Keeping plants inside the house is essential if you’re looking to maintain good air quality throughout the home. However, people often avoid doing so because plants require additional maintenance that not many can commit to. A Madagascar tree makes an excellent and colorful addition to indoor living spaces, but can you grow a dragon tree at home?
The answer is yes, you can. The Madagascar dragon tree is actually one of the most low-maintenance indoor plants. They can tolerate really low levels of sunlight and can survive with very little water. They may be slow-growing, but they can grow up to six feet tall with the right care. Before we dive into how to grow a dragon tree at home, let’s first talk about the tree’s origin and its benefits.
Dragon Tree – History, Myths, and Traits
The first mention of the dragon tree was in the story of Hercules and Ladon. In the myth, Ladon is described as a serpent-like dragon with a hundred heads. The dragon lay in a tree protecting the golden apples, a sacred fruit that Hera, Queen of heaven, offered to Zeus. Ladon’s residence is what is now mainly known as the dragon tree.
The tree bears red resin, which many people use to produce wood stains, particularly for violins, medications, as well as in hair dyes. In fact, the red resin is also used as a fluid for embalming and mummification. These trees are indigenous to Spain’s Canary Island. Currently, only a few hundred of the trees are left on the island.
The trees are incredibly drought tolerant and can grow in full sun and partial shade, which makes them an excellent option for indoor plants. They can even tolerate really high heat and can also withstand cold temperatures. The long leaves collect water and moisture present in the atmosphere and ensure that the tree is able to survive in their natural habitat.
How to Grow a Dragon Tree at Home
Dragon trees are incredibly resilient and can survive in harsh conditions. However, the one thing that is absolutely necessary for survival is well-drained soil. If you want your tree to grow into the tallest, healthiest version possible, then make sure you follow these simple tips.
- Make sure you get a new dragon tree during the spring season. That is when they start growing and are likely to show improvement after you transfer them to a new pot.
- Pick out a pot with a drain hole about 2 inches larger in diameter than the previous pot the dragon tree was in. This is because it is spring season, and the tree is bound to grow substantially and will need a better-drained soil for that.
- The next step is to remove the tree from the existing soil. Fill in the previous pot with distilled water and let half of it drain out. Then grasp the trunk at just above the soil and slowly twist it lose. Once free, make sure you remove all the dirt entrapped within the roots and place the tree aside.
- Fill the new pot with commercial houseplant potting mix and place the tree in the center. Pull up the soil up to the same level as it was in the previous container. Add more soil if you need to and then gently press down on the soil to hold its place.
- The next step is to water the plant until you see the water start to drain from the bottom. Place a plastic catcher under the bottom to catch excess water that drips from the pot and place it in an area that receives sunlight.
Dragon Tree Maintenance Tips
Even though a dragon tree is low maintenance, it does require a certain level of care.
- Once every week, mist the tree using a spray bottle.
- Make sure only to use distilled water as Draconian trees cannot tolerate fluoride, which most municipal utility districts add to the water supply. If you supply your tree with tap water, then its leaves may slowly develop yellow tips and may die.
- Regularly trim the edges to promote horizontal branch growth.
- If you notice the leaves turning yellow, move the tree to a new spot that receives more sunlight.
- Transfer your tree to a bigger pot each spring season. Doing so provides rooms for the roots to grow while simultaneously nourishing the tree and encouraging healthier growth.
- Do not overwater your tree as that can encourage foliage and fungal growth, which can lead to the roots rotting.
Benefits of Keeping a Dragon Tree Indoors
According to NASA’s air filtering plants list, a Dragon tree is one of the few plants that can substantially improve air quality. It is known to remove toxins from the atmosphere besides improving the air’s oxygen content.
Some of the harmful gases it removes from the air include:
Countless studies propagate the importance of keeping indoor plants. They not only improve air quality but also have other health benefits. The greenery addition is a sight for sore eyes and can boost one’s mood after a long day.
They are also known to improve productivity and induce a creative and nurturing environment. It also significantly reduces stress and fatigue and can substantially reduce the chances of you obtaining a cold or sore throat.
They are quite therapeutic for those living a demanding lifestyle. Plus, they are quite low maintenance, so it’s not like you can’t take care of it. However, it is quite toxic to both cats and dogs, so you need to make sure you keep it away from pets or place a protective barrier around it to avoid your pet from going near it.
Summing it Up
The question is not “can you grow a dragon tree at home;” rather, it’s more about where to keep it. If you really want to unleash the tree’s full potential, then the best thing to do is plant it in your yard.
All you need to do is create a raised platform with a good drainage system. Cut a few branches from your indoor dragon plant and embed them in the soil. Make sure you water it regularly for the first three weeks and then once every week or as you deem fit depending upon the temperature outside.
Trim the tree regularly, and within a few years, you will have a beautiful Dragon tree in your yard. Well, maybe not entirely beautiful (depending on what else you have in your garden) but definitely a unique addition to your yard.
Because full-grown Madagascar dragon trees are quite bulky and gnarly in appearance, you have to make sure that you have the space to grow them. However, if you do decide to grow one, you’ll be pleased with the results. So, the answer to “can you grow a dragon tree at home” is a definite yes.