When it comes to large houseplants, Dracaena is a household name. But did you know that there are many different types of Dracaena, each with its own unique characteristics?
From compact to tall, Dracaena is a versatile family of hardy plants that thrive in moisture and heat. With their spectacular-looking bicolored or spotted leaves and bare, cap-shaped trunks, these small greenhouse trees are beautiful and great for purifying the air and filling your space with oxygen.
Whether you’re looking to decorate your home or office, there’s a Dracaena variety out there for you. From large species perfect for reception rooms to small and neat varieties perfect for apartments, Dracaena has something for everyone.
Get ready to add some tropical flair to your indoor space! This article will dive into the different types of popular Dracaena tropical foliage plants.
What Is A Houseplant Dracaena?
Meet Dracaena, the friendly neighborhood shrub from tropical Asia and Africa. This evergreen plant is a true survivor, with some trees in the Canary Islands clocking in at over 1,000 years old!
But don’t let its tough exterior fool you; Dracaena is a real looker. With its beautifully shaped and tinted leaves and soft trunk, that’s a breeze to shape and bend to create a unique look. No wonder this plant is popular for sprucing up any home or office.
Although it can reach towering heights of up to 65 feet in its natural habitat, the Dracaena you’ll find in gardens and as gifts are usually between 1-5 feet in length. And the best part?
There are so many varieties to choose from, each with its own unique leaf size, color, shape, and pattern.
So whether you’re in the mood for a bold statement piece or something more understated, Dracaena has got you covered.
What Is The Origin of The Name Dracaena?
This plant is named after the mythical creature we all know and love, the dragon! The Latin name “drakaina” means female dragon, all thanks to the bright red sap some species of Dracaena produce.
Now, you might be wondering why it is called dragon’s blood. Back in the 15th century in the Canary Islands, Arab and Indian traders traded this sap in drops called “dragon’s blood” as a highly prized product. And thus, the name “dragon blood tree” was given to the tree.
But wait, there’s more! The English name “dragon tree” was also derived from this Latin name. Talk about a plant with a dragon-sized reputation!
So, the next time you see a Dracena, remember its dragon heritage and give it a little extra love.
Dracaena Basic Information
|Family and genus||Dracaena|
|Place of origin||Tropical Africa|
|Flower color||White, light pink, light orange|
|Other names||Dragon TreeHappiness Tree|
Does Dracaena Bloom?
Oh, it sure does! But don’t hold your breath because it only happens if the tree is big and strong enough to let loose finally. And when it does, it’s like a beautiful surprise party.
The shape of the flower can vary like a fashion show, with some types flaunting long, drooping branches with tiny flowers like an azalea and others showing off clusters of pompon-like blooms.
Depending on the variety, the flowers can be as white as snow, light pink like a baby’s cheeks, red like a fire truck, yellowish green like a Granny Smith apple, or yellow like a ray of sunshine.
Dracaena flowers are a rare and precious sight, like a unicorn or a shooting star. It’s not uncommon for the plant to bloom only after ten years of growth, so don’t rush the process, let it happen in its own time.
Can You Plant Dracaena in The Ground As a Garden Tree?
Of course, you can! But before you grab a shovel and start digging, let’s discuss the weather. You see, Dracaena is from the subtropics, and it’s not a fan of the cold.
So, if you live in an area where the average winter temperature is below 50°F, most varieties may not survive the winter.
But don’t worry; some tough varieties can withstand temperatures as low as 41°F. If you want to plant a Dracaena as a garden tree, you can refer to the following types that can be grown outdoors.
Types of Dracaena: Large Varieties That Make Symbolic Trees
When it comes to Dracaena, it’s like a buffet of options! But the currently available as garden varieties fall into six main groups.
Think of it like a salad bar; each group has several varieties to choose from, depending on your taste for variegation.
And just like a buffet, you can’t forget the unique dishes. In addition to these six groups, there’s also the Dracaena species “Draco” and “Cambodiana,” but they’re like the fancy dishes you order off the menu.
