Dracaena Fragrans (Dra-SEE-nuh FRAY-granz), the Latin name of the Corn plant—is a flowering plant species indigenous to the continent of Africa and other islands in the Indian Ocean. The Corn plant is a widely kept ornamental houseplant since the mid-1800s because it dwells in most indoor environments.
This Dracaena grows well in a loose, moist peaty potting soil that has good drainage. The plant thrives in average humidity (40-50%) and temperature ranging between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). Watering is preferred when the top inch of the soil is partially dry. A feed is preferably provided every three weeks during the growing season.
Whether it’s growing in low light or bright light, the Fragrans produces glossy green leaves. The broad lanceolate leaves shape into an attractive crown. This crown has arching leaves at the top of a piney stem, giving the Corn plant the appearance of a small tree.
Also labeled as Fragrant Dracaena (representing fragrant flowers) or a Happy plant, this species can be grown in a shaded corner, a bright room, or an office with only fluorescent lights. This plant was previously known as Dracaena Deremensis.
If you are a grower who needs a plant for a center frame in a room or a key concept, try this species for the palm-like leaves. Dracaena Fragrans grows slowly, so without much care, it can fit in a particular space for a long time.
- 1 Dracaena Fragrans Plant Care
- 2 Common Problems for Dracaena Fragrans
- 3 Tips for Growing Dracaena Fragrans
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Dracaena Fragrans
- 5 Conclusion
Dracaena Fragrans Plant Care
Potted plants like Corn plants always need loose, well-draining soil along with plenty of organic material to grow and thrive. Although all species in the genus Dracaena are easy-to-care-for, they cannot stand in soggy soil material. I create my perfect potting medium by mixing some soil with peat moss and perlite.
The suitable soil for potting should allow water to drain easily. The simple addition of perlite generally helps to improve soil aeration and drainage. Peat moss in loamy soil contributes essential nutrients to the soil and maintains just about enough moisture.
I believe that a potting medium that is too thick allows surface water to pool. Therefore, I suggest noting if your soil is heavy, the water will not drain as quickly as it should. Following are the two solutions that can improve your soil drainage:
- To build a looser growing medium that allows water to drain freely, add perlite or pumice to the potting soil.
- To stop the plant from being root-bound, move the Dracaena Fragrans plant to a bigger jar.
As a rule of thumb, as soon as the top 1 inch to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of the soil dries out, I recommend watering the Dracaena Fragrans.
Watering while the soil is partially dry avoids most problems with the soil moisture. Before deciding to water, it’s always a smart idea to check how dry or moist the soil is.
Dousing the soil thoroughly and allowing excess water to drain is the perfect way to water Dracaena Fragrans. It is best to let the water sit for 24 hours in a container before watering.
This helpful tip for watering encourages the evaporation of contaminants in tap water and creates less stress for your houseplants.
Indeed, water at room temperature is better than icy-cold tap water for hydrating indoor potted plants. Watering on a fixed schedule is one of the most common mistakes to avoid if you want to succeed with your indoor Dracaena.
The best place to grow Dracaena Fragrans in your house is a bright spot that has some shade.
While several Dracaena varieties are low-light houseplants, bright, indirect sunlight is required for the variegated types. I have found that when put in a sunny location, Corn plants grow faster.
Variegated varieties of Dracaena Fragrans grow on a windowsill facing east. The early morning sun is not strong enough to burn the leaves.
Hold the plant several feet away from the window in a room facing south or west. North-facing rooms or offices with artificial light are preferred for the Dracaena cultivars with dark-green foliage.
Lighting conditions will impact the growth rate of the plant. For instance, the naturally slow growth of the plant can almost come to a halt when growing in complete shade.
Also, for some species, brightly colored foliage can fade. The leaves can become discolored and wilt if they grow too long in direct sunlight.
Dracaena Fragrans grows at an average room temperature of 60-degree Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius). To prevent sudden fluctuations, it is important to maintain the temperature as much as possible.
Temperature changes may cause stress on plants and affect their development. Aim to keep plants out and away from hot radiators and cold drafts.
As long as the median temperature is above 60-degree Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), Dracaena Fragrans has good growth outdoors.
You can take potted Corn plants out in summer if you live in temperate climates. Keep the plants in a position that is bright but shaded from direct sunlight. If the temperature drops below 50-degree Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), put it back indoors.
You must strive for humidity levels between 40 and 50 percent for Dracaena Fragrans plants to survive. Brown tips on the leaves usually mean that the levels of air moisture should be increased as your plant is drying out. I strongly suggest misting the plant once a week or wiping the leaves with a damp cloth.
