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What Are Dracaena Plants?
Dracaena plants are a kind of tropical shrub, which are grown as popular houseplants across the world. This is because indoor varieties of the plant are able to thrive in environments with little light and are known for their attractive foliage.
In most cases, dracaena plants can be identified by their long pointed leaves, wooden stems, and lush colors. Smaller varieties can make for wonderful additions to tables and kitchen counters, while larger specimens are excellent for floor plants.
There are countless varieties of dracaena available, with each species boasting its own unique habits and leaves.
For example, some varieties of dracaena feature green leaves with reddish hues, while others have broad leaves that feature distinctive yellow patterns and stripes. Because of their tropical appearance, many varieties of dracaena are mistaken for small trees.
But how do you care for a dracaena plant? In the following article, we have compiled a list of the most popular dracaena plants available and how you can take care of them in your home.
By following this care guide, you will have everything you need to identify the different species and care for them correctly…
Fun Facts About Dracaena Plants
The name dracaena is said to come from the Greek word drakaina, which translates to female dragon. Because of this, dracaena plants are sometimes referred to as dragon plants or weeds. However, they are also known as cane plants, corn plants, cornstalk dracaena, mass cane, ribbon plants, and dragon trees.
Many species of dracaena plants are said to purify the air, with recent studies confirming this unique power.
In fact, NASA even identified species such as dracaena deremensis, dracaena marginata and dracaena massangeana as being able to remove poisonous toxins from the air. These chemicals include notable substances such as formaldehyde and toluene, and xylene.
When compared to other popular houseplants, dracaena plants excel in their ability to survive in environments with little light and water.
In fact, the plants are extremely tolerant of drought, which means you can essentially abandon the plants in your home, and they will still continue to grow…
Types Of Dracaena
When it comes to purchasing your own dracaena plant, the most popular varieties you will encounter are the dracaena deremensis, which is known for its long green leaves, the warneckii dracaena, which can be identified by its spiky green leaves and cream patterns, the dracaena marginata (red and green leaves), and the dracaena reflexa, which is sometimes known as the Song of India.
Another popular dracaena plant is the dracaena sanderiana, which is also known as lucky bamboo.
This is because the plant looks similar to the popular wood, despite it being a member of the dracaena genus. The species is notable for its distinctive curled leaves and is said to thrive in soil with little water.
Now that you understand some dracaena varieties available, let’s take a look at each species in more detail…
Dracaena Fragrans (Dracaena Deremensis)
Otherwise known as corn plant or dracaena deremensis, dracaena fragrans is one of the most popular varieties of dracaena in the world and can be identified by its dark green leaves and lush foliage. This dracaena plant is said to grow in indirect sunlight and can even thrive in shaded environments.
Nowadays, there are countless cultivars of dracaena fragrans available, which are known for their handsome appearance and tolerant natures.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ (Dracaena Fragrans ‘Janet Craig’)
The dracaena Janet Craig is a species of flowering plant known for its glossy leaves and white blooms. The foliage is able to grow up to 24-inches long and 3-inches wide, with the leaves taking on a lance-like appearance that grows from the stem.
When the plant matures, the lower leaves begin to fall off, which reveals the wood underneath.
Dracaena Janet Craig plants will blossom in clusters of white flowers, which are known for their delicious smell. However, the species will only bloom indoors when kept in the best conditions for the plant.
Dracaena Janet Craig Compacta
The Janet Craig compacta is a dracaena cultivar that is commonly used as a houseplant in bedrooms and lounges, with the species being tolerant of shaded environments.
The dwarf plant is much shorter than its natural counterpart and is known to produce smaller leaves with a compact growth. The species can be identified by its thick green leaves, which grow in a rosette around the stem.
Like most members of the dracaena genus, the Janet Craig compacta is a slow-growing plant, which needs little water to survive.
Lemon Lime Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Lemon Lime)
The lemon lime dracaena is named for its vibrant leaves, which come in shades of yellow and green. The leaves often feature white stripes, which divide the two colors into different sections.
In most cases, the long leaves will feature a green band in the middle and a bright yellow stripe along the edges. The lemon-lime leaves grow in a rosette around the central stem, which is known for its woody appearance.
Like most members of the dracaena genus, the lemon lime dracaena grows well in shaded environments and can survive with little water.
Because of its cheerful appearance, the species has become a popular houseplant and is capable of reaching between 5 – 10 feet tall.
