Any of the approximately 40 species of trees in the Dracaena family can be referred to as a dragon tree. These plants originated in Greece, but can also be found in Central America, Asia, the United States, or Africa. They may be grown as houseplants, shrubs, or shade trees.
The size and appearance of a dragon tree can vary widely depending on the variety. Specimens that are grown as houseplants may grow in small containers, reaching a height of two to three feet (.6 to .9 m). These types often have leaves that are very long, slender, and dark green in color. The trunks of these varieties may be very light brown with a texture like that of a waffle.
Other succulent shrubs of the Dracaena family can be four to eight feet (1.2 to 2.4 m) in height. These bushes can sometimes have white, cream, tan, or light green blossoms on them. These flowers often attract bees, birds, and butterflies to a backyard garden. They can spread around two feet (.6 m) wide. They are usually propagated, or bred, by dividing the root ball of the plant into smaller units then planting each divided section.
Full-sized varieties can be anywhere from 12 to 15 feet (3.6 to 4.5 m) tall. These trees can have trunks that appear to have several sections to them. The leaves are often found at the top of the tree, in a round, bushy pattern. The Dracaena draco is one variety of dragon tree with these types of leaves. When viewed from a distance, it may somewhat resemble a very large stalk of broccoli.
Most varieties of dragon tree do best when planted in full sunlight, although they can sometimes withstand being placed in partial shade. Generally, they can thrive in many types of soil, but usually prefer the pH balance to be slightly acidic. They typically need only a moderate amount of watering and should not be over-saturated.
Although most types of dragon tree plants are grown as ornamentals, this tree has sometimes been using in making medicines. Many varieties produce a bright red resin, which is sometimes referred to as dragon's blood. This has occasionally been used to treat intestinal disorders and to help stop bleeding.
A person looking for a unique plant that is easy to grow may want to consider getting a dragon tree. These small plants generally require very little maintenance in order to thrive. If kept from freezing, they will often produce deep green foliage for a number of years.