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Growing Dracaena Plants Indoors: Care Tips & Varieties (2023)

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growing dracaena plants indoorsReady to level up your indoor plant game? Dracaena plants are a beautiful and low-maintenance way to add variety and lush greenery indoors.

With over 100 varieties, it’s easy to find one that fits perfectly with any space. From their strap-like leaves and tree-like appearance, growing dracaena plants indoors is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a touch of nature without too much effort.

Read on as we discuss different types of dracaena plants, how best to care for them inside your home or office, potential hazards from pets or children interacting with the plant—and more!

Key Takeaways

  • Dracaena plants are low-maintenance and add lush greenery indoors.
  • They require bright, indirect light and average to high humidity.
  • Water dracaena plants about once a week, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Dracaena plants can be propagated easily from stem cuttings rooted in either water or potting soil.

What is the Dracaena Plant?

What is the Dracaena Plant
Dracaenas are striking, tree-like houseplants with strappy leaves that give a tropical vibe. To grow dracaena plants indoors, provide them bright, indirect light to keep the foliage colorful. Water about once a week, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

Mist the leaves often or use a humidifier since dracaenas prefer average to high humidity.

Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Repot when necessary in a pot only slightly larger using a well-draining potting mix. Dracaena plants propagate easily from stem cuttings rooted in water or potting soil.

Watch for pests like mealybugs and treat promptly. With the right care, dracaena plants can grow for many years indoors, purifying the air while adding vertical interest.

Dracaena Care: Different Varieties

Dracaena Care: Different Varieties
You’re growing three of the most popular dracaena varieties as houseplants – Dracaena marginata, Dracaena massangeana, and Dracaena reflexa. These dracaena plants have distinct looks but similar care needs indoors. Dracaena marginata features long, thin green leaves with red or yellow edges.

Dracaena massangeana, also called corn plant, has wide, green leaves with yellow edges and thick yellow stripes down the middle. Dracaena reflexa, or song of India, has slender green leaves and bright green stems.

All three varieties thrive in bright, indirect light. Allow the soil to partially dry between waterings and provide average room humidity. Wipe dust from the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to keep them looking their best.

With the right care, these eye-catching dracaena plants can grow for many years in indoor environments.

Dracaena Marginata

Dracaena marginata’s long, slender leaves add unique texture as this easy-care houseplant thrives in your home. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings, providing bright, indirect light. Mist the leaves often for humidity. Prune tall stems and root the cuttings in soil to propagate new plants.

Check for pests like scale under leaves. Let the soil dry completely before watering to prevent root rot. Give this low-maintenance dracaena plant an occasional liquid fertilizer feeding.

Dracaena Massangeana

Examine those thick trunks and leaves of the corn plant, and you’ll see why it earns its common name. Provide bright, indirect light to keep its foliage lush. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between thorough waterings.

Mist the leaves often for humidity. Propagate by rooting stem cuttings in water. Prune old stems at the base to encourage new growth. Group potted plants to form an indoor tree.

Dracaena Reflexa

Known as the song of India, this Dracaena variety’s leaves display more variation with hints of yellow. Provide bright, filtered sunlight for your Dracaena reflexa. Water when the top inch of soil dries.

Mist leaves often for humidity. Repot every 2 to 3 years in well-draining soil. Propagate with stem cuttings. Watch for pests like spider mites. Give this easygoing plant proper care to keep it healthy.

How to Grow Dracaena Plants Indoors

How to Grow Dracaena Plants Indoors
Growing dracaena plants indoors requires some special care to help them thrive. You’ll need to provide bright, indirect light and maintain even moisture in the potting mix. Increase humidity to prevent brown leaf tips. Use a well-draining organic soil mix suited for houseplants.

Dracaena prefer steady moisture. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly until it drains from the bottom, then dump out excess water from the saucer. Brown leaf tips often result from low humidity. Mist the leaves daily or use a pebble tray to boost moisture near the plants.

Sit the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water. As it evaporates, it creates a humid microclimate around the dracaena. Choose a pot with drainage holes using a standard potting mix amended with compost or worm castings.

Repot when the roots fill the container. Wipe dust from the leaves periodically to keep them looking their best. Rotate the plant every few weeks to promote even growth. With proper care, dracaena make excellent and easy-care houseplants.

Sunlight Needs

Your dracaena craves indirect light where it won’t get scorched. Position it near a bright, east-facing window or several feet from a southern exposure. Moderate light keeps its growth steady and foliage lush without sun scalding the leaves.

