How To Care for Dracaenas
Coming in many different shapes and sizes, dracaenas make a unique, edgy, and beautiful addition to any interior. In addition to their beauty, they also are fantastic air purifiers. These plants adapt very well to a variety of environments and are fairly hardy houseplants. Depending on the variety, they can come with lovely accents of color from bright green to pinks and purples.
Dracaenas grow best in bright, indirect light.
Be wary of placing them in direct sunlight, as too much direct sun will scorch their leaves! Dracaenas are fairly hardy houseplants, so even if they are in a partly shady area, they will still be fine, though they may grow a little slower. Simply make sure to water less if they are receiving less sun, as they won't use up all their water quite as quickly.
Plant your dracaena in soil that drains well!
Soil that retains too much water will pose issues down the road. If the roots of your plant stay too moist, they will start to develop root rot, which once this has taken hold of your plant, it is very difficult to reverse the effects.
Ensure that your soil drains well enough by mixing your potting soil with some perlite or sand. This will allow your plant to get the water it needs, while also avoiding the soil from holding on to too much water, thereby causing damage to your plant.
As a general rule of thumb, a dracaena can be watered once every other week.
These plants really do not need as much water as other houseplants. While once every two weeks is a good general guideline for watering, this may fluctuate depending on the time of year or the environment it is in. This being said, it is smart to check your plant before watering to make sure you do not water too often. Be sure to wait for the soil to dry out before watering. You can check this by sticking your fingers into the soil. If you can feel moisture a couple of inches under the surface, let the plant dry out for another week and check again. You will know that your plant is ready to be watered when you feel no moisture in the soil.
If the leaves of your dracaena ever begin to turn yellow and droopy, this is a sure sign of overwatering or soil that does not drain well enough. Simply do not water your dracaena for a while to be sure that the soil has a chance to dry out. If you are worried about the plant not being in the proper soil, head to your local garden center and pick out some soil to repot the plant in. This will aid you in the long run with not overwatering your dracaena.
Temperature and Humidity
Dracaenas prefer temperatures ranging anywhere from 65-78°F.
They do not like cold drafts or temperatures below 55°F, and temperatures this cold can cause harm to the plant. Because of this, it is best to keep them inside and away from any air vents that might blast them with cold air, or drafty windows that may leak cold air in the winter.
Dracaenas also benefit from misting the leaves. This helps it absorb some of the water and moisture it needs through its leaves. You can also mist the soil, keeping it damp, but never soggy. This will help increase the humidity levels around the plant, keeping it happy and healthy!
Dracaenas can vary greatly in size, from several inches tall to several feet tall!
This is one of the beauties of dracaenas! Depending on the variety you have, they can grow to be very large. Dracaenas as a whole though are very slow-growing plants, so it is likely that the size it is now is around the size it will be for several years. If you are looking at purchasing a dracaena, don't worry about it overgrowing its space too quickly, and be sure to get the size you want for the space you have on hand.
Dracaenas can be propagated through cutting!
With a little patience, dracaenas are really fairly easy to propagate. It sounds a little scary, but it is as easy as cutting off the top leafy part of your dracaena and sticking in a new pot of dirt. Always be sure to use good sheers that will make a quick, sharp cut. To aid in the process, I also use a rooting hormone by Bonide. This is a white powder that you dust the tip of the cutting with before you plant it in its new pot. Moisten the new soil, and press your finger into the center to make a little hole for the stalk. Place your dracaena cutting down into the hole, and pack in the soil around the base. You might need to add a little extra soil to help stabilize the cutting. Mist the soil lightly to keep it moist, but not soggy, and after a month or two, the dracaena should have sprouted new roots and started to establish itself. If it takes a little longer than this, do not worry. And if the leaves appear droopy, this is no cause for alarm either, as all the plant's energy is going towards forming new roots instead of sustaining its leaves or growing new ones.
In addition to the cutting, the parent plant should also be showing some new growth after a couple of months! Just below where you cut the top off, you might be able to notice a couple of points where it looks like something might be trying to poke out from under the bark of the plant. That is exactly what is happening. Dracaenas are known to grow two or more new stalks from where the previous cut was made. Simply sit back and watch them grow!
These plants ARE toxic, so keep them out of the way of house pets and young children!
Many pets will not get far into eating a dracaena even if they try due to the bitter taste. This is often strong enough to dissuade kids and creatures from munching. In the case that this does happen, however, dracaenas are not lethal, though it is likely that eating this plant will cause vomiting, excess saliva, and a lack of appetite. If your pet does get into any houseplant you may have and is exhibiting troublesome symptoms, be safe and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible!
Sometimes caring for your plants is not always that straight-forward, and a number of similar symptoms can be signs of a variety of things. If you find yourself in this situation, and you just can’t quite figure out what is going on, reach out to us!
You can let us know what’s going on by sending us pictures, bringing your plant into the store, giving us a call, or whatever it takes! We will do everything we can to help make sure your plant stays healthy and happy.