Houseplant of the Week: Dracaena, The Dragon Plant

Behold! The Dracaena…

Light: Bright, indirect, or low light
Watering: Every week to two weeks
Toxic to Pets: Yes, cats and dogs

The dramatic foliage and stunning color patterns of the Dracaena make this subtropical native a popular houseplant for those looking to add a little height and style to their menagerie of indoor plants. 

The Dracaena in all its forms is not particularly when it comes to light, moisture, and humidity. And once you’ve got the hang of what this spiky-leaved beauty craves, you’ll be the master of your very own house dragon in no time!

Caring for Dracaena Plants

Light: When it comes to caring for dragon plants, you’ll want to find a spot in your home that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Full sun will scorch the leaves causing them to yellow; but be mindful of low-light situations as well, as these plants do need their daily dose of sunlight to live their best life. 

Water and humidity: Dracaena are drought tolerant plants, but can certainly get a little cranky if you allow too much time between watering. Give your dragon plant a tall drink of water once every week or two, allowing the plant to dry completely between watering. When it is time to water, you should give it enough that the water works its way through the soil to drain into the saucer it sits in. Be mindful not overwater, though; as root rot can be a very real concern for the Dracaena. 

Interestingly, Dracaena plants are very sensitive to fluoride. While the Treasure Valley’s water does not have fluoride added, it is present in our tap water at varying levels. For this reason it is highly recommended that distilled water be used to water your dragon plant. 

Soil, Pruning, and Repotting Dracaena 

Dragon plants prefer rich soil with plenty of organic materials, meaning a standard, organic potting soil will do quite nicely. With that in mind, however, your Dracaena will want a well-draining soil to help prevent root rot, so if you find that issue is starting to develop, consider adding some pebbles and small rocks to your soil to enhance drainage and cut down on how often you’re watering. Dracaena do like to be fertilized with a house plant-specific fertilizer once or twice during their growing season, which runs March – September. 

Dracaena also respond well to pruning, especially if lower leaves are starting to brown from low light and underwatering. You can prune from the base of the stock, or if you need to clip a little off the top do so by cutting in such a way that their leaf tips still retain their pointy shape.  

Typically, Dracaena will need to be repotted every 2-3 years during the springtime. Between potting cycles, you can add topsoil as needed to keep nutrients in check and roots covered, should that become an issue. 

Your Boise Houseplant Experts

North End Organic Nursery carries a diverse selection of Dracaena, including the Dracaena Warneckii, Dracaena Hawaiian Sunshine, Dracaena Massangeana, and more. And, of course, if there is a particular variety you’ve been looking for, we would be happy to special order it in for you! 

Please reach out to the NEON staff should you have any questions about your Dracaena, or any houseplant. We are always happy to help your plants thrive!