Dracaenas are tropical plants that have their origins in Madagascar. They have attractive foliage and can be grown in homes and offices. These easy to care for houseplants are great for beginners as they tolerate extreme indoor conditions and are forgiving if you underwater them. With their smaller size and bushy appearance younger plants look great on a tabletop. Older plants that have developed a woody stem make a great floor plant as it looks like a tree.
Dracaenas are from the Asparagus family with about 40 different species in the dracaena genus. The foliage on these plants comes in different shades of green and there are also variegated varieties. This plant can certainly add a splash to your indoor décor while improving air quality. When dracaena plants are young they form low mounds that can resemble stars. As they grow, they get height and eventually become tree-like.
Here are some of the more popular Dracaena plants you might want to consider:
Dracaena Massangeana – This plant is also referred to as corn plant. It is the least expensive of the dracaena plants to purchase. It is known for its thick woody stem and long green leaves. The leaves usually have a light green/light yellow stripes running through them. This dracaena plant may even produce clusters of fragrant white flowers, but it is very rare.
Dracaena Marginata – This dracaena plant is also known as red-edge dracaena or Madagascar dragon tree. With proper care, this evergreen plant can grow 15 feet high and 3 to 8 feet wide. The green sword-like foliage is edged in red. The leaves are also stiff. When grown indoors this plant rarely has flowers and berries.
Dracaena Reflexa ‘Song of India’ – This plant is also known as pleomele. The Song of India has medium-sized green leaves edged in cream. This plant thrives indoors and can also be grown outdoors in a partially shaded location. It will grow up to 3-feet. The plant can grow in low light, but for optimal leaf color keep it in bright light year-round. It can produce greenish-white flowers in mid-winter, followed by orange-red berries. Make sure you don’t overwater.
Dracaena deremensis 'Lemon Lime' – You will find this variety eye-catching. It has chartreuse leaves with gray-green centers and white stripes. The leaf colors are more vibrant when it gets direct sunlight but still does well in part or full shaded locations.
The care for dracaenas is easy that is why these plants are great for beginners. Most dracaenas can be grown under a variety of conditions. They tolerate low light but do best in medium and bright areas of your home. When the soil surface gets dry, it is time to water the plant. In general, that is about once a week but will depend on the size of your plant, the size of its pot, the amount of light it gets, and other conditions.
When it comes to fertilizing most dracaenas really don't require that much. Remember if you just purchased your plant do not fertilize it for at least 6 months. With these plants, you will only need to fertilize once or twice a year to keep them healthy (every six months or so), if you want more growth, you can fertilize more frequently. For this plant, you can use any general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. For more information on this topic, refer to our article on Tips & Tricks Fertilizing Your Houseplants.
If you feel your dracaena is getting too tall and lanky, you can prune the top off. After this most plants will re-sprout and become fuller. If you notice your dracaena has brown leaf tips, try increasing the humidity. Dry air or soil that stays dry too long can cause this issue with the leaves to develop.
One last important fact with dracaena is the plant is toxic to pets and children. So if you have small children or pets that might chew on the plant, you might want to consider a different houseplant.