how often you prune it and how much light it receives.

Cuts should be done at a 45-degree angle towards the stem. This prevents water from collecting in the cut. Pruning back stems is also recommended as two new stems tend to form at each cut. This will allow the tree to appear fuller.

Discolored leaves can be cut with scissors although the Dragon tree drops them naturally.

How To Propagate Dragon Tree

The easiest way to propagate a Dragon tree is from cuttings. Cut a stem into individual sections of 7 to 8 inches.

Place them in water and allow them to start developing white nodules around the base. That’s where the roots will spring out from.

Caring For The Draco Plant

When you water it, you always want to water it as deeply as you can but not too often. Although light watering is recommended post pruning and grooming, you don’t want the soil to get too soggy or muddy.

Fertilizer is not necessary especially if you’re growing a Dragon tree inside. But extra grooming may be necessary to get denser foliage and give the tree a more aesthetically pleasing rounded look.

Repotting every two years is also a good idea (same with the Hawaiian Ti plant). This allows you to give the roots a little more room by placing the Dragon tree in a larger pot. And, it also allows you to check for unhealthy roots which you’re free to cut before covering up with soil.

Dracaena Pests, Diseases, Or Problems

One of the main issues that plague Dragon trees [2] is wet roots. If the soil doesn’t drain easily and the roots remain wet for a long time, the tree could die. That’s one of the reasons why direct sunlight is preferred.

Another way to spot disease is to look for branch discoloration or abnormal growth. This indicates diseased or dead branches.

Draco Tips, Tricks, And Suggestions

If you want to limit its growth to around 15 feet or less, you can plant it in a cold or moderate climate. Once it cycles through four seasons, as opposed to enjoying six months of summer, and experiences cold weather, the plant’s growth becomes stunted.

For tall outdoor Dragon trees, a pole saw is their best friend. It has the length and the power to cut through healthy and dead branches. They’re also very maneuverable so you shouldn’t have any issues making 45-degree cuts.

If you want to check for stem health, you can scrape the exterior with a knife. Don’t go too deep. Just enough until you see a green or brown color. Green means healthy while brown can signify disease.

Best Ways To Use Dragon Tree – Indoors Or Outdoors

The Dragon tree is mostly used as an ornamental tree like the Hawaiian ti plant. It’s used in parks, gardens, and places where there is a need for drought-resistant plants.

There are also several species of Dracaena which are used as houseplants either because they don’t grow very tall or because it takes a very long time for them to mature.

Because of the unique curvy nature and umbrella-like crown, as well as the pointy leaves, the Dragon tree has an out-of-this-world look.

The contrast between the bulky trunk and sparsely branched crown can be a garden’s focal point or unique evergreen accents.

Draco Buying Tips

You can buy various species of Dragon tree from plant nurseries specialized in selling exotic seeds. You can also find Dragon trees of any region or origin. But if you want to have access to a wide variety of species, there are no better places than online marketplaces.

What Are the Most Popular Dracaena Species and Varieties?

One of the most popular varieties of the Dragon tree can be found in Icod de los Vinos in the northwestern part of Tenerife, Canary Islands. Because of its unique growth habit, there are no rings to determine an accurate age. Counting branches is used instead.

The Dracaena marginata or the Madagascar Dragon tree is perhaps one of the most popular varieties. It has a maximum height of around 8 feet which makes it easy to grow and maintain as a houseplant, though it is poisonous to pets.


The Dragon tree can be bought for both indoor and outdoor use. It’s easy to take care of regardless of the growing environment.

However, the end result is vastly different depending on where you grow it. It depends on whether you want for the centerpiece of your garden a rounded rich-foliaged potted tree or a tall bulky Dragon tree with a sparse umbrella-like crown.

  • [1] https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FP/FP18500.pdf
  • [2] https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/dracaena/