Lemon Surprise Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Lemon Surprise)
The lemon surprise dracaena is known for its stunning leaves, which come in vibrant shades of green and yellow.
The leaves commonly feature a white stripe running down the middle, which separates the colors into different sections. The leaves can also be identified by their unique shape, which includes a curling twist.
This species of dracaena plant is notably shorter than other varieties, with the lemon surprise only reaching 2 – 3 feet in height. While lemon surprise dracaenas are known to thrive in bright indirect sunlight, the species can also grow in shaded environments with little water.
Warneckii Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Warneckii)
The warneckii dracaena is one of the most popular dragon plants in the world, which can be identified by its sword-like leaves with wide cream-colored bands.
This species of dracaena plant makes for a carefree houseplant, as it can thrive in shaded environments and indirect sunlight. The warneckii dracaena is capable of reaching up to 2 feet tall and looks like a small tree with spiky leaves.
Warneckii dracaena grow well at room temperatures of 60 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The species can also be grown outdoors, but only if the temperature does not drop below 55 degrees.
Limelight Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Limelight)
The limelight dracaena can be identified by its vivid green leaves, which help to make this species one of the most distinctive houseplants in the world.
Because of its vibrant colors, the plant appears almost translucent and makes for a wonderful addition to any home. The plant also thrives in partially shaded areas and requires little water.
In most cases, the limelight dracaena is able to grow up to 5 feet indoors. However, the plant will need to be kept moist in certain climates, without the soil becoming too damp.
Dracaena Lisa (Dracaena Fragrans Lisa)
The Lisa dracaena is considered to be one of the strongest houseplants in the world, as it can adapt to most environments and requires very little light.
The species can be identified by its lance-shaped leaves and dark green color, which makes it almost indistinguishable from the Janet Craig cultivar. However, it is possible to tell the two species apart by the size of their leaves, with the Lisa dracaena boasting narrower foliage.
When compared to other members of the dracaena genus, the Lisa dracaena fairs best in low light conditions and is characterized by its curling leaves.
Dorado Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Dorado)
The dorado dracaena is a houseplant known for its glossy green leaves, which thrives well in shaded environments.
In most cases, the plant will feature curling leaves in shades of green and yellow, which help to distinguish the species from its fellow plants. While the twisting leaves aren’t as long as other varieties, the plant itself can still reach incredible heights when properly cared for.
Hawaiian Sunshine Dracaena (Dracaena Fragrans Hawaiian Sunshine)
Hawaiian sunshine dracaena are known for their upward growth, which makes them the perfect addition to a dull home that needs some color.
The species can be identified by its glossy striped leaves, which come in various shades of green and yellow.
In most cases, the leaves will feature a lime green band running down the middle, while the edges will boast a darker hue. Unlike other members of the dracaena genus, the Hawaiian sunshine does not thrive in shaded areas and will fare better in indirect sunlight.
Other Popular Dracaena Fragrans Cultivars
- Dracaena Fragrans Lindenii – This corn plant can be identified by its sword-like leaves, which are green with yellow accents.
- Dracaena Fragrans Victoria – The Victoria dracaena is another popular member of the fragrans cultivar and is known for its large yellow band which runs down the middle of its leaves.
- Dracaena Fragrans Bausei – This dragon plant is characterized by its dark green leaves, which features a white stripe down the middle.
Dracaena Massangeana (Mass Cane)
Otherwise known as the mass cane plant, dracaena massangeana is considered to be one of the most popular dracaenas available.
The species features a thick wooden stem and bushy green foliage, with its leaves bearing a sword-like appearance. The pointed leaves also boast distinctive stripes, which come in various shades of yellow and green. When the plant is grown indoors it can reach heights of 4 – 6 feet.
Dracaena Marginata (Red Edged Dracaena)
The red-edged dracaena plant is known for its beautiful foliage, which features thin and pointed leaves with a reddish hue. In most cases, the leaves will grow straight and will only curl if they grow too long. The dragon plant comes with a thin upward stem, which branches out into separate growing stems.
As the name implies, this species of dracaena boasts dark green leaves with red accents, which makes it a popular choice among houseplant enthusiasts.
The species is also referred to as straight-marginated dracaena, Madagascar dragon tree, pleomele, dragon blood tree and red-margined dracaena. The plant also comes with the botanical name dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia.
