The Mass Cane plant, or Dracaena fragrans, is a unique plant to house within your home. You may also have heard them be referred to as the Corn plant.
Both of these names are chosen due to their morphology.
They have treelike “canes” or branches that shoot upwards. At the top are tropical leaves that have green and yellow streaks.
Native to parts of West Africa, Zambia, and Tanzania, the Mass Cane plant exists in tropical forests where humidity is relatively high.
They are quite tolerant when it comes to growing indoors, making them an excellent addition! You’ll just want to keep a few things in mind such as preferences for certain soil types, sun exposure, watering regimen, and more.
This article will have all the information that you need to keep this exotic plant happy!
I also suggest you have a look at our general Dracaena plant care article highlighting different Dracaena varieties.
- 1 MASS CANE PLANT BASIC CARE
- 2 MASS CANE PLANT WATERING WAYS
- 3 MASS CANE PLANT PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES
- 4 MASS CANE PLANT PESTS & DISEASES
- 5 Mass Cane Pruning
- 6 MASS CANE PLANT PROBLEMS
- 7 5 TIPS AND TRICKS TO A HAPPY, HEALTHY CORN PLANT
- 8 MASS CANE PLANT FAQ
MASS CANE PLANT BASIC CARE
When you compare the Corn plant to other houseplants, you’ll be relieved to find that it is a great option for beginners. This African flora isn’t all that picky when it comes to overall maintenance.
In fact, there are a number of people in both the United States and the United Kingdom that favor this treelike plant over others. The sections below are devoted to their basic needs!
Most plants are picky about the overall soil type, pH levels, and nutrients. Dracaena fragrans is simple in this regard.
They will tolerate just about any soil just as long as it has good drainage ports located on the bottom of the pot.
Africa is known for having some of the richest soil, but it does depend on the region. Although it isn’t necessary, you can try to recreate this and choose potting mix that is high in nutrients, such as clay.
Just as with their overall soil preferences, the Corn plant can be subjected to a number of different lighting conditions. This makes choosing a spot within your house very easy! Some botanists have argued that direct sunlight, when given in large doses, can be too much for the leaves.
Indirect, bright light is the best compromise for these plants. If you have to put them in an area with low light, don’t fret! This will be more than adequate.
Keep in mind that more light will equate to quicker, more vibrant growth. Just don’t allow the leaves to become scorched with too much sunlight.
The amount of water that you give your Dracaena fragrans should be dependent on the present sunlight. Plants kept in bright lighting conditions will need more water since most of it has evaporated.
Checking the soil is the best way to go. The overall goal is for the soil to be anywhere from slightly dry to slightly saturated. Extremes don’t bode well for the Mass Cane plant.
Doing a simple soil check with your finger can be a great way to pinpoint the correct watering regimen. One thing to keep in mind is that this flora is rather slow to show any signs of disturbance.
For instance, it will take weeks to see if you’ve added too much water. Most plant enthusiasts agree that watering on a weekly basis is the best time.
The typical conditions of West Africa and areas surrounding this region tend to be lots of sunshine and a warm climate. Usually, this combination remains consistent throughout the year.
For this reason, the Corn plant generally prefers to be kept in a home with warmer temperatures. The most optimal range is anywhere between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius.
They can handle temperatures that are higher than this. What they don’t do well with, however, is when the room dips below 12 degrees Celsius. This is when you’ll see damage to the leaves.
A quick fix to this problem is to close all windows whenever it is too cold.
Being tropical, the Corn plant is used to handling high levels of humidity. This might make you assume that these floras should be placed in a humid home.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case! On the contrary, they’ll be just fine with the moisture content found in most homes. This is at about 40 percent.
The only real harm is when your home’s humidity is below average. If this happens, you’ll notice the leaves start to take on a brown coloration. In the event that your home is quite dry, we recommend that you implement a misting regimen to the leaves.
Dracaena fragrans is known for producing small flowers, though this does not happen often. Many have reported cases happening only once a year.
