Indoor plants

Dracaena

The dracaena: characteristics of the species

Dracaena is a plant to which numerous legends and beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands are linked. The famous German botanist Humboldt on a trip to the Canaries measured the circumference of the famous ornamental plant, noting in the travel notebook: “14 meters”. On the same occasion, Humboldt stated that the plant was over five thousand years old. The natives called it in their language: “dragon’s blood plant”; it was from this local definition that the specific name was then derived. The dracaena classification was also confirmed by the Swedish botanist Linnaeus. The etymological origin of the genus comes from a Greek word “drakaina” which means “female dragon”. Always according to the ancient local name of this plant, the name dracaena was obtained.

The dracaena: its varieties


The dracaena belongs to the Liliaceae family. Only a few species and varieties of this plant are cultivated, which had a great diffusion already at the end of the last century. The dracaena arborea, native to northern Guinea, reaches up to 12 meters in height with dense tufts of apical leaves in the shape of swords, gay green, sessile, even 90 cm long. The dracaena deremensis, native to tropical Africa, has a height of 2-3 meters, also a shrubby habit, linear leaves, 40-50 cm long, dark green with linear white margins. From this species wonderful varieties have been obtained such as the “Bausei” which has 2 central white bands on the leaf plate, separated from each other by a thin strip of green and cream color. Then there is the “Roehrsii” with more or less variegated golden yellow leaves.

The dracaena: sowing and transplanting


Dracaena is obtained by multiplication. It can also be carried out by means of sowing, a rather long process to be left to the specialists. The tip cutting with an apical leaf tuft or a stem cutting, which must have at least 3-4 knots, are the two safest methods for propagating dracaenas. Rooting is fast if the cuttings are placed in a sandy and peaty soil, at a constant temperature of 22-25 degrees. Ideal would be a heated propagator. Therefore, those who do not have it must wait for the hot season, between the end of June and August, to take and root the cuttings, taking advantage of the natural heat. In the same period, layering can also be performed to rejuvenate old plants that have defoliated stems. This is a very adaptable and very hardy plant.

Dracaena: The dracaena: watering and fertilization


This plant loves a loose, permeable, fairly humorous and fertile soil. In the apartment the dracaena loves bright locations, where the temperature does not drop below 15 degrees. It must be watered periodically, obviously depending on the temperature of the house. The dracaena should be fertilized every 30-40 days with a complete fertilizer. Almost all dracaena species need little watering. It is a good rule to let the soil dry completely at least every 50-60 days. The flowering of the plant has no ornamental value except in the already adult species cultivated in the open ground in regions with a warm winter climate. In young plants it is good to eliminate the floral panicle at its first appearance. They are often attacked by parasites such as cochineal or fungal diseases.

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