Dracaena is a genus consisting of nearly 120 species of lush shrubs and trees. The majority of the Dracaena originates from the African sub-continent, with some of the species belonging from south-eastern Asia. A great variety and sub-types of the Dracaena family are placed in malls, offices, homes, and apartments for the purpose of artistry and decoration. The different species vary in the size and form. However, the garden centres are known to house only a few popular ones from these species. Some of the common forms of Dracaena found in houses and buildings are sanderiana, marginata, deremensis, fragrans, Draco, and cinnabari, among a few others. This family of plants is known for its excellence in purifying the air around it. It absorbs and removes many harmful toxics from the air.
Dracaena Technical Details
Scientific Name: Dracaena
Common Name(s): Varies according to the species
Origin: Africa, south-east Asia, North Australia
Height: Varies according to species, roughly 2ft – 15ft
Light: Indirect sun exposure
Soil: Mediocre Draining Soil
Moisture: Preferable according to species
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 – 11
Temperature: No growth below 14 degrees Celsius
Pests: Mealy bugs, scales, spider mites
Diseases: Flecking, Fluoride Toxicity, Soft Rot
Propagation: by Seed, by Cuttings
Uses: Indoor plant, Garden Plant, Air purifier
The Dracaena plant is able to cope up with a variety of light conditions. However, the best growth of the plant takes place in areas with indirect but bright sunlight. While the plant will definitely survive in low light, it will have a retarded growth. Placing the plant in indirect sunlight near a window is a great way of ensuring that it gets the proper sun exposure that it needs. Although not necessary for survival, it will definitely boost the growth of the plant.
Irrespective of the season and time of the year, the plant shall always be kept warm. The plants’ growth stops when the surrounding temperature is less than 15 degrees Celsius. Further low temperatures can even result in the death of the plant. Ensuring an ambient temperature range for the plant is extremely important. The plant grows well if the surrounding air has good moisture content. High humidity boosts the growth of the plant. Placing some pebbles in the area below the plant will also increase the moisture content of the air taken in by the plant.
Water soluble houseplant fertilizers can be applied to the Dracaena plant twice a month during the seasons of spring and summer. When the fall and winter season approach, you can stop the application of fertilizer as it is not needed during these times of the year. The Dracaena plants are specifically very sensitive to fluoride. Exposure to this chemical can harm the roots of the plant; therefore the fluoride content shall be avoided as much as possible. Since traces of fluoride can also be found in tap water, it is essential to use pure and fresh water for the watering of the plant. Keeping the exposure of the plant to fluoride to a bare minimum will ensure healthy growth of the plant, without any hindrance.
Dracaena Propagation Methods
The Dracaena can be grown by seeds. The seeds must be sow into the soil instead of being cut, and the soil must be kept moist at all times until the seed germinates. Irrespective of the plant type and the location where it is being grown, the seeds will take about 30 to 40 days before they start germinating into the plant. To improve and speed up the sprouting process, the seeds can be soaked in warm water for nearly 4 – 5 days. This improves the germination of the seed and makes it happen earlier than it would have normally generated, by providing it ambient conditions for sprouting. The water must be changed daily without any miss.
If you do not have seeds, the plant can also be propagated by cutting. For propagation through cutting, take cuttings of the plant (about 6-8 inches long in length) and spread and plant the cuttings into a container. The soil must be kept moist and about 1/3rd of the cutting must be placed inside the soil. The signs of new growth will be visible after a few months, from where the plant will grow on its own. Do not expect to see any sign of growth from new cuttings before a few months.
Dracaena Common Problems
The dracaena is prone to spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale. Spider mites can be easily removed by spraying the plants with houseplant insecticides. For mealy bugs and scale, any insecticide that contains pyrethrin will do the job of removal without any trouble.
The Dracaena is also prone to a few diseases. Flecking leaves the leaf of the plant will white and yellow spots near the tip, signalling a lack of moisture and adequate lighting. Presence of fluoride in the soil will results in dead, dark brown areas on the leaves along with yellow borders. This can be avoided by using fluoride free soil and fertilizers. Soft rot – foul odour and soft, brown rot on the rooted cuttings, can be avoided by buying plants that are free from the disease. In case you already have one that is infected, remove the leaves that have the infection as soon as you spot them.
Tips for healthy Dracaena
Keep the plant in a well-lit area by natural sunlight, avoiding direct contact with the sun-rays at all costs.
The surrounding humidity of the dracaena is beneficial for its growth. Therefore, ensure that you regular mist the plant and keep the air around moist.
Make sure the fertilizers are free of any traces of fluoride, as the chemical is harmful for the plants’ growth.
Fertilizer should be added regularly during the spring and summer season to promote great growth of the Dracaena.
Tap water must be avoided for watering of the plant, as traces of fluoride can be present in the tap water. Use fresh and pure water for the watering of the plant.