The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Dracaena

Family: Agavaceae.

This plant is available in our partner's store!

Common name(s): Dragon tree, Ribbon plant
Dracaena Genus of about 40 species of sparsely brunched, evergreen shrubs and trees from forest, scrub, and dry, open slopes. They occur in the Canary Islands and throughout tropical Africa, W. Africa, with one species in W. America. Most Dracaenas are false Palms - the leafless woody trunk and crown of leaves giving a distinct Palm-like appearance, but in fact they are unrelated to the True Palms.
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth in summer - minimum 60F in winter.Bright light or full light. Keep compost moist at all time. Water sparingly in winter. Misting is necessary. Take semi-ripe cuttings and leafless stem sections in spring or summer. Sow seed at 64-70 F (18-21 C) in spring.
Dracaena fragrans 'Compacta variegata'
Dracaena fragrans 'Compacta variegata'
Dracaena fragrans 'Compacta'
Dracaena fragrans 'Compacta'
Dracaena fragrans 'Lemon lime'
Dracaena fragrans 'Lemon lime'
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'
Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'
Dracaena fragrans 'White stripe'
Dracaena fragrans 'White stripe'
Dracaena godseffiana
Gold-dust Dracaena.

The Gold-dust Dracaena does not resemble any of the other Dracaenas. It features oval shaped leaves with splotches of green and cream. This slow-growing shrub can grow 2-3 feet tall. This plant is often grown in dish gardens or terrariums.

Dracaena godseffiana
Dracaena marginata 'Magenta'
Dracaena marginata 'Magenta'
Dracaena reflexa 'Song of India'
Dracaena reflexa 'Song of India'
Dracaena sanderiana
Dracaena sanderiana
Dracaena surculosa
Dracaena surculosa

User-submitted additions and corrections:

Paul Norman
U.S.
4th Oct 2006
I have found even in the brightest of conditions, most Dracaenas (including the compacta) need to fully dry out between waterings. They can go bone dry in medium to low light for weeks between watering. Unless in high light, water very, very sparingly each time (ex. 1 cup for a 6 inch diameter pot or 4 cups for a 10 inch diameter pot - do not soak the entire pot unless in high light!). Brown tips could be not enough humidity or not drying out fast enough. Brown tips and brown sides is a sure sign of over watering. One last tip, the more narrow the leaf blade, the more sun the plant needs, the broad leaf blade varieties can tollerate fairly low light (if they are not over watered).
Patricia
Wyoming, USA
4th Jul 2007
Just like we sunburn plants can sun burn also. I usually, slowly put my plants out side for short periods of time or else set them in the shade to acclimate them slowly before leaving them outside all summer long. They usually have a tremendous growth spurt and are very happy in the fall after spending the summer months outside. They really like the rain and the sprinklers also.
Jennifer Boyle
Ia
29th Aug 2007
Hello, I have 2 different types of draceanas, they love humidity and the browning of the tips is ususally from a lack of humidity. They can get very ugly and frail if the humidity is not right. Remember that they are from tropical rain forests and that is what they are used to. My dracaena are D. marginata/dragon tree (x2), and D. marginata tri color (1)
John
USA
19th Nov 2008
To Shannon: It is perfectly fine to cut a dracaena in half, it will form two to three new buds just below the cut, normally within an inch and these will grow like the single branch before. For an example of what it looks like after go to a store and look for dracaenas that are more than a single stalk of growth and appear to be branching. The top you cut off, if you want to save it, can be placed in a pot and it will root, but even better would be to take just the tip (with the leaves on it) and stick that in a pot, or to cut 2-3" sections of cane and lay them in a pot, these will root and produce several new shoots.
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