Apartment plants

Dracena - Dracaena


La Dracena


The Dracena is one of the most appreciated houseplants, even if little known. Whoever owns one, considers it a species with a high ornamental yield. We are talking about the dracena or dracaena, a medium-sized shrub that grows in hot-humid climates. Because of this characteristic, the plant is suitable for cultivation in domestic environments, indoors and in pots. Of course, the plant should be placed in well-lit areas, so not in the dark or in the shade and away from drafts. There are many varieties of dracene with green leaf or with different variegations, white red or green that always make the plant elegant and refined. Generally the market offers specimens with more plants (2 or 3) in the same pot at various heights in order to create harmony in the composition of the plant.

These plants have the advantage of getting used to and adapting to even the most extreme conditions, so they are suitable for being placed in the corner between sofas, on stairs, in shops or offices. Even if they survive in unfavorable conditions, this does not mean that they are always well; in fact, if the climate and the light are not suitable, first of all they do not bloom, in addition they tend to present ruined foliage, get sick easily, or lose color.Given that the most important element of these plants are the leaves, it is perhaps good to learn to cultivate them to the fullest, so as to make the most of their characteristics.Although they can withstand living in a dark corner of the house, the dracaena don't disdain good lighting, not direct, but widespread, like the one you can have near a window, or in a luminous stairwell; if we have the possibility, let's remember to move them outdoors in summer, in a partially shaded but well-lit place.They fear the cold, and must be grown in areas with minimum temperatures of not less than 10-12 ° C, however we avoid growing them in a torrid place, especially if very dry.The dracaena also survives long periods of drought, recovering rapidly when water is given again; in order to obtain tufts of lush leaves, it is however good to water regularly, especially when the climate is warm, or we have an active heating system; in addition to watering the soil in the pot, as soon as it is well dried, remember to supply water also through the spray of the canopy: the foliage of the dracene grown in a dry climate tends to dry up at the tip, losing part of its beauty. Every 12-15 days add a little fertilizer to green water to the water.Special care


These plants tend to have a fairly rapid development; every 2-3 years we change the soil contained in the vase, and if necessary we increase the diameter of the container by a few centimeters, to make room for the roots. If the foliage is ruined or dry, we remove all the dried leaves, so as to favor the development of new healthy foliage.
In the nursery we find in the pots cuttings of branches of dracaena, of different sizes, cultivated in the same pot; over the years these stems can grow, without ever branching, becoming high up to 180-200 cm. In these cases it can happen to have a thin very tall stem, with a small head of leaves at the apex; to "resize" our plant we can simply cut the stem to the height we want, and bury the top, keeping the soil moist, so that it is rooted. Also the inferior part must be watered, because often, from the cut from us practiced, the plant will produce buds and new leaves. The large dracena leaves tend over time to accumulate smog, dust, grease from the kitchen on the top; therefore remember to clean them at least once a year using a damp microfibre cloth.

















































Morphology


The dracena is a medium-sized shrub that has a smooth and erect stem, not very branched, and with smooth and pointed leaves, joined to tufts, which develop only in the apical part of the branches. From these leaves, bright green or mottled with white on the sides and in the center, depends on the variety, small white-cream or yellowish flowers develop which it is difficult to see in the dracena in a vase. At full field, however, the plant produces pleasantly perfumed flowers and is able to spread a pleasant fragrance in the environment. The dragon tree, in general, has a small stem that does not exceed two meters in height. The potted plant does not grow beyond one meter and twenty. Some varieties, however, can reach considerable heights, similar to those of old trees, but these species are difficult to find in nurseries and are even more rarely grown at home.

