Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Dracaena Plants?
- 2 Facts about Dracaena Plants
- 3 Common Types of Dracaena Plants
- 3.1 Song of India (Dracaena reflexa)
- 3.2 Mass Cane (Dracaena fragrans massangeana)
- 3.3 Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
- 3.4 Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
- 3.5 Janet Craig (Dracaena Deremensis)
- 3.6 Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
- 3.7 Dracaena Tree (Dracaena arborea)
- 3.8 Lemon Lime (Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’)
- 3.9 Limelight Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’)
- 3.10 Lemon Surprise Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Surprise’)
- 3.11 Gold Dust (Dracaena surculosa)
- 3.12 Hawaiian Sunshine Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Hawaiian Sunshine’)
- 4 Basics on How to Care for Dracaena Plants
- 5 FAQs
- 6 References
What Are Dracaena Plants?
Dracaena plants are beautiful tropical houseplants with attractive leaves. These indoor plants grow well even with little light and have low water demand.
These plants have woody stems and long arching green leaves with a bushy structure.
Larger Dracaena species thrive in the garden and may reach 6-7 feet, while smaller ones can be planted in containers.
Dracaena varieties are often preferred for their leaves, variegated patterns, and ease of care relative to other plants.
Some species have glossy greenish leaves with red edges, while other varieties have shiny greenish leaves with bright yellow stripes.
For other related posts on other houseplants, please see our page on other types of houseplants to grow.
Facts about Dracaena Plants
Dracaena is a Greek word, which means female dragon. The plant received its name from the red gummy compound that oozes from its stem.
It is said that this substance looks like a dragon’s blood.
These plants can live in dense woodlands for years as this is their natural habitat. Also, their stems, sap, and leaves are toxic to humans and pets.
Dracaena species are very efficient at removing toxic substances from the air.
Dracaena Reflexa is among the well-known air purifiers that can remove VOCs from the air.
Common Types of Dracaena Plants
The most popular types of Dracaena plants are described below.
Song of India (Dracaena reflexa)
Dracaena Reflexa plants are mostly known for two common and beautiful species: Song of India and Song of Jamaica.
Among all the Dracaena varieties, the Song of India is considered the most beautiful variety. Botanically, it is known as Dracaena Reflexa.
This plant is native to Madagascar, Mauritius, and areas around the Indian Ocean.
This variety of Dracaena Reflexa is mainly preferred due to its variegated foliage. They are used as ornamental or indoor plants.
It has dark green stripes in the middle of the leaves with yellow stripes at the edge. Song of Jamaica, on the other hand, has dark leaves with off-white stripes.
Despite its beauty, Song of India is actually quite hard to maintain because any imbalances can turn those beautiful leaves brown.
Conversely, the Song of Jamaica requires less water to maintain its healthy appearance.
It grows in indirect or filtered light, but you should always maintain the humidity level. Lower humidity and intense sunlight are responsible for turning the leaves brown.
Fertilize this Dracaena Reflexa plant between early spring and early autumn (its growing period).
Mass Cane (Dracaena fragrans massangeana)
This Dracaena species is also known as corn plants or mass cane plants because of their similar green leaves and appearance to corn. These green leaves have light-green or yellowish stripes.
This type of Dracaena Fragrans belongs to the group Massangeana.
Mass cane plants are easy to grow and do not require much maintenance. If you are a beginner and look forward to planting a Dracaena, start with this one.
This Dracaena plant can reach 4 to 6 feet. This variety is used mainly as houseplants or office plants in the USA and UK.
The ideal temperature is 24-degree Celsius, but they can tolerate temperatures as low as 15-degree Celsius.
Like other Dracaena plants, the Corn plant requires high humidity. The soil must be well-drained as this species is drought-resistant.
These plants are toxic to pets, especially cats and dogs, but not to humans.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)
This variety of Dracaena is a flowering plant and is native to Africa (especially Central Africa). Locally, it is known as “lucky bamboo” or “ribbon plant.”
Though they share the same bamboo name, please note that lucky bamboo plants are not the same plants as bamboo plants that you see growing outdoors – the ones that grow several feet tall.
This is a perennial plant that can reach up to 3.5 feet. The grey-green leaves make this plant a popular indoor plant.
The fleshy stem is different from the original bamboo.
You will need a bright and well-ventilated area to grow the ribbon plant.
Unlike other Dracaena, Lucky bamboo can tolerate dry air and does not require a high humidity level. The hardy Dracaena Sanderiana is difficult to destroy.
Like other plants in the Dracaena family, Lucky bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana) does not like intense sunlight. They will thrive if you keep them in shady areas.
Lucky bamboo can grow both in water and soil. However, the roots need to be submerged in water if you use water as the medium.
