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Popular Dracaena Varieties to Grow at Home

Dracaena plants are a beautiful compliment to a variety of different living settings. When it comes to houseplants, dracaena plant types are among the most attractive and time-saving choices available. 

Read on and learn more about Dracaena and why it is a perfect match for your garden. 


A gardener propagating Dracaenas

Popular Dracaena Varieties

There are many beautiful Dracaena varieties to choose from. Each species has garnered notoriety as an excellent addition to houseplant collections, offering both ornamental and practical applications within living spaces.

Whatever your needs are, you’re bound to find the right dracaena to take your houseplant collection to the next level.

Dracaena marginata – Madagascar Dragon Tree

Dracaena Marginata also called Madagascar Dragon Tree

Sporting tall, slender trunks topped with luscious green red-tipped leaves that form an elegant silhouette, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular Dracaena species, especially as a houseplant.

The sculptured appearance is perfect for decorating bland spaces around the house, easily adding interest to any room. This variety can grow to around 6 feet tall. 

Find out how to grow and care for Dracaena marginata here.

Dracaena deremensis – Cornstalk Dracaena 

Dracaena Deremensis features shiny foliage that stands upright in the first leaf section and then gently arches towards the tips

Famed for its broad and slightly margined leaves, this Dracaena species features shiny foliage that stands upright in the first leaf section and then gently arches towards the tips.

Some cultivars of this species offer lush clutches of full deep-green leaves similar to those found on corn stalks. This variety can grow up to around 30 to 40 inches tall. 

Dracaena fragrans – Corn Plant

Dracaena Fragransis considered by many as the most popular dracaena variety

Considered by many as the most popular Dracaena species, Dracaena fragrans is highly adaptable and produces lushly layered tufts of waxy, lanceolate leaves that arch delicately.

There are many exciting cultivars available, some of which sport fully emerald green foliage whereas others offer a more variegated appearance. Occasionally, this species will bloom with sprays of dainty white flowers. Maximum expected growth indoors is up to 6 feet. 

Dracaena ‘Compacta’ – Ananas Dracaena

Dracaena Compacta is perfect for those looking for a more compact and smaller growing dracaena

This special cultivar is derived from the Dracaena deremensis, characterized by its dense and deep green foliage, which has a more upright habit than its parent species.

As its name suggests, this cultivar is perfect for those looking for a more compact and smaller growing dracaena. Enjoy this perky and petite perennial in your living room or office spaces. Growth is around 30 to 35 inches tall. 

Dracaena draco – Canary Islands Dragon Tree

Dracaena Draco is native to the Canary Islands where massive specimens can be found growing outdoors

Considered one of the easiest of its genus to grow, this species is native to the Canary Islands where massive specimens can be found growing outdoors. If you have a large and sunny landscape, this is an excellent option as an ornamental garden tree.

Alternatively, it will make for a wonderful exotic houseplant, sporting an unusual silhouette with long- sword-shaped leaves adorned with reddish variegated edges. Indoor growth is around 3 to 6 feet in height whereas outdoor growth can be 10 to 20 meters in height depending on the conditions. 

Dracaena reflexa – Song of India

Dracaena Reflexa commonly known as Song of India

Dracaena reflexa is also one of the most commonly grown of its genus, sporting thick stems topped with striking tapered evergreen leaves that feature gentle sweeps of light and dark green stripes.

There are many gorgeous cultivars available of this species like the highly sought-after ‘Variegata’ variety. Perfect for use as a decorative and lively houseplant, this tree can also be grown outdoors in warmer climates. 

Growth outdoors is around 12 to 18 feet tall but it is easy to maintain a smaller size indoors. 

Dracaena surculosa – Gold Dust Dracaena

Dracaena Surculosa commonly known as Gold Dust Dracaena

This African Dracaena species produces more leaf than stem compared to its counterparts, featuring exotic and broad deep-green leaves speckled with delicate white to yellow spots that give the impression that the plant is covered in faint goldish dust.

A truly ornamental species, this plant has a growth habit that is perfect for use as a houseplant where it can quickly elevate the appeal of any living space. Mature houseplants reach around 18 to 30 inches tall. 

