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BONNIE'S GARDEN--Grow a Dragon...

Dracaena—from the Greek word for female dragon.  So how did this tough and durable houseplant get that name?  Some varieties of dracaena have red sap that people thought looked like dragon’s blood.  My question is:  how do they know what dragon’s blood looks like?

The dracaenas we grow as houseplants go by many names:  Madagascar dragon tree (dracaena marginata); corn plant (dracaena fragrans); lucky bamboo (dracaena sanderiana); Janet Craig (dracaena deremensis var. Janet Craig); dracaena deremensis warneckii.  They are all natives to tropical forested areas—growing as an understory beneath the trees. 

Believe it or not, they are related to that hardy little “snake plant”—and a non-edible member of the garden asparagus family! 

They make good indoor plants—tolerating the lower light and dry air of our houses very well.  As a matter of fact, some of them would prefer to have NO afternoon sun at all—only a little morning sun or bright indirect light.  All of them would prefer for the soil to get fairly dry between waterings—one-third to one-half the way down from the top.   This is not the plant that you water because it’s Friday—this is the plant that you water because you checked the soil.

There are varieties that can give you some height—corn plants and Madagascar dragon trees can get five to seven feet indoors.  Other varieties, like Janet Craigs and warneckiis make pretty two to four foot tall floor plants.  And the little sanderiana (the lucky bamboo) is often grown in decorative pots or vases on a window sill.

Dracaenas are very tolerant of a wide-variety of conditions but the one they don’t tolerate is being cold.  They prefer temperatures between 60 and 85 and will tolerate temperatures between 50 and 60 for brief periods of time only.  Because they like warm, they’ll be happier if you water with tepid or even barely warm tap water.

While all plants help to “clean” the air, dracaenas are particularly good at this, even able to remove formaldehyde.  A dragon that cleans the air?  Good deal!
Posted: 8/15/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnies, dracaenas, garden
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