Everything You Need To Know About Dracaena Plants 

The dracaena plant, which consists of around 40 different tree species, is a fairly low maintenance species, with hot-hued, strap-like foliage.

These particular plants come in a range of sizes, with some cultivars boasting large, tree-like forms, while others are smaller in size. No matter the species, dracaena plants always exhibit an upright form.

Growing a Dracaena Plant

In order to keep your plant in tip-top condition, it’s important to prune the plant’s stems (canes) regularly.

When planting dracaena outdoors or indoors, it can be pruned at any point.

This will help to keep the plant under control. If you want the plant to branch out to resemble an umbrella shape, you should prune more during the winter months.

Dracaena houseplant varieties

There are two main species of dracaena, these include D. fragrans and D. deremensis.

Both come in the shape of cultivars that can reach an impressive six to 20 feet in height if you intend to grow your dracaena outdoors. This all comes down to the climate and soil conditions. If you have a smaller space to work with, simply prune the canes more often.

New foliage will sprout in just a few weeks, appearing just below the cut. You can then propagate the removed cane to create another plant.

Some of the higher-priced species can be trained to curve and bend, allowing them to resemble a candelabra. These plants boast rich, dark green leaves, tinged with a dark red margin.

Dracaena plant care

When caring for dracaena plants, it’s important to keep the soil moist, without overwatering. Signs you have overwatered your plant include drooping or yellowing leaves. Using well-draining soil is a must when attempting to grow dracaena outdoors as these species are susceptible to root rot.

Allow the soil around the plant to dry completely before watering the plant again. It’s also a good idea to fertilize the plant using a balanced fertilizer, feeding it every two weeks in the months of spring and summer. When autumn arrives, reduce fertilization to once a month and cease completely in the winter months, as this particular species of plant enjoys a period of dormancy.

When it comes to dracaena care, for best results, you should place your plant in an environment that offers bright, filtered light. A great spot for this plant is beside a sheer curtain in front of a sunny window. The dracaena prefers temperatures of 60-70°F (15-21°C) during the day and 50-60°F (10-15°C) at night. Providing it’s not overly cold, this plant can pretty much survive in most temperatures.

The various dracaena types are however highly sensitive to fluoride. If you can, use filtered, pure water instead of tap water when watering your plant. Flouride often builds up in the leaves of the plant over time and you may see the edges of the leaves become yellow or brown in colour, or even dry and brittle. If your plant is outdoors and is experiencing these issues, you may want to try diverting runoff to alleviate the amount of fluoride.


When it comes to adding colour to your garden, most think to add flowers rather than foliage. However, the dracaena plant’s foliage boasts a variety of colourful accents, all of which will add a hit of hue to your garden. Of all the Dracaena types, the spike dracaena (Dracaena marginata) is a great plant to invest in if you wish to brighten up your outdoor space.

With its rich green, sword-like leaves, tinged with red and purple, this is the perfect plant for an array of gardens. This species thrives outdoors in warmer temperatures but can be grown as a houseplant in cooler climates, before being moved outdoors when the temperatures start to heat up.

Modern-day cultivators, including ‘Tricolor’ boast a variety of unique shades, such as red-edged, green-tinged leaves, complete with a stripe of ivory white. ‘Colorama’, another type, boasts leaves brandishing red edges and red-and-ivory bands.

The cultivar ‘Tarzan’ on the other hand features longer leaves, with a deep purple margin. ‘Magenta’ has hints of deep burgundy and dark green. With so many shades to choose from, you should find one to suit your outdoor or indoor space.


Dracaena care is generally very simple and requires little maintenance, as it’s extremely easy-to-grow and requires only basic care.

For best results, use well-drained, fertile loam that’s slightly moist. If you wish to up your soil’s fertility, simply add a little compost, clay, or sand when planting as this will help to hold water. Although the majority of dracaena types are tolerant of drought, young plants require further watering during dry periods.

These plants become partially dormant during the winter months, and as a result, require less water. If growing a tropical native, it important to place in an environment that offers high humidity. For best results, place on a pebble-filled, wet tray.

Interesting facts

  • The name Dracaena comes from the Greek word ‘drakaina,’ which means ‘female dragon’. This particular plant produces a red gum when cut, which when thickened is said to resemble the blood of a dragon.
  • When in its native environment, the dracaena cinnabari tree can grow at heights of 300-1500 meters. The red-coloured sap that exudes from the bark fissures has been used for a number of purposes for centuries, including varnish in the 18th century by Italian violin makers.
  • This resin was also known by the ancient Romans and is mentioned in a first-century Periplus.
  • Many believe Lieutenant Wellsted of the East India Company discovered this particular specie in the 1830s, however, it was Isaac Bayley Balfour, a Scottish botanist, who gave the dracaena flower its scientific name in 1880.
  • Dracaena cinnabari is the only plant in the Dracaena genus that is able to flourish in dense woodlands.
  • When left to thrive in its native environment, this plant species can live for hundreds of years.
  • Dracaena cinnabari trees also grow on limestone plateaus on Socotra Island.

If you’ve had success growing the dracaena plant, we’d love to hear from you; especially if you have any other dracaena care or planting tips that you think we can share with our readers.


Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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