Friday, May 14, 2010

There be {Dragons} here...

I thought I had posted pictures of this plant previously, but apparently—though I have mentioned it a few times—I never got round to uploading pics of it. So, here's the story.

Several years back when my mom was in the hospital, one of my sisters sent her a plant labeled as "mixed greens." It was a cute little arrangement, a variety of leafy greens. Mom not having much of a green thumb, the plant—which was about 6 inches in height at that time—came to me when she returned home. I set it in front of my living room window, which gets sun a good portion of the day, and tried to remember to water it once a week. It grew. And it grew. And —

I think you can see where I am going with this.

The thing insisted on growing, no matter how much I (inadvertently) neglected it. Before long, what had been a cute little plant of a few inches was a foot tall. And then two feet. When it was about four feet tall, I became more curious as to what kind of plant it was—and how much taller it would get. The Internet was of no use in this quest, having no idea where to start. Then I got the idea one day to walk down to Johansen's and see if they might have anything similar. It did not take me long to find what I was looking for. I believe my initial reaction, once I picked my jaw up off the floor, was "it's a friggin' tree!?"

Yes, the EXTREMELY TALL plant identical to mine was labeled "Dragon Tree."

So, I now had a name I could search on. I must say, I was a little perturbed with what I read. Sure, it is easy to care for. The Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) is native to African jungles, so it likes moderate levels of light and water, which makes it an easy plant to grow. I have found various heights mentioned for this plant, ranging anywhere from 7-10 feet and up to 15-20 feet. Mine is already at five feet, nearly as tall as I am. With its narrow, red-tinged green leaves, it resembles a palm tree, and drops the bottom leaves as it grows. The leaves are generally 12-16 inches in length.

According to what I've read, you can train multiple plants to twine round each other. I'd be happy if I could just get mine to grow a bit straighter without tying it up. You can also cut off the top of the cane and root it as you would any stem cutting. Though that may be interesting to try, I think one tree is more than enough in my small space.

Here is another look at mine, from a slightly different angle. I really hope it doesn't grow to be more than ten feet tall!

The other plants in this pot were also among the "mixed greens" sent by my sister. I still have no idea what they are, but they have fared as well as the Dragon tree. The two other plants in this picture, to left of the Dragon, are philodendrons. The one in the beige pot was rooted from the one in the white pot at the far left. They won't quit growing, either. LOL


Alice Audrey said...

Mr. Al is always bringing home stray plants like that. The house has turned into a jungle. His plants are starting to choke out mine, and I had a bunch to begin with.

Heather said...

Sounds like a lot of plants. I'm more than content with just my three for the moment - especially considering how big they are. lol

Alice Audrey said...

I've lost count of them, and some - like the Elephant Ears - get pretty big.

D.M. SOLIS said...

This is a wonderful plant I've had in my yard. It is beautiful all year round and if you put it in the ground, in the right micro-climate and soil, can grow as high as sixteen feet or more. It's easy to work with (tidy and not difficult to maintain--offshoots can be allowed to grow or nipped off easily), and makes a beautiful sculpture and silhouette in the hard. Thank you for posting this. Peace and all good!


Alice Audrey said...

You know, I think I might have one of these.

Heather said...

Alice: What are the odds? You'll have to share a pic of yours!

I'm in an apartment, so ground planting is not an option. Good to know they do as well outside as in, though.