Chances are you’ve encountered the dracaena plant at a garden center before. Common as they may be, arching dracaenas feature some of the most beautiful growth patterns and variegation in the plant world. Whether they’re trees or single-stemmed shrubs, these plants can make elegant additions to any home or office. Plus, they’re low maintenance—all they need is indirect light and some non-fluoridated water. If you’re looking for the best dracaena to add to your space, we’ve rounded up our favorite dracaena types below.
The beautiful gold dust dracaena features arching branches that push out lanced-shaped leaves with a dark green color and cream speckles. It grows relatively slowly and can handle neglect—that is, low light conditions and periods of drought. That said, you’ll be rewarded with more variegation with bright indirect light.
Dracaena deremensis is colloquially known as the cornstalk plant because its large green arching leaves, of course, resemble cornstalks. Its thick arching leaves can grow up to 18 inches long, and its woody central stem makes it an attractive ornamental houseplant. Give it filtered water whenever the soil feels dry to the touch—ignoring your plant can lead to browning, wilted leaves that might not recover.
The dracaena marginata features a central stem with branches that shoot out thin arching leaves resembling grass blades. It’s one of the easiest dracaenas to care for, and it can easily reach 10 feet tall with plenty of indirect light. The tricolor variety shows off leaves with colorful pink, green, and white stripes. Don’t worry too much if lower leaves fall over time, as this creates the alluring triangular notches that the plant is known for.
The song of India is a stunning plant with thick woody stems that put out whorls of thick, lance-shaped leaves with green or variegated color. The dracaena reflexa can grow up to 20 feet tall outdoors, but it’s usually much more compact as a houseplant. You won’t need to water it often—just give it a deep drink of water when the soil dries out, as overwatering may cause leaves to drop. If you notice browning tips, you may be under-watering or giving it water that’s too hard, so give it a good drink of distilled water to keep it happy.
A stunning ornamental plant with distinct stem markings and widely spaced leaves, the lucky bamboo isn’t a true bamboo, but it can grow in water. It does best in non-chlorinated water or moist soil. If you grow it with the former technique, change the water every week and give your plant a diluted liquid fertilizer throughout spring and summer. You may find it arranged as swirls or braids in offices or workspaces, as it’s excellent for fostering good feng shui.
Yes, a snake plant is now technically classified as a dracaena plant. As their name implies, snake plants typically have tall, sword-like leaves that look like slithering snakes. Even if you previously thought of snake plants and dracaenas as separate entities, their care requirements are similar—both will survive infrequent watering and low light levels. However, because snake plant leaves are more succulent than the ones on most dracaenas, you can get away with watering them less. They also tend not to be as picky as other dracaenas with tap water, so you won’t need to filter your water or leave it out before pouring it into the soil.
The striped dracaena is one of the most common dracaena types found at garden centers, but that doesn’t make it unworthy of your attention. It features arching dark green leaves with sage and white stripes running down the center of each blade. It’s a great plant for dracaena beginners, as it’s accessible and easy to care for. To keep the leaves pristine and free of brown spots, water when the top inch of your soil dries out and use filtered water. This variety tends to stay compact, although it can shoot up with extra fertilizer during the growing season.
The dracaena fragrans limelight is similar in care to the warneckii, but instead of green and white stripes, it features bright, neon lime leaves. It’s great for adding a pop of color to your space, and it’ll complement other neon plants such as the philodendron moonlight and the neon pothos. This plant grows slowly, but you can boost its growth with water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season.
With their beautiful colors and arching leaves, dracaenas can add welcome personality to any home or office—without fuss or expensive price tags. Your options range from the elegant dragon tree to the sturdy lucky bamboo. Whichever dracaena you choose, you’ll have a stunning, low-maintenance pick to flaunt in your plant collection.
- Make sure your lemon tree doesn’t suffer this winter. How to care for it
- Plant of the week: Amaryllis, a festive, flowering bulb
- Your guide to growing garlic in winter for a delicious season-long harvest
- Tips to protect your garden hose from freezing temperatures
- 2021 gift guide: The coolest gardening gadgets out there