Care of Dracenea Plants


Dracaena, also known as dragon tree, is an evergreen perennial shrub in the family Ruscaceae. There are approximately 40 different species of dracaena which grow anywhere from 2 to 15 feet tall. Native to Africa, Central America and the Canary Islands, dracaenas are tropical plants and prefer growing outdoors in the warm, tropical and subtropical climates of the United States where freezes do not occur. It also grows well as an indoor houseplant. Dracaenas are hardy, low-maintenance plants grown primarily for their foliage.

Indoor Care

Step 1

Grow dracaena inside containers that drain and are approximately two to three times larger than the root ball. This allows the plant plenty of room for its roots to spread out and cuts down on frequent repotting needs.

Step 2

Plant the dracaena in a well draining potting mix. Dracaena will not tolerate growing in soils that remain saturated.

Step 3

Situate the container-grown dracaena in an area receiving bright, indirect light for best growth. Plants situated in areas receiving very little light will grow very slowly.

Step 4

Water the dracaena once per week until water begins to form in the bottom of the container. Dracaenas are relatively drought tolerant but will benefit from weekly watering.

Step 5

Mist the dracaena with water every other day to create humidity, as plants prefer to grow in conditions with moderate humidity.

Step 6

Fertilize twice per month in spring through summer with a water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer. Stop fertilizing in late fall and winter as indoor dracaena do not require it.

Step 7

Use insecticides such as pyrethrins if scale or spider mites become a problem. Indoor grown dracaenas are prone to spider mite infestation.

Step 8

Remove any brown leaves. Prune the cane-like stems to cause the plant to branch out.

Outdoor Care

Step 1

Grow the dracaena outdoors in an area that receives full to partial sun throughout the day and drains well. Though dracaena will tolerate some shade, sun is required for best growth.

Step 2

Plant the dracaena in an area that will accommodate the plant's mature size. Do not plant tall varieties such as dracaena marginata in areas where it can interfere with structures.

Step 3

Water the dracaena once per week, depending on local weather conditions. Dracaenas are drought tolerant once established but will benefit from regular watering.

Step 4

Fertilize the dracaena once per month with an all-purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer spring through summer. Do not butt the fertilizer against the dracaena's trunk as it can cause burning. Water the fertilizer in well once applied.

Step 5

Prune to remove any dead, brown leaves or to remove the cane-like stems to cause the plant to branch out becoming fuller.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting mix
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticide
  • Pruning shears


  • Bachman's: Dracaenas
  • Plant of the Week: Dracaena marginata
  • University of Florida: Dracaena marginata

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Dracaena marginata
Keywords: caring for dracaena, growing dracaena plants, dracaena plant maintenance

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.