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Description

The Dragon tree is often planted as a special interest feature plant in ornamental landscapes and gardens in many parts of the Inland Empire. Over time it will grow into a medium size tree with a stout succulent trunk up to 25 ft. tall. As plants mature, they develop broad crowns comprised of many branches extending outward to form a bold canopy shape. Gray-green foliage is comprised of 2 ft. long sword-shaped leaves; creamy-white flowers occur in large spikes above the foliage and are followed by bright orange berries.

Native to Mediterranean climates on the Canary Islands, the dragon tree is one of the most unusual plants for ornamental landscapes. It is highly adapted to warm and sunny climate exposures and easily adapts to annual summer drought. It shows sensitivity to cold temperatures below 25°F and should be planted in warm microclimate areas. Young plants are often grown in containers and raised planters to display their character as their trunks mature.

Like other succulent-type plants, the dragon tree grows best in well-drained soils with infrequent summer watering. It takes many years to achieve tall and large specimen stature, but it is well worth the effort as few plants provide such unique character.

Water Needs

The Dragon tree easily grows with the normal winter rainfall throughout the Inland Empire, and will little or no summer water once established. The chart shown below provides a baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 25 ft.
Width: 25 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Blue green
Flower Color: Cream
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil
Exposure Adaptations: All day sun
Function: Specimen, Foliage accent plant, Container plant, Courtyard and patio tree

Maintenance

Remove any dead dried lower leaves as necessary. Best planted fall through spring (D).

References

Associations

Plant Lists