How to Care for a Dragon Tail Plant: 9 Thorough Points

Nothing screams tropical rainforest vibes as much as the Dragon tail plant! Looking like a cross between the Swiss cheese plant and pathos, the Dragon tail plant is one of the most popular climbing plants you can add to your indoor landscape.

I had actually been hunting for a long-lasting, low-maintenance trailing plant to add to my tropical plant collection for some time. The Dragon tail plant was unsurprisingly the ideal candidate. The Dragon tail plant completes my indoor garden with its iconic foliage cascading from the shelf in my living room. Over time I’ve learned a lot along the way about caring for the Dragon tail plant, and now, I have the pleasure of sharing all the details with you! 

dragon tail plant

Table of Contents

Does a Dragon Tail Plant Like Bright Light?

One of the most critical factors when keeping an Epipremnum pinnatum is the light that it receives. Considering that the plant derives from rainforest conditions, it is understandable that it prefers bright indirect light for 4-6 hours of the day.

The ideal spot to keep your Dragon tail plant is about 3 feet (91cm) away from a south-facing window that receives the most sunlight. I keep my Dragon tail plant on a shelf opposite my patio doors, away from the direct sun and in part shade.

Any exposure to direct sunlight for too long will cause the leaves to turn yellow and burn. You can see this from the tips of the leaves turning from yellow to brown. It’s an ugly sight and is irreversible once the damage is done.

On the contrary, if the Dragon tail plant is not receiving adequate light, the growth of the vines will slow down and become leggy as it stretches to find the sunlight.

epipremnum pinnatum in pot and wicker basket

Does The Soil Need to Stay Moist?

Like other houseplants, the Dragon tail plant loves to be in moist soil. Watering Epipremnum pinnatum when the first 2 inches (5cm) of the soil is dry is best. You can check this by sticking your finger into the top of the pot. You can expect to water the plant twice a week during the warmer months.

Overwatering the Dragon tail plant can bring about a few problems, for instance root rot, fungal spots, and infections. Leaving the Dragon’s tail without water for too long will show signs of stress by drying up the leaves and turning them into a crispy mess.

When it comes to watering the Dragon tail plant, ensure you are letting the excess water escape through the drainage holes before putting it back on a tray. This will prevent it from sitting in standing water and causing root rot.

man sticking finger into soil to check dryness

What Type of Soil is Best?

A well-functioning potting soil for the Dragon tail plant would be rich in nutrients and slightly acidic. Fresh potting mix bought from the garden store is ideal. You can also add extra drainage and water retention by mixing in organic matter such as coco coir, orchid bark, sphagnum moss, and perlite.

I use a cup to measure the ratios since my plant pots are small. Mix 5 cups of potting mix with 3 cups of orchid bark and 1 cup of sphagnum moss. Then add a cup of perlite for extra water retention. Your Dragon tail plant will love you for days as a result!

epipremnum pinnatum in clay pot and white background

What is a Realistic Temperature Range?

In the areas which the Dragon tail plant is from, Sout East Asia for example, it is rare for the temperature to drop below 40F. The temperature range for the plant to live a happy, healthy life is between 65-75F.

Lucky for us, this is a reasonable temperature range for the average household. In turn making the it an excellent plant for new owners! If you deem your house to be a little cooler than the norm, you can keep your Epipremnum pinnatum in the warmest area. This might be the living room or office if you work from home like me for example.

Try to keep your Dragon tail plant away from any area that might experience dramatic changes in temperature. Think frequently opened doors or windows and heating sources like radiators or fireplaces.

If you live in an area where you experience these tropical conditions, you can plant your Dragon tail outside. You can even let it creep along a garden fence or up a tree. Just make sure it is planted in a shaded area.

close up of leaves epipremnum pinnatum

Does the Dragon Tail Plant Enjoy High Humidity?

Moderate humidity ranges from 40 to 60% will ensure steady growth of your Epipremnum pinnatum. Compared to other aroid plants, this range is relatively easy to achieve as most households will naturally fall within this range. During the winter months, when the temperature drops, the air is likely to dry out.

Here are a few options to increase humidity meanwhile keeping your indoor plants happy:

  • Group your indoor plants together to create a microclimate
  • Place your plant pot on a pebble tray with a small amount of water in it
  • Install a small humidifier
  • Position it in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room
  • Mist with a spray bottle of water

I in fact run a small humidifier near my plant collection. It’s a great way to keep humidity in the air and provides many health benefits too! 

If you notice the leaves on your Dragon tail plant start to crisp up or dry out, this indicates that there is not enough humidity. In contrast, it will welcome fungal gnats and other fungal diseases if the humidity is too high. It’s all about striking the balance! 

Does It Need Fertilizing?

close up of dragon tail plant leaves on moss pole

One of the main features that make the Epipremnum pinnatum so easy to care for is that it isn’t a heavy-feeding plant. Therefore the nutrients in the soil are sufficient for the Dragon tail plant to survive during its early stages (1st year).

For proper care, you can in fact fertilize once a fortnight with an all-purpose balanced liquid fertilizer during the warm growing period. After the first year of growth, you can pot up the Dragon tail plant and give it a boost of new nutrients within the soil. Over-fertilizing the Dragon tail plant will cause an excess mineral build-up in the soil. This will starve the roots of the oxygen they need to develop. When there is not enough oxygen around the roots, it results in root rot-eventually killing the plant.

