A Dracaena for Everyone

A Dracaena for Everyone

The old adage "variety is the spice of life" is never more true than with the Dracaena family. 
The old adage “variety is the spice of life” is especially appropriate when describing the dracaena family. This large group of easy-to-grow houseplants includes members that offer a wide variety of heights, colors, and leaf types. Yet, they all share in their ability to thrive in various light conditions (although they do prefer bright, indirect light) and they won’t wilt dramatically if you occasionally forget to water them.

The first dracaena I ever grew was corn plant (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana'). I was living in Iowa at the time so growing a “corn plant” in my living room living seemed appropriate. Plus, I could not resist the plant’s broad, strappy dark green leaves with a lime green stripe running down their centers.

Corn plants are sold in two ways: shrubby and tall. Shrubby versions are young plants that offer a colorful fountain of foliage. Taller, more mature specimens are sold on a woody trunk topped with multiple leaf clusters.  Both types are super easy to grow and only need to be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch.

I’m also a big fan of Dracaena 'Anita'. I first saw this plant a few years ago on a photo shoot and I fell in love immediately. Often sold as a small tree, this handsome plant sports a thick head of narrow, dark green leaves atop graceful bare stems. I’ve had a trio of Dracaena 'Anita' plants on my front porch for the past five years and I’m continually amazed how tough they are, especially when I forget to water them. Like other dracaenas, 'Anita' thrives in bright, indirect light.

On the opposite end of the height scale, there’s Dracaena 'Janet Craig'. This little gem rarely grows more than 10 inches high. It develops a cluster of dark green leaves remind me of a living bird’s nest. 'Janet Craig' is an ideal choice for a windowsill, bookshelf, or end table.

And finally, when shopping for Draceana, check out the many varieties that offer variegated foliage. Some of the most colorful include 'Song of India', 'Malaika', 'Lemon Surprise', 'Lemon Lime', 'Florida Beauty', 'Limelight', and 'Dorado'.

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Written by Doug Jimerson