Among the tallest of houseplants, the treelike dracaenas are perfect when you need a strong accent. They’ve swordlike leaves, often with attractive variegations. Although they are single stemmed, several plants of different heights can be grown together in the same pot for a bushier look. They are easy to grow plants, very tolerant of indoor environments.

Dracaena fragrans “Massangeana” sometimes called “corn plant” has leaves that resemble those of corn, with a yellow stripe down the middle. D. marginata (dragon tree) has a cluster of red-edged leaves atop a tall stem that twists in picturesque ways. In the variety “Tricolor” the leaves are green, red and yellow. D. deremensis “Warneckii” has rather stiff leaves, striped with white. All these can grow to the ceiling eventually. If you want a more compact dracaena, grow D. surculosa (D. god-seffiana), called “gold-dust plant” which only grows a few feet tall. The flat oval leaves are dark green with cream-colored spots; in the variety “Florida Beauty” the leaves are so spotted they’re almost all white.

How to Grow Dracaenas

Dracaenas will tolerate quite low, though brighter light will bring out foliage variegation better. They’ll also tolerate low humidity to some degree, but they do prefer warm rooms. Plant them in an average potting mix, repotting any time they look crowded. Well, water freely from spring to fall keeping the soil evenly moist but never letting them become waterlogged. In winter let the soil dry out between watering. Feed every two weeks or so during the growing season. Plants can be cut back to 4 to 6inches, and new growth will sprout. New plants can be propagated by removing and replanting suckers that form at the base or by cutting sections of the canes that have at least one node and laying them on moist sand.

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