Watering Requirements

Water the dracaena just enough to moisten the top inch of soil when it’s dry to the touch. Allow the top layer to dry between waterings. Signs of underwatering include yellowing leaves and dry, shriveled stems.

Signs of overwatering are soft, mushy leaves and brown spots. Use a watering can or pitcher for controlled application.

Humidity and Brown Tips

Increase humidity around your dracaenas by misting the leaves daily to prevent those frustrating brown leaf tips.

  • Place pots on pebble trays with water
  • Use a humidifier nearby
  • Group plants together
  • Mist leaves daily

Adequate humidity levels keep dracaena leaves healthy and free of brown tips. The misting of leaves and ambient humidity prevents leaf scorching.

Soil Preferences

Well-draining houseplant soil rich in organic matter is ideal for planting dracaena, as over 120 species thrive in tropical environments.

Soil Type Key Properties Recommended Brands
Peat moss Absorbs moisture while providing aeration Espoma Organic, Miracle-Gro
Compost Nutrient-rich, retains moisture Black Gold, Kellogg
Perlite Lightweight, improves drainage Hoffman, Sun Gro

Native to the tropics, an airy yet moisture-retentive soil allows for proper drainage to prevent root rot in dracaena.

Dracaena Toxicity: Pets and Children

Dracaena Toxicity: Pets and Children
You should keep dracaena plants out of reach of pets and kids since they’re toxic if ingested.

  • Dracaena plants contain saponins and other compounds that can irritate the mouth, tongue, and esophagus if eaten.
  • Ingestion may cause excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
  • Prevent dracaena plant toxicity by keeping plants on high shelves or in enclosed terrariums where kids and pets can’t reach them.
  • Know the symptoms of dracaena poisoning like vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and get emergency veterinary care if you think your pet ate some of the plant.

Growing dracaena plants indoors around pets or small children requires keeping the plants safely out of reach to avoid accidental ingestion. Dracaena plants contain toxic compounds that can irritate the digestive tract, so ingestion requires prompt veterinary treatment.

Dracaena Care: Propagation Methods

Dracaena Care: Propagation Methods
Don’t bother propagating dracaena from cuttings unless you’re into frustrating trial and error. Dracaena can be finicky when propagating from cuttings. Your best bet is taking 3-4 inch stem cuttings from a healthy mother plant.

Remove all but 1-2 leaves, dip the end in rooting hormone, and stick into moist propagating mix or potting soil.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy and provide bright indirect light. It may take weeks for roots to form, so patience is key. Water propagation in a vase is possible but more challenging. Change the water weekly and provide indirect sunlight.

Remember that propagation success can vary. Don’t get discouraged if cuttings fail – just try another one! With time you’ll get the hang of propagating dracaena for an endless supply of gorgeous houseplants.

Tips for Growing Dracaena Plants

Tips for Growing Dracaena Plants
When it comes to dracaena plant care, providing the right growing conditions is key. Dracaenas thrive in bright, indirect light. Place them near an east or west-facing window where they’ll receive gentle sunlight without risk of leaf scorch.

Ideal indoor temperatures for dracaena plants range between 70-80°F. Cooler temps can slow growth.

To keep your dracaena looking its best, be diligent about watering. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings. Water less frequently in winter when growth slows. Fluoride and salts in tap water can harm dracaenas, so use filtered or distilled water.

Common dracaena pests like spider mites and mealybugs can be controlled with horticultural oil or insecticidal soap sprays. Prune off any damaged leaves or stems. Repotting every 2-3 years in fresh potting mix will provide nutrients.

  • Provide bright, indirect sunlight from an east or west window.
  • Maintain indoor temps between 70-80°F.
  • Allow soil to partly dry out between waterings.
  • Use filtered or distilled water, not tap.
  • Watch for pests like spider mites and mealybugs.

Pruning and Maintenance of Dracaena Plants

Pruning and Maintenance of Dracaena Plants
Are you looking for pruning and maintenance tips for your Dracaena fragrans var. massangeana, Dracaena marginata, or Dracaena reflexa? Here are a few ideas to keep these popular indoor Dracaena plants thriving.

First, rotate your Dracaena every week or two so all sides get even light exposure. This encourages even, upright growth. While corn plants, dragon trees, and songs of India are relatively easy care, they still need pruning occasionally.

Trim back leggy stems or leaves that have turned yellow. This keeps your Dracaena looking full and healthy.

