How to Grow Dracaena Draco (Draco Tree)

The Dracaena draco is a tree that’s found in the Canary Islands and other Mediterranean countries. It also goes by many other names including:

  • Drago
  • Blood dragon tree
  • Canary Islands dragon tree
  • Draco tree

It is likewise hard to find in local nurseries. Although, I know there are some online stores that sell them.

In any case the Dracaena draco is a beautiful houseplant with unique looking foliage. It does grow into a tree so eventually will end up outdoors in your garden.

That said, it is a slow grower. And, it will take around 10 years to reach 4 to 5 feet high. So, you’ve got a lot of time to enjoy it in your living room as an amazing accent piece.

It is also worth noting that outdoors, the plant will grow much bigger. So, it will need a lot of room.

The Blood dragon tree can reach heights of between 30 feet to 75 feet tall. Its trunk will likewise get very thick reaching as wide as 40 or so inches.

The best part though is that if well taken care of, it will live for hundreds of years. Some have been documented to be over a thousand years old.

Dracaena Draco Plant Care

Dracaena Draco Light

The Dracaena draco grows up to become a huge tree with a massive trunk. But, it is a slow grower, especially in the beginning.

This allows you to grow in indoors as a houseplant during its first 10 years or so, when it will only get to about 4 to 5 feet during this time.

However, do keep in mind that the tree can live for hundreds to thousands of years. And over time, it will get to about 30 feet or taller. A lot will depend on the variety your Dracaena draco is and the environment it is in.

As such, after a while, you’ll need to move it outdoors where there is a lot of space.

That said, you can likewise plant it outside right form the start.

As is the case with trees that get large over time, make sure to give it enough room to grow. You also want to keep smaller plants especially ornamentals or those that produce lovely leaves and flowers away from it.

Trees grow extensive and deep root systems. As such, plants nearby, won’t be able to compete for water and nutrients. Those that are most affected by this are the pretty flowers and foliage plants as lack of sustenance affects their color and vibrancy.

In any case, when it comes to sunlight, you want to give your Dracaena draco as much light as possible.

It thrives on full sun. And, need bright light every month of the year.

The more light is receives the lovelier its leaves will look. The tree itself will also look more vibrant.

Indoors, you want to keep it in near a south facing window as much as possible. It if grows in a container, rotate the pot every so often. The plant grows towards the light.

So, giving each since a balanced amount of sunlight will help it grow upright without bending to one direction or another.

 

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Dracaena Draco Temperature & Humidity

Your Dracaena draco is native to the Canary Islands along with a few other Mediterranean locations. As such, it likes warm environments.

More importantly, these areas don’t experience any snow, ever. So, the plant cannot tolerate frost or freezing temperatures.

This makes it ideal for USDA Hardiness zones 9 to 11. If you live in these areas, you’ll be able to grow the plant outside without any problems all year round.

In other regions, you’ll need to take it indoors once the temperature approaches 50 degrees. While it can tolerate between 40 to 50 degrees, this is the absolute lower range it will be able to tolerate.

That said, this can be a problem as the tree gets bigger. So, it is not always a good idea to have this size a tree that can’t stand cold weather if you live in the northeast or even norther part of the country where it snows during the winter.

 

Watering Dracaena Draco

Because of where it comes from, your Dracaena draco can tolerate long periods of drought without any problem. However, for optimum growth, you don’t want to let the soil dry out completely.

That said, because:

  • It is susceptible to root rot
  • Its leaves trap rainwater and dew
  • It prefers being on the drier side

It is a good idea to allow it to dry quite a bit (not completely) between waterings.

But, during the spring and summer, when it is actively growing, you want to water regularly. During this time, it will need food and drink more than the rest of the year.

As such, giving it sufficient sustenance will allow it to grow at its best.

During wintertime, it will take a break from growing. As such, you won’t need to feed it during this time. It is also better off to water just enough to keep the plant from drying out.

Due to the cold weather and inactivity, it is easier to overwater your Dracaena draco. So, do cut back on volume and frequency.

 

Soil

Because it is susceptible to root rot when sitting in water, it is essential that you don’t overwater your Dracaena draco.

And, one way to avoid this is to use well-draining soil.

Ideally, you want to use loose, well-aerated, fast draining potting mix. This will allow air and water to easily reach the plant’s roots. Similarly, it will let excess moisture drain out easily.

By doing so, it helps you especially when you happen to water just a little bit more than usual. By draining the excess liquid quickly, it will prevent waterlogging.

One option is to use cactus soil. This lets you buy one from your garden center and use it out of the box.

You can likewise go with regular potting mix if you already have some at home. Add pumice and sand to increase drainage.

 

Fertilizing Dracaena Draco

Your Dracaena draco is a light feeder. Thus, all it needs is once a month feeding during spring and summer.

You can likewise opt for slow-release fertilizer. in this case, you can feed it once every 6 months.

Fertilizer is not essential especially if you provide it with soil that’s rich in organic matter and add compost.

However, if you use regular potting mix, giving it extra supplementation helps it produce vibrant looking leaves.

Pruning

While it does get huge over time, it is a slow growing tree. In fact, it only gets to about 4 or so feet tall during its first 10 years.

That said, it can grow as tall as 70 feet over its lifetime with a trunk circumference of 45 feet. That’s huge!

So, after a while, there’s really no way to prune it unless you’re willing to go up the tree or use a once of those lifting machines.

Indoors, you can trim it to limit its size and manipulate its shape.

Beyond this, you don’t really need to do any pruning.

 

Dracaena Draco Propagation

As mentioned, Dracaena draco are long living plants.

If you take good care of it, it will easily last a few hundred years. The oldest ones are over 5,000 years old. So, you can easily pass them on to your kids and grandkids.

That said, you can also propagate them. Although, like the plant, it takes a lot of patience to grow.

Often, growers propagate them from seed. This requires germination and keeping them in moist soil and warm temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees.

You also what to avoid bright light. Part shade is best.

Another option is to use cuttings. This takes a lot less time.

You can take a section up to about 3 feet long and plant it in well-draining soil. Staking it will help so it has support and won’t move.

The cutting will appreciate bright, full sun to grow.

 

Transplanting & Repotting Dracaena Draco

The Dracaena draco loves being slightly root bound. So, you ca keep it in the same pot for a little while longer. However, once it shows signs of stress or starts to overcrowd the container, it is time to move.

During its younger years, you’ll likely need to move it once a year or so. But, depending on how quickly it grows, you an keep it in the same container for many years.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the tree is top heavy. So, you want to use a large pot. But, not overly large that the soil volume increases its risk of sitting in water.

It is likewise a good idea to use a heavy pot to offset its upper weight. This prevents it from tipping over easily.

As it grows, you will need to repot it gradually moving to larger containers.

But, you’ll have to draw the line somewhere and move it into the ground once is begins to get too big.

 

Toxicity

Dracaena draco is toxic to pets, including dogs, cats and horses. So, while it is still small, you want to keep it away from them. As it grows to about 4 feet or so, it will be more or less out of reach from smaller animals.

Ingesting or even playing with the plant is less likely once it gets larger.

 

Pests and Diseases

Pests and disease are not much of an issue with Dracaena draco. These are tough, resilient plants that are able to resist both pests and disease provided that it is healthy and not under some kind of stress or shock.

The only time it is more susceptible is when it is a seedling. Thus, you want to watch out for these issues when propagating it. Otherwise, likely will never have to deal with these problems.

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