Keeping the air humid in winter is one of the challenges of growing Dracaena plants indoors. In the house, heating appears to dry out the air.
Since Fragrans plants in the winter need less water, they can suffer from poor precipitation. Therefore, pay close attention to the room’s humidity level during the winter season.
Some strategies that you can follow to keep Dracaenas moisture high include:
- Misting – Fill a spray bottle with water that is distilled or filtered. Build a fine mist around the leaves of the plants without spraying the leaves directly—mist once a week for a healthy finish.
- DIY Humidifying Tray – Create a humidifying tray in a deep dish by adding a layer of pebbles. Fill the plate with water until the pebbles hit half-way up. Place the Corn plant on the stones, ensuring that the bottom of the pot is not in direct contact with the water.
- Damp Cloth Wipe – Take a wet cloth, and once a week, wash the leaves of the Fragrans plant. The dampness helps to moisturize the leaves and, at the same time, cleans them from dust.
Dracaena Fragrans plant doesn’t need much fertilizer to survive because of the moderate growth rate. Growing in organically, rich soil offers lots of good nutrients.
By using a balanced liquid fertilizer each month, you can boost the Fragrans growth. The spring and summer seasons are the growing months, and you should only feed the plant at this time. Winters are resting season for the Fragrans, during which time you should avoid feeding it.
Prevention of the accumulation of fertilizer salts in the potting soil is also essential. Yellow leaves or brown leaf tips may be caused by too much fertilizer; these symptoms are often mistaken for water problems.
One way to prevent a build-up of minerals is to wash the soil. In order to flush the potting mix, I follow these steps:
- Take the Dracaena Fragrans to the bath or outdoors.
- Run water through the soil gently to properly drench it.
- Keep the water flowing for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Before placing the plant back in its favored spot, allow all the water to drain completely.
- During the developing season, I repeat flushing two or three times.
Every two to three years, I move my Dracaena Fragrans to a larger container.
This species does not mind being moderately rootbound. However, if roots fill the pot too much, the plant’s growth can become constricted. Choose a container one or two sizes bigger than its current one for repotting.
Method of Repotting
This is what you should do for repotting any variety of Dracaena Fragrans:
- To extract the plant’s root ball from the container, remove the thick stem.
- To clean them, shake off the accumulated dust and push the roots underwater.
- Monitor for signs of decaying or rotting on the roots and trim as appropriate.
- Fill the container half-way with the right kind of potting mix.
- Place the plant gently in the pot and fill the surrounding space with new soil.
- Lastly, water the plant thoroughly and place it in a shady area, away from direct light.
It is essential to prune Corn plants to promote growth or a bushy appearance. As the plant grows and matures, the lower leaves gradually turn yellow and fall off. Trim these when pruning in the spring season.
If the Fragrans plant begins to grow too tall, you can prune it back to the desired size.
It’s simple to propagate Corn plants. Since much of the foliage grows at the top of the stem, giving it a tree-like look, cornstalk plants become lanky in time. The best way for propagation is to break the woody stem into three parts. You’ll have a section of the crown, a section of the root, and a middle segment.
- Cut the crown off first, retaining about 5 inches (12 cm) of the stem. With a fresh, sterile potting mix, plant the newly cut stem in a pot.
- Second, from the root system, cut the remaining stem about one-half of its circumference. In the cut section, new growth will emerge and gradually form a new crown of spiky-looking foliage.
- Thirdly, to propagate a new Dracaena Fragrans, I use the middle part of the stem.
- Allow a couple of days for the cut stem to dry. Then plant the stem in a new potting medium to ensure the plant develops the same way as before. To help the propagated stem to form roots, keep the soil warm and moist.
Dracaena Fragrans produces flowers more frequently indoors. But for the delicate white-pink flowers to bloom, indoor conditions need to be optimal.
These tiny flowers (about 1 inch in size) are highly fragrant with a sweet scent. Each cluster has several tiny flowers emerging from the crown. These flowers have a purple or red line in the middle. This plant will also grow orange-red fruit berries.
Instead of their less showy flowers, most people maintain the Fragrans for spiky foliage.
Dracaena Fragrans, even in ideal conditions, has a slow growth rate, so it can last a long time without being too tall.
Light is the key factor influencing the growth of Dracaena; plenty of bright indirect light promotes the best growth.
