Plant Life Balance

The Dragon Tree is here to slay

If prehistoric is your thing, look no further than this striking slow-growing succulent.

Modernist chic is cool and all, but want your garden to serve up more of a Jurassic Park look? If yes, then the amazing Dragon Tree could be just the centrepiece you’re looking for.

The Dragon Tree, or Dragon Blood Tree, is actually a slow-growing succulent that can live for hundreds of years. While some say that the name is a reference to the red-tinged resin that exudes from the plant’s bark and leaves, others say that that it was named after the Greek myth of ‘The Eleventh Labour of Hercules: The Apples of the Hesperides’ – where in one version of the telling, Hercules slays a dragon, and from its blood the Dragon Trees first sprang.

Either way, the Dragon Tree’s scaly trunk, striking spiky foliage and centuries-long lifespan definitely earn this plant its otherworldly name.

Where

The Dragon Tree is a sub-tropical plant native to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Madeira and Western Morocco. The tree is also the symbol of Tenerife (the largest of the Canary Islands) where a monstrous specimen can be found in the island’s Parco del Drago which is 21 metres tall and rumoured to be 1,000 years old.

On the other side of the world – here in Australia – Dragon Trees can be grown in the warm, subtropical and temperate coastal areas from Mackay in Queensland to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

CARE

The Dragon Tree is a popular garden feature plant due to it’s striking form and leaf shape, and when grown in ideal conditions, can grow up to 12 metres tall. As mentioned above, it grows best in sub-tropical and temperate areas and will absolutely thrive in hot, humid environments. Avoid planting in wet tropics and freezing, frosty zones.

If you’re planting a Dragon Tree directly in the ground, make sure that the soil is free-draining as it won’t tolerate having wet roots. Alternately, plant it in a raised garden bed or in a large tub with drainage holes.

When it comes to watering, water your outdoors-planted Dragon Tree regularly when you first plant it – but then once it’s established, natural watering from rainfall should do the trick. For plants in large pots, water occasionally and when the soil is dry to touch.

ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?

Keep in mind that the Dragon Tree is a bit of a commitment – it’s an extremely slow-growing plant which can take 25 years to grow just the first three metres. So if you think you’ll be moving house in that time and want to take your Dragon Plant with you, consider growing a smaller specimen in a large tub.

Although it may be a slow-grower, the Dragon Tree makes a stunning addition to garden and as such – is well worth the wait!

ALSO KNOWN AS

Dracaena draco, Dragon Tree, Dragon’s Blood Tree, The Canary Island Dragon Tree, Drago

Keen to know if the Dragon Tree would suit your home jungle? Visit your local Plant Life Balance accredited nursery and have a chat with the experts.

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