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Dracaena Compacta Care – Best Kept Secrets!

Dracaena Compacta Care – Best Kept Secrets!

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Dracaena Compacta, also known as Dracaena Deremensis, belongs to the family of Agavaceae or Agavoideae. This plant is famous for the luscious foliage and its low maintenance growth. It is the most loved variety in the Dracaena family.

Dracaena Compacta requires a warm temperature of 60-75 Degrees Fahrenheit (16-24 Degrees Celsius), while the humidity level must moderate (20-40%). This Dracaena plant loves indirect sunlight and a balanced fertilizer dose twice a year. Water it at a moderate rate when the top layer, ¾ of the soil, is dry.

The botanical name for this variety is Dracaena Janet Craig, and it’s was originally cultivated in Africa, Asia, and Central America. Some growers also refer to it as Compacta Dragon Tree, and it lives to the name with the tightly packed foliage.

This variety grows and thrives in semi-shaded spots in tropical areas. As the name implies, this Dracaena is a compact plant and would easily live in any corner of your house, office, or mini garden. This is an elegant plant with a tall stem and clusters of green leaves.

In this article, I have shared my experience of growing this plant; I have also mentioned some extra tips and common issues for this plant.

 

 

Dracaena Compacta Plant Care

 

Soil

I prefer using a well-potting mixture, which would help to drain extra water in the soil. The soil must contain organic matter around 50% or even above.

African violet soil mixture is also beneficial for the growth of Dracaena Compacta. The soil must be moist, but, at the same time, you should allow it to dry, especially the soil surrounding the roots. I would also add perlite with sphagnum moss to lock the moisture in the soil.

The soil pH must be slightly acidic to neutral (6-7). If you receive Dracaena Compacta with lava rock soil, it’s better to keep half of the lava soil and then add a potting mixture above it.

Dracaena Compacta thrives in the USDA Hardness zone from 10-12.

 

Water

Ensure to provide a moderate level of watering to Dracaena Compacta. You need to allow ¾ of the soil to be dry before watering the plant. You should wait around 2-3 weeks for the soil to become dehydrated if you have placed it in low light.

Dracaena Compacta does well when it is watered at the right time and starts wilting when there is water stress. Brown leaves indicate a large amount of fluoride is present in the water; this can be fixed by using distilled water.

If the leaves are turning yellow, you are giving very less water. Water the plant during the growing season from March to August. But remember not to over-water the Dracaena Compacta, as it would fall prey to root rot.

 

Light

Dracaena Compacta prefers indirect sunlight, but it will do well in dim light. If there is a lack of proper sunlight, this plant will grow very slowly, and the foliage wouldn’t show its lush green color or start shedding.

Dracaena Compacta can resist bright indirect sunlight in outdoor locations. Light levels have a direct relationship with watering as well; if the Dracaena Compacta is taking bright indirect sunlight, it will require water more frequently.

In the summer season, the best spot for Dracaena Compacta would be the west-facing window or the east-facing windows in your house. In winters, it would be the south-facing windows. If you want the light to be constant, I would recommend using fluorescent lighting.

It’s best to rotate the Dracaena Compacta every day in the light so that the unexposed sides don’t wilt and die away.

 

Temperature

Dracaena Compacta prefers a warm area where the temperature ranges from 60-75 Degrees Fahrenheit (16-24 Degrees Celsius). But the ideal temperature in the day is around 64 Degrees Fahrenheit (18 Degrees Celsius), while at night, it should be 55 Degrees Fahrenheit (13 Degrees Celsius).

Although it is not a sensitive plant, I would still keep it away from cold drafts and heaters, which would damage the foliages. Overall, the lowest temperature for this species is 54 Degrees Fahrenheit (12 Degrees Celsius).

 

Humidity

A moderate level of humidity of about 20%-40% is required for Dracaena Compacta’s growth. This tropical plant will do well in essential household humidity as well as small offices. I would suggest keeping 25% humidity for this plant.

You can try placing the Dracaena Compacta on a tray filled with water and pebbles to maintain the humidity.

In winter, watering is low, and heating systems are present; this would put the Dracaena Compacta at stake. This is why the humidity level in winters should be around 40%. Make sure to mist once every 2-3 days or moisten the leaves with a damp cloth.

 

Fertilizer

Dracaena Compacta, as compared to other family members, is not a heavy feeder. You can feed it twice a year or even at the beginning of the spring and summer. Controlled release fertilizers can be used after diluting them at half strength.

