If you are looking for a houseplant that requires very little maintenance and does well in low-light, indoor environments, it is definitely worth taking a look at plants within the Dracaena family.
Dracaenas have been one of the most popular types of indoor plants for decades. In fact, you have probably seen them dotted around everywhere from office buildings to shopping malls. Not only do these popular indoor plants have a vibrant and tropical appearance, but they can also add a nice splash of color to any indoor space.
The fact that these eye-catching plants are easy to care for and they have the ability to thrive without much exposure to sunlight means they are perfect for indoor gardeners of all experience levels.
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How Can We Help?
If you are considering a Dracaena houseplant, we are here to help you make sure it grows properly. By following this simple Dracaena irrigation guide, you will know how often you should water your plant and how much water you should provide during each watering session. To really help you keep your Dracaenas healthy, we will also offer some more general growing tips.
Water Requirements for a Dracaena
While the tropical appearance of this indoor plant might lead you to believe it would need soil that is constantly moist, like you would find in a rainforest, they actually require fairly dry soil that drains really quickly.
In fact, Dracaena plants cannot tolerate wet or damp soil for very long. This is because their roots are very susceptible to root rot. If you want your Dracaena house plant to survive and look its best, you will certainly want to avoid overwatering it.
So, How Much Water Do Dracaenas Need?
In general, you will only want to water your Dracaena plant when the soil feels dry to the touch. In fact, at least the top inch of soil should be completely dry when you touch it. If you are unsure if it is time to water your Dracaena, you can stick your finger into the soil and check for signs of moisture. If you detect any signs of moisture on your finger after you pull it out of the soil, your Dracaena could probably go another day or two without being watered.
On average, most people water their Dracaenas about once per week; however, some people will stretch that out to about once every other week. When you do water your Dracaena plant, you should water the soil thoroughly. While you can really wet the soil, it is critical that the soil drains properly. This means choosing a loose soil mixture that will not hold onto water. It also means choosing a pot that has at least one drainage hole along the bottom.
Lighting Conditions Will Influence Your Watering Schedule
It is important to take light conditions and humidity into consideration when determining how often you will water your Dracaena. If your Dracaena plant is in a darker room that does not receive a significant amount of natural light, you will not have to water it as frequently. On the other hand, if you place your Dracaena plant in a room that receives filtered sunlight for a significant portion of the day, you might have to water the plant more frequently.
Not only does sunlight help dry the soil much faster by increasing the rate of evaporation, but an increase in sunlight exposure will also actually make the plant itself use water at a much faster rate. You should remember that Dracaenas are low-light plants, which means direct sunlight will actually harm them rather than help them grow faster. Some people think that Dracaena plants just tolerate low-light conditions and would actually do better with more light exposure, but the truth is they actually tend to thrive when direct sunlight exposure is limited.
You should also pay attention to the humidity in the air. If your home or office tends to be quite a dry place, you might have to water your plant more often, as the dry air will pull moisture out of the soil. On the other hand, if your home tends to get humid during certain seasons, or you run a humidifier, you can get away with watering your Dracaena plant less frequently.
Other Things to Consider When Watering Your Dracaena Plant
Avoid Exposing Your Dracaena Plant to Excess Fluoride
Dracaena plants are known to have a sensitivity to fluoride, which is a chemical that is often found in tap water. If you water your Dracaena plant with water that contains fluoride, the leaves can become brown or yellow. If it is exposed to enough fluoride, it can actually kill the plant completely.
To avoid exposing your Dracaena plant to fluoride, you can choose to use bottled or filtered water, rather than water taken directly from the tap. Another trick is to fill an open container with water the night before. Leave the filled container out overnight, or preferably closer to 24 hours. This will allow some of the fluoride and chlorine to evaporate from the water, which should help to prevent the leaves from burning.
Fertilizing Your Dracaena Plant
Fluoride issues are another reason why you should not over-fertilize your Dracaena plants. In most cases, you can get away with not adding fertilizer to the soil; however, if you would prefer to use a fertilizer, you should opt for a balanced houseplant food. You should also consider diluting the fertilizer to roughly half of its recommended strength, as this can help with the fluoride issue.
What Soil Should You Use?
As mentioned, you will need to use fast-drying soil that drains easily. You can use a pre-mixed potting soil that is designed for succulents or even cactuses. If you would prefer, you can also make your own soil blend inexpensively.
The main thing is making sure that the soil is both loose and well-draining. If you make your own soil mixture, consider adding peat, as this should help keep the soil dry. Some people will even line the bottom of their chosen pot with sand, as this can also help with potential moisture issues.
You should always avoid using perlite in the soil when you are dealing with Dracaenas, as it often contains fluoride. Whether fluoride is in the soil, water, or plant food, it will almost always lead to leaf burn.