More than 150 species belong to the Dracaena genus, each of which has numerous varieties.
These plants are evergreen and are mainly cultivated for their very ornamental foliage. Generally they are grown in greenhouses or in apartments being plants originating from Africa. As such they do not tolerate cold temperatures.
The Dracaene can reach a height of several meters. The leaves are lanceolate and very leathery, with a tufted growth, which gives them a palm shape and bearing. The flowering is abundant but the flowers are not very visible, and are quite insignificant. Some varieties after flowering produce very colorful berries.
The Madagascar dracena should never be placed in places where temperatures can drop below seven to eight degrees. In the milder areas it can be planted in the garden, in a place very sheltered from winds and frost. The plant does not suffer exposure to the sun even if it prefers a semi-shaded exposure. In the summer period if the plant is in pot it is advisable to place it outside, possibly in a not too sunny position.
During the spring-summer period, the Madagascar dracena plants must be watered abundantly, taking care to periodically spray the leaves. In winter the watering must be very small. In any case it is not advisable to leave water in the saucer: these plants, in fact, do not tolerate water stagnation.
Dracaena comes from the Greek drakaina which means dragon, from the dragon tree (Dracena draco) Canary Islands. The Dracaena marginata in its spontaneous state is much narrower and longer than those normally available on the market. In fact the latter are pruned to increase the branching. This technique can also be used at home, cutting the trunk that has now lost its leaves. Very important is the healing of the wound to avoid the onset of fungal diseases, which often affect this plant. This operation should be practiced in the months of April and May, to encourage the emission of new gems.
The repotting of dracena marginata or Madagascar plants is usually to be done every two or three years, taking care not to greatly increase the size of the pot to avoid altering the right proportions between the aerial apparatus and the radical one. The soil should be very peaty with the addition of pumice stone to increase drainage.
It is very important to supply the dracena marginata with fertilizer to obtain healthy and shiny foliage. We recommend using ternary fertilizers with added iron. During the summer spring period fertilize twice a month. Stop the fertilizations during the winter period.
Dracena of Madagascar - Dracaena marginata: Pests and diseases
The parasites that most frequently attack these plants are cochineals, which form round white and gray scales on the leaves and stems.
To treat the cochineal it is necessary to abundantly spray the plant with white oil mixed with a specific pesticide.
As for diseases, dracaenas suffer a lot from the root rot that attacks the trunk making it soggy. The aerial apparatus can also be affected (irregularly shaped spots of yellowish brown color are formed and, on the underside of the leaf, small rust-colored dots are created). Use a specific fungicide.