Cultivation and care of the Trunk of Brazil

This more than well-known plant, dresses homes wherever we go. Although it is known as Tronco del Brasil, the truth is that the vast majority of species come from tropical Africa. It was in Brazil where his development became popular so let’s say he got dual citizenship ;-). Let’s see a little how to grow it in our house. We already anticipate that it is not difficult to care for.



As we have already anticipated, this species comes from Africa but it was in Brazil where it achieved fame so it remained as the Trunk of Brazil. It belongs to the Agavaceae family of which we know dozens of species from Africa, although we also have some native to Central America. Its scientific name is  Dracaena fragrans .  The reason for this name is very curious . Dracaena, dragon in Latin, is attributed to him due to the red color of its sap.

Popular beliefs thought it was dragon blood. The fragrance thing is something that we will hardly be able to demonstrate. You may think that it is because it smells good, right? If you already have one at home, I encourage you to smell it…. nothing? It doesn’t smell right? In fact, it is your flowers that must smell great but unfortunately, indoors, we are not going to smell them (and never better said). I have had a Brazilian Trunk at home for more than 15 years and there has been no way. Specifically, the variety that we are going to talk about today is the  Massangeana,  whose leaves are reminiscent of those of corn, with a yellowish area in the center of the leaf. There are more, such as the  Dracaena Deremensis , with a more extreme leaf, dark green and striated with a greyish color, or the Dracaena marginata , also with a narrower leaf, dark green but with reddish edges.


Irrigation:  This is the easy point of its care. In the winter season we will only water it once a month. That’s all. In summer it does require a little more care. We will increase the frequency of irrigation . How often is difficult to estimate because it depends a lot on the type of summer you have where you live, but to orient yourself, you should not let the earth dry out completely. If summer is pressing , sprays of water will be necessary on the leaves.

Light:  As usual, although it tolerates shady places, optimal growth will be achieved with high luminosity but as we have already commented with other plants, never, never, direct exposure . I am very insistent on this but then you will see why.

Substrate:  You can make the mixture you want: mulch and peat, only peat … Only one condition: draining. It has to be a draining substrate. About a third of the substrate should be  sand or other substrates  with this capacity. It can be fertilized during the summer every week or 10 days with liquid compost. I particularly apply it every 15 days (and not always), mixed with irrigation and it has not gone bad for me. I’m still with her after 15 years.

Temperature:  Well, looking at its origin, you can imagine that the optimal temperatures for development are very high. That of a house will be perfect. It does not tolerate less than 14-15 ºC but I doubt that we will reach those temperatures in a house if we use it regularly. Of course, watch out for cold drafts.


  • If the leaves do fall off (usually rare), it can be indicative of excessive watering and low temperatures.
  • Leaf burns. That’s why he was so insistent about not leaving her in full sunlight. It may be the cause.
  • The tips of the leaves begin to dry out and this phenomenon spreads throughout the leaf. This may be, or lack of watering and / or humidity, cold drafts or too hot. If we are not sure what the cause is, you will have to investigate and test until you know exactly what it is due to. This is usually the most common problem.
  • Insufficient light can cause discoloration and yellowing of the leaves.


Cutting and also easy to get. One of the branches or tufts is cut and the leaves are peeled. It is immersed in water until it takes root. At that time transplant and ready. The time to cut preferably in spring. It can also be done in the fall.

As a last recommendation, tell you that even if it is indoors, if the exposure to light is good and you pamper it as it deserves, it will not stop. Although the normal height is usually no more than 1.5m, it can touch the ceiling over time. There we will have to cut our losses to make it root again with a lower size.

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