Dracaena Tarzan Care

Dracaena Tarzan in Nursery Pot | Greenery NYC


The Dracaena ‘Tarzan’ is a cultivar of Dracaena marginata, aka Red Edged Dracaena or the Madagascar Dragon Tree. Discovered by chance just over a decade ago in Homestead Florida, the Dracaena ‘Tarzan’ has thicker leaves and a thicker trunk than its genetic predecessor. It appreciates medium to medium high light, but is more accepting of low light conditions than standard Dracaenas.

Choose a location away from air vents and drafts, in a room where there’s natural light coming in from at least one window.

Dracaenas are averse to cold and cannot tolerate frost. Make sure you keep it away from an open window during the winter, as it will die within hours of exposure.

PRO TIP: Rotate your tree once a month to keep it standing straight and tall. Dracaenas can become unbalanced a with denser foliage on one side of the plant if they aren’t rotated regularly.

Routine Maintenance

Like most dracaenas, ‘Tarzans’ need periods of dryness between waterings. If keeping to a regular schedule, do not water more than once a week. However dracaena ‘Tarzans’ do not like it too dry, and respond better when the soil is kept slightly moist (never soggy). They prefer not to have the soil dry out completely.

The Dracaena ‘Tarzan’ appreciates humidity in the air. If the air is too dry or cold, the tips of the leaves can start to turn brown. Occasionally misting your plant can help combat this problem.

For the most part, the Dracaena ‘Tarzan’ is not as susceptible to disease as other popular indoor plants.

PRO TIP: If the tips of your dracaena get brown, you don’t need to cut the whole leaf off. Rather, you can trim off the brown material at an angle. Prune a ‘V’ shape, mirroring the organic shape of the leaves, and your dracaena will look good as new.

Standard Planter Instructions

Water requirements depend on the tree’s size. To test the moisture of the soil, stick a finger down a couple of inches. If the top inch or two of the soil is still moist then there is no need to water. Wait a few days and check again, when the top few inches are dry, give your plant a drink.

Your drecaena’s watering routine will depend on how dry the air is and how much sunlight it receives. Typically dracaena ‘Tarzans’ require water once a week. We recommend checking moisture levels regularly until you establish a routine with your new plant.

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid drenching of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water once a week until the topsoil is moist. TEST: After two weeks, fill the reservoir up half-way, and keep an eye on the indicator. If the indicator goes down, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to water weekly until it does.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Dracaena ‘Tarzans’ appreciate not having their soil dry out completely, so once the reservoir is empty, wait 2-5 days before you refill.

Once you start using the reservoir, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. Even if the soil is dry, water only using the reservoir.

Step 1: Top water for two weeks. The indicator will look empty, like the picture above.

Step 2: Fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line.

Step 3: Watch the indicator over the next day or two. If it goes down on its own, it means the roots of the plant have grown into the reservoir. From here on out, ONLY water in the reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! The leaves of my new dracaena turning yellow.

  • There’s a period of adjustment that all plants go through when settling in to new environments. However, dracaenas are particularly sensitive to transplant shock. Your new dracaena may lose a few leaves when it first enters your space, but this is normal behavior that will subside in a couple of weeks once the plant gets comfortable with its new surroundings.

Why are the leaves on my dracaena turning brown?

  • The most common reasons are under or over watering. Dracaena ‘Tarzans’ do not like their soil to completely dry out, but the soil should never be so damp that it’s soggy. If the leaves have brown tips or yellow edges, it could be from dry or cold air.

Why are there brown spots developing on the leaves?

  • Leaf spotting can happen for many different reasons. However, dracaenas in particular are sensitive to fluoride in the water, and can accumulate it in their systems over time. If your dracaena exhibits these symptoms, leave your water out overnight before you administer it to the plant. Many of the chemicals in the water, including fluoride, will evaporate when exposed to air.

How do I water my self-watering container?

  • Do not fill the reservoir when you first receive the tree. Water on top, in the soil for the first two weeks, then fill the reservoir. If the red reservoir indicator goes down on its own over the next couple of days, it means your plant’s roots have grown into the reservoir and will begin drinking from it. If the red indicator doesn’t go down on its own, continue top watering for another week and try again. Once the indicator starts going down on its own, it is important to NEVER water from the top. It can drown your tree. Only refill the reservoir.

How fast will my plant grow?

  • The growth of your plant depends on its access to light and water. Dracaenas are typically more slow growing than other houseplants. In ideal conditions, with bright indirect light and consistent moisture, Dracaena ‘Tarzans’ can gain 6-8″ in height per year.

Why are the new leaves on my dracaena so small?

  • This is due to lack of good light. While dracaenas are tolerant of low light conditions, they will not thrive. Like any living organism, plants need food to grow, and light is their primary source of food.

Can I put my fiddle leaf ficus next to the AC / heater?

  • Dracaenas are tropical plants that appreciate a humid environment. If conditions are too try they will drop their leaves. While dracaenas will thrive in an air conditioned apartment, always avoid putting them in the direct line of fire for either AC or heating units. If their leaves are wagging from the air, it’s best to find another spot.

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