Dracaena Fragrans Var. Massangeana (Corn Plant, Mass Cane)

The banana-like trunks and arching sword-shaped leaves of the corn plant make for a dramatic, architectural statement in your living spaces. Propagate easily by cutting off a stalk from an existing plant, removing a few bottom leaves, and placing the stalk in water to root – then pot up once rooted.

Water weekly and keep soil moist, but not wet. Bright indirect light is ideal. Fertilize monthly in spring and summer with a balanced houseplant food. Watch for pest issues like spider mites. The corn plant filters indoor air while adding stylish height and greenery to your interiors.

Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree)

Prune your dragon tree occasionally, as too many old leaves can block light from new growth. Gently cut away any dead lower fronds or misshapen growth to allow your dragon tree to thrive. Pruning once or twice a year helps encourage bushier growth and allows light to penetrate to the center of the plant.

Since dragon trees grow slowly, restrained pruning prevents them from becoming lopsided or unkempt. Check for common houseplant pests like spider mites or mealybugs while pruning. With simple, regular care, your elegant dragon tree will flourish for years to come.

Dracaena Reflexa (Song of India, Song of Jamaica)

Look at those variegated leaves and slender stems; isn’t the Dracaena Reflexa practically singing a song of beauty right in your living room? This easygoing dracaena thrives in bright filtered light. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Use distilled water to prevent fluoride toxicity.

Soggy soil invites root rot. Prune leggy growth as needed. Propagate with 4-6 inch tip cuttings in potting soil.

Managing Pests and Diseases in Dracaena Plants

Managing Pests and Diseases in Dracaena Plants
If spider mites nibble the leaves like tiny piranhas, spray neem oil to curb further infestation. These microscopic spiders suck cell contents, leaving yellow stippling on foliage. Scan undersides of leaves with a magnifier for signs of their fine webbing. Isolate infested plants, and hose leaves to dislodge mites.

Follow up with insecticidal soap, focusing on leaf axils and veins where mites lurk.

Mealybugs and scale insects also plague dracaena. Check leaf joints and stems for white fluffy egg sacs or armored brown bugs. Remove heavily infested leaves, and use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to scrape off pests.

Systemic houseplant insecticides can prevent reinfestation. Controlling insects keeps your dracaena vigorous and prevents viruses they transmit. With diligent scouting and prompt treatment, you can keep these vampiric pests from bleeding your plant dry.

Quick Reference Growing Guide for Dracaena Plants

Quick Reference Growing Guide for Dracaena Plants
Choose a bright spot away from direct sun. Dracaenas thrive in indirect light. Rotate the plant periodically so all sides get light.

Use well-draining potting soil and pots with drainage holes. The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings.

Increase humidity with a humidifier or pebble tray. Misting leaves also adds moisture.

Watch for pests like spider mites. Wipe leaves with soapy water or use insecticidal soap.

Feed monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Let the soil dry out before fertilizing to avoid buildup. With the right care, your dracaena will grow lush and strong indoors for years to come.

Dracaena Care Tips

Dracaena Care Tips
You gotta keep those dracaena healthy and happy indoors by providing bright, indirect light and maintaining ideal humidity levels.

  1. Propagate dracaena from stem cuttings in water or potting mix.
  2. Place dracaena near a bright window out of direct sunlight.
  3. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between thorough waterings.
  4. Prune off any dead or damaged leaves and stems to direct growth.
  5. Mist dracaena leaves daily or use a humidifier to keep humidity around 50%.

As houseplants, dracaena thrive with the right care. Meet their preference for filtered sunlight and humidity while taking care not to overwater. Regular pruning keeps growth tidy and creates cuttings to propagate new plants. With the proper growing conditions, dracaena will continue filling your indoor spaces with vibrant greenery for years to come.


With over 120 varieties of Dracaena plants, there’s a way to brighten up any home or office. With proper care, Dracaena plants can live for decades, purifying the air and creating a tropical atmosphere in any space.

When it comes to growing Dracaena plants indoors, it’s important to remember to provide indirect light, water with distilled water, maintain humidity, and use a well-draining potting mix.

Additionally, Dracaena plants need to be kept out of reach of pets and children as they’re toxic.

With regular pruning and fertilizing, Dracaena plants can thrive indoors and make a great addition to any houseplant collection.

Growing Dracaena plants indoors doesn’t have to be a challenge. Just follow these care tips and you’ll be sure to have healthy and happy plants.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.