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What is Dracocephalum?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Dracocephalum refers to any of the dragon's head plants that sprout vividly colored blue flowers. There are numerous species of this genus. The shrub, which is part of the evergreen family, is typically found growing in warm-weather in parts of Asia and Africa. Some species are found in the northern regions of the United States as well. Other common names for the dracocephalum species are false dragonhead and the American dragonhead.

To grow any genus of dracocephalum, the soil must be moderately dry. Exposure to several hours of sunlight on a daily basis is also essential for optimal growth. A few hours of shade per day is typically recommended. This plant generally will not thrive in cold, damp climates. The dracocephalum species will generally do well in most garden settings, including rock gardens.

Many horticulturists believe the most noticeable aspect of the dracocephalum's appearance is its violet colored blooms. A species known for its long-lived heartiness, this is one of the perennials that blooms in the spring and summer months. These plants typically grow to an approximate height of 18 inches (about 45 cm). Some of the smaller species grow to a little over 12 inches (about 30 cm).

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These flowering plants are commonly seen in the northern states of Minnesota and North Dakota in the US. These plants do exceptionally well in dry climates and even in drought-like conditions. They are generally quite resistant to many insects and critters, including deer and rodents. Care for the dracocephalum is relatively easy. They generally do well with moderate waterings and a regular feeding of all-purpose plant food.

These plants are noted for their fragrant aroma, as they emit a unique scent, almost likened to that of mint or pine. Some species have a distinctive lemon scent. Some avid gardeners have used the leaves of dracocephalum for brewing herbal tea. Many horticulturists and gardeners use these fragrant flowers for creating essential oils. The use of the oils from this plant is a common practice in many areas of Asia.

The germination period for the dracocephalum is typically anywhere from one to two weeks. The species tends to grow upright and to about 12 inches (about 30 cm) in width. The buds and full-grown flowers generally point downward as they grow to maturity. Being a herbaceous plant, the dracocephalum has stems that generally will die at the end of its life cycle, typically in early to late fall.

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