Like dracaena fragrans, the dracaena marginata has many cultivars, which make for some truly beautiful houseplants.
However, one of the most popular cultivars is the dracaena marginata tricolor, which we have showcased in the section below…
Dracaena Marginata Tricolor
Otherwise known as dracaena cincta, the dracaena tricolor is a beautiful plant known for its ribbon-like leaves, which come in shades of green, cream and pinkish-red.
In most cases, the green and cream bands are located in the middle of the leaves, while the outer edges take on a bright red hue. Because of this unique color combination, the leaves of the plant have a pink appearance.
Dracaena reflexa is a species of plant grown for its ornamental purposes, which features multiple stems and lush green leaves. In fact, the species is known for its evergreen foliage and bushy appearance, which makes it a popular addition to homes and gardens.
The dracaena plant grows upward and will feature pointed leaves with spiraling stems. The species is also sometimes referred to as pleomele.
The dracaena reflexa also boasts its own range of cultivars, which include popular varieties such as the dracaena reflexa variegata, which is otherwise known as the Song of India.
Dracaena Song Of India (Dracaena Reflexa Variegata)
The Song of India is a beautiful ornamental houseplant known for its yellow and green foliage, which takes the form of long sword-like leaves with distinctive stripes and patterns. The leaves grow in groups of 3 – 4 and grow upward from the stem.
In most cases, the leaves of the plant will have a dark green band in the middle and yellow margins on the sides.
The leaves of the plant are also reflexed, which means they will bend to a 90-degree angle in the middle.
While it is rare for the species to bloom indoors, it is capable of producing small white flowers that are known for their fragrant smell.
Song Of Jamaica Dracaena (Dracaena Reflexa Song Of Jamaica)
The Song of Jamaica is a houseplant with multiple stems that belongs to the dracaena genus, which can be identified by its evergreen foliage and pointed leaves.
While the species is not as vibrant as the Song of India, it still remains a popular choice among homeowners and is capable of thriving in low light conditions.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana)
Lucky bamboo is a kind of dracaena plant that is characterized by its green stems and lane-like foliage. In most cases, the stems are available with curled tops and very few leaves growing from the stalk.
The species is known for its hardy nature and is capable of surviving in soilless mixes or even submerged in water.
Because of its handsome appearance, lucky bamboo has become a popular houseplant across the world, with the species even being considered good luck in Eastern Asia. However, the species is not actually bamboo and is instead a member of the dracaena genus.
Other notable names for this plant include Chinese water bamboo, curly bamboo, Belgian evergreen, sander’s dracaena, and ribbon plant.
Other Notable Dracaena Plants
- Florida Beauty Dracaena – This dracaena plant is an unusual species known for its sword-shaped leaves. Unlike other members of the genus, this species boasts green leaves with white splotches, giving the plant a marbled appearance.
- Dracaena Arborea – Otherwise known as slender dragon tree, this species of dracaena boasts a thick wooden stem and narrow leaves that grow in a thick spiky crown.
- Dracaena Trifasciata – This stemless dracaena plant features sword-like leaves in shades of yellow and green, which make it easily confused with the common snake plant.
How To Care For Dracaena Plants
While most varieties of dracaena are easy to look after, there are some important care tips you should know before purchasing your own specimen. If you follow these tips, then your dracaena should last for many years and provide lush foliage to complement the decor of your home…
Dracaena plants are known to thrive in indirect sunlight, which is why they are considered a popular choice for homeowners.
However, this does not mean that you should leave your dracaena plant in direct sunlight, as this could harm or even kill the species. Because of this, we recommend placing your dracaena in a shaded room, such as a bedroom, bathroom or office.
When planting your dracaena, you must make sure that the soil is loose and rich in organic minerals. The soil should also have good drainage to release any excess moisture. In most cases, the ideal potting mix for a dracaena will include a combination of peat moss, houseplant soil and perlite.
Fortunately, you won’t have to water your dracaena plant too much, as it will only need watering when half the soil is dry. However, when you do water it, you must make sure that the soil is drenched and that any excess water has run through the soil before putting it back in the pot.
Dracaena plants are able to thrive in average room temperatures, as they don’t require too much humidity. These tropical plants are known to grow in USDA zones 10 and 11, which makes them low maintenance.
And there we have it, those were the different kinds of dracaena and how to care for them. We hope that you found this article helpful and that you will use it to care for your own dracaena plants and keep them thriving.