Flowers + Plants 101
Best Practices for Dracaena Plant Care
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Dracaenas are the perfect addition to every stylish home. Alongside lush foliage that adds visual interest, texture, and height to any space, NASA’s Clean Air Study found dracaenas are effective at purifying the air and improving indoor atmospheres. The other benefit of these plants: they’re low-maintenance and undemanding.
While dracaenas plants are naturally low maintenance — and thus an excellent option for beginners — there’s still a to-do list to keep your new addition looking its best. Before we dive into best practices for dracaena plant care, let’s look at the background of this plant to understand just why it’s so adaptable.
About Dracaena Plants
Noted for their long, narrow leaves that grow out from a central stalk or cane, dracaenas originate from the islands in the Indian Ocean, including Madagascar. In this native habitat, dracaenas — which come in many different shapes and sizes — can grow as shrubs on forest floors or as trees several feet tall.
Shrubs are often the most common choice for indoor dracaena plants. Because these types of dracaenas grow on forest floors, they are accustomed to low-light conditions. Their subtropical climate also makes them more tolerant of heightened humidity levels and periods of drought.
Curious where dracaenas get their name? Their name comes from the Greek word for “female dragon.” This refers to red gum-like resin in dracaenas’ stems that the Greeks thought resembled the blood of a dragon.
Give Your Dracaena Plant the Right Amount of Sunlight
Dracaenas can survive in low-light conditions, but they do best in bright, somewhat diffused light. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to place a sheer curtain on the sunny window where you place your plant. A blank wall, tall shelf, or countertop are all friendly perches for dracaenas.
When dracaenas are placed in direct sunlight, the plant can become stressed. This stress can cause brown spots to appear on the plant’s leaves, and eventually, leaves can fall off. On the other hand, if the leaves of your dracaena become pale and there is little to no new growth, it can be a sign that your houseplant could use a bit more light.
While dracaenas are tolerant of temperature variations, cold drafts can be harmful to these houseplants. With this in mind, place your dracaena away from cooling vents in your home.
What’s the Best Watering Schedule for Your Dracaena?
By nature, dracaena plants require little water. Based on the soil’s moisture, you’ll only need to water your plant once a week or every other week. As a rule of thumb, wait to water your dracaena until the top 75% of the soil is dry. You’ll want to water the plant thoroughly to moisten the soil while avoiding overly soggy soil that can harm the plant.
Watering tip: Dracaenas can benefit from a light misting between waterings, particularly in the winter when humidity levels are low.
Notice that the tips of your plant’s leaves are turning dry and brown? It’s likely a result of your tap water. Often, public water supplies include chemicals that dracaenas are sensitive to, such as chlorine and fluoride. As alternatives, we recommend using filtered water, rainwater, or water that has sat out overnight to keep your dracaena hydrated.
If your dracaena’s leaves turn yellow and fall off, this can be a sign of overwatering. On the flipside, wrinkles on the stems and leaves of your plant, which indicate dry out, can be symptoms of plants that aren’t being watered enough.
Proper Fertilization to Support Your Dracaena Plant
Dracaenas should be fertilized about once per month in the spring and summertime. This boost of nutrition helps these slow-growing plants thrive in their new environment. Just make sure to wait a month before feeding your dracaena so as not to place extra stress on the plant while it acclimates to your home. There’s no need to fertilize your dracaena in the winter months when the plant grows at a slower rate.
As with other indoor plants, you’ll want to use a high-quality liquid fertilizer for these feedings. These fertilizers allow for the most controlled and concentrated applications to plants and thus deliver better results for your plants. When choosing a liquid fertilizer, look for a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
In the event where the edges of your leaves turn brown, or the tips turn yellow, it could be that you’re overfertilizing your dracaena. Simply place your dracaena in the sink or shower and run the water to leach out the soil.
With the Right TLC, Your Dracaena Will Thrive
All it takes is a few maintenance measures to keep your dracaenas looking their best. Paired with their striking appearance, this makes dracaenas a great choice as an indoor houseplant — one that you can purchase for your own home or kindly gift to others.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean having to go to the store to pick out a plant. With Bloomsybox’s plant subscription service, you can get popular, vibrant houseplants like dracaenas delivered right to your door each month. How’s that for convenience!
Dracaenas can benefit from a light misting between waterings, particularly in the winter when humidity levels are low.