- How to Care for Lucky Bamboo Plants in Your Home (Dracaena Sanderiana)
- Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow? (And How To Fix It)
Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)
Dracaena Trifasciata is a flowering plant and belongs to the family Asparagaceae. This is native to the tropical areas in Africa.
Commonly, it is known as Viper’s bowstring hemp, snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, and Saint George’s sword plant.
This evergreen perennial Dracaena plant stands in a dense formation with its creepy rhizome.
Dracaena Trifasciata has dark green leaves with light yellow stripes at the edge. The leaves can be up to 3 feet long.
This plant can exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen via its crassulacean acid metabolism system, and this process helps them withstand drought conditions.
Stomata exist in the leaves to allow for gas exchange. These pores remain closed during the day to prevent water loss. Snake plants are well-known plants that can purify the air .
However, it grows well in shady areas and maybe poisonous and toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
Janet Craig (Dracaena Deremensis)
Dracaena Dremensis ‘Janet Craig’ is like other types of Dracaena that are native to Africa. Its hardiness makes it a common houseplant.
This variety thrives in low light and requires less water. The giant and glossy green leaves are held tightly with woody stems.
You can find a wide variety of Dracaena Janet Craig. Conveniently, they can adapt to the home’s conditions.
Janet Craig should be planted in well-drained soils because standing water can kill the plant. Place them in indirect light to make them happy.
In terms of fertilizers, you do not have to fertilize them too often as Janet Craig requires little food.
Moreover, you do not have to prune these plants regularly; prune the older and yellow leaves to make them look green.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
Dragon tree, scientifically known as Dracaena Marginata, is an impressive houseplant with red-edged, sword-like leaves.
Many gardeners plant this species as their entry plants to the home or garden.
This red-edged Dracaena Marginata is drought-resistant and grows slowly.
During the spring, it produces small white flowers if planted outside. It can reach 20 feet in an outdoor garden and 6 feet indoors.
The dragon tree is mainly planted in homes or offices. Some people prefer growing them in a medium container while others grow them in larger pots, though it can adapt to both conditions.
These plants grow best in indirect sunlight. Therefore, plant them in shady areas that receive indirect or little light.
Dracaena Marginata is also known as an air purifier because it can effectively remove harmful lead (Pb) from the surrounding air .
Related post: Dracaena Marginata: How to Care for a Dragon Tree
Dracaena Tree (Dracaena arborea)
Dracaena Arborea has several names, and the most common ones are the Dracaena tree, Cornstalk Plant, Ribbon plant, and Corn plant.
This variety has a similar appearance to Dracaena Fragrans. The one with yellowish stripes under the Dracaena Massangeana group is called the Corn plant.
If you provide it with enough room, it will grow to around 8 feet tall. If they are planted outdoors, they may reach 15 feet. These Dracaena plants are often seen in houses or offices.
This tree has deep green leaves with a woody trunk. It grows well in bright indirect sunlight – Though too much exposure to sunlight may destroy its beautiful leaves.
It is a good idea to place this plant in northern or eastern-facing windows. This hardy species can grow happily in warmer climates.
The pointed leaves of Dracaena Arborea can filter the air and remove harmful toxins.
Lemon Lime (Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’)
Lemon-lime Dracaena Fragrans is a flowering houseplant that has beautiful green leaves with light yellow stripes.
It is native to the tropical areas of Africa, like Mozambique, Sudan, Angola, etc. It is also known as the cornstalk plant.
This plant falls under Deremensis’ group of Dracaena Fragrans. It can reach around 6 feet if grown in a medium-sized container.
However, you can keep it in shape by planting it in a small container and regular pruning.
Lemon-lime prefers indirect but bright sunlight. Direct exposure can burn the leaves.
Therefore, you should place the plant in a bright room that receives an adequate amount of sunlight. Also, it prefers slightly dry soil. So, water the soil when the surface seems slightly dry.
Watch for spider mites as they can harm the plant, and overly dry conditions can turn the leaves yellow.
Limelight Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’)
Dracaena Fragrans ‘Limelight’ grows slowly and is native to Africa’s tropical areas, such as Angola, Mozambique, and Sudan.
The stem of the limelight plant has a bunch of bright chartreuse leaves at the tip. If the stem is somehow damaged, it will produce more new stems.
This lime green Dracaena plant thrives in indirect light, and intense light can burn the beautiful lime green leaves.
However, morning and afternoon sun exposure can be safe. To enhance the growth, you need to place them in a north or east-facing window.
These plants need warmer temperatures, and the ideal temperature is 25 or 23-degree Celsius. If the temperature starts falling below 12-degree Celsius, the growth will be stunted.
It is a drought-resistant plant, so you do not have to water it too often. Water it deeply when the soil becomes dry.
Lemon Surprise Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Surprise’)
Lemon surprise Dracaena is known as a corn plant because of its green foliage. Like other Dracaena plants, it is native to Africa.
