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Dragon Tail Plant (Epipremnum Pinnatum) Grow and Care Guide

Epipremnum Pinnatum, more commonly known as just dragon tail plant, is an interesting and less common houseplant that makes a statement. Monsteras are the unofficial king of the houseplant scene, and pothos are the staple, well the dragon tail plant makes a mashup of both these plants. 

It has a vining habit like the good old reliable pothos, with a twist, as the plant grows and matures it develops the deep fenestrations (cut leaves) of a monstera.

If grown under the right conditions, Epipremnum Pinnatum will grow big and lush with striking foliage that will make even the most experienced plant people turn their heads.

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Dragon Tail Plant (Epipremnum Pinnatum) Grow and Care Guide

Getting to Know Dragon Tail Plants

Epipremnum Pinnatum, more commonly known as just dragon tail plant, is an interesting and less common houseplant that makes a statement

Epipremnum Pinnatum is a member of the Araceae plant family, it’s relatives include lots of plants that are commonly used as houseplants, including philodendrons, peace lilies, monsteras, and alocasias. 

Dragon tail plant is a vining plant that is native to the Philippines, making it a tropical plant, and an ideal houseplant. In its natural environment, dragon tail plants are vining and climbing plants, clinging on to other larger trees for support.

Dragon tail plants can actually grow up to 30 feet in its native environment! However, at home these results are usually unattainable, however they do grow big and lush making them a real statement piece in the home (4-6 feet as a mature houseplant is a more realistic goal).

They are a fairly low maintenance plant, and with a few simple care tips, keeping the dragon tail growing in its ideal conditions, it will grow big green leaves and start to split and become intricate lacy works of art.

How to Grow Dragon Tail Plant

How to Grow Dragon Tail Plant

Dragon tail plants will take a bit more searching than a more common houseplant, but the search will be worth it because it is such a unique easy to grow plant.

Try a specialized houseplant nursery, or try searching online to acquire this plant. If it’s hard to find, perhaps a friend or someone you know has a cutting that they would be willing to sell or part with. 

Epipremnum Pinnatum Propagation

Dragon tail plants are easily propagated by cuttings. Make sure the cutting has a node, this is the spot where new roots will shoot out. A node is just the piece of the plant where a leave is, or would be sprouting from the main stem.

Using a sharp pair of pruning shears (see our review on the best pruning shears available for 2022) cut the plant just below the node. Take this node and either root the cutting in water, or dip the node in rooting hormone (see the best rooting hormone we found here) and plant in evenly moist potting soil.

Covering the planted cutting in plastic or a clear dome of some kind will help hole the humidity in and help the plant root. Remove the covering in a week or two once it starts sprouting roots. 

The plant will appear less droopy and sad once it starts to root and establish itself (don’t pull the plant out to look for roots, leave it alone).

Dragon tail plant is a climbing vine, much like a monstera, its preference is to climb up a structure (it would climb a tree in its natural habitat), so providing it with a small trellis, will allow the dragon tail to secure itself to a structure and climb upwards.

It can also be planted in a hanging basket and allowed to hang downwards, but climbing upwards is actually it’s ideal growth habit. Use old nylon to help secure the plant to the pole, they do not actually stick to a trellis and will need help to get going, once they start growing they will wind around the pole or trellis.

Epipremnum Pinnatum Propagation

Source: Gardenbeast.com

Sun Requirements

Dragon tail plants like bright, but indirect, sunlight. In its natural growing conditions, Epipremnum Pinnatum is found on the forest floor, winding its way up larger trees searching for the light.

So, they like filtered sunlight, and bright, hot, full sun will scorch the leaves. 4 feet away from a southern exposure, or against an eastern or northern window would be ideal. Dragon Tails can take a variety of conditions however, so if the spot is less than ideal the plant will probably tolerate it. 

Too much sun and the plant will probably get some crispy or bleached out looking foliage, and too little light and they will stretch out seeking the light and will appear stringy and leggy and not as lush as it could be.

Dragon tail plants can be grown or brought outside, in this case, they like part sun/ part shade, nothing too direct or they will fry. They can not handle frost, or temperatures below 50F (10C) so make sure to bring them inside when the temperature dips.

Soil Requirements

A loose lush potting mix with some added worm compost (learn how to make a worm farm here), or sea soil is ideal. Dragon tail plants like slightly acidic soils, so the addition of compost or organic matter (hence the worm castings or sea soil) will provide a bit of extra acidity.

Avoid heavy, clay soils that are found in many garden mixes, or the soil found directly in the garden. They need loose free draining soil to thrive. Repotting dragon tail plants is not necessary unless they have outgrown their pots.

If this is the case, they will have roots coming out the drainage hole in the pots. Choose a pot that is only 2-3 inches in diameter larger than the pot it’s currently in, and repot with a mixture of potting soil and organic matter.

Humidity Requirements

Dragon tail plant does like extra humidity. Spraying with a spray bottle, or placing the plant on a tray with pebbles and water, or running a humidifier nearby (Don't miss our review on the best humidifiers you can get today), are all ways to increase humidity in the home.

Of course, if none of those things happen, it’s not the end of the world for a dragon tail, it will survive, just perhaps not perform and grow to its full potential. Do not leave a dragon tail plant near a heat vent, they definitely do not like hot air blown on them.

