If you belong to the group of indoor gardeners that like ever-green plants, but don’t have too much time to take care of their green friends, I suggest buying dracaena fragrans. It is a commonly popular house plant that has a lot of different cultivars – and some of them are variegated. It has that exotic, jungle look, that will beautify every room. If kept appropriately, it can produce beautiful, fragrance-full flowers.
Dracaena Fragrans summary: It doesn’t like direct sunlight, so a semi-shaded place will do just fine, making it just the perfect office plant. It thrives average room temperatures from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius, but it is tolerant to even lower temperatures, up to 10 degrees Celsius. Another great asset – it is drought-tolerant! Still, it likes moist soil and a lot of humidity, so you’ll need to mist it from time to time. The soil should be rich in nutritional matter, but also well-drained. Cornstalk dracaena, as commonly known, likes additional feeding during the growing season, from spring to early autumn. Occasional pruning will do good for your plant since it will allow it to develop new fresh growth. Propagating this plant is very easy, and it is done through stem cuttings. In addition, it is a pretty resistant plant, so you shouldn’t have any problems with keeping it alive.
Feel intrigued by this short guide on dracaena fragrans care? In the following lines, I will give you a more detailed explanation of every topic concerning cornstalk dracaena care.
Origin and Appearance of Dracaena Fragrans
Dracaena fragrans is one of the most popular houseplants throughout the world. It is so widely spread that you have surely seen it at least once at someone’s house.
It is commonly known as corn plant, because of its interesting foliage that resembles corn leaves.
People also call it false palm (because it resembles palm, but it doesn’t belong to the palm family), happy plant, and cornstalk dracaena.
In nature, it can be found throughout tropical Africa – from Sudan to Mozambique. It’s interesting to mention that this plant prefers higher altitudes, from 600 to 2200 m. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to put it on the top of the highest wardrobe, though.
The great thing about Dracaena fragans is that it isn’t a needy plant. Plus, it is evergreen, so it will beautify your home throughout the whole year.
It has very long, shiny leaves, sometimes with subtle variegation. The leaves are pretty wide but thin. Foliage grows roundly around the stem, in form of a crown. The stem, on the other hand, is woody, resembling tree crust.
Corn plant can grow to be quite large, especially if kept outdoors. In nature, there are specimens over 15 meters tall. Still, when kept indoors, it can grow up to 2 meters in height.
It is known as an excellent air purifier (just like other dracaena varieties), so you can be comfortable with a corn tree living in your bedroom, for example.
What are the Most Commonly Kept Varieties?
There is a lot of dracaena fragrans cultivars, but in my guide, I shall describe some of the most popular and interesting varieties.
Original Dracaena Fragrans
This is one of the most typical variants, with plain green leaves. It is very popular, mainly because it’s a low maintenance one, but not as much as the next dracaena fragrans type.
Dracaena Fragrans ‘Massangeana’
This variant is commonly known as just ‘Dracaena massangeana’, and its foliage is somewhat narrower and longer than in the other varieties.
It has dark green leaves, while the variegated parts are light green to yellow. The variegation is in the form of straight stripes that go through the central part of the leaf.
Dracaena Fragrans ‘Lindenii’
This one belongs to variegated members of the family, but those colorations are not the same as on other types. What differs this one from the rest of Dracaena “gang” are yellowish stripes along the edges of the leaf.
Dracaena Fragrans ‘Victoria’
A single glance at this one could make you feel as if you are observing dracaena fragrans massangeana, but this variety has smaller, yet wider leaves. It has whitish and cream stripes all over the leaves.This cultivar isn’t very common in flower shops, but it is extraordinarily beautiful.
Is it a Flowering Plant?
Just like I mentioned in the beginning, it is. The corn plant flower is very lovable. It is a cluster of beautiful white flowers. Corn plant flowers grow directly from the stem known as a Ti Tree.
You probably wonder what does it take for corn plant bloom to occur?
The plant needs to be treated the appropriate way, and it has to be mature enough. If you are lucky enough to have the flowers appear, the plant can bloom throughout the year!
But it’s not just the flowers you will fall in love with, this plant has another great feature. It smells lovely, so you should do your best to provide the needed conditions for your dracena corn plant!
Highlights on Dracena Fragrans Care
This plant doesn’t like direct sunlight, so a semi-shaded place will do just fine, making it just the perfect office plant.
