How to care for a Dracaena plant

Dracaena's are beloved by many plant parents for their tough looks. These looks are needed when you have to survive in the harsh tropics of Africa. Climates can be pretty tough on plants there so Dracaenas had to evolve over time to survive. We're sure that your home will be anything but stormy and your Dracaena will welcome the change.

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  • Little
  • Once every two years
  • Partial shade
  • Lightly poisonous
  • Not needed

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  • The roots of the Dracaena are mainly in Africa, but a number of species are to be found in Central America and South Asia as well. In the wild, the Dracaena is primarily known as the Dragon Blood Tree, although nowadays it is almost non-existent in the wild. This variant of the Dracaena can grow into a real tree, and got its name from the red resin that separates the plant when a cut is made in the trunk or leaves.
  • Dracaenas are excellent at purifying air. Not only does the plant produce a lot of oxygen, but it also removes harmful substances such as benzene from the air.
  • The Dracaena is not toxic. However, the leaves can cause stomach irritation in animals if eaten, so watch out with pets.
  • Water is something the Dracaena looks contemptuously at. As you would expect from a plant that comes from the desert, but your Dracaena doesn't need much water. In fact, it is actually good to leave it in dry soil for one or two days before watering again. And here's the best news: It's ok if you forget to water your Dracaena. Be especially careful not to give it too much water, as the roots of the Dracaena can't handle this very well. When in doubt, less is more! What a wonderful plant.
  • This is getting better and better! A Dracaena also needs little sunlight. About three hours a day is certainly sufficient. Place this plant in front of a window on the north, or 3-4 meters from a window on the east/west. Avoid south-facing windows, where Dracaenas typically receive a lot of direct sunlight. If you want to move a Dracaena closer to the window, you can slowly let the plant get used to the sunlight by moving it closer bit by bit. Do this preferably in winter, so that the plant gets used to the light by the time summer comes.
  • A Dracaena doesn't need much extra fertilizer. If you still want to give it some, only do it in the summer, when the plant is in its growth phase. In the winter the plant is in hibernation, so no extra fertilizer is necessary.
  • The Dracaena grows reasonably well, about a metre every ten years. In the wild it can reach a height of twelve metres. Therefore, repot the Dracaena at least once every two years. A larger pot ensures that the plant can continue to grow which is good for its health. The best period to repot is in spring, when the plants recover faster from any root damage. Choose a pot that is at least 20% wider than the previous pot when repotting. Normal potting soil is just fine.
  • To keep the Dracaena nice, compact and full, it's advisable to prune the plant back in fall. This means that you cut the long branches up to the trunk. These will form several shoots in the spring, giving the plant a nice full shape. Cutting is very easy with a secateurs.
  • Like many house plants, the Dracaena is also susceptible to pests. Mealybug is the result of too much draft and can be controlled by spraying the plant with warm water or by placing it under a warm shower. Thrips and aphids are mainly found in the variants where the leaves grow close together. Thus, sometimes it's difficult to see them; check the plant thoroughly every now and then. If your Dracaena gets a weak trunk or brown leaves, it's probably the result of too much watering. Try giving less water and see if the plant recovers.

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