How to Care for Dracenia House Plants


There are more than 40 species in the Dracaena genus. Commonly grown as houseplants, the most popular and readily available species include ‘Massangeana Cane' (Dracaena fragrans), ‘Janet Craig’ (D. deremensis) and D. marginata. With the exception of D. marginata, they all have the same care requirements.

Step 1

Place the dracaena plant in an area of low to medium light, as the marginata requires more light than the others but not full sun. Monitor the dracaena’s foliage for signs that it is receiving too much light. These signs include loss of color and leaves. Adjust the placement of the plant from the light source until you find the appropriate light level.

Step 2

Water the dracaena using room temperature, fluoride-free bottled water. Water the deremensis to keep the soil evenly moist. Allow the fragrans’ soil to dry completely before watering. Water other dracaenas when the top 3 inches of soil is dry. These plants are susceptible to root and trunk rot and should not be over-watered nor should the pot be allowed to sit in water.

Step 3

Fertilize the dracaena with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once a month during spring and summer, according to the rate listed on the label. Fertilize for the last time no later than September. Resume again in the spring when the plant shows new growth.

Step 4

Prune the dracaena to keep it to the size you desire. Some dracaena become bare toward the bottom of the trunk. Prune the plant heavily, if you wish, and it will regrow new foliage. Trim small dracaena with pruning shears and large, thick dracaena with loppers.

Step 5

Inspect the dracaena periodically for signs of pests. Common dracaena pests include mealybugs, thrips and scale. Apply neem oil, according to package directions, for infestations.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottled water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears or loppers
  • Neem oil


  • Clemson University Extension: Dracaena
  • Oregon State University: Dracaena Tip Burn
  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
Keywords: care of dracaena, grow dracaena houseplant, dracaena houseplant care

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, providing writing services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.