Madagascar Dragon Trees need to be repotted so infrequently that it’s easy to forget how to do it properly. These easygoing, slow-growing plants typically only need to be repotted every 2-3 years. In this article, we’ll help you figure out when to repot your dragon tree, and how to do it.
What You'll Learn Today
- How Do You Know When to Repot a Dragon Tree?
- How Do You Repot a Dragon Tree?
- What Kind of Soil Does a Dragon Tree Need?
How Do You Know When to Repot a Dragon Tree?
Even if you create the best possible environment for your plant, they all need to be repotted at regular intervals. This varies greatly among different types of plants.
Here’s when dragon trees should be repotted:
When it’s Been 2-3 Years
As a general rule, you shouldn’t need to re-pot your dragon tree until it’s been at least two years. If it still has more room to grow in the pot, the soil is draining nicely, and it seems healthy, you might be able to stretch that to three years.
When it Outgrows its Pot
Dragon trees should be repotted when they outgrow their current pot. You’ll know this is happening if you see roots rising out of the topsoil, or coming out of the drainage holes.
This normally won’t happen before the suggested repotting time anyways since these plants grow so slowly.
When it Becomes Root Bound
The roots of a dragon tree tend to grow much more quickly than the tree itself. As a result, it’s common for the roots to start filling up the pot.
Dragon trees don’t mind being a little root-bound. So normally, you don’t need to worry about repotting a root-bound dragon tree until it’s been two years since the last repotting.
However, if your plant starts showing symptoms like wilting, or smaller, off-color leaves, you may want to check the roots. If they are severely compacted, then there isn’t enough room for growth, and it needs to be repotted.
Root Rot is Present
If your dragon tree is dropping excessive leaves and the stems near the soil line are discolored, you may want to check on the roots. Diseased roots will look black, squishy, and slimy.
Root rot occurs when a fungus enters through the roots and is usually caused by overwatering. It can also happen when the plant’s soil is not draining well.
To treat a mild case of root rot, trim off the affected section of roots and repot in fresh soil. If it has spread throughout the root system, you may have to discard the plant.
How Do You Repot a Dragon Tree?
Repotting a large dragon tree might seem intimidating, but the process is actually very simple. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Choose Your Container
Your dragon tree’s pot should be no bigger than 2-3 inches larger than the root ball. When a plant is in an oversized container, there is more water than the plant can handle. This can lead to root diseases.
Make sure the pot you choose has drainage holes, so that excess water can flow out of the pot as needed.
Step 2: Remove the Plant From its Pot
Lay the plant gently on its side. If it’s in a plastic pot, squeeze the sides of the pot to ease the plant out.
You can also tap the bottom of the pot to coax it out. If your dragon tree is stubborn, you can try to carefully slide a garden trowel along the inner edge of the pot to loosen the soil.
Step 3: Loosen the Roots
Try to get as much of the old soil out of the roots as you can by using your fingers to loosen the dirt.
Brush out any tangled roots and loosen them up, again using your fingers. You’ll want the roots to be hanging down, rather than curved along the edge of the pot.
Step 4: Add Soil and the Plant
Fill the pot with soil until the dragon tree will sit on top of it with the top of its root ball 2-3 inches below the top of the container. Then, fill in the spaces around the plant with soil, covering the roots.
Step 5: Water Thoroughly
Give your dragon tree a nice, deep watering. Water the tree slowly until water flows out of the drainage holes and the soil is evenly moist.
What Kind of Soil Does a Dragon Tree Need?
Dragon trees are not fussy about the type of soil they’re in, thankfully. Any kind of commercial, all-purpose soil will do.
If you mix your own potting soil, make a mixture that is one part peat, one part soil, and one part vermiculite.
Just make sure that the soil you choose is well-draining, and not too heavy. If you want to watch someone repot a dragon tree before you tackle it, check out this video:
If you’re a novice plant owner, repotting your dragon tree will likely turn out to be easier than you thought it would be. These plants are tough and fairly forgiving, so they can take a little bit of abuse while transplanting with no issues. As long as you take your time and continue to provide some occasional TLC, your dragon tree should flourish.