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You may recognize the striped, sometimes multi-colored leaves of the Dracaena plant, and that’s for good reason – plants of this genus are some of the most popular and readily available house plants in the world. With over 120 different species of bushes and trees, there is a Dracaena out there for everyone. While the Dracaena Fragrans and Dracaena warneckii have been common indoor plants for generations, they shot up in fame after NASA included some species of Dracaena in their 1989 Clean Air Study; their research showed that this genus of plant is some of the best for purifying the air of harmful pollutants in your home! If you didn’t have a reason to bring a Dracaena home, now you do!
Plants of the Dracaena genus do best when given medium to bright, indirect light with the exact level depending upon the species itself. These plants are not known for being terribly picky and can even survive in locations with partial shade. Survive and thrive are two different things, however, so keep in mind that more indirect light than not will always be better.
The leaves of the Dracaena genus are usually on the thin side, making them susceptible to sun burn from prolonged periods of bright, direct light. This level of sun can work for one of these plants, but only for short amounts of time or if your Dracaena was originally raised in direct sun. If a spot like this is the only available location for your plant, hang semi-sheer white curtains on the nearest window to filter some of the intense rays coming in.
The exact amount and frequency of your watering schedule will depend on the species of your Dracaena (i.e. the Dracaena Lemon Surprise likes to be watered slightly more often than the Dracaena Tornado). However, a good rule of thumb is to water your plant every 2-3 weeks in the Summer growing season, and about half as much in the cold Winter. When watering, make sure to use clean, filtered water because Dracaena plants are not fans of the salts and minerals found in your usual tap water.
All varieties of Dracaena are slightly prone to root rot and do not like being overwatered. If you see brown tips or edges on your plant’s leaves or feel that the top two inches of its soil are still damp, let the soil dry out. You should adjust your watering schedule to then be less frequent; when you do water, the bottom-watering method is great for Dracaenas because they can soak up only as much moisture as they need.
When caring for any member of the Dracaena genus, it’s important to make sure you have it growing in the proper substrate. The soil you are using should be well-aerated and well- draining, so the root structure of your plant has plenty of room to breathe and spread out. Pro tip: lining the bottom of your pot of choice with lava rock will help increase aeration in the soil because of how porous it is; eventually, your Dracaena’s roots happily will grow through the holes in the rock.
Our Tropical Soil-less Blend is exactly what your plants are wanting. It is a perfect blend of all the right ingredients to make your plants thrive and you may even see them have an extra BOOST of growth.
Fertilizing your Dracaena is a fairly simple task because this genus of plant doesn’t require fertilization often. At the beginning of the growing season, you can top dress (lay a thin layer on the surface of the soil) with a compost or worm castings fertilizer. After that, you only need to spray or water with another fertilizing compound 2-5 times (depending on the species) throughout the Summer. It’s not necessary to not fertilize in the Winter, so remove that from your Dracaena routine.
When you water your Dracaena you may want to try our Plant Nectar. To use: Water according to your Dracaena’s needs and you plant will thrive if you water with this organic fertilizer every watering.
Most kinds of Dracaena in nature are found in warm, tropical areas of the world. Because of this, these plants have evolved to like the same kind of environment inside homes. Normal room temperatures hover around 70°, which is perfect for Dracaena; though they can withstand lows of 60°, the Dracaena are not super cold resistant plants, so keep your home on the normal or slightly warmer side.
Each species in the Dracaena genus is different in its own way, so it only makes sense that each one also has its own likes and dislikes when it comes to humidity, too. The average plant needs a moderate level of humidity between 40 and 60% to maintain its usual processes; however, some varieties like their spaces hu-mid and would prefer to live in 70-90% humidity instead.
Propagating a Dracaena is easiest to do through stem or stalk (when it gets large and mature enough) cuttings, followed by rooting them in a water and root powder solution.
Choose a healthy stem or stalk to take your cutting from and cut with clean, sharp scissors.
Mix water and root powder together, following the instructions on the brand of rooting power you have. Then place the cutting in the water, making sure to only submerge the stem and not any of the leaves.
Place your propagating plant in a bright, indirectly lit area and let it do its thing!
From here, you can continue allowing the roots to grow in the water, or you can transfer
to soil after the roots reach 21⁄2 - 31⁄2 inches in length.
Pro tip: We always recommend making your cut at a 45° angle to increase the amount of surface your roots can grow from.
The Dracaena plants of the world are low maintenance plants that make wonderful starter plants for the first-time plant parent because of how easy they are to take care of. Dracaenas are not particularly prone to any pests, so there is no need to take extra measures to prevent Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, etc. As with most plants, it’s great to dust the leaves of your plant baby with a water and Neem Oil solution on occasion as a preventative measure.
Overwatering is the biggest cause for concern with this plant genus. Putting processes in place to help avoid this can be to use a moisture meter (or your trusty finger) to check the moisture level in the soil before watering, bottom watering when you’re able, and making sure you have the proper soil from the get-go. Browning on the leaves is the tell-tale sign of overwatering, so keep an eye out for that.
Care Guide written by Lindsay E Dvorak, LLC © 2020