Dracaenas is a genus of about 120 species of trees and shrubs of the family Asparagaceae. Some of the common varieties are Dracaena White Stripe, Dracaena Marginata cane, Dracaena Janet Craig, Dracaena Lemon Lime, Dracaena Hawaiian Sunshine, etc. These plants are loved for their elegant green-yellowish stripped foliage that brings a touch of exotic life to living rooms and offices. Besides, they are simple to grow and care. A majority of the species are native to Africa, South Asia, Northern Australia, and Central America. They have an impressive lifespan of more than ten years.
Dracaenas have a reputation of not needing a lot of water. However, they require to be thoroughly soaked in water when the soil dries out. Plants grown in six inches of soil should be watered when the first four inches of soil dry. Use distilled water or rainwater since these plants don’t like salts or minerals. Frequent watering promotes fungus and root rot. Water once in a month, but always remember to ensure the soil is dry before watering.
Light and humidity
Some varieties can survive in low light conditions, but most of them like marginatas do well in filtered bright indirect light. Direct sunlight scalds the foliage and can decolorize it. High humidity levels, especially during summer, are beneficial to the plants’ growth. Keep humidity levels above 60 percent. Use humidifiers or humidity trays to improve humidity levels. Dracaenas thrive in warm environments of above 65°F. During cold months, keep the plant away from drafty windows.
Soil and fertilizer
They thrive in fertile soil with plenty of organic material. The soil should also be well-drained to prevent clogging. Use a well-draining peaty commercial potting mix. Dracaenas do not require frequent feeding, but they will thank you for applying a quarter diluted complete liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion once a month during growing seasons. You can top-dress the plant at the start of the growing season with rich compost.
Cleaning and pruning
Clean the plants to remove dust and minimize the possibility of pests manifestation. Use a wet piece of cloth to wipe the stem and the leaves. Alternatively, put it outside in the rain and let nature do the magic. Manage the height of your plant by pruning stems. When leaves turn yellow or wilt, remove them using sharp pruning equipment. Dracaenas handle pruning pretty well; there is no need for being too tender when handling it.
Dracaenas are primarily propagated via stem cuttings. The process is relatively simple and consumes less time. Just cut the leafy tip off the stem, make sure the cutting has at least two nodes. Put the cutting in a stout vase or glass of water, make sure the nodes are immersed. After a few weeks, the cutting will develop roots, allow them to grow for about an inch before planting it in the soil mix. Propagate during summer for quick propagation; in winter; growth is often limited – it can take months to develop roots.
Dracaenas grow at a moderate rate; hence they should be repotted after two or three years. Upgrade the container to one size up and make sure the drainage capabilities are not compromised. You can enhance drainage capabilities by creating a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot before adding the potting mix. The repotting procedure is typical of standard procedures. However, note that species with low growth rates such as goldieana, sanderana, and surculosa do not need repotting as often.
Dracaenas dropping leaves, withering, and turning yellow might be an indication of problems. When these signs appear, move the plant to warmer locations, well-lit regions, and try to pay attention to your watering routine. It is also advisable to pay attention to the possibility of red spider and mealybug infestation. Avoid watering using direct tap water, and keep humidity levels high. Dracaenas are poisonous – keep them away from cats, dogs, and children.