Dracaena arborea – African Dracaena Tree

This special species of Dracaena stands out thanks to its appearance which is very similar to that of a palm tree. It produces long sword-shaped green leaves with a very upright growth habit, perfect for adding bursts of tropical foliage to any indoor plantscape.

This beautiful small tree is adorned with ornamental crowns of leaves that can be used indoors for added texture or outdoors where its silhouette will appear as green globes or pom poms in the sky. 

Indoor growth is around 7 to 8 feet tall and outdoor growth can be 15 feet or more. 

Dracaena braunii – Braun’s Dracaena 

Dracaena Braunii can be grown in both soil and water, perfect for use as a houseplant with multiple applications

Source: Wikipedia

Sporting bamboo-like features, this variety can be grown in both soil and water, perfect for use as a houseplant with multiple applications. Its stalks are sparsely leafed with green wavy foliage making its appearance less refined than others in its genus.

For this reason, it suits more informal room settings, especially when contrasted with leafy tropical plants. Reaches up to 4 feet tall when grown as a houseplant. 

Dracaena sanderiana – Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena Sanderiana or Lucky bamboo plant

An unusual-looking type of Dracaena, this species is similar to Braun’s variety as it also produces bamboo-like stalks decorated sparsely with light to mid-emerald green leaves.

It is perfect for those looking for a daintier houseplant and it looks fantastic when grown in water. It will suit more minimalistic indoor spaces well, offering a refined yet slightly tropical influence with its open yet compact growth habit. 

Grows up to 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide indoors. Larger specimens can be grown outdoors in warmer regions. 

Learn how to grow, propagate, and care for lucky bamboo here

Dracaena trifasciata – Snake Plant

Dracaena Trifasciata also known as Snake plants

This globally adored species of Dracaena is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue or sansevieria. It produces luscious rosettes of stiff, shiny pointed green leaves dappled with yellow to light-green markings that can bend and twist towards the tips.

Considered one of the best indoor air-purifying houseplants, this lively variety will look fantastic in any living space and it is super hardy and adaptable to many growing conditions. 

Grown indoors, this plant will reach around 2 to 4 feet tall with a spread of around 1 to 2 feet. Often confused with Sansevieria trifasciata, both plants are one and the same. 

Find out more about Dracaena trifasciata here

Dracaena goldieana – Green Zebra Plant

Dracaena Goldieana commonly known as Green Zebra Plant

Source: Parks Place Plants

True to its name, this highly exotic dracaena features broad and pointy horizontal leaves with stripes and patterns similar to those found on the zebra. The large leaves contrast beautifully between the pale silver green and bright green to dark green emerald markings found on the lush foliage.

This species is glossy and very showy, making for an excellent indoor feature plant in any room. Growth is about 3 to 6 feet tall and 2 feet wide indoors. 

6 Reasons to Grow Dracaena Plants

Some of the more popular Dracaena species, such as D. deremensis, D. marginata, D. ‘Warneckii’, and D. fragrans, have unique, fanciful shapes that are surrounded by luxuriant foliage for their whole life.

Furthermore, since they come in a variety of dimensions, you may use them to dress up a whole blank wall or just refresh the border of a side table.

1. Dracanae Reduces Pollution in the Environment

Plants generally help to restore oxygen levels in the atmosphere, and some can clean the air. Dracaena fragrans plants are among the most helpful plants for improving the quality of indoor air.

As reported in NASA air quality research, Dracaena plants may help to purify your indoor air by removing harmful pollutants such as trichloroethylene, benzene, xylene, and carbon dioxide.

Here's our list of best air purifying plants to help de-stress your home. 

How to Grow Dracaena

2. Dracaena is a Plant that Absorbs Lead 

Metals such as lead are toxic and may cause severe health issues. Lead exposure via ingestion or inhalation may have consequences that are similar to those described above. 

Overexposure to radiation for a short period of time may induce stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, loss of memory, poor focus, weakness, and other symptoms.

On the other hand, prolonged exposure to high levels of radiation may be fatal. Dust polluted with lead is one of the most common causes of lead exposure in the United States, accounting for around a quarter of all cases.

