If you have a Madagascar dragon tree and are active in social media houseplant groups, you can probably relate to the feeling of jealousy when someone says that their Dracaena marginata is flowering. But don’t feel bad – flowering indoors is extremely rare for these plants, and is much more likely in their native habitat. In this article, we’ll go over what is most likely to encourage those elusive flowers, as well as how to promote healthy dragon tree growth in general.
What You'll Learn Today
Do Dragon Trees Bloom?
The short answer is: sometimes. While Madagascar dragon trees regularly bloom in their native subtropic and tropical climates, flowers are rare for houseplants.
Those who live in areas with high humidity and heat have a higher chance of seeing their dragon trees bloom when kept outside. They can be grown outdoors year-round in plant hardiness zones 10-11.
If you live in a cooler climate, you might be able to coax your dragon tree to flower, but only under near-perfect growing conditions. They have the best chance of flowering when you pay close attention to the following:
Dragon trees can take 10-15 years to flower in their natural environment
These plants tolerate low humidity, but they prefer high humidity. Many dragon tree owners report that their plants look healthier and send out more foliage when the air is more humid.
Dragon trees like to be warm. The ideal temperature for this plant is anywhere from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll likely notice symptoms of stress when the temperature is under 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the most common mistakes people make with dragon trees is overwatering. They only need to be watered when the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. Depending on the conditions in your home, this could be anywhere from once every 1-3 weeks.
It can be tricky to find the perfect lighting for a dragon tree. They enjoy bright light but place it too close to direct sunlight and its leaves may get scorched.
Keep in mind that even the happiest, healthiest dragon trees often just won’t flower indoors. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the environment that you’ve provided for them.
How Do I Encourage My Dragon Tree to Grow?
Dragon trees grow very slowly, and it’s normal behavior for them to take a while to start growing after bringing it home. But if you’ve had it for months, or years, and you haven’t noticed any growth, you might have some troubleshooting to do.
If you’re hoping that your Madagascar dragon tree will eventually gift you some flowers, you will need to get it growing properly. Here are some potential causes for stunted growth in dragon trees:
- Not enough water: Plants that are underwatered won’t get the nutrients they need to flourish and grow.
- Not enough light: Dragon trees cannot photosynthesize properly without enough light.
- Overwatering: It’s important for plants to get the oxygen they need to grow. They can’t do this when they’re sitting in too much water.
- Needs to be repotted: If your dragon tree’s roots are a tangled mess, or they’re too close together in the pot, your plant needs a bigger pot and some fresh soil.
- Overfertilizing: Well-meaning plant lovers sometimes fertilize more than they need to, which can poison a dragon tree.
How Do You Fertilize a Dragon Tree?
Fertilizing your plants is a great way to encourage growth and keep them happy. But all plants have different needs when it comes to feeding.
Dragon trees are not fussy about fertilizer and don’t even need any to thrive as long as their other living conditions are adequate. However, it may enjoy the extra nutrients enough to jump-start growth.
To fertilize your dragon tree, you can feed it up to once per month during the growing season – about mid-April to mid-October. Dracaenas naturally slow down their growth during the winter, so they won’t need feedings during those months.
Dragon trees don’t require any special type of fertilizer. They’ll happily accept any commercial, all-purpose, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
For more information on the science behind fertilizer, and how to feed your dragon tree, check out this video:
If you’ve gone through all the available advice and your dragon tree still refuses to flower, try not to be disappointed. You’re certainly not in the minority! A healthy, growing plant with lush, beautiful foliage is still a major win.
If you need more information about your dragon tree, here is our guide to trimming it correctly.