Dracaena - types, growing conditions and care
Favorite false palm tree and one of the most unpretentious plants-giants of dracaena - a true classic of indoor floriculture. Dragon Tree offers an unprecedented variety of shapes and sizes, while retaining the main features - narrow linear leaves and strong trunks collected in lush rosette-bunches. Easily formed and multiplied even easier, dracaenes allow you to decorate the interior with an elegant giant for decades, limiting yourself to modest regular care. And they look very modern, introducing visual lightness and airiness into the landscaping of even the most modest rooms.
Any dracaena (Dracaena) is able to fit into both the smallest and largest rooms, is absolutely universal and always appropriate. And although there are dozens of species in the genus, each of which differs in some ways from its counterparts, dracaena still remain one of the most recognizable indoor plants.
These are the most famous false palm trees from the Asparagus family. A powerful trunk with a height of 30 cm to 3 m, gradually becoming bare with age, is the same distinguishing feature of dracaena as their narrow, lanceolate, pointed at the ends, rigid leaves collected in apical rosettes. In some species, they are wider, in others - almost blade-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, multi-stem forms of dracen form a pruning, exposing the trunk.
Blossoming of dracaena with graceful rare brushes and sweet "night" flowers is a rarity, inherent in rooms is only a few species. For flowering, they need a cool wintering.
Types and varieties of dracen
Despite the fact that all dracaenas are called dragon trees, the true owner of this name remains only one species. Dragon dracaena (Dracaena draco) - a spectacular view with wide-lanceolate leaves on strong trunks, striking and the density of greenery, and the beauty of "forest" shades.
Shoot-forming dracaena (Dracaena surculosaalso known as Dracaena Godsef (Dracaena godseffiana) - outwardly resembling reed - bushy appearance with highly branching, very thin shoots and oval leaves up to 10 cm in length, decorated in the center with cream-beige or white spots spreading out into specks.
Fringed dracaena (Dracaena marginata) - the most popular “palm tree” with a thin trunk and an airy 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 multicolor - in varieties.
Fragrant Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans), included in the view and once considered separately Drazen (Dracaena deremensis) Is the only species famous not only for its powerful trunks and wide-lanceolate, with a wavy edge and longitudinal yellowish stripes in the center of the leaves, but also very fragrant inflorescences.
Dracaena Brown (Dracaena braunii)better known as dracaena sander (Dracaena sanderiana) - the legendary "bamboo of happiness", a miniature species, which even 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 selected for the interior.
Conditions for growing dracaena
This plant would never have become so popular, if not for the amazing ability to grow in different rooms and in different lighting conditions. Dracaenas are equally good inside the interior and at the windowsills, without losing patterns within the penumbra and light locations.
In some varieties with contrasting colors, light dependence is more pronounced. Direct sunlight, especially in the summer, leaves burns on not so rough leaves. In the winter for all dracaenas, the lack of familiar lighting needs to be compensated by rearranging them to brighter places.
If temperature is not allowed for dracaena to fall below 16 (or better 18) degrees in the summer, there will be no problems with the plant. Lowering the temperature for the winter is desirable, but not necessary and conditional - within the framework of room indicators, 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 in the framework of "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.
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 pallets, the plant will easily die. Water should be drained immediately after watering and allowed to dry well several centimeters of soil in the upper layer. In winter, watering is reduced (to rare and scarce - only in coolness), in summer they are carried out abundantly, but not often.
Dracaena loves a warm shower, washing and rubbing leaves. The accumulation of dust is unacceptable.
The plant is controlled by pruning. Despite the seemingly very powerful trunk, which is constantly stretching and becoming more woody, even very old dracaena still do not lose the ability to release sprouts from sleeping buds. Therefore, cutting is not worth fearing: in a matter of weeks, at the top of the first bud, new leaves of the side rosette will begin to grow. Young dracaena can be immediately formed into multi-stem forms, cutting off the top on 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, conducting 1-2 dressings to support the leaves (only with a cool wintering it is better to refuse these procedures). Standard top dressing every 2-3 weeks is applied in liquid form from spring to mid-autumn, but from November to February they are content with 1 top-dressing per month in half-reduced doses. Fertilizers for ornamental and deciduous plants are better suited for dracaena, especially when choosing variegated varieties.
Problems in growing dracaena
In dracaena, the tips of the leaves often blacken and dry. And one can observe the loss of their decorative effect both in case of too dry air, in the heat or in the bright sun, and in severe drought, in a draft, with the 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 dracens, aphids, felt, thrips, spider mites are found. But usually regular care and hygiene are enough to prevent pests and diseases.
Transplant, containers and substrate for dracaena
Unlike many giants, dracaena tolerates transplantation well, is not afraid of contact with the roots. But to disturb the plant unnecessarily is not worth it. Transplantation is carried out from spring to the end of summer, with the appearance of signs of complete development of the soil by the roots.
For dracaena, they use stable, deep containers, 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 cuttings, the stem. The dracaena, no matter how much it deforms, stretches out or loses its shape, you can always overstate the top, getting a new compact plant instead of a huge "monster". But also segments of trunks with several points of growth 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 sockets at the top will be let out by the old trunk, from which the top was cut off or shortened to the desired height, if only to continue to water it as usual or to place it under the hood.
The most successful time for the reproduction of dracaena is February and March. Instead of grafting, you can use the method of rooting air layers.