It thrives average room temperatures from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius, but it is tolerant to even lower temperatures, up to 10 degrees Celsius. Another great asset – it is drought-tolerant!
This plant thrives in moist soil and a lot of humidity, so you’ll need to mist it from time to time. The soil should be rich in nutritional matter, but also well-drained.
Cornstalk dracaena, as commonly known, likes additional feeding during the growing season, from spring to early autumn.
Occasional pruning will do good for your plant since it will allow it to develop new fresh growth. Propagating this plant is very easy, and it is done through stem cuttings. If you take good care of it, be sure your plant will treat you with some adorable dracaena fragrans flower.
Before we proceed, allow me to introduce you to these Dracaenas:
All in all, it is a pretty resistant plant, so you shouldn’t have any problems with keeping it alive. Now, stay with me to find out more about the charming Dracaena plants!
Related: What Does a Plant Need to Grow?
What Are Sunlight and Temperature Requirements for Dracaena?
Dracaena corn plant doesn’t like direct sunlight. When kept indoors, it is best to find a semi-shaded place that is under the impact of filtered light. Exposure to direct sunlight will cause leaf burn.
On the other hand, if the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, the leaves will shrink, and lose its variegation (if you have a variegated cultivar). The ideal place would be a windowsill in the north, east, or west part of the home.
If you are lucky enough to live in a hot area, you can grow your corn plant outdoors. Just make sure you place it in a partly shaded place.
As for the temperature, Dracaena fragrans prefers moderate room temperature. So, the average room temperature from 16 to 24 degrees Celsius would be great for your green friend.
Still, it is a tropical plant, so it isn’t frost resistant. Never let the temperature drop below 10 degrees Celsius.
What about Watering?
Corn plants don’t like much water. The biggest problem you may cause is overwatering. Because of that, always let the soil topcoat dry out before you water the plant.
It is drought tolerant, but it won’t tolerate too much water. So, water it on every side. This way, you’ll water all the roots equally and enable all plant parts to develop the same way.
Also, you should never let the soil dry out completely. Instead, always try to maintain the soil wet.
Of course, reduce the watering during the cold months, especially during the winter. During spring, summer, and early autumn, water your dracaena fragrans once a week. You can do it more often if you notice that the soil is drying out faster than that.
Also, all dracaena cultivars are sensitive to fluoride found in tap water. Too much of this chemical may cause the leaves to dry out. To prevent this, I suggest using rainwater or distilled water.
Another solution is to fill some bottles with tap water and leave them open in the sun. This way, harmful substances will evaporate in a couple of days.
Pro-Tip: In case you notice that the stem is becoming soggy and wilted, it is because you have overwatered your plant. If this is the case, I don’t advise trying to recuperate the plant, as you most probably won’t be able to do so. Instead, cut the crown and try to propagate dracaena fragrans from the stem cutting.
Does it Like Humid Environment?
Dracaena corn plant likes average room humidity. Still, knowing that it’s a tropical plant, you should mist it from time to time. This way, you’ll preserve the needed humidity, while keeping the leaves healthy and shiny.
In general, the percentage of humidity should be between 40 and 50 percent. If the air in the room is too dry, there are a few ways to raise the level of humidity.
The easiest one is to group your plants if you have a couple of pots. You can also place the pot in a container or a tray filled with wet pebbles. Of course, you can always buy a plant humidifier.
Here you’ll find a detailed guide to the best plant humidifier options you can find on the market.
What Kind of Soil Is Good for Dracaena?
Cornstalk dracaena likes soil rich in nutritients. You should always keep it wet, but never waterlogged. This means you should opt for well-draining soil.
My warm advice is to mix regular potting soil with some sand and/or perlite, just to ensure a better water flow. The pH value of the soil should be neutral to mildly acidic.
Pro-Tip: If the soil is constantly waterlogged, the roots will start to rot. Prevent this by ensuring good drainage (enough drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are required) and avoid overwatering.
Do I Need to Fertilize It too often?
Corn plant likes an occasional feeding, especially during the growing months, which is in spring and summer. Still, you shouldn’t overfeed it.
Use a diluted liquid fertilizer, as the store-bought ones could be too strong. If your dracaena fragrans is still a young plant, there is no need to fertilize it, as it is still developing.
