The Magical Dragon Tree Plant

dragon tree plantLet’s take a moment to talk about the magical dragon tree plant–once you’re done “ooing” and “ahhing,” over the mystical and enticing name of this very special plant, that is.

All done? Okay. Good. Now we can move onto why you should be keeping a dragon tree plant, also known as Dracaena massangeana, or the mass cane plant, in your home.

What is a Mass Cane Plant?

This species of the Dracaena plant is a well loved household plant that is best known for its (almost magical) air purifying abilities. It originally hails from deep in the jungles of Madagascar but is well adapted to indoor life when properly cared for. You have probably noticed this popular indoor plant in offices and homes without realizing–it often stands out as being incredibly attractive, but there’s more to it than that!

Why You Need a Mass Cane Plant

If you enjoy the pleasant ambiance that indoor plants can bring to the home or office but are looking for one that can offer both beauty and functionality, the mass cane plant is the indoor plant for you. The plant itself is striking with its tall, woody stalks and sharp emerald bundles of high-perched, leafy-green clusters that almost resemble a plot of miniature palm trees when potted.

But this plant isn’t all looks! The dragon tree plant is also well adept at filtering harmful household pollutants out of the air, especially xylene and trichloroethylene which can both cause significant risk to human health. Its use isn’t as broad-spectrum as a properly installed air purifier, but with a few placed strategically around the house in tandem with other air-purifying house plants, you can build yourself a relatively effective (and quite aesthetically pleasing) home or office air purification system. It’s not going to rid the air completely of the type of toxins that cause allergies or asthma, but it can do a good job of keeping certain toxins to a minimum.

Mass Cane Plant Care

As mentioned, this plant originates from the jungle climates of Madagascar, so it’s important to care for it properly if you want it to thrive and grow in the home or office environment. Luckily, the plant doesn’t require too much maintenance. They naturally grow lower down on the jungle floor, so they need a mixture of light and shade–but please, no direct sunlight!

The plant should be potted in standard potting soil or hydroculture. Try to keep the soil moist but not overly-saturated by watering once a week, and water less frequently in the winter. There is no need to feed this plant. It thrives best at temperatures between 60-75°F.

If desired, the individual stalks of the plant can be braided together to create an aesthetically pleasing affect as it grows and ages. The brades may loosen over time, but the plant is resilient–simply unbraid the loose braids and re-braid over time. Tie the plant with gardening tape or wire to keep braids in place.

As the plant matures, some of the leaves will begin to go yellow in color. This is completely normal–just make sure to trim off the dying leaves to keep your aging plant healthy.

Mass Cane Plant Placement

If you notice your plant’s leaves turning brown or grey rather than yellow, this is a sign that the conditions are too cold, not that the plant is dying. Try to move the plant to a warmer environment. Remember, after all, that the mass cane is a tropical plant and needs to live in conditions that simulate its natural environment. If you notice that your plant’s leaves begin to curl up and inwards, it is receiving too much sunlight and is attempting to protect itself! So be a pal and move it somewhere better shaded.

You can really place this plant anywhere you would like as long as you keep in mind that it does need to be in a semi-shaded environment. We also recommend keeping this plant on the ground as they can grow to be up to 6 feet in height! A corner space or open area next to your desk are examples of ideal locations to keep the cane plant, but feel free to get more creative.

Pet Alert!

Something important to keep in mind if you have furry friends is that the dragon plant can be harmful and even poisonous to cats and dogs. Its leaves contain toxic compounds known as saponins which can cause vomiting with blood, lethargy, loss of appetite, excessive salivation and dilated pupils in cats and dogs–so it’s important to keep Rover at bay. So it might be better for pet owners to get a real air purifier to get rid of those stinky pet smells!  If you do decide to keep one of these plants in a household where pets are a part of the family, place them in rooms that your pets do not have access to or block off the plant area with with a pet gate.

There are so many house plant options to choose from when you walk into the gardening section that it can be overwhelming. Hopefully, you now feel a bit more confident in making your indoor house plant decision. The Dragon Plant is a great option for those looking for both beauty and air purification qualities, so why not pick up one (or a few) today!

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