The Dracaena Colorama is a part of the Asparagaceae family. What makes this plant special amongst its family is its vibrant colored foliage. Dracaena Colorama is native to Mauritius, Madagascar, and Mozambique. The common name for this tree is the Madagascar Dragon Tree.
The average height for this tree, when grown indoors, fully grown would be four to eight feet (1.2-2.4 m). When grown outdoors the tree’s height can reach up to 20 feet (6 m). The tree has a palm-like appearance and has a woody stem. The leaves of the Colorama are thin and very pointy, which can reach to be ten inches (25 cm) long. The leaves are usually muted yellow and covered in bright pink or white lines.
A rare but possible sight would be this plant’s ability to bloom. A significant factor in its blooming would be whether you grow it indoors or outside. Usually blooming happens in the spring. The flowers of the dragon tree are white.
How To Grow?
Dracaena Colorama will grow nicely in indoor temperatures. The plant can be grown outside in the USDA Hardiness zones 9-11. Because this tree is not cold-hardy, it cannot be left outside in cold weather for long periods, as it can wither away. This plant will need warm even temperatures to thrive.
Temperatures from 65 to 80°F (18.3-26.7°C) are ideal for growing this tree comfortably. Temperatures lower than 50°F (10°C) will not be tolerated by this tree. Do not place the Colorama in front of heating vents or air conditioning. To help the plant thrive make sure the humidity levels stay between 30 and 40 percent.
Dracaena Colorama is toxic to cats and dogs. When ingested the plant can cause stomach irritations, vomiting, and excess drooling. Keep the plant away from animals and children.
To help maintain the plants’ colorful foliage it will need brighter light compared to its family members. The perfect place indoors would be in a mostly sunny room, placement should be away from direct sunlight.
In a garden, place it somewhere the plant can get filtered sunlight and where it is slightly sheltered. If the dragon tree gets sunburned it can change the color of its foliage permanently. To keep this from happening you can gradually introduce the tree to brighter sunlight moving it towards a sunnier spot over two weeks.
If the leaves are pale and new ones are significantly smaller then the plant is not getting enough light. Do not mist the tree when placed under direct sunlight as this can make it easy for sunburn to appear.
Watering should be done once a week in the spring and autumn. During colder months water your plant every two weeks. Let top of the soil dry out about two inches (5 cm) in between watering. You can check the dryness of the soil by sticking your finger into the soil.
Water the plant until you see water coming out of the pot’s drainage holes, and remove any water that pools at the saucer. If the leaves are turning deep yellow before turning brown and falling off the plant isn’t getting enough water. To help the plant thrive even better you can mist it regularly.
The plant goes dormant from October to March, decreasing watering during that time. Drought tolerance is something this plant does not have so be careful of underwatering and overwatering.
The Madagascar Dragon Tree is very sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals found in tap water so try and use distilled water. To get rid of chlorine, you can also leave tap water out for at least 24 hours before applying it to plants.
Soil and Fertilizer
The best soil would be the type where it has plenty of vermiculite or perlite added to it. This will ensure good drainage. Soil needs to be loamy and well-draining. The soil pH levels should be between 7 and lower, meaning neutral to acidic. You can use premium-quality succulent or cactus soil for your Madagascar Dragon Tree.
Feeding your tree slightly too much can cause fertilizer burn. To avoid that you can feed the plant after watering. Fertilize the plant from late March until the end of summer with a fertilizer diluted to half strength. If the plant has just been planted or repotted, it will not require fertilizer. The fertilizers you choose to use should be rich in nitrogen.
Propagation can be done through stem cuttings:
- Use clean and sharp scissors or shears;
- Choose and cut a stem with at least two leaves attached to it;
- Dip the cut in rooting hormones (optional);
- Plant the cut into recommended soil;
- Keep the soil moist by watering and misting it regularly;
- Place the cutting under indirect sunlight;
Roots will form anywhere from two to eight weeks.
The best time for repotting would be in the spring. Repotting should be done when you notice its roots crawling out of the drainage holes. Because you are dealing with a slow-growing plant repotting might only be needed every two years.
The Madagascar Dragon tree will reach its full size in about ten years. After repotting do not feed your tree until a year after. This plant enjoys being a little root-bound. When choosing a new pot make sure it is only two inches (5 cm) wider from the previous one.
When first getting a Madagascar Dragon tree pruning isn’t needed until after the bark of the tree is showing and the first leaves have fallen to its base on their own. The stem of the tree should develop entirely in three to five years. When the tree is mature it is best to prune the top of the plant.
This way you can keep the tree from growing too tall and help give it a more bushy look. Use clean and sharp scissors or shears or a knife. Cut one-fourth of the main stem. Keep the cutting as you can use it to propagate a new tree. If you don’t want this look for your tree then you can just refrain from pruning altogether. Always cut away any infected or diseased leaves as well.
You may come across diseases such as root rot or leaf spots. To avoid these diseases make sure not to overwater and that the drainage is working properly. To help cure the plant remove any affected leaves with clean and sharp scissors or shears, make sure air circulation around the plant is improved, and finally avoid overwatering. Keep an eye on your tree to spot the problem early on for easy treatment.
Common pests you might have to deal with when growing this tree include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. To remove and treat your plant of these pests use insecticidal soap, alcohol solution, or neem oil according to their instructions. Make sure to keep an eye on your plant to spot the pests early on for easy removal.
The Dracaena Colorama is a colorful and slightly exotic plant to brighten up any garden or household. They are easy to care for and last a long time if grown right. They are also known for purifying the air around them. Perfect for either an expert or a beginner. Fun either way.
If grown outside they can even bless you with beautiful white blooms. There is no need to be afraid to grow and care for more difficult-looking trees as the result of growing one can be very rewarding.