Also, never fertilize the plant during late autumn and winter! During the hot months, you can do it once a month, or once every month and a half.
Pruning Requirements for Corn Plant
Since dracaena fragrans produces many leaves, you can prune the bottom leaves when you feel like it. By pruning, you can create the shape you like – shrub or tree form.
Also, since the plant tends to grow pretty big over the years, you can simply cut down the stems to the desired length. New growth will appear soon.
An average lifespan of a dracena fragrans leaf is two to three years. After that, the bottom layers become yellow and eventually fall off.
Repotting Cornstalk Dracaena
Dracaena fragrans is a slow-growing plant, which means you won’t have to re-pot it every year. Instead, re-pot it when you notice that the roots have outgrown the container. You’ll spot the roots peaking from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Repotting once every two to three years should be enough. Still, when doing it, make sure you don’t use a too big container. Using an overly large pot will cause the bottom parts (roots) of the plant to grow more, while the upper parts will become stagnant.
When repotting, make sure you don’t damage the roots. To avoid this, gently shake the plant before taking it out of the container. This way you’ll allow the roots to separate from the pot walls.
After placing the plant in a new container, put some fresh soil around the stem, as well. Be careful not to tuck the soil too tightly, as this will endanger the drainage.
Pro-Tip: To ensure even better drainage, I advise putting some bigger rocks at the bottom of the pot. This will allow the water to run freely and stop the waterlogging.
Propagating Dracaena Fragrans
There are a few ways to do this, and none of them is too complicated. I will introduce you to all of them.
Firstly, cut the crown at the top of the stem. Then, you can place the cutting in a rooting hormone.
There are a lot of products in stores, but I suggest using a home-made rooting hormone. First of all, it is much healthier than using chemistry-based products, and second of all, it is cheaper, and why not save some pennies if you have the opportunity?
Once you have dipped the stem into a rooting hormone, gently place it in moist soil. Place the container in a semi-shaded place. It would be best to provide some bottom heat, to encourage growth (you can place the pot on a radiator, for example).
Now, when it comes to the mother plant, the stem will eventually grow fresh stems and leaves. An interesting trait of this magnificent specie – it can produce more than one new growth, creating a multi-caned plant this way.
Another way to propagate is to simply place the cutting in a water-filled jar or a glass cup. Leave the plant in a semi-shaded place until it develops young roots. Once they appear (it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks), pot them in fresh, moist soil.
The third way could be the least successful, but if you like playing and experimenting, you can try it out. Just take the stem cutting and place it in wet sand until the roots appear. That being done, plant them in regular soil mix (with some added sand or perlite, for better drainage).
Dracaena Plant Common Issues
If you notice the bottom leaves becoming yellow and eventually falling off, do not worry! It is a normal process. The plant is releasing the old leaves to create fresh new growth.
You can even help it – as soon as you notice the bottom foliage layer becoming yellow, prune them and enhance the growth that way.
If you notice some brown spots on the leaves, it is because the plant isn’t getting enough water. To prevent this, always keep the soil moist.
On the other hand, if you notice that the ‘dead’ spots are paler and somehow bigger than dots, it is because you have been overwatering the plant.
If you notice that the tips and edges are becoming yellow and brown, it is most probably because the plant has been exposed to cold draughts or too much dry air. Try to find a new place for the plant.
Another reason for leaf tips to become brown is too much fluoride. This is why you should avoid using tap water when watering your plants.
Corn plant is a pretty resistant plant, but some intruders may try to hurt your plant. Spider mites, scale, aphids and thrips are your main enemies.
If you have unwanted visitors, you’ll notice the leaves becoming unhealthy and sick. Even larvae or small bugs may appear all over the plant.
To prevent them from emerging, regularly mist and dust the leaves. Still, if they do appear, you must use an insecticide to get rid of them. Since most of these chemicals can be pretty strong, it is best to consult your flower shop worker and find the least harmful solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dracaena fragrans is a beautiful evergreen plant with long thin leaves that are sometimes variegated. It is an easy-maintenance plant that doesn’t require much care.
Plus, it has air-purifying properties, so it will make your environment both prettier and healthier.
What’s your favorite Dracaena plant? I can’t wait to hear from you, so share your thoughts in the comment section below!