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How to care for a Dracaena plantDracaenas 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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- Every 2 years
- Bright, Indirect to Low
- Once or twice a year
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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 mildly toxic. The leaves can cause stomach irritation and possibly vomiting in animals if eaten, so watch out with pets.
Dracaena don't need much water and prefer for 50-75% of the soil to dry between waterings. When in doubt, less is more! Dracaena can be sensitive to the chemicals and minerals in tap water so filtered or rain water is best for watering.
Dracaena prefer bright, indirect light, but can tolerate lower light conditions as well. Direct light will burn their leaves. In lower light conditions, they'll need less water, so keep an eye on the soil moisture between waterings.
Dracaena don't need too much plant food and only during their growing season (usually spring and summer). An all-purpose, liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength once or twice a year will do the trick.
Dracaena need to be repotted about once every two years. When repotting, use a potting mix designed for tropical houseplants.
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.
Many of the common houseplant pests don't have any interest in Dracaena, but you'll want to keep an eye out for mealy bugs and scale. If you notice that your Dracaena's trunk is becoming weak or squishy and the leaves are browning, it's probably the result of too much watering and could be a sign of root rot. Make sure to let the soil mostly dry out between waterings.