Dragon Tree Seedlings Propagated From Seeds!

This is truly a happy day! As I’d mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been attempting to propagate dragon trees (also known as drago trees and Dracaena draco trees). The cuttings from my mature dragon tree have been thriving in containers filled with ordinary potting soil (see my previous May 26 post for more detailed information on this method of dragon tree propagation). The tree cuttings were too beautiful to throw away! But now, the seeds from this tree have themselves begun to sprout! I’m stunned beyond belief! I’ll document their growth progress on this blog, but already the seedlings are producing very tiny characteristic sword-like leaves. Incredible.

HOW TO: The seeds produced by this tree are actually attached to large seed stalks that emerge from a mature dragon tree (see my May 26 post to see a close up picture of the seed stalk). I’d initially planted ripe, whole bright orange seed “berries” into a 5-gallon container of potting soil and watered a few times a week. Nothing happened for one month, so I dug out the “berries.” The orange flesh had not decomposed during this time. I removed the orange flesh covering the hard seeds and replanted the seeds in their container. As you can see in the photo, there are two seedlings. The one on the left is still connected to its seed, looking like a little snail! In this single 5-gallon container, I planted a total of 12 orange-flesh removed dragon tree seeds, in hopes that at least one would sprout. In time, 10 more may emerge. A dozen baby dragon trees in one pot may be in my future! As the trees become more mature, they may be ready to be transferred from container to planting directly into the ground. In my May 24 post, you’ll see why this tree is not meant to be a “forever” container plant! Keep reading this blog for future posts on this developing story!

NOTE: If you are planting dragon tree seeds that have been pre-processed or already “de-fleshed” of its orange “berry” flesh, I have no information about the level of success one might achieve by propagating dragon trees in that fashion. Does the orange flesh have properties that protect or nourish the hard seed to ensure successful propagation? Does the orange flesh not matter? I’m not sure!

Perhaps visitors of this blog who have had success propagating dragon trees with pre-processed or “de-fleshed” dry dragon tree seeds can share their success stories. I’ll try to propagate, in a separate container, dragon trees with some “de-fleshed” dry dragon tree seeds to see if propagation takes place(there are a few on my driveway, courtesy of hungry birds!). So, it’s taken a little shy of two months for my dragon tree seeds to sprout. It’s such a short wait to see the beginning of a what will be a majestic tree. I’ve never grown trees from seed (or cuttings) before, so I’m completely in awe. Wow!


40 Responses

  1. Hi and well done!

    I also love these trees and i managed to get some seeds.
    How things went with your experiment? The de-fleshed versus ordinary one.

    Lovely posts you have.


    • Hi, Franz,
      Nice to meet another dragon tree lover. The de-fleshed and the ordinary seeds were both successful and sprouted new baby dragon trees. My warmest wishes for your success in propagating your seeds and many thanks for visiting my blog!

      • We have a 3m Dragon Tree that we would like to shift as it has been planted by previous owners of our house in the wrong place with little room to grow. It is not possible to dig up the entire root system – is it possible to shift this tree by cutting it off and planting it again with little or no roots???
        Cheers, Susan

      • Hi, Susan,
        I have successfully propagated my dragon tree by using cut branches of the tree (with no roots) and planting them in containers with ordinary potting soil. It’s been a few years now and they are still alive and one of them has even produced normal seed stalks. So I would say that you have a good chance of having success with cutting the tree off and planting it in a very large container or better yet, directly into the ground. I would recommend that you stake the plant significantly because it will likely be very heavy and can tip over.

        My very best of luck to you on this effort. Please do send me updates on the progress of your tree. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

  2. Hi All;

    So I too am a dragon seed propagator ; )- First I took all the orange off of the seeds, then scarified half of them soaking some in water for 24 hours, 48 hrs. and 72 hours. I buried about 40 seeds in a row directly into the ground (of the scarified seeds) 20 were up in about 6 – 8 weeks. I then took non-scarified seeds (5) planted them in milk containers with the same yard soil and (4) came up within 6 weeks. within 8 weeks, these were already 3 inches tall. Another pot with 10 seeds (i noticed today have 3 up about 1/2 tall. I wish i’d seen your posts earlier but it seems we have had mostly the same results ; )-. As a side note, i did read that the reason they are not populating from seeds in the wild is because it is believed that birds would eat the orange fruit and then the seeds would process through them and into the ground and believed that today, fewer birds are around to eat the fruit than in the past? It was the reason i decided to try to re-create the propagation scenario by removing the orange pulp fruit exterior…

  3. I’ve managed to get a couple of seeds to start about a month apart. My first seed has grown to about 4″ tall and hasn’t seemed to change much over the last 3 or 4 weeks. Is it possible it is growing more of a root system underground at this point, thus not extending upwards right now ? Any suggestions for continued growth ?