Epipremnum Pinnatum Care Tips

Epipremnum Pinnatum Care Tips

How Much Water Dragon Tail Plants Need

The thick glossy leaves of the dragon tail plant actually means that it is fairly drought tolerant, making it an ideal houseplant for the busy or forgetful plant parents.

Make sure the plant is dry up to 1-2” from the soil’s surface before watering. Instead of just putting a cup of water into the plant, it is better to mimic the heavy rains in nature by soaking the entire plant and letting it drain out into the sink or tub (if the size of the plant makes this possible).

Watering less often, but soaking the plant and letting the excess drain off is the ideal watering technique. If just watering with a watering can, make sure the plant has drainage holes in the bottom so that extra water will be drained off and not cause root rot.

What Fertilizer to Use

During the active growing months fertilizing with an all-purpose indoor houseplant fertilizer is good. Or top dressing the dragon tail with fresh sea soil or worm castings at the beginning of the growing season is good too. Dragon tail plants do go dormant in winter, so just leave them alone, don’t fertilize, and only water sparingly during the winter months.

Dragon Tail Plant Toxicity

Epipremnum Pinnatum is toxic to pets and people if consumed in large amounts, so if this is an issue, consider a different plant.

Dragon Tail Plant Companion Plants

Dragon tail plant is a vining plant that is native to the Philippines, making it a tropical plant, and an ideal houseplant

Source: Alchetron.com

Choose a beautiful pot simple or ornate with adequate drainage for a dragon tail plant. A moss pole or trellis for support will make it grow up right and produce big beautiful leaves with deep fenestrations in time.

These large fast growing upright vines make for nice natural room dividers, they can be growing in a long pot with a trellis to provide semi privacy. They can also be planted in a hanging pot and the foliage can be spilling over the sides like a pothos. 

Believe it or not pothos actually prefer to climb as well, and will have bigger leaves when growing upwards supported by a pole or trellis than when allowed to hang downwards, same as a dragon tail (this makes sense because they are both epipremnum).

Dragon tail looks good in a grouping of plants with similar or contrasting leaves. For instance, next to a pothos where the pothos have variegated leaves (e.g. marble queen pothos) is next to the solid colored, but split foliage of the dragon tail.

Using the dragon tail as a beautiful green backdrop for some more intricate plants, like a caladium or a rex begonia also looks great.

Common Dragon Tail Plant Pests and Diseases

Epipremnum Pinnatum is generally fairly pest and disease resistant, especially if it is kept growing under its ideal conditions. Before jumping straight to pests and diseases, consider the growing conditions and adjust the plant to hopefully resolve the issue.

For instance, yellowing and wilted, limp leaves is most likely due to over watering, let the dragon tail dry out to 1-2 inches (to about the first knuckle if sticking a finger into the soil) before watering and make sure the plant has drainage holes in the pot.

If the leaves appear stringy and stretching, it is probably a lack of light, bright indirect light is best for thicker, more lush growth. Crispy edges and bleached out foliage usually mean too much direct sun, and crispy leaves that are falling off and drooping is a sign of lack of water.

Now that water and sunlight are ruled out as potential causes of a dragon tail not thriving, there are a few pests that can affect the health of the plant.

It’s the usual suspects, spider mites, aphids, fungus and mealy bugs. Inspect the plant for bugs, and notice white puffs on the stem and nooks and crannies of the nodes and leaves, this is mealy bugs.

Take rubbing alcohol on a cotton puff or swab and remove the white from the plant, or alternatively spray the plant with an insecticidal soap weekly until the issue resolves.

Spider mites and aphids can also be dealt with by using an insecticidal soap or spray. They can also be physically sprayed off by the hose, or shower.

If bringing a dragon tail plant inside from being outdoors, assume it has aphids or spider mites and spray it preventatively with an insecticidal soap and keep it away from other houseplants for a few weeks until it is deemed to be pest free. 

Root Rot is the most common disease that will affect a dragon tail plant. Stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and stems that are rotting at the soil line are all signs of root rot.

This is more about prevention than treatment. Make sure not to over water the plant and that it has adequate drainage so that excess water can drain away from the roots.

Once a dragon tail has root rot it will need to be removed from its pot and all the mushy rotten parts clipped off and then repotted into fresh potting soil.

Epipremnum Pinnatum FAQs

How to Propagate Dragon Tail Plant

Source: Wikipedia.org

How long does it take for an Epipremnum Pinnatum to mature?

It can take up to 20 years to get the full deep splits of a mature dragon tail or Epipremnum Pinnatum. Consider purchasing a more mature plant if the split foliage is your main goal.

How do I take care of a dragon tail plant?

Bright indirect sunlight, letting the plant dry out somewhat before watering thoroughly, a bit of humidity, and slightly acidic soil are the keys to success (best just to read the full article for full details)

Why are the leaves yellowing on my dragon tail?

This is most likely a watering issue, likely too much water. Make sure the top 1-2 inches of the soil is dry before watering, and always have a pot with drainage, dragon tails do not like to be sitting in standing water, they will rot and turn yellow.

Is dragon tail plant poisonous?

Yes, it is toxic to people and pets so keep that in mind when considering this plant.

Add Some Greenery to Your Home with Dragon Tail Plants

Dragon tail plant is a unique houseplant that is not quite a monster, and not quite a pothos. Its lush elegant foliage that starts off looking like, well, a dragon’s tail, and slowly evolves to having deep splits, is sure to impress and add some greenery to any home.

It’s not finicky, and tolerates various conditions, so even the newest plant parents can keep a dragon tail plant thriving. 

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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