Most of the time, plant owners will use fertilizer to increase the likelihood of a bloom during the right season. You can choose to implement this tool, but it won’t help much.
Another potential use could be to improve overall foliage quality. Too much light exposure can cause bleaching of the leaves. Some types of specific fertilizer can help prevent this from happening in the first place.
Plant propagation can be a scary process. Even if you’re new to flora propagation, the Mass Cane plant can be straightforward and stress-free.
They produce something called shoots, or new growth, that can be easily grown into the parent plant. The two most widely accepted methods of propagation are cane cuttings and division.
Both aren’t all that tricky. We will be providing steps for cane cutting propagation later on in the article!
These plants are members of the genus Dracaena, a group of flowering species comprised of succulent shrubs and trees. When given plenty of space to grow, they can reach a height of 15 feet.
Don’t worry. This wouldn’t happen in your home.
There are quite a few different varieties of the Mass Cane plant, making it easier for you to predict what the end height will be.
Depending on which one you choose, you’ll end up with an individual that is anywhere from 2, 3, or 4 feet tall. They are typically about 3 inches in width.
With such a large mass, it doesn’t take long for the roots to become cramped. Smaller houseplants generally require to be transferred every few years.
The Mass Cane plant, on the other hand, should be repotted at least once a year. This will promote healthy growth. When you go about doing this, be mindful of the roots.
They aren’t too sensitive, but enough tugging will cause the plant some harm. Another noteworthy thing to mention is that they don’t like it when the soil is packed in too tightly.
This prevents proper drainage and aeration.
MASS CANE PLANT WATERING WAYS
The overall watering regime of a Corn plant isn’t that tricky as long as you know the general requests. They prefer for the soil to be relatively moist without ever becoming soggy.
It’s better to err on the side of slightly dry, if anything. Being an African inhabitant, these small trees are used to drought. The general rule of thumb is that you can get by with watering these plants every week.
In situations where your Mass Cane plant is in a spot with ample sunshine, you can even water every other week.
The only concerning aspect to keep in the back of your mind is that they aren’t the best when it comes to showing that they’ve had the wrong amount of water. Most plants are quick to wilt when given too much.
The Corn plant will take weeks to show any signs. This makes it extremely important to be on the safe side rather than push it.
You can always dip your finger into the soil and check the top inch of soil. If it’s dry, add water. Still wet? Check back in a day or two.
MASS CANE PLANT PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES
As we mentioned earlier, there are two methods involved in Mass Cane plant propagation.
Division, where the adult plant is teased apart into smaller, new growth, is one of them.
The other common practice is through cane cuttings. It’s somewhat similar to stem cuttings with a few differences.
Let’s focus on the more used of the two, cane cuttings!
PROPAGATION THROUGH CANE CUTTINGS
- Wait until the best time to propagate your plant, which is in the warmer months.
- Identify the plant that you would like to copy. It should have small buds located on the stems and healthy foliage growth.
- Take clean scissors and make two or three incisions along the stem, each about three inches in length. When you make your cuts, make sure that they are below the horizontal groove.
- Plant these cuttings into a pot with fresh potting mix.
- Water the container and new specimens so that the soil is fully saturated.
- Check back on the plant every few weeks, giving it water whenever the soil has dried out. New growth needs ample moisture to grow.
- When roots have developed, you can transfer it to a new pot. Do so gently so that you don’t disrupt the root system!
MASS CANE PLANT PESTS & DISEASES
Even when not facing the elements of Africa, these plants must deal with a hoard of insects and diseases. They can even exist in the comfort of your own home. Knowing the signs and how to go about stopping them can save you a lot of grief later on.
There are several bugs that you should keep a lookout for. They generally show themselves in coloration on the leaves or stunted growth.
The most notorious insects that tend to make them known on a Corn plant are mealy bugs, spider mites, scale insects, and thrips. Most of these insects can be dealt with using soapy water.
You simply apply this to the leaves lightly and try to rinse off any speckling, mildew, or dust that you see. More challenging cases will require insecticide.
