Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is often grown in water.

How to Care for Dracaena House Plants

by M.H. Dyer

A widely grown plant, dracaena (Dracaena spp.) tolerates a variety of growing conditions, including periods of abuse and neglect. This tough plant, recognized by its attractive, strappy foliage, is available in a number of varieties that reach mature heights of 2 to 10 feet. Although dracaena is most often grown as an indoor plant, it is suitable for growing outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10b through 11.

Place dracaena in bright, indirect light. Although dracaena tolerates low light, the plant grows faster, and the leaves are stronger and deeper green in brighter light. Avoid intense, direct light, which may damage the plant.

Water dracaena with lukewarm water whenever the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch. Water deeply until water drips through the drainage hole, then let the pot drain thoroughly. Don't water again until the surface of the soil feels dry because overwatering and soggy soil may cause the roots to rot.

Water the plant with distilled water because dracaena is sensitive to fluoride in tap water, and may develop symptoms such as brown leaf tips or scorched spots. If you use tap water, let the water stand overnight before watering. Much of the fluoride will dissipate.

Place dracaena in normally warm daytime room temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler.

Feed dracaena once every month during spring and summer, using a general-purpose, water-soluble plant food mixed at a rate of 1/2 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water.

Trim dracaena to the desired height if the plant becomes too tall. The plant tolerates pruning well and will soon develop new leaves.

Remove pests such as scale or mites by dabbing the pests with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. If the infestation is heavy, spray the plant with insecticidal soap spray. Use a commercial soap spray mixed at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 1 gallon of water. Pre-mixed products are also available.

Items you will need

  • Distilled water
  • General-purpose, water-soluble plant food
  • Pruners
  • Insecticidal soap spray

About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

Photo Credits

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