Pests and diseases



Excessive watering, a poorly draining soil, an excessively dry climate, can favor the development of diseases.
At the base of the leaves, where the rosette joins the stem, aphids and cochineals often lurk, which should be quickly eradicated as soon as we notice them; Fungal diseases of the foliage and roots are usually manifested, however, with various types of foliage on the foliage, which makes it decidedly not very decorative.
Treatments should be carried out, preferably, at the end of winter, when we have the possibility of moving the dragon on the terrace, and spray it with suitable insecticides or fungicides. The dragon tree can be attacked by insects and fungal diseases. The insects that most frequently affect the plant are cochineals and aphids. These suck the sap of the leaves causing blotches and their desiccation. The leaves and roots of the dragon tree can also be affected by fungal diseases. One of these is caused by the fusarium fungus, which on the leaves causes necrotic spots with a yellowish edge. Diseases and attacks from insect pests can also be caused by cultivation errors and too hot and humid climates. Mealybugs and aphids, for example, attack in the event of missed sprays of water on the leaves, while fungal diseases develop in the event of poor drainage of the vase or too moist soil. Dracena diseases are fought using specific insecticides and fungicides. The treatments should preferably be carried out in winter by moving the plant onto the terrace.

Exposure



The Dracena plant includes about forty species of evergreen shrubby plants that can be grown both in the apartment and outside: in summer it is in fact possible to bring the pots outdoors.
The brightness must always be very good, especially for species with variegated leaves. However it is important that the plant is not exposed directly to the sun's rays, but is placed in a well-sheltered area, also considering the fact that this type of plant does not tolerate air currents and to develop and resist optimally, even in the coldest months, it is essential that the minimum winter temperature is not below 10-12 ° C. The dracena, being a plant originating from warm climates, does not like cold temperatures, but lives and develops in warm and humid environments.

Variety



In nature there are several varieties of dragon fruit. Among the most famous we remember the dracena marginata, native to Madagascar, with tufted leaves that develop in the basal part and with notches in the apical one from the pleasant decorative effect, and the dracanea fragrans, also called “tronchetto della felitita”, with a tuft of leaves mottled with yellow. Of this species there is also a sub-variety called also Lucky Bamboo, so defined because of the particularly tangled and showy stem. Among the other varieties of dracena we also remember the dracena sanderiana, native to the Congo and with white-striped leaves on the sides; the dracena godseffiana, the most original of all species due to its very short stem and its bushy, green-spotted leaves; the dragon dragon, very tall shrub native to the Canaries, very long-lived and with green leaves that tend to blue, and the dracena deremensis, a small-stem plant with tapered leaves and streaked with white.
First name
Common Name: Dracena; Botanical name: Dracaena
Family Liliaceae
Gender Dracaena
Habit Shrubby-arboreal plant, perennial
Exposure Light but not direct sun
Ground Rich in peat and well-drained
colors green leaves mottled with white and yellow in the center or on the sides, white or yellow flowers
Flowering Spring-summer, rare in the apartment
Flowering Winter spring
Height 1.5-2 meters depending on the variety; the dragon reaches remarkable heights
Cultivation Easy
Propagation Talea














































Type of soil and repotting


The dracena needs a fertile, well-drained but not too moist soil. For pot cultivation it is recommended to use peaty soil mixed with sand. On the bottom, it is better to put some earthenware which favors the drainage of excess water. Furthermore, the plant must be repotted every two years. The operation should preferably be carried out in the spring. Should the dragon show rapid growth, the repotting can also take place annually, the important thing is to use a container that allows the full expansion of the roots.

Temperature and exposure


The dracena is a plant typical of hot-humid climates, therefore, it follows that it does not tolerate cold and frost. The ideal temperature for this plant is around twenty-five degrees. In winter, the dragon should be placed in environments with a minimum temperature that should not fall below twelve degrees, even better if it is kept at a minimum temperature of fifteen degrees. Furthermore, the plant loves well-lit displays, but not in direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight should not exceed two hours a day. Some varieties, such as the Dracena godseffiana, even love exposures in the shade.

Flowering and care of the leaves


The dragon tree blooms between spring and summer. Its flowers are white-cream or yellow, almost never present in the pot plant. Although very fragrant, these parts of the plant do not have a high ornamental yield, which yields above all on the leaves, of an intense or bright green color, with mottled parts in the center or on the sides (depending on the variety). These parts of the plant tend to accumulate traces of dust, grease and smog over time. Every year, therefore, it is good to gently clean them with a damp cloth.