    These seeds were done differently. The first was just pushed into the soil (shallow), the second was nicked and put into the same soil. I’m now trying some that I’ve nicked and soaked for 2 days before burying.

    • Hi, Steve,
      From my experience with dragon tree seeds, which are growing in the ground in my backyard, the above-ground vegetation has shown quick growth spurts, followed by slower growth, and then more growth, so your seeds sound fairly typical to me. I do not think any special treatment is needed in this situation.

      The relatively younger dragon tree in my front yard showed hardly any trunk when I moved in over 10 years ago. Now, the trunk is at least 6 feet tall and about 8 inches wide. I never water this tree nor the larger, older tree. Rainy days are the only times they get water, and that is infrequent.

      So, no news is good news! Please let me know if anything changes with your seeds and seedlings, and many thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. I have put seeds into slightly damp peat in a 1/3 full zip lock lunch bags. I put 8 seeds in each bag and kept them on a sunny shelf.
    I put some seeds in which were still slightly fresh and orange and none of them sprouted, but the hard dark seeds did sprout.
    I had some sprout after about 6 weeks and the rest at 8 weeks.
    I have now put them all into plastic cups and eagerly await the resultant success rate. I have also put another 50 hard seeds into bags again, which I soaked in hot water for 20 hours before putting into the bags, so I will let you know if they sprout quicker or better.
    I will also follow up with the success rate of the sprouts.

    • Hi, Lyall,
      Thank you so much for the update on your dragon tree seeds. I wish you great success with your seedlings and very much look forward to hearing back from you with future (happy) news about your dragon tree project!

    • Hello Lyall, Interested in what you have done so far have not been fortunate to get to fgrow from seeds. Have a mature bush 100’s of seeds on and trying to figure best way to get to grow. Do you give the seeds any moisture at all once placed in bag? What or where is a good place to have them spout?


      • Hello Barry,
        I have found that the seeds need to be well dried out, it seems that any seeds that still have the orange skin still on do not seem to germinate. Once the seeds are in the moist peat and in the bags they do not require any more moisture. I placed them in a box with one side open to create a type of hot house effect, and sat the box on a shelf in the garage near a window which had the afternoon sun. Furthermore to my earlier post, the second lot of seeds which I soaked in hot water did not germinate any quicker and out of the fifty seeds about 18 sprouted strongly. Next post I’ll try and attach a photo of my seedlings.

  5. Just an update on the dragon seeds I planted in February, will try and attach photo of my young ones

  6. hi. im in Auckland new Zealand. my 2 dragon trees are outdoors and 8 years old. both seeded last year. blackbirds feasted on the orange berries the in their droppings deposited the inner seeds throughout my garden which have sprouted all over the place. in the warmer parts of the garden the the plants have taken off really well and now at about 5months they’re about 300mm high. I’ve transplanted 10 a few weeks ago into pots and they doing well with a little liquid fish firt. ill try and keep you posted.

    • Congratulations, Brett, on your great success with our dragon trees! Please do keep me posted on your progress, and many thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. Hi there updating ya’s on my baby dragons I potted last June form the seedlings growing around the garden. They’re growing really well and are now averaging 400mm in height. They do however suffer when I leave in the sun during hot periods as the roots get too hot so have placed them in semi shade and in larger pots PB25 size.
    So basically it works fine growing from seed and highly recommend keeping an eye out for mature dragon trees that are seeding and giving it a go they are awesome garden features. We light our 2 big ones up at night as they are in our bar b q area and are about 8 to 10
    Foot tall. Anyway all the best from New Zealand. Have a good year.

    • Brett,
      Hello! Thank you for your very exciting news on your baby dragons and more mature dragons! How very fortunate you are! I wish you continued success with your dragons, and please do drop a note with any further news about them. Wishing you a truly lovely year!

