How to Grow & Care for Dracaena

Take your home to new heights with tree-like dracaena plants.

  • Place plants in bright, indirect light.
  • Pot dracaena plants in a well-draining potting mix.
  • Water when the top inch of soil is dry, avoiding city water if possible.
  • A month after planting, start feeding with plant food.
  • Prune when the plant gets too tall.

Dracaena plants, with their strap-like leaves and tree-like appearance, add variety to your houseplant collection. There are several popular types of dracaena plants, including "lucky bamboo" (Dracaena sanderiana), which is actually not a bamboo at all.

Dracaena fragrans, called "corn plant," has thick brown stems and green leaves (often with a yellow stripe down the middle) that look like those of a corn plant.

Dracaena deremensis is a sturdy type that has thinner leaf blades than Dracaena fragrans; popular varieties include Janet Craig and Limelight.

You may also want to consider Dracaena marginata, sometimes called "dragon tree." It has thin brown stems with tufts of spiky leaves on top, and can grow to be 6-10 feet tall.

All of these varieties are easy to care for. Just follow these tips for growing dracaena plants.

Where to Grow Dracaena Plants Indoors

Grow dracaena indoors in bright, indirect light. Most types will tolerate fairly low light conditions, but you'll notice increased growth if you move plants to sunnier locations. Don't put them where the sun will shine directly on them, though, as the leaves may scorch. Dracaena plants are perfectly well suited to home and office conditions, but sometimes suffer from a lack of humidity. If you know it's exceptionally dry in your home, or if leaf tips begin turning brown, spritz leaves with water every few days, or place pots on trays filled with pebbles and water. (Make sure the water level is below the bottom edge of the pot so the plant doesn't suck up too much water.) As the water evaporates, the surrounding humidity will increase.

How to Plant Dracaena Plants

When selecting a potting mix, keep in mind that dracaenas love soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. 

  • We recommend using Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, which is formulated to be less prone to gnats and contains no compost or bark that they can use as shelter. (Fungus gnats are a common issue with dracaena plants.) The mix also wets easily, thanks in part to the coconut coir it contains.

Select a container that is no more than one-third larger than the root ball of your plant and fill it one-third of the way with potting mix. Place the plant in the container and situate it so that the top of the plant root ball is about just about an inch below the top of the container (so you can water the plant without the water running over the edge of the pot). Fill in around the root ball with more potting mix. Thoroughly water the plant and let it drain, then move to its permanent location in the house.

How to Water Dracaena Plants

Dracaena plants are sensitive to fluoride, which is a common ingredient in municipal water and may cause plants to develop burnt leaf edges. If you don't use well water or rain water to water your plants, consider purchasing distilled water to keep them hydrated.

When to water: Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings, as dracaena plants do not grow well in soggy soil. Cut back on watering during the fall and winter, when growth slows.

How to Fertilize Dracaena Plants

Begin feeding your dracaena plant with indoor plant food a month after planting. Fertilize regularly (follow label directions!) and be sure to reduce the frequency of feedings during the cold (low-growth) months.

  • Tip: We recommend using Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food to give dracaena an instant boost of nutrition. Apply it directly to the soil and water as normal. 

How to Prune Dracaena Plants

Dracaena can grow to be quite tall (between 4 and 10 feet) if left unpruned. When the plants are growing out of bounds, simply cut off the tops, bringing them to the desired height. They will re-sprout.

After pruning, you can root the cut tops to have even more plants to pass along to friends. Simply dip the cut end in in a dry-powder rooting hormone and stick it 1 to 2 inches down in a small container filled with moist potting mix. Water sparingly until roots begin to grow.

  • Tip: For excellent results, we recommend using Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix. 

Ready to start growing dracaena plants? Click on any of the product links above for more information, to purchase the product online, or to find a retailer near you.

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