Dracaena Fragrans CareHouseplants Last Updated On 02/09/2022
Dracaena fragrans, also known as Corn Plant, is typically grown as a foliage houseplant. However, it is also possible to grow it outdoors, as long as you live in a warm environment. Dracaena fragrans can grow in US hardiness zones from 10 to 12, as long as the chosen spot is in a shade.
This plant is native to the African continent, and it can grow more than 20 feet in height. However, if you choose to grow it indoors as a potted plant, it will probably grow 4 to 6 feet in height. Keep in mind that these plants are easy to grow, as long as you provide them with the right amount of water, light and other conditions they need to thrive.
Where to Plant and Keep Dracaena Fragrans
If you wish to make your Dracaena fragrans thrive, it is crucial to choose the best spot. Ideally, it should be one that receives bright but not direct sunlight. Keep in mind that the cornstalk Dracaena can burn leaves easily if it is planted in a space with direct sunlight.
The same rule goes if you choose to grow your Dracaena as a potted plant. You need to choose a bright spot in your home, but make sure to keep it in a spot that doesn't receive direct sunlight. It is important to prevent scorching of the leaves.
If you wish to grow your Dracaena in a pot, make sure to choose a container that is only a bit bigger than the plant's root ball. At most, it should be one third larger than the root ball. Before potting, fill the container with a good indoor potting mix. Place Dracaena inside so that the root ball is one inch below the top edge of the pot. Make sure to give your plant a good watering after potting.
Dracaena Fragrans Care Tips
Here are some important tips on how to care for your Dracaena Fragrans properly:
It is important to water your Dracaena Fragrans regularly in the spring and throughout the summer and into the early fall. However, in late fall, you should allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When watering in winter make sure for water to warm up to room temperature before you apply it. It is important precaution to avoid freezing and damage to your plant.
You should monitor your plant carefully to notice any potential damage from inadequate watering. Browning and dead-looking leaves are a sign you are not doing something right, and these can be both a sign of under and over-watering. In case the soil feels muddy or wet to touch, make sure to let the soil dry between waterings. Also, it is important to only use containers with drainage holes on the bottom, to encourage proper drainage. On the other hand, if the soil fees hard and dry to the touch, you should water more often.
Keep in mind that your Dracaena Fragrans needs monthly fertilizing in the period from spring throughout the fall. It is best to use a liquid fertilizer specially made for houseplants. You should choose the one that doesn't have super-phosphate. It is best to mix half of a teaspoon of fertilizer with 1 gallon of water to make sure the solution is not too strong.
It is best to replace one regular watering with fertilizer solution in order to prevent over-watering. It is important to use enough of a fertilizer solution to moisten the soil all the way down to the bottom of the container. You will know that you have watered enough when the excess water starts seeping out of the drainage holes. In case the solution is not enough to achieve this, you should add some plain water.
It is important never to over-fertilize your Dracaena Fragrans plants. If you do this, your plants will develop characteristic burned tips on the leaves or leaf margins. Another consequence of over-fertilizing is yellowing of the leaves. If this happens, make sure to give your plant less fertilizer or to dilute the solution further.
Caring for Dracaena Fragrans in the Winter
There are specific rules on what to do during the winter to keep your Dracaena Fragrans plant happy and lush-looking. One thing you can do is to spray its leaves with water that has been warmed to room temperature. This misting will increase the humidity, which is much needed during the dry weather and conditions of the indoor heating. Another thing you can do is to put the plant's container on a tray filled with pebbles and water on the bottom of the tray. As the water evaporate around the plant, it will add beneficial humidity to your Dracaena plant.
It is also vital to keep your Dracaena indoors during the winter. While it's possible to take your plant outside during the summer and warm weather, it is paramount to keep it indoors during the cold. Make sure to maintain daily temperatures in its room between 60 and 70 F. During the night, it should be around 50 to 60 degrees F.
Your Dracaena should be places in a room with bright light. However, make sure that it is not too bright or else the plant can develop dry patches and streaks on the leaves. If temperatures fluctuate suddenly or if you keep your Dracaena in a drafty area its leaves may drop.
Trimming and Pruning
Generally speaking, Dracaena Fragrans plants don't need pruning, but you can trim its stalk to control its size. Trimming will prevent it from becoming too big for the space you have. When trimming, make sure to use a sharp pair of shears and cut back the plant to the height you want. Make sure to always clean your pruning shears in a solution made of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water after trimming to prevent spreading any potential diseases to your other plants.
Dealing with Pests
The good news is that Dracaena plants are typically resistant to most pests. However, it is not unheard of to have spider mites or scale insects on Dracaena. You will recognize scale insects as hard lumps on the plants. On the other hand, spider mites are tiny and white that feed on the leaves. It is not unusual to see their presence as a fine webbing in the shape of a spider web on the leaves.
The best and least toxic way to get rid of these pests is to use a dish soap and a cloth. Simply wipe off the infested leaves and other parts of the plant. It is best to use half of a teaspoon of soap into one quart of water.
A common disease for Dracaena Fragrans plants is root rot. This typically happens to corn plants that live in soils that are constantly saturated in water. To avoid this problem, it is important to use proper watering regime. Another thing you can do is to use a well-draining, organically rich potting mix.
If you grow your Dracaena outdoors, it is important to choose a well-draining spot. Also, make sure to water your plant only once the soil becomes dry.
Photo credit: Smokey Combs