The Dracaena plant is a group of ornamental house plants that have become extremely popular in the plant world. Dracaena varieties come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. From small, surface-level plants to tall tropical trees, Dracaenas are easily one of the most versatile and unique plants you can own.
As the demand for indoor house plants continues to spike, you may find yourself searching for the perfect plant to add to your home. Keep reading to find out why we (and everyone else) loves Dracaena plants!
What is a Dracaena?
Dracaenas are a genus of tropical trees and shrubs that make excellent house plants. The name “Dracaena” comes from the Greek word “drakaina,” meaning female dragon. The plants received this name due to the dark red, gum-like resin in the plants’ stems that resembles mystical dragon’s blood.
Although each species can vary, most Dracaena plants are characterized by the long, spear-like leaves growing from their stems. The leaves eventually grow out and become thick and glossy over time. Each species has different beautiful foliage patterns and colors that can make a fantastic attraction in your home!
Dracaenas have played a significant role in various cultures and traditions around the world. Some Mediterranean cultures believed the plant had medicinal properties and used the Dracaena plant exclusively to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal conditions. Many other cultures around the world used it as a cure-all to treat multiple health issues.
The “blood” of the Dracaena also has a long history of use in rituals to repel evil spirits and negative entities. Many ancient cultures believed that the red sap of the plant had magical powers that could be utilized in love and protection spells.
For hundreds of years, all varieties of Dracaena plants were used for food dyes, varnishes, and medicines because of the unique dark-red resin. Even today, some places still use its resin for varnishing, photoengraving, and painting!
Where Are Dracaena Plants Commonly Found?
The majority of Dracaena plants are native to Africa, but they can also be found in areas from southern Asia all the way to northern Australia. There are even two species of Dracaena found in the tropical forests of Central America!
How Many Dracaena Types Are There?
In total, there are over 120 different species of Dracaena Plants! Between these Dracaena species, there are two main growth types: tree and shrub-like varieties.
The main difference between these two types is that the tree-like varieties have above-ground stems with clusters of leaves at the end of each stem. The shrub-like or rhizomatous variety has underground stems that typically have one cluster of leaves growing on the surface.
Dracaena care is relatively easy and requires less attention than most other plants. Here are some of our favorite Dracaena plants!
The Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata) is one of the most popular indoor house plants on the market right now. Snake Plants are well-known for their ability to survive almost any conditions, either in bright or low light and even with minimal watering. In Chinese cultures, Snake Plants are treasured for bringing luck, prosperity, and health to the household.
Snake Plants can grow anywhere from 6 inches to 8 feet tall. They are easily manageable to fit into any part of the house as the perfect complement to every room. Snake Plants are highly recommended for new plant owners since they are incredibly adaptable and can survive even if you forget about them for a while.
Song of India
The Song of India (Dracaena reflexa) is native to Madagascar, Mauritius, and other various islands in the Indian Ocean. The Song of India is a beautiful plant with spiraling, brightly colored leaves that add a pop of color to a room. The rich green leaves are outlined by a lively yellow, brightening up the shelf or table it’s placed on.
Like the other Dracaenas, the Song of India plant is perfect for beginners to grow. The plant is even self-pruning, meaning the older leaves will fall off on their own, allowing brand new leaves to grow in. The Song of India is very popular in Hawaii; it is used to make stunning flower leis and tropical plant arrangements!
The Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) is another Dracaena native to Madagascar. The Dragon Tree stands out from the rest with its sharp, sword-like leaves outlined in a dark red color. Growing a Dragon Tree is straightforward, as it can often survive for weeks without water.
A great thing about Dragon Trees is that they can be grown year-round and still thrive. This plant can grow up to 20 feet tall in the wild. Though, you can easily prune and trim it to keep your Dragon Tree under 6 feet indoors. There are several gorgeous varieties of the Dragon Tree — such as the “Bicolor” and “Tricolor” types — which pop with bright shades of pink and ivory.
The Gold Dust (Dracaena surculosa) variety is a medium-sized plant that features plenty of small, gold-speckled leaves. The leaves give the appearance that the plant has been dusted and sprinkled with gold dust, which is how it got the name.
