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How to Care for Dracaena Plants

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How to Care for Dracaena Plants

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Overview

Dracaena plants are a favorite for indoor greenery because they can survive neglect, thrive in low light and are easy to care for. There are many varieties of dracaena plants, from small, compact plants to tall cane-type plants that can reach more than 10 feet tall. Whatever variety of dracaena you add to your decor, you will soon discover it is a low-maintenance, yet striking and elegant plant.

Step 1

Pot your dracaena plant using a well draining, all-purpose potting soil. Your dracaena prefers to be a little root-bound and is slow growing, so the pot you grow your dracaena in needs to be only slightly larger than the root ball. You will probably only need to re-pot your dracaena every two or three years.

Step 2

Position your potted dracaena where it can receive strong, indirect light. One of the appealing characteristics of dracaena plants is that they can grow, although slowly, in low light, but will thrive in strong, indirect light. Make sure your dracaena is away from direct sunlight, particularly from noon through the afternoon. Dracaenas also will grow best if you place them where the temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate higher temperatures for brief periods, but not temperatures lower than 60 degrees.

Step 3

Use tepid water to water your dracaena once a week, giving the soil a good soaking, but do not waterlog your plant. Dracaenas are susceptible to root rot if the pot they are growing in remains in a saucer of water too long. After watering your dracaena, drain the water from the catch saucer, or add a layer of pebbles or marbles, to the saucer so your pot sits on top of the layer, away from the water. Adding a layer of pebbles that allows water to remain in the saucer will also increase the humidity around your dracaena, which dracaena plants love. You can also use a mister or spray bottle to mist your dracaena leaves and increase the humidity. This is particularly helpful if your inside humidity level is less than 30 or 40 percent.

Step 4

Fertilize your dracaena plant with a liquid or timed release fertilizer that is formulated for houseplants. In the spring and summer, you need to feed your dracaena every 10 days to two weeks. Stop fertilizing your dracaena in the late fall and throughout the winter, starting again in the spring.

Step 5

Check your dracaena for insect pests. Spider mites, mealy bugs and scale bugs are the most common pests on dracaena plants. Apply a houseplant insecticide that has pyrethrins in the formula to combat these pests.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fluoride is an enemy of dracaena plants, so avoid products that contain fluoride. Fertilizers containing superphosphate and potting soil with a high percentage of perlite both will have high levels of fluoride and should not be used.

Things You'll Need

  • All-purpose potting soil
  • Pot
  • Water
  • Pebbles or glass marbles
  • Mister
  • Liquid or time-released fertilizer formulated for houseplants
  • Insecticide containing pyrethrins

References

  • Indoor Plant Care: Dracaena
  • Bachman"s: Dracaenas
  • Plant Ideas: Dracaena Varieties

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Growing Dracaena Reflexa Outdoors
Keywords: corn plant care, growing dracaena plants, dracaena plant guide

About this Author

At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and web content for several well known marketeers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and A Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.

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