Lemon surprise is a common indoor plant and is seen in many airports and offices because of its low maintenance.
This slow-growing plant can be as tall as 4 feet. This attractive variety has bright green leaves that have a yellowish outer edge.
These attractive lime green leaves give this plant an exclusive appearance. If your place receives moderate sunlight, you may choose this variety.
This species requires less water in a low light area, so make sure you use well-drained soil. The potting mix should contain perlite.
Lemon surprise Dracaena should be planted in a large container. Since this plant grows slowly, you do not have to worry about repotting.
Gold Dust (Dracaena surculosa)
Gold dust (Dracaena Surculosa) is a beautiful plant. It has broad green leaves with yellow spots on the surface. These plants are slow-growing, and people plant them because they require less maintenance.
This sturdy plant is relatively easy to grow and needs indirect or low light. If you can supply more light, the plant’s leaves will become more variegated.
Water Dracaena plants when the surface soil gets too dry. Remember that this variety can not tolerate standing water. Therefore try to plant them in a well-draining potting mixture.
During the winter, the Gold dust plant becomes dormant, and you do not have to water and fertilize them.
This plant grows slowly, and you do not have to worry about pruning. You can remove the older or brown leaves.
Hawaiian Sunshine Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans ‘Hawaiian Sunshine’)
This plant belongs to the group “Dracaena Deremensis” and is grown mainly for its attractive green foliage. It has a light green stripe at the center.
Its downward-facing dark green leaves mainly characterize this group of Dracaena Deremensis.
Like other Dracaena varieties, it has a durable, consistent, and green striped variegation.
Its excellent adaptability has made it a very popular Dracaena plant. It can grow well in any light conditions. Bright or low light can be ideal for this Dracaena Deremensis group.
The ideal temperature for growing this plant ranges between 20 and 26-degree Celsius.
This tropical plant is susceptible to insects, like mealybugs and mites. Keep Hawaiian sunshine well-irrigated to reduce the invasion of these pests.
If the leaves become infested too heavily, they may fall off. You have to spray natural pest killers to remove them.
Basics on How to Care for Dracaena Plants
Most Dracaena varieties are drought-resistant and can not tolerate standing water. It would be best if you watered these plants when the soil surface becomes too dry.
Dracaena plants prefer well-draining soil that does not retain water for a longer period. Use sand, perlite, light clay, and organic matter in the soil.
Dracaena plant needs indirect sunlight to thrive. Intense sunlight can burn their impressive dark green leaves.
Dracaena species grow slowly, which is why they require less food. You can fertilize it during the growing season, which is spring to early autumn.
You can spray liquid fertilizer every month during this period to ensure healthy growth.
Temperature and Humidity
These plants grow well in temperatures between 20 to 28-degree Celsius and do not tolerate extreme temperatures.
Since they are tropical plants, they require high humidity to thrive. Their dark green leaves may turn brown if the humidity falls.
Most of the Dracaena varieties propagate from cuttings. You need to cut the plant’s stem and remove the lower leaves.
Also, make sure that the cut stem has growing tips. Wash the cut section properly and plant it in a potting mixture.
Is Dracaena a good indoor plant?
Yes, Dracaena houseplants are excellent plants as they can purify contaminated air and good plants to add to any home decor.
How many different types of Dracaena can I get?
There are approximately 120 different species in the Dracaena genus.
How Fast Do dracaena plants grow?
Most Dracaena plants grow very slowly. With proper care, they will last quite a long time.
Does the Dracaena plants need sunlight?
You should avoid placing these plants in direct sunlight because direct sun exposure can burn the leaves.
Where can You Buy Lucky Bamboo plants?
You’ll likely find them at your local garden center. They are so popular, that most grocery stores will sell them where you find flowers for sale.
These are the most popular types of Dracaena plants. You can plant them on your balcony or in the garden to enhance their beauty.
People mainly use striped Dracaena to decorate their homes.
They do not require much maintenance. You can easily identify if they are unhappy with the environment. These plants will let you know the color of their foliage.
-  Kulkarni, K.A. and Zambare, M.S. (2018). The impact study of houseplants in the purification of the environment using a wireless sensor network. Wireless Sensor Network, 10(3): 59-69.
-  Hamidah and Farli, D.P. (2019). Role of Dracaena marginata plants as absorbent of lead (Pb) pollutants in the city part of Surabaya: a preliminary study. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 259: 012008.
- Perry, L. Dracaena. University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science, Anytime News Article.
- Clemson University Extension. Dracaena Fact Sheet. Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Home and Garden Information Center.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she studied at the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. She continued her gardening education by working on organic farms in both rural and urban settings. She started UrbanOrganicYield.com to share gardening tips and tactics. She’s happy to talk about succulents and houseplants or vegetables and herbs – or just about anything in a backyard garden or hydroponics garden.