With deep green color, glossy texture, and majestically arching leaves give off a dramatic look. Its amazing looks and low maintenance requirements make the Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ a superb indoor plant.
Janet Craig, however, is the name of the cultivar of the Dracaena deremensis species. It’s one of the very few plants that has developed a common name based on its cultivar name.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ Care
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ plants need well-draining, loose soil to grow well. They tolerate low light and grow best in filtered or medium indirect light. Water heavily when the top 3 inches of soil dry out. Ideal temperature range is 65- 90°F (18-32°C). They do not have any particular humidity needs.
Well-draining and loose soil is a must for Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ to thrive. You can use a regular houseplant potting mix with additional gravel or perlite for better drainage. Soil pH levels 6-6.5 are best. You can also use equal parts of compost, perlite, and peat moss to create a custom mix.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ will not do well in soil that is too heavy or clayey. Heavy soils tend to compact, get waterlogged, and do not allow the roots to breathe and grow freely.
Using soil ingredients such as peat moss and perlite will not only enhance the drainage but also prevent the soil from compacting.
Using inorganic soil ingredients like gravel and perlite will, although not add to the fertility, they are great for drainage and aeration.
Drainage and aeration are two of the most critical aspects for plants growing in containers, where they do not have free space that excess water flows away quickly.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ is only a low-maintenance plant if it’s given the right kind of soil to grow in the first place. You might find it acting finicky if the soil is not suitable.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ tolerates low-light conditions very well. They grow best in filtered or medium indirect light. They will need around 4 hours of bright indirect and 6 hours of medium indirect light a day. You can place these plants in shaded corners. North or east-facing windows are best.
Their low light tolerance is what makes Dracaena ‘Janet Craigs’ excellent indoor plants. They can easily be grown in medium to low light corners at your place.
That being said, they do not thrive in low light. Medium indirect light is best for these plants that naturally grow under the dense forest canopy.
Dracaena deremensis does not like exposure to direct sunlight. The dark green leaves are easily scorched by direct or even intense indirect sunlight.
It is for the same reason that these tropical plants are grown in heavy shade in nurseries. It’s not because they do particularly well in the deep shade.
But at least the shade keeps the foliage from burning rather than facing the risk of getting scorched in bright light.
North or East-facing windows have excellent light levels for these plants. If you’re growing the plant near a south-facing window, better place it away in a corner that does not get direct sunlight or put a see-through curtain on the window.
Because bright light is not a growing requirement, Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ plants are excellent choices for bedrooms, offices, or other lowly lit rooms with only artificial light.
But even if the room is artificially lit, the light needs to be strong enough and be turned on for long enough to support healthy plant growth.
You will notice narrower and longer leaves if the plant is placed in very low light. The growth will also slow down noticeably.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ plants need moderate amounts of water and will not tolerate overwatering at all. Water them only when the top 3 inches of soil dry out, with a hearty drink until water flows out of the drainage hole. You will need to water less in the winter and in lower light.
While the Dracaena Deremensis will tolerate all kinds of abuse, it won’t stand overwatering. Excessively moist soil will lead to root rot, and root rot will very quickly kill this plant.
Keep a check on the soil frequently. When the top few inches of the soil completely dry out, water the Janet Craig well.
In the summer months, transpiration and soil evaporation rates are higher, and you will have to water these houseplants almost every week or twice a week in hot climates.
In the winters or in low light conditions, transpiration is very slow, and the plant can go without watering for multiple weeks.
Although a tropical species, Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ does not do well in hot conditions. It won’t tolerate temperatures above 90°F (32°C). Ideal temperature range is 65- 90°F (18-32°C). Growth slows down below 65°F (18°C) with a minimum tolerable temperature of 55°F (12°C). Hardy to zones 10b-11a.
Caring for the ideal temperature for your Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ might sound like a challenging job, but it isn’t really.
While these plants have a very narrow ideal temperature range, the range happens to fall on the usual indoor temperatures.
This means you will have to make no extra effort to adjust the temperature when growing these plants indoors.
Another good way to determine whether the temperature is suitable for your Dracaena is that if you feel comfortable in the room, your glossy tropical will too.
Protect the plant from extreme heat in the summer and keep it out of drafty places in the winter.
You can grow these plants outdoors if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10b-11a. This is a very narrow hardiness range, and even then, you will have to take special care that the plant is not exposed to extreme sunlight and always has ample soil moisture.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ will tolerate normal indoor humidity levels. They are particularly well-suited for indoor growing because of their ability to handle dry air conditions. They will not mind if placed in an air-conditioned or heated room. But they will love humidity between 40-50%.