Gold Dust Dracaenas fit well into many households because they are a manageable size, growing about 2-3 feet tall. They also develop easily indoors because they thrive in low to medium light conditions. The Gold Dust plant can be slightly poisonous to pets, so it may be better to keep your dog or cat away, if possible.
Corn Plant & Cornstalk Plant
The Corn Plant (Dracaena deremensis) and Cornstalk Plant (Dracaena fragrans, also called Massangeana) are very similar species named for their resemblance to corn crops. The Cornstalk Plant typically grows above the ground, while the Corn Plant grows on the surface. However, both plants have the same clusters of broad, glossy green leaves that look like stalks of corn.
Cornstalk Plants have long, thick stems that typically grow up 3-6 feet tall indoors but can reach 50 feet in the wild. Even though the Corn Plant grows on the surface, it can also reach similar heights to the Cornstalk Plant.
The great thing about these two plants is that they can be easily pruned and managed to fit your space. Whether you are looking for a centerpiece to brighten up the room or a miniature decoration to provide a pop of color, the Corn and Cornstalk Plants are perfect for your every need.
Canary Islands Dragon Tree
The Canary Islands Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) is a breathtaking plant that looks like none other. It has an umbrella or mushroom shape when the tree reaches full maturity. The short leaves sit atop a thick trunk that can grow 20 feet tall in the wild.
As a house plant, the Canary Islands Dragon Tree can be kept to 6 feet and under. This gorgeous plant is the national symbol of the island of Tenerife and can be found all across Northern Africa as well. One legendary Dragon Tree in Tenerife grew up to 70 feet tall and lived for over 6,000 years until a storm destroyed it in 1868.
Are Dracaenas Easy to Care For?
Dracaenas are easy to care for, and they are even able to withstand some neglect if you forget to water them from time to time. They are highly adaptable to most environments and can grow beautifully both indoors and outdoors.
- Light: Dracaenas typically thrive in filtered, indirect light, but many varieties also tolerate low light conditions.
- Water: As resilient plants, Dracaenas don’t need that much watering. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between watering periods.
- Soil: A well-draining soil works best with Dracaena plants. The regular indoor potting mix is excellent for Dracaenas.
- Humidity: As tropical plants, Dracaenas prefer to grow in slightly more humid conditions. However, they are very tolerable of the average indoor humidity inside most homes.
- Temperature: Normal room temperatures between 65-75°F are ideal for Dracaenas to grow in. Be careful not to let the temperature drop below 55°F, or else the cold could stunt the plant’s growth.
- Fertilizer: Dracaenas rarely need to be fed since they are slow-growing, low to medium light plants. If you want to stimulate growth, remember that less is more. Use a half-strength liquid fertilizer for best results.
- Pot size: Dracaenas are slow growers and don’t need to be repotted often. If your plant begins to outgrow its pot, switch to a container about 2 inches wider to accommodate.
How Long Do Dracaena Plants Live?
Dracaena plants are relatively long-living, and their lifespans vary from species to species. Most Dracaenas typically take longer than the average house plant to mature, with some taking 5-10 years to reach their full size. If cared for properly, these evergreen plants can live for decades.
Even though Dracaenas are slow-growing plants, most species begin to look thick and lush after the first year or so. You won’t need to wait until full maturity to start displaying these beautiful tropical plants around your house. The longevity of Dracaenas is a testament to their resilience and hardiness, shaped by their native growing conditions.
Where to Buy a Dracaena Plant
You can find the best Dracaena Plants at Planted Pot! We carry a wide selection of beautiful indoor house plants so that you have plenty of options. Large, small, green, red, purple — we guarantee you’ll find something you like for your home.
Once you find and purchase a Dracaena you like, the plant is prepared and shipped right to your front door. Save yourself some time and hassle by purchasing everything you need right on our site.
For more great tips, tricks, and information about Dracaena plant care, please browse through our blog. You’ll find detailed guides on the most popular house plants!
Final Thoughts – Dracaena
At over 120 different species, Dracaenas are one of the most popular house plants on the market. With thousands of indoor plants being sold every day, you’re bound to run into a Dracaena sooner or later. The Dracaena’s astonishing varieties, numerous colors, and multiple size options make it a house plant that can fit into any home imaginable!