  8. I read before that the seeds don’t like compost, is this not true? I attempted to germinate some in a plastic container with moss and had no luck. I will try with seeding compost now! Thank you.

    • Dear Lukas, I don’t have information on the positives/negatives of using compost for dragon tree seeds. I will say, however, that many bare seeds have rolled down my driveway and onto the ground under the tree, which I never water nor do I plant them – no intervention at all. They still managed to find a way to get into the soil by themselves and germinate. So, keep trying since these seeds are eager to germinate and grow mightily. If compost does not work, try again with some other medium. But please do write again with updates on your progress with your effort to grow in compost. Many thanks for visiting my blog!

  9. I bought a small packet of four defleshed seeds in Lanzarote last year. I planted then in seed compost and one has germinated and is doing well. it is now about ten inches tall and has several leaves.

    • Dear Maggie, That’s lovely news. I hope it will continue to thrive for many years to come. Many thanks for visiting my blog!

  10. Hi there, I live in the Magaliesberg in South Africa. I gathered the dragon seeds in Port Elizabeth. I removed the orange fruit, washed them in a mild bleach diluted water solution, pressed them into river sand with the eye facing the side, the same method for germinating Clivia. The all germinated in 4 weeks, roots are 4/5cm long and the sharp pointed leaves about 3/4cm. I am going to plant these into bags today in a fine sifted mix of soil, mushroom compost and riversand.

    • Dear Pam, Congratulations on the successful germination of your dragon seeds. Please do keep me updated on the progress of your plants as they grow. Many thanks for visiting my blog!

  11. I have, like others grown a few plants from seed bought in Tenerife. They germinated around May and I now have 4 small plants growing nicely indoors in the North of England. All 4 are about 6 inches tall. I was wondering what to do next. Will they need bigger pots, leaves cutting back etc. Or just leave them to do their own thing. The pots they are in now are only about 4 inch circumference and 6 inches tall.

    • Dear Alan, Very pleased to hear that you have been successful with your dragon tree seeds. They will most certainly need bigger pots eventually, as my mature trees can attest. Even if grown indoors, although they may grow slowly, they do grow, and the tree’s branches alone are quite heavy when mature, as I can attest after having to remove a few of them with a chain saw. You will have years, most likely, before any decisions to repot, but the roots will continue to grow and for the health of the trees, need enough space to accommodate them. How thrilling to know that you have 4 young trees! Please do keep me updated on the progress of your trees from time to time. And many thanks for visiting my blog!

  12. Can they grow indoors and I have one in a pot and the leaves are yellow any tips

    • Tim lives in boat harbour nsw Australia

    • Dear Tim, Thank you for your note. Yes, dragon tree seedlings/trees can certainly be grown indoors. Leaves can start to yellow and then light brown before they fall off, which is normal. Under normal circumstances, there are new leaves already forming as the current ones fall off. So I would watch and wait before determining if something has gone awry. These trees enjoy soil that is just moist, not soggy, and they need sunlight to thrive. Over- and under-watering and little or no sunlight can stress out these trees, but these are correctable. From experience, these trees, when established, require modest care, but they can grow quite a bit larger (though more slowly indoors), so be sure also that your pot is large and strong enough to accommodate the very strong roots so that it does not get root bound (may require to move to larger pots every number of years, depending on how quickly it is growing). I placed a cutting of a modest sized branch into a plastic container outdoors on bare soil in my back yard and a few years later, the roots broke through the container and is enjoying its life where it is. Hope this helps, and please do let me know how your tree gets on. Thank you for visiting my blog!

      • I have a lot of seedlings growing under existing tree really stoked will try a couple inside

      • Dear Tim, Very glad that you will try a couple of seedlings indoors – much success to you!

  13. hello everyone,
    its great to see all the experience and share.
    I managed to purchase online some seeds and tried many way to plant it.
    first, I put the seed directly into the soil (nothing came out) 2 months and nothing new.
    second, put in a cup of warm water and changed daily, I noticed small white tale grown (I believe its the root system) from the bottom and then it fell off, no idea the reason.
    third, I scrached the orange hard shell and put in a cup of warm water and same result as the second trial.
    any ideas how to proceed with good results? or is there anything missing to be done from my side to have a full grown tree?

    thanks a lot

    • Dear Mohamed, Thank you for your note. The seeds do not require special care. The soil should not be soggy, only moist, so I’d water only once a week at most, so one cup may be too much. Try half of a cup of water. The water that I use is ordinary tap water. The water does not need to be warm or cooled. With or without the orange shell, dragon tree seeds are eager to germinate. If you have not achieved success by planting indoors, I’d recommend trying outdoors (or vice versa). They need only be in an ordinary container with drainage holes in it (plastic container will be fine to germinate seeds).