Mold may spread across the environment because lead particles can move via air and water, and dracaena is among the species that can be grown both inside and outdoors to help decrease the amount of lead in the environment.

The use of Dracaena plants as just an absorber of lead pollution is mentioned in one Indonesian research, despite the fact that there aren't many studies to support that assertion.

3. You Can Use Dracaena as Ornaments

Dracaena plants are prized for their ability to be used as decorative plants. They grow in such a variety of unexpected forms and sizes, and their everlasting foliage is so eye-catching that they may be effectively incorporated into almost any design plan. 

For example, create visual appeal in an empty area by using a taller variation; fill out furniture with a fuller cultivar, and use tiny dracaenas as decorative plants on tabletop or desks by using a small variety.

Don't miss our list of best indoor plants you can use along with your Dracaena.

4. It improves Focus and Concentration

Those of you who have been to a place where there were a number of plants would understand what we're trying to get across. Keeping plants mostly around your house and workplace may help you concentrate and focus better on your work. 

When plants were present in the classroom, according to research performed by The Royal College of Agriculture in Cirencester, pupils were more attentive and focused near about 70%.

5. Colors and Varnishes

Some Dracaena cultivars contain sap that is distinctively crimson in colour. Humans have been using the crimson sap as a polish and dye for hundreds of years. 

In fact, it is believed to be the cause of the reddish colour on the strings, Provides added instruments.

Different Types of Dracaena

6. Dracaenas Requires Very Little Maintenance

Dracaenas are extremely forgiving animals, so there isn't much which goes wrong with them. Tolerance for a broad range of ailments is what makes them so popular and in demand. 

Low-light circumstances do not pose a problem for these plants since they do not need much watering. Additionally, fertilizing your lawn 3 or 4 times a year would be all you need. Finally, these plants don't need a lot of sunshine to thrive.

Here is our review on the best organic fertilizers on the market. 

General Tips for Growing Dracaena Varieties 

Overall, Dracaena care is pretty straightforward, especially when grown as a houseplant. There are a few basic tips you can follow to help give your plants the best chance at thriving and looking their best in your spaces. Most varieties will require very similar growing conditions. 

Reasons to Grow Dracaena

Ideal Lighting

Filtered indoor light or semi-shaded spots around the house are ideal for these plants. Somewhere through a sheer curtain in front of a sunny window or a brightly lit south-facing window should work great. 

Be sure to avoid placing your dracaena in direct sun as this can quickly burn the foliage. The colorful foliage does its best in bright but indirect light. 

Soil and Water Needs

It is crucial to use well-draining soil when potting or planting dracaenas. A quality potting mix should work great indoors. Allow the soil to dry to the touch between waterings but avoid letting it dry out too much to the point where the leaves are starting to brown. Overwatering can be fatal to these plants. 

Fertilizing Dracaenas

Fertilize about once to twice a year to maintain health and promote new growth. Use a balanced houseplant liquid fertilizer applied according to the package's instructions for the best results. 

Pruning Needs

Pruning can differ depending on which variety you’re growing but generally, pruning can be done annually to help reduce the size of your plant. Prune during the active growing season and use a clean and sharpened pair of secateurs or scissors to trim your plant. Cut the stalks back to the height you desire. 

Repotting Dracaena 

As your plant grows, it will need to be repotted into a larger container to ensure it stays healthy and happy. If you notice the leaf edges and tips beginning to brown and droop, this should indicate that repotting is needed to reduce the build-up of fertilizer and salts from softened water.

It is recommended to repot dracaenas about every 2 years into a larger container filled with as much fresh soil as possible. 

Propagating Dracaena Plants

Depending on the variety, dracaenas can be reliably propagated using stem cuttings or division, allowing growers to easily expand their houseplant collections over time. 

Take Your Pick and Start Growing these Dracaena Varieties Today

However, as tiny houseplants, Dracaena of all varieties are excellent choices since they survive in the circumstances that most people have in their homes. One of the most famous variety is the Dracaena fragrans or corn plant. 

Bright indirect sunshine is preferred, although many varieties of Dracaena are capable of surviving in low-light conditions as well. Dracaena plants have modest water requirements and generally perform well for a good watering once a week or more often.

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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