They don’t form a group because they have no relatives; they are one-of-a-kind varieties that stand alone.
|Group name||Main varieties||Appearance features|
|Fragrance||“Massangeana” “janet craig” etc.||Wide, large leaves.|
|Marginata||“White”, “Tricolor Rainbow”, etc.||Many narrow leaves.|
|Deremensis||“compacta” “warneckii” “Lemon Lime” etc.||The width of the leaves is about halfway between ‘Fragrance’ and ‘Marginata’.|
|Reflexa||“Song of India,” “Song of Jamaica,” “Angustifolia,” etc.||Shortest leaf length among dracaena.|
|Sanderiana||“Gold” “White” etc.||Long between nodes and short leaves.|
|Surculosa||“Florida Beauty” “gold dust” etc.||The leaves are round, and many have cream-colored star spots.|
1- Dracaena fragrans
Dracaena fragrans is a tall dracaena that can grow up to 20 feet in height. It is the parent plant of Massangeana and many other popular varieties.
The variety name “Fragrance” is derived from the rich fragrance of its flowers. But it hardly blooms at home, so it is grown as an ornamental and deciduous plant.
This plant is a looker, with its sturdy lancet-shaped leaves that have a glossy finish. The leaves come in shades of green and yellow, with dark green or white veins running through them.
All these leaves sit atop a thick trunk arranged in a circle. And if that wasn’t enough, it also has white and yellow flowers that gather in spherical clusters, giving off a delicate fragrance.
Caring for the Dracaena fragrans is easy-peasy. It loves bright, indirect light and temperatures around 64-77 °F.
In the summer, give it some fresh air by opening a window; in the winter, try to avoid sudden temperature changes.
Regarding watering, moderation is key – no more than two times a week. Give the leaves a daily spritz and wipe them down with a damp sponge to keep them dust-free.
The Dracaena fragrans thrive in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil, which should be topped with a layer of drainage material.
Fertilize every two weeks from spring to autumn and once a month in the winter. For young plants, repot every 2-3 years and for adults (over 5 years), replace the top layer of soil annually.
Different species of dracaena may have slightly different watering requirements – discover more about this in my blog post on watering dracaena.
2- Dracaena marginata
Ready to add some flair to your home? Meet the slow-growing, but oh-so-stylish Dracaena marginata! This evergreen tree is like a palm tree and a piece of art all in one.
With its lush tufts of narrow-meshed long leaves (up to 2 feet) placed on the tops of the shoots, and a palm-shaped trunk that grows up to 6.5 in the room and up to 6 m in natural conditions, this plant is sure to turn heads.
And the leaf edges? They come in all sorts of fancy colors like red, yellow, cream, and more, depending on the variety.
When it comes to location, the fringed dracaena is a bit picky. It likes to be closer to a window for light, but not in direct sunlight. I personally place my dracaena near an east or west-facing window.
Watering is easy, just adjust to the season: in spring and summer water twice a week, and in winter – once a week. And don’t forget to keep your plant cozy with a temperature of 60-82 °F.
The plant is sprayed daily in the morning and evening, and 1 time in six months arrange a warm shower to remove dust and pests.
Plus, as it grows, the dracaena will naturally shed leaves in the lower part to form a single, straight trunk.
3- Dracaena Deremensis
Dracaena Deremensis is a funky plant from Africa with over 80 varieties. This little guy starts off looking like a leafy bush, but given the right TLC, it’ll turn into a palm tree with a trunk and leaves on top.
The long, spear-shaped leaves are adorned with white or yellow stripes around the edges or in the middle.
In the wild, it can grow up to 10 ft tall, but in your apartment, we’ll keep it at a manageable height by cutting off the top and letting it branch out.
It also blooms with red and white flowers and produces orange fruit, but unless you’re a green thumb wizard, it’ll only happen once every 8-10 years.
Keep it happy by spraying it a few times a day if the air is dry and the temperature rises above 86 °F.
Water it 2-3 times a week in the summer and cut back to once a week in the winter. Make sure to loosen the soil after watering to give the roots some air.
Plant it in a deep pot with drainage holes and a nutrient-rich soil mixture. Some popular varieties are “Janet Craig” and “Janet Craig compacta.”
4- Dracaena surculosa
Meet the Dracaena surculosa, also known as the Dracaena godseffiana (so last season, if you ask me).
This evergreen semi-shrub is a real showstopper, reaching up to 8 feet tall in the wild, but don’t worry when kept in a pot; it’ll stay around 3 feet tall and bushy.
What sets the Dracaena surculosa apart from the rest? Those dense, spotted leaves will make everyone green with envy.
The spots come in all different shades, shapes, and sizes depending on the variety. Take the “gold dust” variety, for example; those light yellow dots paired with creamy dots on the leaf are a real crowd-pleaser.
This plant loves bright diffused light, but don’t put it in direct sunlight, or the leaves will lose their color and variegation.
