Thursday, January 8, 2015

All About Dracaena ( Plant, Grow and Take Care)

Among a huge variety of plants that are used for home, office, apartments, malls and landscape decoration, dracaena family is the one you can meet practically everywhere. This group of plants enumerates nearly 40 species that vary in sizes and forms.
As dracaena is a very beautiful plant, it requires proper care and attention. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to grow it. If you’d like to have this flower in your home as well, then follow our tips and find out more about care for dracaena.

Types of Dracaena

Not all 40 kinds of this plant can be found in garden centers. In most cases, people choose those types of dracaena that grow between 2 and 10 feet. To the commonest of them belong:
  • marginata
  • sanderiana
  • fragrans
  • deremensis
  • draco
  • cinnabari
Marginata (the Madagascar dragon-tree or red-edged flower) is a quite thin dracaena plant with purplish-red leaves and curving stalks. It grows between 8 and 15 feet tall and has a spread of 3-8 feet.
Sanderiana (the lucky bamboo plant) is another type that is mainly chosen as an office or home plant. It requires less maintenance and is rather hardy.
Fragrans (the corn plant) grows best in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Its narrow arched foliage resembles corn plants, and when the plant grows in the wild, it can reach 40-50 feet.
Deremensis (the green plant) is characterized by a greater number of cultivars then specimen. The largest of them is Janet Craig (10 feet tall).
The description doesn’t give the full image of the plants. Viewing dracaena images you’ll be able to choose the species you like the most, but remember that pictures can’t provide the needed information about plant growing.

Dracaena Seed Germination

Instead of cutting dracaena seeds, you must sow them into the soil and keep the soil moist. No matter what type of plant you choose and where you are going to grow it, the seeds will take about 30-40 days to start sprouting. This is why it is recommended to soak them in warm water for about five days to improve germination. Don’t forget to change water daily.

Cutting Dracaena as an Effective Way of Plants Propagation

In case you have no seeds to plant, you can easily use cutting to propagate these plants. All you need for propagation is to take six or eight inch long cuttings of the plant you wish to spread and plant the cuttings into pots. About 2/3 of a cutting should be above the soil, which must be kept moist.
As a rule, it takes a few months before one can see the signs of new growth.

Dracaena Planting: How to Grow Dracaena Indoors?

Planting dracaena indoors is not as easy as it seems to be, especially, when you are going to place it in pots or containers to decorate any interior. So, how to plant dracaena?
  • take a container with drainage, fill it with a potting mix and then place the plant (cutting) into it;
  • choose bright area, but try to avoid direct light. The area should be warm, as these plants never do well in cold places;
  • drain the plant with water (distilled, rain or day-tap).

Right Outdoor Dracaena Growing

Growing this plant outdoors requires special consideration. To begin with, you are to select a proper place. It shouldn’t be too bright or too dark. Areas with filtered light are the most optimal. One more tip: the plant should be placed in soil that drains well.
Dig a hole in the chosen area. It should be twice as large as the plant’s root. The root system should be surrounded by soil in order to spread up quite easily. Stomp down the hole, fill the soil that remained and stomp it down again (this will ensure firmness of the ground).
When caring for dracaena water it not more than two or three times per week during the first 20 days, and then – once per week.

Why Do Dracaena Leaves Die?

Too many people are getting worried about the plant’s leaves: they start turning brown from the tip, and then the entire leaf becomes brown and dies. Pruning dead leaves away, you won’t settle up the problem.
Think of the reasons that led to such results. One of the commonest ones is that leaves were underwatered or overwatered. Always use well-drained soil to avoid problems in the future. Besides, it is important to make sure that the pot is well-drained too.

Essential Tips on Dracaena Care

Proper cultivation takes an important part in plant maintenance. Not everyone knows how to prune a  dracaena, when to start transplanting it and what care instructions to keep to. The following tips are going to be your guide in the process of proper plant growing.
  • Light: this plant is quite tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It grows best in bright and indirect light. Low light can be handled pretty fine as well, but the plant will grow much slower.
  • Temperature: it should always be warm, regardless of the season outside. When the temperature falls below 65°F, the plant will not grow. Sometimes, it even dies.
  • Humidity: if the surrounding humidity is high, the plant grows well. The humidity can be even increased with the help of pebbles placed below the plant.
  • Fertilizers: such needs are pretty simple. In summer and spring you can apply water-soluble house-plant fertilizer two times a month. When it is winter or autumn outside, the fertilizer is not needed.
  • Fluoride: these plants are very sensitive to it, so exposure to this chemical should be minimized. Fluoride can be found in tap water, that’s why it is essential not to use pure and clean water.

Potential Problems to Fight: Diseases and Pests

Dracaena can get various pests (mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, etc) and this is why it is highly important to know about natural solutions for them.
Spider mites are sucking insects that cause the leaves get ragged. To get rid of them, you can spray the plant with insecticides for houseplants. Mealy bugs, as well as scale, are easily avoided by an insecticide that contains pyrethrin.
The most common diseases that affect the plant include:
  • Flecking – leaves have yellow and white spots near tips. The disease is treated by maintaining moderate moisture, light conditions and temperature
  • Fluoride toxicity – leaves have dark brown and dead areas with yellow borders. Management: avoid using soil amendments that contain fluoride.
  • Fusarium leaf spot – reddish spots on young leaves. The plant can be saved with the help of applying iprodione, thiophanate methyl, mancozeb and chlorothalonil.
  • Soft rot – soft, brown rot and foul odor on rooted cuttings. Management: the only way out is to buy plants without diseases and get rid of those that have them.
Dracaena plants have beautiful color patterns (with pink, yellow, white and red stripes) and can spice up any area. If you know when to transplant, how to care for them and keep to all the above mentioned recommendations, you’ll have healthy plants that will amaze everyone around.

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