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How to care for Dracena Fragrans | Dracena care tips

Dracena Fragrans is one of the classics in the plant world. My mom has it, my grandma has it and my great-grandma probably had it as well. It’s a fast growing plant, great if you’re searching for a bigger, more tree-looking type of plant to bring a vertical element into your home.

Dracena Fragrans varieties

Before we jump to Dracena care tips, lets take a look at some of the most common Dracena Fragrans varieties.

There are more than a few Dracena Fragrans varieties and I’ve struggled for quite some time to find the right classification for one of my Dracena. I knew it was a Dracena, but was it a Janet Lind or a Janet Craig? Or is that the same type? So fast forward a few years, now I’d say my Dracena is the classic, basic Dracena Fragrans with green leaves.

If you take a look at all these Dracena Fragrans varieties, you’ll see their leaves have a similar shape, while the look of the plant and color of the leaves are different. So, even if you can’t find your exact plant, you can spot some Dracena Fragrans characteristics that may help you identify your plant.

Two other really common Dracena plants are Dracena Fragrans Massangeana and Dracena Marginata.

Dracena Massangeana has the thickest stem and the biggest leaves of all other Dracenas – they are the longest as well as the widest. On the opposite side, there’s the Dracena Marginata that has by far the narrowest leaves.

While Dracena Massangeana and Dracena Marginata have woody stems, you can find Dracena Fragrans with or without a woody stem. If it has a woody stem that just means it’s older than the one without.

Dracena Massangeana (commonly known as the Corn plant) it’s technically a D. Fragrans but I personally look at it as a whole separate type of Dracena, and not just a D. Fragrans variety. I say this because I don’t apply the same care tips for it as I do for other Dracena Fragrans varieties, just FYI.

Dracena Fragrans care tips

Dracena Fragrans is an easy to care for plant that brings a beautiful vertical element into your home. The great thing is, it’s really low maintenance! So, let’s see how to make it happy in your home.

How much light does a Dracena Fragrans need? | Dracena lighting

Dracena can tolerate a great range of natural light. From medium (for a short while even medium-to-low light) to bright indirect light.

Let’s face it, almost all indoor plants love bright indirect light and they need the light to live. So, even if this Dracena can manage to survive in a medium to low light, does not mean it should live in this poor light environment. Placing it in a poorly lit spot will stunt its growth and the leaves will grow more far apart.

Give your Dracena bright indirect light and in return it will grow quite fast.

Dracena Fragrans grows vertically, so it will reach quite a height in just a few years. To compare, one of my cuttings grew about twice it’s size in two years. It started as a 30cm cutting in the summer of 2018, and today it’s about a meter long. Add to that, it hasn’t been always in a brightly lit spot (unfortunately).

Dracena will love to be in front of an east or west facing window. You can also place it near of a few feet from a south facing window, but in this case be careful to protect it in summer when the sun is really harsh and can burn its leaves. I find that the best way to do it is to put a light white curtain that will turn direct light into bright indirect light.

The best thing about this Dracena is that you can place it in front of a north facing window, too. In this case you’ll just have to water it less frequently.

How often do you need to water your Dracena? | Dracena Fragrans Watering

It’s best to let the soil almost completely dry out before watering the plant. If you keep your Dracena in constantly moist soil, its roots will simply rot after a while. So make sure the top few inches of soil are dry, and then go and water your Dracena.

Let the soil almost completely dry out between watering.

When will the soil dry out depends on a couple of things. As I mentioned earlier, if you place it in front of a north facing window, you’ll have to water it less frequently. Why? Well, that’s because the plant won’t use as much water as it would use if given more sunlight.

To read more about factors that affect your houseplant watering frequency, check out my post – 7 factors that affect your houseplant watering frequency.

A good tip to prevent root rot, is to pot it in a terracotta pot. When your plant is potted in a terracotta pot, the soil will dry out faster. This is good, because you know that your Dracena won’t be in wet soil for a long period of time. I find that’s especially beneficial for bigger plants that have to be potted in bigger pots.

Now that we covered WHEN, let’s talk about HOW to water it.

How to water Dracena Fragrans?

I suggest you thoroughly water it. What I mean by this is, either if you like to bring your plant to the sink/tub, or if you water it on spot – water it until excess water doesn’t start to come out of the pot. It’s important that your plant is potted in a pot with drainage holes, otherwise it so easy to overwater it. When you have drainage holes, all excess water can easily drain out of the pot.

As I was saying, give it plenty of water. Then what I like to do is to let the excess water in the cover pot or saucer (whichever you have under the pot) for 10 – 15 additional minutes. Only after that I throw away the water that’s left. I do this so that the plant can absorb any additional water that it needs.

This is especially a good practice if you notice that water goes through the pot really quickly. In this case probably not much water was absorbed by the soil and ultimately it’s like you didn’t water your plant at all.

There are a couple of reasons this may happen – either there’s not much soil left in the pot or the soil is so compacted together that it doesn’t let water go through, but instead water finds a few cracks and drains out of the pot really quickly. To fix this you need to repot your plant (for reason #1) or gently loosen up the soil with a stick or fork (for reason #2).

In the end, it’s important to throw out all excess water because houseplants don’t like to sit in water.

How often do you need to fertilize your Dracena?

I personally fertilize it once a month, from March to November. To fertilize it, I use a complete liquid fertilizer for leafy green plants (that’s what it literally says on the label), and I dilute it in water accordingly to the instructions on the bottle. Then I go ahead and I water my plants with this mixture.

It’s important to follow the instructions to know the ratios between fertilizer and water. If you over-fertilize your plants you can introduce a number of new problems to your plant. That’s why I say – better less fertilizer that to over fertilize.

How to propagate Dracena Fragrans? | Dracena Fragrans Propagation

I tried to propagate the Dracena Fragrans more than a few times and I had 100% success propagating it. So, how do you propagate the Dracena Fragrans?

You can easily propagate it from cuttings.

All you need to do is to cut your Dracena on the height you want, and the remaining tip that you cut off is your cutting.

Remove a couple of leaves from the bottom and place your cutting in a jar with water.

The height of the water level will determine the highest point where is possible for the cutting to produce roots. Change the water every few days, or at least weekly and follow the amazing process of a rooting cutting. I find it so amazing how the plant knows what to do, and how in connection with water it produces new roots. First roots should appear after a week or 10 days.

Two out of five times that I propagated my Dracena Fragrans was because I broke one of the branches. So, instead of throwing away the broken branch, I propagated it in water. If the same happens to you, don’t worry, because you’ll easily propagate it and when it roots out you can pot back with the mother plant.

Along with getting a new plant from the cutting you took, your Mother Plant will push out new branches just slightly below the cut. it may produce only once, but also up to three new branches. This will mainly depend on your plant’s health.

Is Dracena Fragrans toxic to pets?

Dracena plants are toxic to cats and dogs, so it’s best to place it out of their reach if you notice they like to nibble on Dracena leaves.