The fact that these tropical plants can take low air humidity and grow well in it is astounding for most plant growers. Typically, such a plant with dark green and glossy leaves would like high humidity to grow well.
But on the contrary, Dracaena ‘Janet Craigs’ require little humidity. They will appreciate humidity levels between 40-50% with a slightly higher growth rate.
But even if these plants are indoors in an air-conditioned or heated room, they will grow well regardless of what the humidity is.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ is particularly sensitive to chlorine, fluoride, and salts. Fertilizers leave salts in the soil. Using fertilizer for indoor, container-grown houseplants can increase the risk of salt damage. Using a potting mix rich in organic matter should be enough nutrition for the plant.
Fertilizing Dracaena deremensis is not entirely necessary. And it is not recommended because of the potential risks it brings with it.
An excessive salt build-up in the leaf due to repetitive feeding will disturb the root-soil water balance and will lead the leaves to turn brown at the edges.
If you do want to fertilize your Dracaena ‘Janet Craig,’ do so by feeding it with organic fertilizer. Still, adequate light levels and proper watering are all the plant needs to grow well.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ plant has dark, glossy, lancelike leaves that grow bushily on a woody stem. The leaves are usually 60cm long and 5cm wide. The Dracaena deremensis cultivar is native to Africa. In nature, it can grow up to 15ft in height. They have a medium to slow growth rate.
Although Dracaena deremensis will reach a towering height of 15 feet in their natural habitat, they won’t grow nearly as long in your bedroom.
The average height of indoor-grown Dracaena ‘Janet Craigs’ is no more than 3-4 ft.
As young plants, they look like clumps of upright leaves. They will develop a woody cane-like stem as they grow older. Leaves are found in clusters at the top of the main stem.
These plants grow upright, and the glossy leaves will catch a lot of dust in the air. They will serve as dutiful air cleaners, but you will have to clean the foliage frequently.
In the right conditions, Janet Craigs will bloom bunches of white flowers on the top end of thick stalks. The stalks are usually 25-30 cm long.
The large white flowers give off a unique fragrance but also a sticky sap that can make a lot of mess.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ plants can be grown in 10-inch decorative pots. 2-3 plant stalks are usually planted in each pot for a bushier look. These plants can grow tall in small pots and don’t need very deep pots. Adequate drainage is a must. Terra cotta pots are preferred for drainage and aeration.
When potting your Dracaena ‘Janet Craig,’ line the bottom of the pot with a layer of small pebble or rocks. This will keep the drainage hole unclogged and soil draining quickly.
As the plant grows, you will need to repot it into a pot 1-2 sizes larger than its previous one every 2-3 years.
Pruning can be done in spring in early summer to cut these plants back to size. These plants will grow tall and may need to be pruned to a manageable height after some time. Also, prune off dead foliage as soon as you see it. You can remove brown leaf tips by cutting them with a sharp scissor.
Pruning is best done in the spring. New leaf growth on your Janet Craig plant will sprout at the site of the cut and will grow back the best if pruned in the spring.
Sometimes Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ stems can go completely bare and lose all foliage. Cutting them back reinvigorates growth and improves the plant’s looks.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ Propagation
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ can easily be propagated through stem cuttings. Obtain at least 5 inches long stems from the plant. Let the stems dry for one day, and then plant them directly moist starting mix. Place them in bright indirect light and keep the soil moist. The stems will sprout in 3 weeks.
The best time to propagate Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ is in the spring or early summer. This is when the temperatures are not too high, and the plants can grow well.
Propagating in hot summer temperatures often fails because stems get stressed and dry out quickly.
When you obtain the stems, make a slanting cut so that the stems have the maximum surface area to absorb water. The slant cut will also help you identify the bottom end of each stem easily.
The soil mix should be well-draining and light. Sandy starting mixes are preferred for propagation.
After planting the stems, you can optionally cover them with a plastic bag to conserve the moisture within the stems. The plastic bag mimics a mini-greenhouse and speeds up the rooting process.
When the plants are big enough after sprouting, carefully transfer them to their pots. Wait for late summer to transplant so that the hot temperatures don’t kill your baby Janet Craigs.
Common Problems with Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’
Keep a vigilant eye out for these pests. You can use a mild Neem oil spray to get rid of houseplant bugs easily.
Root rot is the only potential disease problem you’ll have to look out for when growing Janet Craig plants indoors. Just use well-draining soil and keep watering regulated, and your plants will be safe and sound.
The Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ will add a dramatic effect to anywhere they are planted. The large glossy leaves capture attention in low-light corners of homes and offices.
Water them wisely and keep them out of the sun. That’s all you need to do to keep these incredibly low-maintenance plants growing healthily.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.