      I hope this is helpful, but please let me know how your seeds/germination are doing after trying any of these suggestions. Much good luck to you, Mohamed, and thank you for visiting my blog!

      • thanks a lot for your support, I’ll follow the instructions and let you know the updates with pictures, just to let you know, I live in Egypt, hardiness zone to and I have a place with around 16 hours a day direct sunlight.
        thank you again and will keep you updated

      • hi Jane, well l seems that I’m out luck, I have tried many times and they do almost the thing. a small white root comes out and that’s it.
        can you advise a good online website that I can purchase the seeds from?
        thank you dear

      • Dear Mohamed, I would recommend giving your seeds more time to germinate further. A small white root is a sign of successful germination. Assuming you still have these seedlings, if given more time, the small root may become multiple, larger roots.
        I’m not familiar with any online websites that sell dragon tree seeds. What I’d recommend is buying seeds from reputable companies located in countries where many dragon trees are found or are native, such as Australia or Morocco/North Africa, whichever country is closest to your own.

        I hope you are successful in growing a dragon tree from seed. Please do let me know if you are able to germinate any new seeds that you may buy. Much good luck to you!

  14. Hi all, I have just picked some seeds off a tree and managed to collect approximately 130 seeds, about 50% had completely dried out to a hard shell and the rest still have the orange flesh, I removed the seed embryo from all of them and planted all of the seeds just lightly pushed into some potting mix on the first day of spring here in Australia.

    What is the success rate and how many seedlings should I expect from the 130 seeds, I would be happy with just 10 at this stage. thanks in advance

    • Dear Adrian, Very pleased to hear of your dragon treee propagation project. Success rate depends on a variety of factors, including the health of the seeds and the condition and moisture of the soil. I’ve planted only a tiny handful of seeds that have fallen off my tree, both with the orange flesh on (and birds picked them off) and when the seed stalk – still on the tree – dried up and fell to the ground. I’ve not seen a difference in the rate of germination between these two conditions of seeds, and my rate has been at least 50%, and that’s on the very low end for me.

      What has usually happened for me is that dried seed stalks drop their bare (no flesh) seeds and many roll onto my sidewalk and land into the crevice between the sidewalk and my lawn. Most of these seeds start germinating within a few weeks right there. My automatic sprinklers are activated three times a week for about six minutes each time. I’ve not planted them deliberately and I’ve seen this phenomenon in my own yard for over two decades with my mature dragon trees.

      I’ve never picked seeds off the tree and tried propagating them, but am very interested in hearing the outcome of your project. The seeds, from my experience, are very robust, love life, and are eager to grow with very little encouragement. You may have many seedlings (and trees) in your future! I’m very excited for you and hope that you will provide updates from time to time on your project. Wishing you sincerest good luck with your seeds, and many thanks for visiting my blog!

  15. When you took the seeds out of the orange Berry did you dry out the seed or just put it straight in dirt? I’m trying to grow them as well

    • Dear Leona, When I have planted dragon tree seeds, I have used seeds that were stripped of the orange flesh and whole seeds with the flesh still on. Both have produced seedlings and young trees for me. When the flesh is stil on, it takes some time for the flesh to decompose in the soil, eventually exposing the seed. Once the flesh is removed, the inner seed is dry.

      Note, however, that I very seldom deliberately plant my dragon tree seeds. Most of the seeds that fall off the mature tree at my home eventually lose their orange flesh – birds eat them here. Or the seeds, still attached to their stalk, dry out on the tree and fall to the ground. Some roll off my driveway and into the edge of my lawn, where there is moist soil. The seeds “plant” themselves wherever they may rest or wherever birds drop them and they germinate fairly easily, at least for me.

      It may take a few attempts, but patience is helpful. Once established in moist, but not soggy, soil, the seeds will generally germinate and fulfill their “tree destiny.”

      I hope this is helpful, but please do keep me posted occasionally on how your seeds get on, and many thanks for visiting my blog!

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