In addition to pesky bugs, you’ll need to watch out for different diseases that can attack your plant’s leaves or roots.
Leaf spot disease and root rot are between the two most prevalent problems.
Leaf spot disease will appear in the form of red speckling and a yellow outline around the leaf edges. The stalks are also known to rot if the plant is given too much water.
Both of these diseases are irreversible as long as you catch them early enough.
Leaf spot disease generally involves pruning back any infected foliage, followed by the use of a copper fungicide.
Mass Cane Pruning
Pruning a Mass Cane plant isn’t necessarily required, but you can choose to do so for overall aesthetics. They are slow growers, meaning that you wouldn’t need to do this very often anyhow.
The upper portion of the plant can be scaled back with trimmers or shears. Make these cuts horizontal and straight off the top. You can also remove any dead or dying leaves.
Do so at the nodes for healthy growth to develop later on.
MASS CANE PLANT PROBLEMS
This African plant is considered to be low maintenance, something that most plant enthusiasts finds to be relieving. But, that doesn’t mean that it can’t fall privy to a number of issues. Here’s what to look for!
Problem #1: TILTING PLANT
Your plant may be growing lopsided to avoid the direct contact of the sun. Or it could be experiencing uneven watering.
We suggest that you prop it back up and secure it with more soil. Place it within a spot that has indirect, bright light. Also try to water in a way that saturates every part of the soil.
Problem #2: BROWN SPOTS ON FOLIAGE
Some brown is fine. In fact, fresh growth typically forms these spots. It’s a concern when they continue to grow on older foliage. An excess of salt in the soil can be the culprit.
Deal with this problem by carefully transferring your Mass Cane plant to a new container with fresh soil. Make sure that this potting mix isn’t high in sodium.
PROBLEM #3: BROWNING OF LEAVES
Foliage discoloration is a big tip off when it comes to overall plant well being. They can either mean that your Mass Cane plant is receiving too little or too much water. They can also indicate that they’re experiencing some level of toxicity.
Try to pinpoint if your plant is getting the right amount of water first. You can do this by checking the top inch of soil and implementing the correct action. If this doesn’t work, consider transferring it to another pot and stopping any fertilizer use.
PROBLEM #4: WRINKLED STALKS
The stalks, or lower part of the plant, are a great indicator of the overall health. When they become wrinkled, it’s generally a sign that you need to add water.
Wrinkled stalks don’t only indicate that it’s been underwatered. Unfortunately, when it’s gotten to this point, it’s really starving for moisture. Thoroughly saturate the plant so that the soil is fairly damp.
5 TIPS AND TRICKS TO A HAPPY, HEALTHY CORN PLANT
Dracaena fragrans is an easy plant to care for according to the University of Vermont. It’s been labeled as one of the best beginner plants. If you’re new to trying your hand is flora, use the five key points below to give you a head start!
- Any soil will do, but the best results tend to be in a mix that is light and rich.
- Water your Mass Cane once a week so that the soil is kept only slightly dry.
- Pick a place in your house that gets plenty of bright, indirect light!
- Try to avoid any cold drafts! The temperature should sit between 15 and 24 degrees Celsius for a happy plant.
- You can add fertilizer, but make sure that it is not high in fluoride or baron. This will cause the leaves to turn brown. Remember, they don’t necessarily need it!
MASS CANE PLANT FAQ
Is a Mass Cane plant poisonous?
These plants are considered to be poisonous if ingested by any of your animals. They can cause vomiting, an upset GI, appetite loss, and an overabundance of saliva production. It’s not life-threatening but you’ll want to contact your vet to see what you should do.
What is the life span of a Mass Cane plant?
Interestingly enough, this plant’s leaves last for a few years at a time before new growth takes over. The Mass Cane itself has a longer shelf life, living between five and ten years, depending on where you plant it.
What are the benefits of a Mass Cane plant?
The Corn plant has been used for a number of reasons. These include air purification and the ease of health issues such as headaches, respiratory problems, and even kidney disease.
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.