A Beginner's Guide to Dracaena Plant Care
Common Name: Corn Plant, Dragon Tree
Botanical Name: Dracaena deremensis, Dracaena steudneri, Dracaena marginata, Dracaena fragrans (see below for available varieties)
There are approximately 120 species of Dracaena trees and shrubs. Whether your favorite is Marginata, Massangenana, Fragrans, or possibly Deremensis, each will give you a hefty return for very little maintenance. This genus of plants can grow quite large and are best kept under control by removing the top portion of the plant. New foliage will emerge from the cut area and you can even propagate the cutting! If you give this hearty indoor plant the proper light and amount of water, it will become a lovely, long-term resident in your home.
Important! Dracaena is poisonous if ingested, so be very careful if you have pets and/or small children.
Some Dracaenas - like the D. Fragrans and D. Massangeana - will grow in low light, but most other varieties - like Marginatas - thrive in filtered, bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can damage the leaves, unless the plant was originally grown in direct sun.
Dracaenas have a reputation for not needing a lot of water. True, but they need a thorough soaking when the soil dries out! Remember -- all plants need water! Dracaenas planted in a six-inch pot should be watered when the soil is dry four inches below the top. Use filtered water, rainwater, or distilled water, as these plants don’t like salts or minerals. Dracaenas prefer dry soil; soggy soil promotes fungus and root rot.
The ideal temperatures for Dracaenas are those above 65℉. Sudden coldness can damage the leaves, so keep them away from drafty doors and windows during the colder months.
Dracaena house plants benefit from higher humidity levels during summer, or when they’re in heated, forced-air environments.
It’s not necessary to fertilize your Dracaenas, but they benefit from you feeding them once a month during the growing season with a ¼ diluted complete liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion. You can also top-dress the plant at the start of the growing season with a rich compost.
- Use filtered water as these plants are sensitive to salts and chemicals found in most tap water.
- If you want to reduce the size of the plant, simply cut off the top; over time, new foliage will grow back at the cut, producing a fuller look.
- If your plant isn’t thriving, try moving it to a spot with more light.