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How to Care for Dracaena Plants

How to Care for Dracaena Plants

The Dracaena plant is a gorgeous tropical houseplant known for its swordlike leaves, vibrant colors, and woody trunk similar to a palm tree. Its name means “Dragon Woman” in Greek—amazing, right? We certainly think so!

There are over 40 types of Dracaena, each with striking foliage colors—we particularly love the striped varieties with contrasting streaks of red, yellow, or white. Dracaena makes a bold style statement, yet its care requirements couldn’t be easier. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular choice for plant collectors of all skill levels!

If you’d like to grow your own Dracaena at home, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know, plus some of our favorite featured varieties for California.

How to Care for Dracaena Plants

Dracaena Sunlight Requirements

Like many other tropicals, Dracaena prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so you’ll want to keep your plant near a bright window but away from any intense direct beams. A North- or East-facing window is a safe spot, or you can place it several feet away from a South- or West-facing window. Sheer curtains can also help to diffuse sunlight if your plant is looking scorched.

In summer, your Dracaena will benefit from some time outside! Plus, it makes a stylish addition to your backyard patio setup— that spiky, bright foliage perfectly complements the outdoor party decor! Try to place it in a spot shielded from the bright afternoon sun. A bit of gentle morning sunshine won’t hurt, so a North- or East-facing wall would be a perfect location.

How to Care for Dracaena Plants

Watering Your Dracaena

Dracaenas don’t like overwatering and can tolerate their soil drying out between watering; they prefer it that way! Overwatering is the most common issue that causes Dracaena plants to die, so remember not to overdo it! However, it’s still important to water your plant thoroughly so the roots are nicely soaked, all around the pot from edge to edge. Consistently soggy soil can lead to root rot, yellowing leaves, and fungus gnats, so you should wait until the top two inches of soil feel dry before watering again. Putting your Dracaena in a pot with drainage holes can help to prevent moisture from building up in the bottom of the pot.

If you forget to water your Dracaena for a couple of weeks, it’s no big deal—these plants are pretty resilient, which is why they’re so popular among beginners. In winter, you can scale back on watering to about once every 2–3 weeks—this is when your plant is in its resting state and doesn’t need as much water to fuel its growth.

Misting the leaves of your Dracaena with a spray bottle of distilled or filtered water will help keep them nourished and prevent them from getting crispy. Tropicals are accustomed to humid environments, so your houseplant will appreciate the extra moisture—especially if you’ve got the air conditioning or heater running.

Applying a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer will help your plant grow bigger and brighter. For best results, apply it once every two weeks from April to September, once per month in October and November, then hold off for the winter until the following spring.

How to Care for Dracaena Plants

Our Favorite Dracaena Varieties

With so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick one favorite, but there are definitely a few varieties that stand out from the bunch!

Dracaena marginata is perhaps the most common variety, known for its skinny green leaves with contrasting red edges. Some growers will braid its canes while it’s still young and flexible, so when it grows into its mature tree form, it has a distinctive twisted trunk.

Dracaena ‘Kanzi’ has wider leaves with a dusty sage green center stripe and deep emerald borders. Dark green is a mega trendy color for interior design right now, making this Dracaena variety a top pick for 2022.

Dracaena ‘Tornado’ literally looks like it was in a tornado—its yellow-trimmed leaves twist in a satisfying spiral shape. It’s perfect for brightening up a drab desk space

Dracaena ‘Lemon Lime’ lights up the room like a neon sign, boasting electric lemon and lime stripes with subtle white highlights.

Discover these and several other Dracaenas for sale in California by visiting Roger’s Gardens! You’ll love how they instantly liven up your scenery with minimal maintenance required. For more information about indoor plants, watch our video playlist on YouTube!