Can You Propagate a Dragon Tail Plant?

ariel view of young dragon tail plant

Reproducing a new baby of the Dragon tail plant is super easy and you can do so by stem-cutting propagation in water.

I will take you through the steps to follow:

  1. Firstly, use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or secateurs.
  2. Then select a length that has 2 or 3 leaves.
  3. Next cut approximately 1.5cm below the leaf node (the nobby bit where the leaf grows from). An optional step to increase success with root formation is to dip the stem in a rooting hormone at this stage.
  4. Finally, remove the lower leaf and place it in a jar of water with the leaf node submerged.

After 4-6 weeks, the roots will start to form. Once it is 4-5 inches (10- 12 cm) long, you can pot the new baby plant into the same well-draining potting mix that the mother plant has grown in. Continue with the same watering routine as the mother plant. Ensure you keep your stem cuttings in the same warm spot as the mother plant too. These are the conditions it is used to growing in, which in turn prevents plant stress.

Stem-cuttings can be taken any time of year, but if you cut during the warmer months, the Dragon tail plant will grow faster. 

close of of leaf epipremnum pinnatum in wicker basket

What Pests and Diseases Should I Worry About?

Like many tropical plants, the Dragon tail plant can also experience its fair share of pests and infestations. Pests such as spider mites and fungus gnats can wreak havoc on your indoor plants, so here’s a rundown on what to look out for and how to control them:

Spider Mites

The eye barely sees spider mites. But you will know their presence when the leaves of your plant start to form yellow and brown spots. These yellow and brown spots are where the spider mites feed from the sap in the leaves. If a spider mite infestation is left to get out of hand, it will destroy the leaves. Which in time will cause stunted growth and eventually kill the entire plant.

Create a neem oil spray by mixing one teaspoon of neem oil with four drops of dishwashing soap and 1 liter of water in a spray bottle. Then spray the Dragon’s tail once per week, and the slippery, smelly surface will coat the plant. Therefore causing the spider mites to find a new home.

epipremnum pinnatum in white pot on table

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats thrive in warm, humid conditions making the Dragon’s tail an ideal location. They lay their eggs in the soil and later turn into larvae. After larvea have grown, they then turn into small flies that can take over your home. They are a nuisance; if the infestation increases, they will feed on the roots of your Dragon’s tail plant.

To fight off the fungus gnats, prepare yourself with a neem oil foliage spray. You can make your own at home by mixing one teaspoon of neem oil, four drops of dishwashing soap, and 1 liter of water. 

Spray your plant once a week. If you have excess neem oil solution left over, you can spray the soil line to suffocate the larvae. The neem oil won’t kill the fungus gnats straight away, but they will disappear after one month of spraying.

Root Rot

Root rot is initially detected by stunted growth and kills the Dragon’s tail if left untreated. Root rot is caused by overwatering, poorly draining soil, and excess fertilizer build-up. 

To check for root rot, tip the plant upside down and look at the root ball. Reddish brown roots indicate root rot. 

You can snip away the affected area and re-pot into a pot with drainage holes and well-draining soil to help your plant recover.

epipremnum pinnatum leaves on wooden background

Is a Dragon Tail Plant Toxic?

The Dragon tail plant is toxic when digested by humans and furry friends. Keep out of reach of any curious creatures.

About the Dragon Tail Plant

Epipremnum pinnatum hails from the rainforests of South East Asia, India, Australia, and the Solomon Islands. In its natural habitat, it grows a lengthy 40 feet (12 meters); nonetheless, it will reach a maximum of 3 feet (91cm) at home.

This plant consists of dark green glossy leaves that are the average lobe shape when in its juvenile form. As the plant matures, the leaves start producing deep fenestrations (splits), giving it a widely recognized tropical appearance.

As part of the Araceae family, it blooms as a spadix flower (that looks like a cob of corn). It will rarely flower when grown indoors and is preferred to be grown for the shiny climbing vine that uses its aerial roots to attach itself to surfaces.

When searching for the Dragon tail plant, you will come across names such as the centipede Tongavine, Raphidophora decursiva, Pothos, and Devil’s ivy. This plant gives you a chance to get creative when growing as they look stunning in a hanging basket, on a moss pole, or even trained on a trellis.


Is a dragon tail plant rare?

The plant is rare because the immature leaves are not the most exciting, and many sellers tend not to stock it.

How do you take care of a dragon’s tail?

Keeping the Dragon’s tail in bright indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours daily, temperatures of 65-75F, and humidity of 40-60% will ensure proper care for your plant. Water when the first 2 inches of the soil is dry.

Are dragon tail plants easy to care for?

Yes. The Dragon tail plant is straightforward to care for, requires little to no fertilizer, and grows in average household temperatures and humidity.

How often do you water a dragon tail plant?

Water the plant when the first top 2 inches of the soil line are dry. This can be as often as twice a week during the warmer months.

Dragon Tail Plant is Beginner Friendly

Overall, it is stress-free and requires little to no extra care when kept in the right environment. This in turn means it is suitable for people who have little time to spend on their indoor garden but still want to reap the rewards of having plants in their home.

The creative opportunities are left to your imagination with this one. The plant’s ability to climb and hang allows you to display it super stylishly!

Ready to Start Creating Your Indoor Jungle?

Jump over to our other houseplant guides, where we fork out our findings on all things indoor jungle related. If you are just getting started, we have the low down on the tools needed to experience the glory of gardening. 

Photo of author
Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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