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Growing Tips for Indoor Chinese Happy Plants

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Chinese happy plants (Dracaena fragrans massangeana) are popular indoor houseplants. Sometimes called "corn plants" because the foliage is similar to that of corn, the Chinese happy plant thrives in low-light conditions and features white, fragrant flowers. In the wild, the plant can grow up to 20 feet tall, but indoors, containers limit that growth. Still, the Chinese happy plant can reach tall heights and make a dramatic statement in any home.


Chinese happy plants prefer organic soils, although these hardy plants can grow in different types of soil with little difficulty. To give your plant the best start in life, however, choose a potting soil that is rich in organic matter and formulated for tropical plants. Do not keep the soil overly wet. Chinese happy plants can tolerate dry conditions and too much water will lead to root rot. Wait until the top layer of soil is dry before watering the plant (simply test it with your finger).


Choose a location for your indoor plant that will encourage healthy growth. While the plant will tolerate low light, it should still be exposed to indirect sunlight for at least 2-3 hours per day. This exposure to sunlight will increase the variations in color on the long, graceful leaves and encourage blooming. Because the plant prefers tropical conditions, it should not be exposed to radical changes in temperature or cold and hot drafts, such as those coming from a heater or air conditioning vent. Keeping the plant in a location with a temperature of around 75 degrees is ideal.


Mites are often attracted to the juicy leaves of the Chinese happy plant. Other chewing insects can bother it as well, but these are usually only a problem when it is planted outdoors. If you see tiny holes developing on the leaves of your plant, spray it down with an insecticidal soap. Then, aim a strong stream of water at the leaves to rinse off the mites. This will also work to clean off the broad leaves, which can collect dust and turn rather dingy. Be sure to set the plant in a sunny location where it can dry thoroughly, as fungal spots can develop on the leaves if the plant is left in moist conditions for extended periods.