Dracaena draco

dragon tree
Smooth branching stems resemble cigars in snakeskin. Plant in well-drained soil. Infrequent water. Unrivaled specimen plant after many decades.
Dracaena dracoDracaena dracoDracaena draco
height 20–30ft
width 15–20ft
tolerates Coast, Drought, Heat, Pots, Rooftops, Salt, Wind
Water this plant infrequently, when the top two inches or so of soil feel dry. Usually this will mean every week or two in dry weather. If you establish this pattern over several years, then you can cut back to watering every four to six weeks in dry weather. Use drippers, emitters, or a slow stream of water so that it doesn’t run off; allow the water to trickle all the way down through the deepest layers of soil. This plant will look more lush if given water every two to four weeks during dry weather once established. In a pot slowly water the entire surface until water comes out of the bottom of your pot.
exposure Part Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose
origin Canary Islands
16, 17, 19–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

With time the dragon tree branches with mesmerizing repetition. This is caused by flowering, each time it flowers it will branch. Interestingly, some trees flower when young, causing lower branching, while others wait many many years before blooming, creating a taller singular trunk.
Don’t rip off the lower old leaves, no matter how ratty they look. This will scar the trunk. Instead prune them off near the base and then let them fall off naturally when they are ready.
This plant does very well in pots, which keeps the tree smaller long term.

Special Interest

The huge dragon tree pictured here is the largest known specimen, growing in habitat on the Canary Islands. This tree is estimated to be eight hundred to a thousand years old. The cluster behind a terracotta wall are at Lotusland in Santa Barbara California, and closer to a hundred years old.