For the dragon tree to remain as a houseplant for a long time, it needs the right fertilization. We show what you have to pay attention to when fertilizing dragon trees.
Green houseplants are back in fashion right now. In addition to Monstera, Maranta & Co., what should not be missing in any apartment is the so-called dragon tree ( Dracaena ). Despite its palm-like appearance, it belongs to the asparagus family (Asparagales). There are about 50 different species within the genus, but only the smaller ones find a place in our house as house plants.
The dragon lily, as the plant is also known, rarely blooms in our apartments, but it impresses with its vigor and its beautifully variegated leaves in green, white, or red. For your dragon tree to thrive, it needs sufficient water and nutrients take up. However, the substrate in the pot is limited, which is why you should fertilize your dragon tree regularly so that there are no deficiency symptoms and you can enjoy your houseplant for a long time.
As a rule, dragon trees are relatively frugal and easy to care for. Nevertheless, there are some aspects to consider when it comes to the supply of nutrients to the houseplant. We will explain below when and with what best to fertilize your dragon tree.
When is the dragon tree fertilized?
In addition to a sunny to partially shaded location, dragon trees prefer a slightly acidic substrate (pH value between 6 and 7). Commercially available potting soil is usually very suitable for the cultivation of dragon trees. If necessary, you can also mix the selected substrate with a little peat or coffee grounds to ensure optimal conditions. When planting, it is also advisable to work some fertilizer granulate into the soil.
The greatest growth in the dragon tree takes place from March to August. During this period you should therefore fertilize regularly. You can apply liquid fertilizer with the irrigation water every two weeks. However, you should pay attention to the correct dosage to avoid over-fertilization. The following principle applies to dragon trees: sometimes less is more.
A better and more sustainable alternative to liquid mineral fertilizers is fertilizers with organic long-term effects. These only have to be administered every few months, as they continue to supply nutrients even after a long period of time due to the constant decomposition via microorganisms.
In the winter months, the dragon tree usually does not grow as fast due to the lower radiation intensity and therefore hardly needs any nutrients. If the dragon tree is cool in winter, you can do it without fertilization entirely. However, if the plant continues to be cultivated at normal room temperature, it is advisable to continue giving it a small dose of fertilizer every few months. Spring (February) is the best time to repot the dragon tree, and fresh substrate ensures that the plant has enough nutrients available again. In addition, repotting loosens the soil and improves permeability.
Recognize deficiency symptoms in the dragon tree
If the leaves of the dragon tree change color, this can have very different causes: Excessive solar radiation, waterlogging, fungal diseases, pest, or bacterial infestation. A combination of different causes is also possible. If your dragon tree is drooping, it is probably due to a lack of water. However, if the dragon tree suffers from a lack of nutrients, this is usually manifested by the discoloration of the leaves or by stunted growth of newly developing leaves. The main problem with dragon trees is a lack of iron.
The leaves turn yellow while the leaf veins remain conspicuously green. However, this deficiency can be counteracted by administering a commercially available liquid fertilizer that contains sufficient iron. It is best to also check the pH value of the substrate because the iron absorption changes (and worsens) as the pH value rises to the basic range.
When is the dragon tree fertilized?
- When planting, work some granular fertilizer into the substrate
- Fertilize regularly between March and August
- Apply liquid fertilizer about every two weeks
- Apply fertilizer with long-term organic effects about every three months
- Fertilize little or no fertilizer in winter
- Repot and replace substrate in spring
- Pay attention to deficiency symptoms
What is the best fertilizer for the dragon tree?
There are various options to choose from for the optimal supply of nutrients to your dragon tree. Below we go into the advantages and disadvantages of organic and mineral fertilizers. We also introduce you to some tried and tested home remedies for fertilization.
Organically fertilize dragon tree: instructions
If you have your own compost from the garden or a worm box, you can use it to fertilize the dragon tree. It is best to mix the ripe compost into the potting soil when repotting in spring. If you do not have such a natural fertilizer on hand, organic fertilizer with organic long-term effects is the right choice.
What are the advantages of organic fertilizer with an organic long-term effect?
- Long-term supply of nutrients to the dragon tree through constant decomposition via microorganisms in the soil
- Improvement of the structural condition of the substrate
- Because it does not use chemicals, it is particularly gentle on plants, people, and animals
Our Gardender organic universal fertilizer is a herbal long-term fertilizer made primarily from organic raw materials. It contains all the important nutrients your dragon tree needs to grow. The high proportion of nitrogen promotes plant growth and leaf formation. The phosphorus and potassium contained are important for the cell structure and the water balance of the plant, among other things. In the case of needs-based fertilization, of course, it is not just a question of the right composition, but also the optimal dosage of the nutrients. So that you provide your dragon tree with the right amount of fertilizer, we have prepared detailed instructions for you as follows.
Long-term organic fertilization: Instructions & dosage quantities for dragon trees
- When planting about 3 to 5 g per liter of pot volume (1 to 2 teaspoons) of our Gardender organic universal fertilizer lightly work into the soil
- Water the freshly inserted dragon tree well so that the granules can loosen
- Add 2 to 5 g per liter of pot volume (1 to 2 teaspoons) about every three months to optimally support the dragon tree in its development
Fertilize the dragon tree with minerals
Mineral liquid fertilizers are very popular for supplying indoor plants, as the nutrients they contain are in pure form and are therefore directly available for the plant. The fertilizing effect is therefore usually only of short duration and replenishment must be provided regularly. In addition, due to the simple solubility of the nutrient salts in dragon trees, over-fertilization can quickly occur. Organic fertilizers work much more slowly than mineral fertilizers because they only have to be gradually broken down by microorganisms, but they promote the development of your dragon tree more sustainably and also improve the structural properties of the substrate.
Fertilize the dragon tree with coffee grounds and the like
You may have heard of the fact that indoor plants can be fertilized with coffee grounds. In fact, the actual waste product still contains some vital plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Sour coffee grounds are also ideal for dragon trees because they help to keep the pH value in the substrate in the acidic range, even though lime-rich tap water is regularly poured, for example. It is best to collect the brew and dry it so that mold does not form during storage. Then sprinkle some of the powder around the plant every few months and work it lightly into the soil. Smaller amounts can also be diluted with water and administered via irrigation water.
Another fertilizer tip that should be questioned is watering potatoes with unsalted cooking water. The potato water should be collected after the boiling process and used for watering when it has cooled down. However, there is hardly any information on the nutrient content of this fertilization method. In general, only fertilizing with household remedies is not recommended, it is best to add a primarily organic fertilizer to meet the nutritional needs of your dragon tree.
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