The beloved false palm and one of the most unpretentious giant dracaena plants are true classics of indoor floriculture. “Dragon tree” offers an unprecedented variety of shapes and sizes, while retaining the main features – narrow linear leaves collected in lush rosettes-bunches and strong trunks. Easy to form and even easier to multiply, dracaena can decorate the interior with an elegant giant for decades, limited to modest regular care. And they look very modern, bringing visual lightness and airiness to the landscaping of even the most modest rooms.
Dracaena – types, conditions and care
Description of the plant
Any dracaena (Dracaena) is able to fit into both the smallest and the largest rooms, is absolutely universal and always appropriate. And although there are dozens of species in the genus, each of which is somewhat different from its counterparts, dracaena still remain one of the most recognizable indoor plants.
These are the most famous false palms from the Asparagus family. A powerful trunk with a height of 30 cm to 3 m, gradually revealing with age is the same distinguishing feature of dracaena, as are their narrow, lanceolate, pointed at the ends, rigid leaves collected in apical rosettes. In some species they are wider, in others they are almost grass-like.
Young dracaena look almost like a perfect rosette of lanceolate leaves on a shortened, barely noticeable trunk. But over the years, the trunk gradually lengthens, creating leafy “columns” or tree-like forms. The plant does not create stolons, the multi-stem forms of dracaena are formed by pruning that exposes the trunk.
Dracaena blooming with graceful rare brushes and sweet “night” flowers is a rarity, in rooms inherent in only a few species. For flowering, they need a cool wintering.
Types and varieties of dracaena
Despite the fact that all dracaena are called dragon trees, only one species remains the true owner of this name. Dracaena dragon (dracaena draco) – a spectacular view with broad-lanceolate leaves on strong trunks, striking both the density of the arrangement of greenery and the beauty of the “forest” shades.
Dracaena shoots (Dracaena surculosaalso known as dracena Godsefa (Dracaena godseffiana) – externally resembling a reed – a bushy species with highly branching, very thin shoots and oval leaves up to 10 cm in length, decorated in the center with creamy beige or white spots spreading into specks.
Dracaena bordered (Dracaena marginata) – the most popular “palm” with a thin trunk and an aerial rosette of strikingly narrow, elongated-pointed leaves with a dark base color and various variations of a thin border: from reddish – in the base plant, to white, yellow or multicolored – in varieties.
Dracaena fragrans (Dracaena fragrans), included in the view and the once considered separately Dracaena deremskaya (Dracaena deremensis) Is the only species that became famous not only for its powerful trunks and broad-lanceolate, with a wavy edge and longitudinal yellowish stripes in the center of the leaves, but also for very fragrant inflorescences.
Dracaena Brown (Dracaena braunii), better known as dracena Sandera (Dracaena sanderiana) – the legendary “bamboo of happiness”, a miniature species, which today is more appropriate to consider as a completely independent and special plant.
Each type of dracaena has interesting variegated varieties with original shades or patterns that can be matched to the interior.
Conditions for growing dracaena
This plant would never have become so popular if not for its amazing ability to grow in different rooms and under different lighting conditions. Dracaena are equally good inside the interior and near window sills, without losing patterns within semi-shaded and light locations.
In some varieties with contrasting colors, light dependence is more pronounced. Direct sunlight, especially in summer, leaves burns on not so rough leaves. For the winter, for all dracaena, the lack of familiar lighting must be compensated for by rearranging them to brighter places.
If the temperature for dracaena is not allowed to drop below 16 (or better than 18) degrees in summer, there will be no problems with the plant. Lowering the temperature for the winter is desirable, but not necessary and conditionally – within the room rate, with an average temperature of 15-16 degrees and an absolute minimum of 12 degrees.
Dracaena is not afraid of dry air and temperature changes within the “warm” indicators. In youth, this plant does not grow very well in a draft, but the older the dracaena becomes, the more resistant it is to them (but not to cold). She loves airing, can spend the summer on the balcony or in the garden, decorate terraces and patios.
Read also our article Bamboo rapeis palm.
Easy care without extremes
This unique plant is more afraid of overflow than drought. Dracaena forgives small mistakes and watering forgotten for several days, if the problem does not become permanent. But if the soil is always moist and the water stagnates in the pallets, the plant will easily die. The water should be drained immediately after watering and allowed to dry thoroughly with a few centimeters of soil in the upper layer. In winter, watering is reduced (to rare and scanty – only in the cool), in summer they are carried out abundantly, but not often.
Dracaena love a warm shower, washing and wiping the leaves. Dust accumulation is unacceptable.
The plant is controlled by pruning. Despite the seemingly very powerful trunk, which is constantly stretched out and more and more woody, even very old dracaena still do not lose the ability to sprout from dormant buds. Therefore, you should not be afraid of cutting: after a few weeks, new leaves of the side rosette will begin to grow from the first bud upstairs. Young dracaena can be immediately formed into multi-stem forms, cutting off the top on the stems about 30 cm high and leaving at least 3-4 leaves below the cut.
It is better to feed dracaena all year round, even in winter, carrying out 1-2 dressings to support the leaves (it is better to refuse these procedures only with a cool winter). Standard dressings are applied every 2-3 weeks in liquid form from spring to mid-autumn, but from November to February they are content with 1 dressing per month in half doses. Fertilizers for decorative deciduous plants are better suited for dracaena, especially when choosing variegated varieties.
Problems in growing dracaena
In dracaena, the tips of the leaves often turn black and dry. And you can observe the loss of their decorativeness both in case of too dry air, in heat or in bright sun, and in severe drought, in a draft, with an accumulation of dust. As a rule, if normal care is restored, drying is almost imperceptible, but the longer the dracaena suffers from improper care, the more the tips dry out.
Of the pests on dracaena, there are aphids, felt, thrips, spider mites. But usually, regular grooming and hygiene is sufficient to prevent pests and diseases.
Read also our article by Dracaena Sander, or “the bamboo of happiness.”
Transplant, containers and substrate for dracaena
Unlike many giants, dracaena tolerates transplantation well, is not afraid of contact with the roots. But disturbing the plant unnecessarily is not worth it. The transplant is carried out from spring to the end of summer, when signs of complete development of the soil by roots appear.
For dracaena, stable, deep containers are used, increasing them by 2-4 centimeters during transplantation. Drainage holes and a high drainage layer are the only requirements.
A universal substrate is suitable for this culture. The main thing is that it is neutral and loose, with a high content of sand.
Reproduction and rejuvenation of dracaena
It is no coincidence that this unique plant is considered exemplary for one of the rarest methods of cuttings – stem. In dracaena, no matter how much it is deformed, stretched or lost its shape, you can always re-root the top, getting a new compact plant instead of a huge “monster”. But trunks with multiple growth points and internodes can also be used.
Cuttings are cut with a sharp knife and dried. It is enough to bury them in light moist soil and wait until a new plant begins to grow from the upper bud. The rosettes at the top will also be released by the old trunk, from which the top was cut off or shortened to the desired height, if only you continue to water it as usual or place it under a hood.
February and March are considered the most successful breeding times for dracaena. Instead of cuttings, you can also use the method of rooting air layers.