Dracaena is, in reality, a genus, and consists of around 40 tree species which come in a number of shapes and sizes. The size of this variety of plants varies from about the size which can be grown in pots to those which can grow to a few meters in height. The name of this genus of plants comes from the word 'drakaina,' a Greek term which means a 'female dragon'. The only similarity between a dragon and these plants is that the plant produces a red gum when cut, which when thickened is believed to resemble the blood of a dragon. The following paragraphs teach you how to care for a dracaena plant.
These plants have several woody stalks which grow upright, with the foliage at the top. Depending on the climatic and soil conditions, they can grow to anywhere between 2 to 20 feet high. Some of the expensive species of these decorative plants can be made to curve and bend during their growing phase to seem like a candelabra. These trees usually produce dark green leaves whose outer edge has a dark red margin.
The plants are sensitive to fluoride, so you should ensure that you don't expose them to this chemical. The most common source of fluoride is tap water, so you should try to use clean and pure water. While planting them, make sure that the soil around is well-drained, or else if there is accumulation of water around, chances are that the roots may be affected by root rot. Allow the soil around the plant to dry for sometime before you water the plant again. If you want the plant to branch out and appear like an umbrella, you can opt to prune them regularly, especially during the winter months.
The ideal daytime temperature for the growth of these plants is around 60 to 75 °F. If the humidity around them falls below 40%, which is most likely to happen during winters, try misting the leaves so that they grow well. You can opt to use a commercial potting mix for the same.
In case the stems of these plants grow too bare and long, you can prune them, so that new leaves appear soon. But make sure that you don't prune them during the growing season. These plants spread better by the process of stem or tip cutting and if you want them to propagate by these methods, you should plant them in spring or the later half of summer.
Things you Must keep in Mind
Don't expose them to direct sunlight, they should be placed in places which receives moderate sunlight. An excellent spot would be if you can place them besides a window facing east and cover the window with a transparent curtain.
The temperature around the plant should always be warm, be it summer of winter. If the temperature falls below 65 °F, there are chances that they won't grow that well. In some cases, they may also die. These plants grow well, if the surrounding humidity is high. You can increase it by placing a tray of pebbles below the plant.
If you remember the above mentioned instructions, you can be assured of a healthy dracaena plant. As with all other plants, always remember to fertilize them at regular intervals and never forget to water them.