Skip to main content

Follow these easy dracaena care tips to keep your plant thriving

While they might not get the same buzz as monsteras and hoyas, dracaenas are some of the easiest and most beautiful houseplants to maintain. You can often find them at farmers markets, grocery stores, and nurseries at excellent prices because of just how ubiquitous they are! Plus, whether they’re tall trees or compact shrubs, dracaenas can add an elegant texture to your home. So how do you pick the right dracaena for you and properly maintain it? Keep reading for our top dracaena care tips.

Dracaena marginata
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What dracaenas look like

Dracaenas come in a variety of different patterns and shapes. Smaller types may stay around one foot tall, while the bigger ones can grow up to six feet indoors. Most dracaenas start out with spiky, lanced-shaped leaves that almost appear like blades of grass. As some grow older and bigger, their stalks thicken, and their leaves slightly curve outwards, giving them a tree-like silhouette. Dracaena leaves can be a solid forest green color or have red, yellow, light green, or white stripes.

So what are some common varieties? The dracaena marginata, also known as the dragon tree, has thin stalks with grass-like leaves that feature red edges. The dracaena fragrans, also known as the corn plant, has a thick trunk with lance-like leaves that shoot out from the central stalk.

No matter if your personal style leans towards bold patterning or minimalist monochromatic coloring, a dracaena is a foolproof choice with many size options for greening your space.

Dracaena lemon lime
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to care for a dracaena

Dracaenas are relatively low-maintenance plants, but you do need to pay attention to them to help them flourish. Ahead, we’ve rounded up tips for keeping your dracaena healthy and happy.

  • Watering: Dracaenas can withstand periods of drought, but they generally appreciate being watered whenever the top inch of their soil becomes dry. Overwatering can pave the way to dreaded root rot, but the opposite route may pose an issue as well. Underwatering and low levels of humidity can cause your dracaena to develop browning tips. To manage humidity issues, keep your plant by a humidifier or leave it by a tray of water. Another cause behind crispy edges is hard water. The salts in hard water can cause dracaenas to get browning tips, so counter this issue by using filtered water or leaving out tap water a day or two before you pour it into your soil.
  • Temperature: Since they’re tropical plants, dracaenas need warm temperatures to thrive. They go dormant in the winter and may lose a few leaves—during this time, cut back on watering and fertilizing your plant.
  • Lighting: Dracaenas are low-light tolerant, but you still want to give them bright indirect light to encourage growth. Make sure not to leave them in bright direct light, as direct sunlight can brown their edges. If you notice that your leaves are small or the variegation is fading, this is your sign to leave your plant in stronger lighting.
  • Feeding: Dracaenas aren’t heavy feeders—in fact, over-feeding them can burn their tips! You can dilute liquid all-purpose fertilizer and feed your plant once a month during the growing season. In fact, you can get away with fertilizing your dracaena once or twice during the entirety of spring and summer.
  • Removing pests: Dracaenas don’t typically attract pests, but you may encounter pesky crawlers from time to time. Occasionally check the underside of the sword-like leaves for critters such as scale, mealybugs, and spider mites. When left to their own devices, pests can stunt your plant’s growth and slowly kill it by sucking out sap from the leaves. More often than not, you can get rid of them by spraying your leaves with a strong blast of water from your faucet or garden hose. Apply neem oil to the foliage—this natural insecticide keeps insects from feeding and reproducing, so they’ll inevitably die off.

Although dracaenas might not get as much attention as some trendier houseplants, they can definitely make for steadfast houseplant companions. Ultimately, they don’t require a lot of maintenance—just pay attention to any pests or browning foliage! With a little bright indirect light, moderate watering, and a feeding once in a blue moon, you’ll have a healthy dracaena to show off in your collection.

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
Incorporate these shower plants into your bathroom for a green infusion
These 7 plants help greenify your bathroom
Bathroom plant layout

As you turn your home into a jungle, transform your bathroom into paradise with the help of hanging shower plants. Adding extra greenery to your bathroom can switch up the ambiance for a lush vibe — it’ll be like taking a shower in the great outdoors while enjoying the comforts of your home. When picking out shower plants, keep humidity-loving species at the top of your list: Think ferns, figs, and more!

Curious about incorporating tropical vibes into this nook of your home? Read on to learn how to hang plants in the bathroom and which plants work best for this steamy environment.
Things to consider
Humidity and light
The bathroom is ideal for houseplants because of its humidity. However, keep in mind other requirements that your plants will need. Before you bring plants into your bathroom, consider factors such as light and temperature. If your bathroom doesn’t get a lot of light, invest in supplementary grow lights or pick plants that can thrive in low-light conditions. Also, take into account your bathroom temperature since some plants don't tolerate cold drafts.
How to hang the houseplants
Decide how you’ll hang your houseplants. Get creative with placement when building a plant paradise in the shower. Showerheads, caddies, shower rods, and curtain rods are great spots for hanging foliage, given that your planter isn’t too heavy. You can also take advantage of heavy-duty utility hooks that adhere to tiles.

Read more
Turn your pothos plant into a hydroponic oasis
How to propagate a golden pothos from cuttings
Hanging pothos plant

Golden pothos brighten up any home garden and they are one of the easiest plants to propagate in either water or soil. Pothos propagation can be done one of two ways -- either hydroponically or in soil. Try both options out to determine which one works best for your space. There are many different types of pothos plants, also known as pipremnum aureum or Devil's Ivy.

This guide for how to propagate pothos works for pretty much all of them. Golden pothos, one of the most common varieties, is characterized by its yellow undertones. It's important to note that leaves in a propagated golden pothos plant may contain less yellow spots than the parent plant. Though losing some color still leaves you with not one but two beautiful plants.
Why you might want to propagate a golden pothos
Whether it's a golden pothos or any other pothos variety, you'll soon find that these plants grow quickly. So even if you're not interested in creating more baby plants, cutting and pruning your pothos is vital to keeping it healthy and managing the amount of space it takes up. Your pothos might be hanging and reaching the floor, or it might be threatening to take over the wall you've been training it to vine over. Either way, cutting off a bit here and there will allow you to grow baby plants and will also encourage the plant to grow bushier and healthier vines.

Read more
From baby rubber plants to watermelon peperomia, add these peperomia varieties to your low-maintenance plant collection
Your guide to caring for the most striking and accessible peperomia varieties
Watermelon peperomia

Peperomias, or radiator plants, are one of those houseplant varieties that seem hidden in plain sight — their trailing and upright varieties are practically at every nursery, but not many plant parents talk about them. Affordable, low-maintenance, and pet-safe choices, these lovely indoor plants technically belong to the pepper (Piperaceae) family. Featuring over 1,000 plant species, the Peperomia genus is certainly a mixed bag, including both tropical and subtropical plants. You have everything from the eye-catching watermelon peperomia to the adorable peperomia hope.

The plants in this genus that we often see as houseplants are succulent or semi-succulent in nature and come with mesmerizing colors and patterns. As such, they’re quite easy to care for and include a bevy of attractive options for houseplant novices. Plus, they’re ridiculously easy to propagate, as you can use both stem and leaf cuttings to make more of them. If you’re thinking about picking up a peperomia plant, consider the following varieties for your collection.

Read more