How to Care for your Dracaena Plant
What is a Dracaena Plant?
The Dracaena Plant, also known as the ‘Song of India’, ‘Corn plant’, or ‘Pleomele’, is a member of the Asparagus family & is native to Madagascar and the islands of the Indian Ocean. Dracaena plants get their name from the ancient Greek word drakaina or “female dragon”, making it an instant favorite of mine! Dracaenas are named after dragons because they have a red resin in their stems that have historically been used for toothpaste, dyes, and medicines. These plants can clean benzene, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from indoor air. The Dracena is a ‘false palm’. This means that they will drop their lower leaves when new growth forms at the top of the plants crown.
There are many Dracaena varieties to collect!
Did you know there are over 120 different species of Dracaena plant? These varieties can be found in shrubs and tree forms. I will outline some of the more popular varieties and their care below!
- Dracaena relfexa – aka the ‘Song of India.’ These need bright indirect light. Direct light will burn the leaves. Leaf tips will burn if humidity is too low. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
- Dracaena Janet Craig – likes filtered sunlight and low light levels. Can grow from 2 – 8 feet tall depending on care and pot size. Does NOT like heat. It’s max temp is 90 degrees F.
- Dracaena sanderiana – aka ‘lucky bamboo’. This plant may look a lot like bamboo but it is not at all related. Keep away from direct light. This plant can be grown directly in water as long as its roots are completely submerged. Do Not use tap water. Slow grower.
- Dracaena marginata – aka ‘Madagascar dragon tree’. a tree looking variety. Drought tolerant. Requires well-draining soil. Fantastic for air purification.
- Dracaena fragrans, or corn plant. This variety has dark green leaves and likes a more moist soil compared to other Dracena. It can tolerate dryness, but the plant will become damaged with brown spots if this is prolonged.
You should keep your Dracena away from any pets or kiddos because it is poisonous if ingested.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR DRACAENA
When it comes to caring for your Dracaena plant, this plant can be pretty easy going. When keeping house plants, I think a helpful tip that will really help your plants thrive is to try to mimic their natural environment as much as possible an in indoor setting. This plant family calls Madagascar and Indian Ocean islands home! Many of them are understory plants too. So they need humidity, fast-draining soil, and no direct bright light.
1. ) This plant is more sensitive to overwatering. It requires less water than other common house plants. You should always allow your Dracaena’s soil to dry out before watering again. DO NOT overwater as this will cause root rot. Dracaena plants are super sensitive to salts and chemicals like fluoride that are found in tap water so you should only use purified water when watering or misting them.
2.) Dracaena can tolerate normal house humidity, but they do appreciate humidity. You can use a humidifier near your plant to keep a higher humidity level. Dracaena also like to be misted! Add a once-weekly misting to your plant’s schedule for an extra happy plant!
3.). The Dracaena is a slower growing plant and only needs to be repotted every 2-3 years. It needs quick-draining soil or else it’s roots will rot or it will develop spots on its leaves.
4.) Your plant needs an environment that does not get colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit will damage your plant so keep it away from areas prone to cold drafts.
5.) Different Dracaena [lant varieties like slightly different sunlight levels but direct sunlight WILL burn all of the varieties. You should avoid direct sunlight on your plant as this will burn the leaves. Keep your Dracaena plant in a location with indirect sunlight. The Dracaena can also tolerate low light levels which is another reason it is a great house plant!
6.) Watch out for pests on your Dracaena! You will need to keep an eye out for mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and scale.
7.) These plants have little need for fertilizer. Be careful to not over-fertilize.