It’s better to stop feeding the Dracaena Compacta in winters.

 

Repotting

Dracaena Compacta needs to be repotted every two years because it is a slow-growing variety. Transfer it to the new location in early spring or early summer.

Whenever you are about to repot, make sure to take a pot 1-2 inches larger than the former one. The ideal pot that I would refer would be a terra-cotta pot, which allows for maximum drainage and air circulation.

Remember to replace the soil with fresh soil and water moderately to help it settle in the new soil.

 

Pruning

In the fall season, regularly prune Dracaena Compacta to keep the fresh and neat shape. This plant tends to grow new leaves from the pruned areas; hence you’ll have a bushy plant.

Prune dead branches or visible yellow leaves in spring for better flowering and more growth.

 

Propagation

 

Tip Cuttings

  • Take a cutting which consists of 2-3 nodes just below the leaf-line so that new leaves can sprout.
  • Dip the cutting in a jar filled with warm water and place in a semi-shade spot.
  • Wait and check the roots’ growth. During the summer, the growth is fast, while in winters, the roots will grow slowly.
  • Soil propagation is similar to the above steps as we would cut a node about 1 inch and then place it in a pot with moist potting soil.
  • Do not worry about trimming the tips from the original plant because it will soon develop new leaves from the broken tips.

 

Stem Cuttings

  • Take a cutting which must consist of 1-2 nodes and is around 8 inches (20cm) long.
  • Then dip the cutting into the rooting hormone.
  • Submerge the cuttings in a potting mixture and provide sufficient water. Make sure the soil is always moist by checking it with your fingers.
  • Cover the nodes with a plastic bag and provide indirect sunlight. Humidity and proper light will help your cutting root faster.
  • Wait for 2-3 weeks, and the nodes would start sprouting leaves.

 

Air Layering

  • Create a wound on the plant’s stem about 1.5 inches (on the bark of the plant).
  • Apply the rooting hormone to the wound and wet the sphagnum moss.
  • Spread the moss around the cut using a plastic wrap and strings.
  • The roots formation would occur once you provide constant light and temperature to your plant.
  • When you see the tiny white hairs of roots, remove the plastic wrap. Plant the cutting in a separate pot with a good quality potting mixture.

 

Blooms

Dracaena Compacta rarely blooms indoor. When it does, the flowers sprout in white or pink shades, and their size is around 1 inch. The blooms grow inside the rosette leaves and spread a sweet honey fragrance.

Just like the leaves, blooms also have clusters of pale petals, but they last for only two weeks.

 

Growth

Dracaena Compacta grows up to a mature 3-6 feet (0.9-1.8 m) while spreads 3-10 feet (0.9-3m) in width. The foliage is 2-5 inches (5-12cm) in length and form rosettes of thick canes. The foliage on this plant is tightly packed to give it a compact appearance.

The leaves are green and shiny with a raised texture and veining. If you have grown Dracaena Fragrans, you will notice that this is a compact version of that plant with short, dark green leaves.

 

Common Problems for Dracaena Compacta

 

Thrips

Thrips are small, winged insects about the size of 0.12 inches in length; they usually thrive in the warm and tropical environment. Thrips are also known to transmit viruses. They can’t be seen with a visible eye, making it difficult to identify them on houseplants.

Thrips cause tremendous damage like white patches on the leaves, wrinkling, and yellowing of leaves; they also suck plant sap. Thrips can be controlled in simple ways, like using blue or yellow sticky traps.

You can also use advanced methods like the help of diatomaceous earth and predatory bugs on the plants. Avoid using too many fertilizers or a strong dose of fertilizer. Insecticidal soap treatment is also effective against the thrips.

 

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are oval-shaped insects that have a soft body. They also have sharp teeth, which allow them to suck onto the plant sap/juices and then leave honeydew behind. This honeydew turns into fungus sooty mold and invites other insect infections.

A large mealybugs infestation can cause severe damage and lead to the death of the plant. Beneficial insects can be used to control mealybugs. Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol can also be applied to an infected plant, simply take cotton soaked in alcohol and gently dab the mealybugs with it.

Avoid applying too much alcohol directly on the foliage else; the leaves can burn.

 

Scale Insects

Scale insects are hard-covered insects that feed onto the plant nutrients present in the cell sap. Scale insects weaken the plant with honeydew that turns into sooty mold. Other insects also attack infected plants to feed on the sooty mold.

