Dracaena Fragrans

With it’s easy maintenance, fragrant flowers, and NASA approval, what’s not to love. Dracaenas have been a favorite amongst many indoor gardeners since the mid-1800’s!

Dracaena Fragrans is a very well-known house plant. You can find them in most plant nurseries and garden centers and are relatively inexpensive. I currently have two and they’ve been around for about 13 years now! They are very forgiving plants that are easy to maintain and they have great upright structures that make them a very attractive addition to the home.

Lighting & Temperature

This plant is actually a native throughout the tropical regions of Africa and is accustomed to medium bright light. Like with most tropical plants, any prolonged exposure to intense heat and light will scorch this plant. My dracaenas are kept indoors and are surrounded by east and south facing windows. They are kept a few feet away from the windows to keep it from getting too much heat/light exposure. Although this plant grows better with brighter light conditions, it is very tolerant of lower light conditions. This a major reason why it is a favorite amongst many indoor gardeners. It won’t be putting out a lot of new growth in lower light conditions, but it can survive for years this way.

This is a tropical plant so keeping it warm during the winter months is pretty important. I wouldn’t recommend keeping them outdoors in temperatures dipping below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Other than that most indoor home temperatures are pretty ideal, at least 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering & Humidity

I’ve noticed that this plant is pretty forgiving when it comes to watering. I have gone almost two weeks before watering and it’s still here. I recommend watering once the soil becomes dry. Depending on the light situation (more or less light) or heat, you may have to water more or less frequently. As long as you notice the soil has gone dry it’s ok to thoroughly water again. In the winter months when there is less light hours and temperatures are cooler, I will cut back from watering as frequently. The soil tends to stay wet longer during this time and I don’t want to risk root rot.

This plant isn’t too picky when it comes to humidity but I have noticed that it does enjoy a good shower here and there. In the summer I may take it outside for a spray down with the hose or I just give it a shower in the tub. The shower adds a boost of humidity to the plant but more importantly removes any dust that may settle on it’s leaves. Once the dust gets watered off, the plant seems to perk right up and I’m sure is able to breathe much better.

Substrate & Growth Pattern

Like most plants the Dracaena performs better with a well draining mix. I personally mix indoor potting soil with a heavy dose of perlite or pumice with it. As long as the water is able to drain very easily out the bottom of the pot.

Dracaenas have a very upright structure. They are sometimes called Cornstalk Plant since the leaves closely resemble them. They can get pretty tall and can withstand come cutting back if the height is becoming a problem. As the plant grows tall you may notice a lot of leaning happening from the weight. Attaching your stalk to a garden stake is a great way to remedy this and I’m sure your plant will appreciate it. As the plant grows you may also notice the lower leaves starting to yellow. It is completely safe to remove yellowing leaves as the plant will produce new foliage from the crown of the plant.

Getting Blooms

Now the biggest surprise that I have recently come to find with this plant is that it produces flowers. I should have known since fragrans is in the name but it did surprise me since I have never seen them bloom before. It takes some time I am told before the plant is actually able to do this. The plant has to reach a maturity of sorts and most don’t bloom before 10 years of age! I’ve had mine for about 13 years now. I’m sure they’re even a bit older than that since they were a decent size when we purchased them. They have recently just put out their first blooms!

The flowers grow in clusters that form off of a long flower spike. The blooming process lasts a few days since the flowers don’t all open at the same time. This was great for us because the scent was amazing! Almost like a cross between jasmine and gardenias. This may be a bit overwhelming for some sensitive to scents as these are potent! I could smell them from the other room across the hall! They are also evening bloomers. By morning the flowers that did bloom are spent and the next round of flowers are ready to bloom for the next evening. Overall I had about 4 nights of extremely scented blooms! It was awesome and I look forward to them blooming again soon.

Bonus Facts

  • Dracaenas come in many different color varieties.
  • You can actually propagate this plant from cuttings. If you want to cut back the plant you can cut the crown off and grow a new plant from that. New growth will emerge from the cut stalk of your recently trimmed plant.
  • This plant is poisonous so take care that your pets don’t frequently attempt to chew its leaves.
  • The NASA clean air study tested this plant and found that it is very efficient in removing dangerous organic pollutants in the air!

Author: LITTLE GROUNDWORK

Little Groundwork is an online oasis documenting the everyday lessons and changes involved with cultivating a greener environment. Rooted in a love for all things nature and design, Little Groundwork hopes to spark that same passion into the hearts of many. We hope that you follow along with us and together we can learn, grow, and create a greener environment.

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