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Dracaena Plant Care Guide

Overhead view of dracaena plant in a pot

With long, blade-like leaves featuring bright hues of green, yellow, and pink, dracaena plants brighten up offices and add a natural touch to homes. And since this genus of plants includes over 100 species and even more varieties, you’re sure to find a plant that matches what you’re looking for.

Not only are dracaena beautiful, but they’re also easy to care for! Forget to water them for a few days? No worries! Only have a dimly lit room? Not a problem. With all they said, learning about dracaena plant care will help you keep these plants as happy as possible.

What Is a Dracaena Plant?

A large genus of plants, Dracaena consists of over 100 different species that vary in size, shape, and color. However, all dracaena plants share a few characteristics, including long, evergreen leaves. The leaves may be green, yellow, red, or some combination of these colors. Many dracaena plants feature cane-like stems topped with leaves, but others have a rosette of leaves that lie close to the ground.

The plant’s height varies by species, so choose wisely. Some dracaena can easily grow above your head while others remain only a few feet tall. Since most of these plants remain under eight feet tall when grown indoors, you don’t have to worry about them busting through your ceilings or out of your windows.

Although dracaena plants can produce small white flowers, indoor houseplants rarely bloom. However, their beautiful foliage is reason enough to add one of these plants to your home or office.

Dracaena plants call regions in Africa, South Asia, Australia, and Central America home. Although these plant emerged from different areas across the world, all dracaena prefer warm and humid environments.

How to Care for a Dracaena Plant

Dracaena are easy to care for houseplants, so they’re perfect if you’re new to plants or just want a green friend you don’t have to worry about. As long as you follow the dracaena plant care tips below, your plant will remain happy.

Choose a Suitable Container and Potting Mix

Unless you live in a USDA growing zone 10 or 11, you’ll want to grow your dracaena indoors (or at least move it inside during the winter). And that means growing these plants in a pot!

One crucial part of providing proper dracaena care is choosing the right type of container. Opt for a pot that’s just a few inches larger than the plant’s root ball—an extra large container can cause the soil to remain moist and eventually lead to root rot. The container material doesn’t matter, but make sure the bottom of the planter contains drainage holes.

Once you’ve found a good home for your plant, move on to finding a suitable potting mix. Dracaena plants like well-draining soil that also contains a fair amount of organic matter. Look for a general houseplant potting mix that contains water-holding materials like coco coir or peat moss as well as drainage materials like perlite and pine bark fines.

Provide Moderate Light

Many people say that dracaena are low-light plants, and this is partially true. While these plants can survive in dim corners and dark rooms, they won’t thrive. Truly low light will cause weak plants with faded leaves and a stunted stature. However, these plants also hate bright, direct sun.

The solution? Place your dracaena plant in a location that receives lots of bright yet indirect light. Try tucking them into the interior of a bright room or a few feet away from a south-facing window.

Keep Them Warm

Since dracaena plants are used to living in warm environments, they don’t handle cold temperatures well. Keep the air temperature between 60-85°F to keep them happy. Along with keeping the air warm, avoid any sudden temperature swings. That means slowing acclimating your plants to new environments and keeping them away from drafty areas.

When it comes to optimizing humidity for dracaena care, these plants aren’t too picky as long as the air isn’t bone dry. However, they’ll always appreciate it if you boost the humidity with a pebble tray or humidifier.

Water Just the Right Amount

One of the crucial parts of dracaena plant care is watering the plants well. Both overwatering and underwatering can cause problems like yellowing and dropping leaves. Since the ideal watering schedule depends on factors like temperature, humidity, and light, using the soil moisture is the best way to determine if you need to water your dracaena.

When the top third to half of the soil is dry, go ahead and give your plant a long, slow drink. Your goal is to thoroughly soak the potting mix until water is running out of the planter’s drainage holes. Wait until the top half of the soil dries out, then repeat this process.

Fertilize Regularly

Like all plants, dracaena need an array of nutrients to remain healthy. Regularly fertilizing the plants provides them with these essential nutrients. When you’re looking at fertilizers, choose a product labeled for houseplants. Both granular and liquid options work well.

Follow product instructions and fertilize the plants once every two to three weeks from the early spring to late summer. Avoid fertilizing during the fall and winter.

Popular Dracaena Varieties

With so many different dracaena varieties to choose from, we won’t be surprised if you end up with more than one of these plants in your home! If you don’t know where to start, check out the following popular types of dracaena.

Lucky Bamboo

While many people think the twisty stems and clumped stalks of lucky bamboo are true bamboo, they’re actually a type of dracaena known as Dracaena sanderiana. Humans have learned that fiddling with the plant’s light source causes the stalks to grow into shapes including spirals and hearts.

Corn Plant

As you might suspect, the leaves on this dracaena closely resemble those of corn plants. Small corn plants remain close to the ground, but larger plants form a stalk-like stem. Some varieties of corn plants to look out for include the striped ‘Massangeana’ and lime green ‘Limelight.’

Dragon Tree

With a thick stem and long, thin leaves, the dragon tree dracaena resembles a small palm tree. These dracaena can grow over six feet tall if you provide them with lots of light.

A Few Important Dracaena Notes

Before you add one of these plants to your space, check out these few important notes.

Toxic to Pets

Although dracaena can make great houseplants, they’re toxic to both dogs and cats. All types of dracaenas contain compounds called saponins, which lead to symptoms including vomiting, depression, and anorexia. Therefore, keep these plants out of your pets’ reaches or opt for a pet-friendly houseplant.

Air-Purifying Abilities

If you’ve been around the plant world, you may have heard of NASA’s clean air study. This experiment looked at plants’ abilities to remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde from the air. Scientists included multiple types of dracaena in the experiment and found that these plants can remove toxins from the air. While this doesn’t necessarily mean dracaena plants can cure all air pollution problems, it does suggest these plants are worth more than their beauty!

Brighten Your Home with Houseplants

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance houseplant to add to your home, you can’t go wrong with a dracaena. And now that you know all about dracaena plant care, you’re ready to keep this plant happy for years to come.

But don’t think the dracaena is the only plant we offer! With a wide range of plants for delivery, you can find something perfect for your home office, mother’s birthday, and everything in between. No matter what plant you order, make sure to come back to us for care tips. We’ve put together an article covering everything from monstera plant care to caring for orchids so you can keep bumping up your plant parent skills.

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