If you do not treat these insects at the earliest, your plant will have stunted growth and wrinkled leaves. It can even die if all the nutrients are lost.

Scale insects are easily controlled by the use of parasitoids and predatory insects that feed on them.

Horticultural oil, neem oil, and insecticidal soaps are also very effective. Prune the heavily infested foliage to save the other parts from the infection.

 

Yellowing of the leaves

Yellowing of the leaves is often an issue with Dracaena Compacta because as the plant ages or new growth appears, it automatically starts wilting and sheds the old leaves after yellowing. This is a natural process, and you should not worry.

But if your plant is shedding leaves and turning yellow without entering into a new stage of growth, check for signs of overwatering. Yellowing of leaves can also start due to lack or overdose of nutrients.

To make sure the plant is healthy, provide proper food, and maintain a moderate watering schedule.

 

Fusarium Leaf Spot

This leaf spot is due to the fungus called fusarium; this fungus can lead to leaf spots that often lead to stem or root rot. These spots can be seen in the form of lesions, which are black or brown. The main culprit behind this spotting is high temperature and humidity.

When the infected Dracaena is propagated or shifted to a new pot, it transfers the fungus onto other plants or foliage. Fusarium can be controlled with the help of bleach and ethanol. Another useful suggestion is not to re-use the same pot until it is disinfected effectively.

Reduce the use of fungicides and never use an old potting mixture for a new, healthy plant.

 

Root Rot

Root rot is another serious infection that haunts every plant. Root rot is caused by the waterlogged soil present in the pot. Root rot, if not taken care of quickly, leads to the death of the plant.

Soggy soil can lead to fungus growth in the roots as they are vulnerable and prone to get infected. To prevent root rot, the first step is to use well-draining soil. Next, keep the watering amount moderate, and the pot must have good draining holes in it.

Methyl bromide and chloropicrin can also be used to control root rot. The infected roots cannot be cured, so discard them by root pruning.

 

Tips for Growing Dracaena Compacta

  • Regular Pruning will help you maintain the compact look of this plant.
  • Provide a humid environment for its healthy growth.
  • Water at a moderate level, and provide gaps between watering.
  • Give it indirect sunlight for optimum growth.
  • Fertilize Dracaena Compacta each month in spring and summer.
  • Make sure you do not repot early; else, the soil will always remain loose, and the roots system gets weaker.
  • Do not expose this plant to a temperature below 54 Degrees Fahrenheit (12 Degrees Celsius).

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Dracaena Compacta

 

Why are the leaves of the Dracaena Compacta turning black?

If the Dracaena Compacta leaves turn black, there is a possibility of cold damage and low lighting.

 

What am I supposed to do with the seeds of Dracaena Compacta?

It’s better to discard them as they are not useful and do not successfully grow indoors.

 

Is Dracaena Compacta poisonous to animals and children?

Dracaena Compacta contains poisonous toxins that induce vomiting, diarrhea, and severe dehydration.

 

Why is my Dracaena Compacta falling or shedding leaves?

This is not something to worry about if old leaves are falling; it’s part of the natural plant growth. But if your plant is shedding young leaves continuously, there might be a lack of water or a lack of light.

 

Can I place my Dracaena Compacta near the air conditioner or the heater?

Dracaena Compacta is not a fan of too wet or dry environment. It prefers humidity, so I would recommend keeping it away from the air conditioner or heater.

 

Can the Dracaena Compacta plant help purify the air indoors?

According to NASA research, this plant can purify the toxins present in the room and provide clean breathing air.

 

Should I mist Dracaena Compacta in winter?

Misting allows the humidity level to be constant, especially during winter, so try to mist the foliage 1-2 times a week in winter.

 

Why are the tips of the leaves turning brown?

One of the reasons would be the intake of chlorine and fluorine in the water, which causes the leaves to become brown, and the second one would be the over-dose of the fertilizer.

 

How to make Dracaena bushy?

I would suggest pruning the leaves to make them bushy and compact. But if it’s at the growing stage, cut about ¾ of the stem’s length.

 

Conclusion

The Dracaena Compacta, referred to as the dwarf plant, is small and looks stunning in offices or apartments. What makes it more lovable is the low plant care requirements.

This is a beautiful plant that can adjust to any spot and still look fresh. Its slow-growing ability makes it a great addition to modern settings. The lush green leaves are fresh and soothing to look at.

This plant is a slow-growing tree, but it is expensive than other Dracaena species. It is indeed a modern plant and deserves a spot in your living room.

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