Dracaena marginata

Madagascar Dragon Tree is one of 40 species of Dra- caena. Most are tropical plants of the Old World; only one (D. americiana) is native to the New World. They have been grown for ornament for more than 100 years, first of all in greenhouses, later indoors. They are also highly prized in today’s centrally-heated houses, for their decorative evergreen foliage. D. marginata, native to Madagascar, has a slender stem which grows to a height of 5 m (16 ft) in a greenhouse but is much shorter in indoor cultivation. It is white and marked with dark scars left by fallen leaves. The narrow, lanceolate leaves, embracing the stem with their base, are about 40 cm (16 in) long and only 2 cm wide. They are fairly tough, upright, and dark green with brownish-red margins.

It requires quite a high temperature, a well ventilated location and plenty of diffused light. The compost should be kept constantly wet. Sponge the leaves frequently. Propagate by tip or stem cuttings, or by seed. Cuttings require a temperature of about 25°C (77°F) for rooting and seeds require the same temperature for germination.

The type is cultivated only rarely, but its cultivars are Dracaena deremensis very popular. The upright stems are thickly covered with nar- rowly lanceolate leaves up to 50 cm (20 in) long and 5 cm (2 inch) wide. If left unpruned, the plants can grow to a height of 5 m (16 ft). The leaves of the type are green; those of the cultivars ‘Bausei’ and ‘Lemon Strip’ are striped.

Both cultivars require a light position, protected from direct sunlight. They are quite sensitive to temperature; the optimum temperature being 20°C (68° F). They grow well in hydroponic cultivation. The cultivation of pot-grown plants is the same as for D. marginata .

Dracaena sanderiana

This species is of typical, slender, low-growing habit. It has curved, broadly lanceolate leaves, only 15-25 cm (6-8 in) long and 1-3 cm (0.5-1 inch) wide. They are striped green and silver.

This Dracaena has quite demanding heat and humidity requirements. Other cultivation requirements are the same as for D. marginata .

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