Of the 40 species in existence, most dracaena plants are native to Africa, and are commonly grown as houseplants in the United States. Dracaenas do not require much sunlight or water, take well to pruning and produce strap-like leaves with beautiful red, pink or white stripes. Most dracaena houseplants grow between 2 to 10 feet. If planted outdoors, dracaena plants survive in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11.
Also known as the red-edged dracaena, the Madagascar dragon-tree (Dracaena marginata) is a thin tree with several curving stalks and purplish-red leaves. When mature, Madagascar dragon-trees grow between 8 to 15 feet tall and have a spread of 3 to 8 feet. During June and July, these trees produce white flowers. Madagascar dragon-trees display reddish stems throughout the year.
Canary Islands Dragon-Tree
The Canary Islands dragon-tree (Dracaena draco) is native to western Morocco, Cape Verde and the Canary Islands. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, several hundred specimens of Canary Islands dragon-trees grow on five of the seven Canary Islands. This dragon-tree has a singular trunk and grows up to 12 feet tall at maturity. The branches and leaves of the Canary Islands dragon-tree form a canopy shape.
The corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) grows in Angola, Mozambique and Sudan. Gardeners in some U.S. states grow corn plants outside; corn plants grow best in states with sub-tropical or tropical climates such as Hawaii and Florida. The narrow, arched foliage resembles corn plants. In the wild, corn plants reach heights of 40 to 50 feet, but cultivars normally stay underneath 10 feet.
Native to Africa, the green dracaena (Dracaena deremensis) has far more cultivars than specimens in the wild, according to the Clemson University Cooperative Extension program. One of the largest green dracaena cultivars is "Janet Craig,” which grows up to 10 feet tall and features large, glossy leaves. Most cultivars, including “Bausei” and “Warnecki” are 4 to 5 feet tall.
Other names for the reflexed dracaena (Dracaena reflexa) are the song of India and pleomele. Reflexed dracaenas are native to African islands in the Indian Ocean, including Mauritius and Madagascar. Reflexed dracaena in the wild reach 15 to 20 feet tall and grow in humid, tropical climates. Most cultivated reflexed dracaenas grow less than 15 feet. These trees have upright branches and stems and dark green leaves.
- University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Dracaena Decline and Root Rot
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension: Dracaena marginata Red-Edged Dracaena, Madagascar Dragon -Tree
- International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List: Dracaena draco
- University of Illinois Extension: Dracaena
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Dracaena
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension: Dracaena reflexa Reflexed Dracaena
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