The standard version of this plant has solid green leaves. But the glossy leaves on variegated varieties are dark green with several light-colored streaks. These leaves have a smooth surface. I have noticed that the young leaves grow pointing upwards but start drooping once mature.
These slow-growing shrubs can grow to 50 feet (15 meters) when they have matured. The long, tapering leaves can grow up to 3 ft. (0.9m) long and 5 inches (13 centimeters) thick. Growing indoors, Dracaena plants easily grow up to 6 feet tall (1.8 meters) and are ideal for your home as a tall houseplant. Some common varieties of this plant are:
Dracaena Fragrans Massangeana – a variegated cultivar of this plant with thin yellow stripes. This is the most famous cultivar of Fragrans.
Dracaena Fragrans Lindenii – this variety has yellow stripes on the leaf edges.
Dracaena Fragrans Victoria – resembles Fragrans Massangeana, but the leaves are wider and smaller in size. The leaves are triangular shaped.
Dracaena Fragrans Warneckii – this one also has variegated green leaves with white stripes.
Common Problems for Dracaena Fragrans
Overwatering is the reason for most diseases that affect Corn plants. Fungal or bacterial diseases may spread in plant roots that sit in waterlogged or extremely damp soil. Such problems can cause soggy roots, brown leaf stains, and, finally, death—just water when the soil partially dries to avoid doing irreparable harm to your plant.
Overwatering on plant soil can also cause mold problems. White plant mold, though harmless, can ruin the look of the plant.
Curing White Mold on Corns Plants
A mixture of baking soda, water, and dish soap may be used to destroy molds on indoor plants. The development of a milk mist, which helps to neutralize the cottony white mold, is another natural way to get rid of houseplant mold. Neem oil is another popular mold remedy.
Pythium or water molds cause dead roots, yellow leaves, and wilting. This fungus attacks the root system of your Dracaena Fragrans. Therefore, it will start wilting despite regular watering. If the entire root system is heavily infected, the leaves will develop brown or black lesions.
- Do not let the soil remain waterlogged because that is where the fungus develops and spreads. Always use a well-draining mixture that is lightweight.
- Discard the infected leaves and stems. Apply a fungicide spray to get rid of any remaining fungus.
- Disinfect all your tools before using them again.
Tips for Growing Dracaena Fragrans
Following are some tips to keep your Dracaena Fragrans healthy and flourishing:
- Avoid watering your Dracaena Fragrans during the winters as they rest during that season. The plant requires more watering during the hotter months, such as June and August.
- Terracotta pots are recommended to allow your Fragrans soil to aerate better.
- You should always choose a potting mix that has high organic matter as that helps to keep the soil moisturized over longer periods of time.
- Avoid using synthetic fertilizers as they can increase soil acidity leading to early plant death or droopiness in leaves.
- Keep the Dracaena roots moist.
- The plastic covering of the pot prevents loss of moisture; therefore, it is highly recommended in dry regions.
- Dracaena Fragrans can be brought back to life by repoting and making sure the new pot mix and pot are adequate to fit for the plant.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dracaena Fragrans
Can Dracaena Fragrans improve indoor air?
The ability to filter harmful chemicals out of the air is demonstrated by several forms of Corn plants. The list of clean-air plants by NASA included Dracaena Fragrans. The study found that these plants would help eliminate indoor contaminants such as toluene and xylene.
What should I do if my Fragrans appears to be dying?
If your Corn plant looks like it’s dying, identifying the root cause is important. The most common explanation for poor growth is overwatering or pest issues since this plant is usually easy to care for. If excess moisture has induced fungal diseases, you can help revive a dying Dracaena Fragrans by repotting it in a fresh potting mix.
Why are the leaves of my Corn plant (Dracaena Fragrans) turning yellow?
Overwatering is generally to blame if the leaves lose their green color and become light yellow. Soft, limp leaves and a flat, mushy stem are also caused by too much soil moisture.
What is the brown color on the tip of my Dracaena Fragrans?
Lack of water leads to brown tips on the pointed green Dracaena leaves. Make sure that the Corn plant is watered as much as possible when the soil is partly dry.
With little care and attention, Dracaena Fragrans becomes a wonderful addition to households.
It not only looks like a tiny tree but often doesn’t require repotting. I like keeping the Dracaena plant in my office or hallways to create a natural environment. You can grow it to enjoy the pastel pink blooms with a sweet smell or the cane-like leaves.
This variety is resistant to most houseplant pests, making it easy to take care of as well as cost-effective.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.