Irrigation


The dracena is a plant that loves regular watering, but not water excesses. Generally, it is watered when the soil appears dry. In summer and spring, in particularly dry conditions and with a hot climate, it is advisable to water often. Furthermore, during the warm season, the plant needs to receive water spray on the leaves every day. These, in fact, due to the heat, they tend to yellow and dry on the tips.

Composting


In spring and summer the dragon tree should be fertilized every week with a liquid fertilizer added to the irrigation water. The ideal dose of fertilizer for this plant is equal to half or even one third of the actual dose shown in the product purchase package. The fertilizer for the dragon tree must be the one suitable for green plants. As an alternative to liquid fertilizer, one can also use a slow release, with an effect that lasts even four months. The fertilizer for the dragon tree must contain nitrogen and potassium, elements that favor the growth of the plant, phosphorus (in lesser quantity than nitrogen and potassium) and microelements such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper and molybdenum, all essential for the correct and healthy development of this species.

Pruning of the dragon tree



The dragon tree is not a plant that needs pruning. In some cases, however, when the stem grows too much and creates an unsightly distance with the tufts of the leaves, it is advisable to shorten it to the desired height. The cut part can be buried in a vase to root it. Another intervention to be carried out on the plant, the elimination of dry leaves. These must be promptly removed to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for the transmission of pests and diseases.

Dracena multiplication


The dragon tree is multiplied by burying the cuttings taken from the mother plant. These, at least ten centimeters long, should be taken in spring from the apical part of the stem. Before burying them, the same cuttings deprive themselves of the leaves and are treated with a rooting hormone. At the end, they are buried in a small vase, no bigger than seven centimeters, and they wrap themselves in a plastic film. The pot should be placed in a damp place. Every day you have to lift the plastic to remove the condensation and moisten the soil. As soon as the new leaves appear, it will mean that the cuttings will have completed the rooting. At this point, the new dracena plants can be transplanted onto a larger pot and grown as adult plants.

Curiositа


The dragon tree derives from the Greek name "drakaina", which means "female dragon". The term refers to the most representative species of this plant, namely the dragon dragon native to the Canary Islands. The ancient inhabitants of these islands, the Guanches, believed that the dragon tree was a dragon. Then, from the shrub, a resin (actually shrunken sap) was red-colored, which was mistaken for the blood of the dragon. This resin, used in recent times as a dye, was also given magical properties. The resin of the dragon tree was known and used as a dye even by the ancient Romans. In the Middle Ages, however, the alchemists used it for its supposed thaumaturgical properties.

Dracena - Dracaena: Meaning of the Dracena


"I will steal your heart". This is the fascinating meaning that is attributed to the dracena plants, in particular to the leaves, which symbolize the indissoluble union of two inseparable beings. No significance is instead attributed to the flowers of the plant, not very decorative and almost never present in the specimens grown in pots. For this meaning, it is a houseplant that can be donated on any occasion: the opening of shops and offices or the purchase of a new home where you can perhaps live happily as a couple. The dracena also expresses a meaning linked to love: giving a loved one to a vase is therefore a declaration of love in full force. A particular variety of dracena, the fragrans, which is also called the "log of happiness", can be given as a present to wish a loved one happiness. Due to its clear positive meanings, the dracena can also be given as a present for an engagement or a wedding. This species also means "longevity". Giving it, in fact, hopes for a long life or long duration of a sentimental union.
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Main variety sheet


Height

Type of land

Leaf color
Dracena fragrans10 mwell drained neutralbright green with yellow streaks
Dragon dragon18 mwell drained neutraldark green tending to blue
Dracena godseffiana2 mwell drained neutralgreen with white spots
Dracena marginata2 mwell drained neutralgreen with cream-colored streaks
Dracena sanderiana1.5 mwell drained neutralgreen streaked with white
Dracena deremensis1,2well drained neutralgreen with central or lateral bands