Water it when the soil dries out and ensure the roots have plenty of room to breathe and the water doesn’t get stagnant.
As the root system grows, transplant it into a pot 1.5-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous one. Not doing so can cause chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves).
Propagation is a breeze; it can be done by cutting and separating/dividing root shoots and seeds. Cuttings will take root and grow shoots within 3-4 weeks.
The most popular varieties of Dracaena surculosa are “punctulata,” “Gold dust,” “milky way,” and “Florida beauty.” Trust me; your home will be the talk of the town with a Dracaena surculosa in it.
5- Dracaena sanderiana
Dracaena sanderiana, also known as Lucky bamboo, is a unique and quirky herbaceous perennial plant that looks just like bamboo but with a few extra surprises.
This plant can make a statement in any room with solid, ornate stems that can reach up to 3 feet tall and dark green, lance-shaped leaves about 6 inches long.
And while it’s not known for its flowers (which only appear once every 5-10 years), its unique appearance makes up for it.
Unlike some other plants, Dracaena sanderiana is happy in various lighting conditions but doesn’t love direct sunlight. Instead, place it in a spot with bright, diffused light, and it will thrive.
Just be sure to keep it away from temperatures below 68°F, as it doesn’t handle the cold very well. As for watering, Dracaena sanderiana is pretty flexible.
You can grow it in soil or water; just make sure to keep the water level no higher than 1 inch above the upper roots if you’re growing it in water or water when the soil in the pot dries up to 1 inch if you’re growing it in soil.
And unlike some other plants, you don’t need to spray it or wipe its leaves down, making it the perfect choice for busy plant lovers.
6- Dracaena Lemonlime
Dracaena Lemonlime – the plant with the brightest personality! This stunner is known for its gleaming, glossy leaves dotted with lemon-yellow spots.
It’s a real attention grabber with its full, vivacious plant form, thanks to its massive amounts of foliage that hide the trunk so well, you’ll forget it’s even there!
Meet the Dracaena Cambodiana, the elegant, tall, and slender plant known for its luscious locks of long, thin leaves.
This beauty may look like it’s wilting, but don’t be fooled – it’s got a strong presence and packs a punch in any room.
This plant loves to grow big, but don’t worry if you’re low on space – it’s available in mini versions too!
8- Dracaena Rikki
Meet Dracaena Rikki, the wild child of the dracaena family! This little rebel is a Massangeana mutation with leaves that twist like a carnival ride.
With its rugged and thick white trunk, Rikki is one tough cookie. No need to be a green thumb expert in caring for this hardy plant; it’s a perfect pick for beginner plant parents.
9- Dracaena reflexa (Song of India)
Meet Dracaena reflexa, the plant that’ll bring a touch of Asia to your home! Its skinny white trunks and long, thin leaves will make you feel like you’re lounging in an exotic bamboo forest.
And the best part? You don’t have to fly to the other side of the world; just bring it into your living room.
This leafy beauty is perfect for creating a tropical getaway in your home, with its Asian resort-style and Japanese interior vibes.
10- Dracaena Song of Jamaica
Say hello to the rockstar of the Dracaena world: the Song of Jamaica! This funky and unique variety of the Reflexa family is ready to spice up your home with its bold green leaves and groovy yellow spots.
Let this tropical beauty do its thing and bring a little bit of Jamaica to your house!
11- Dracaena Hawaiian Sunshine
Meet the Hawaiian Sunshine – the little black dress of the dracaena world! With a silhouette that’s a cross between Lucky Bamboo and Massangeana, this rare and elusive beauty will add a touch of sophistication to any room.
Don’t let the dark green trunk fool you; this plant is all sunshine and rainbows!
12- White Jewel Dracaena
Say hello to the dazzling White Jewel Dracaena! With its smooth, white trunk and long, thin leaves with white stripes!
As the name implies, it’s a cool and light plant, making it the perfect choice to add sparkle to your space!
13- Dracaena compacta
Dracaena, hailing from tropical hotspots like Asia, Africa, and America, is a powerhouse of foliage plants with all sorts of leafy wonders! One secret gem among the many dracaenas is “Dracena Compacta.
Named after its compact growth and size, this plant is the slow and steady type. With dense and compact leaves, it’s the perfect companion for a low-maintenance lifestyle.
And with its pointy leaves growing upward, it’s a feng shui must-have for bringing good fortune.
Don’t worry; slow growth means the same stunning appearance lasts for ages! And, whether you have a bright or shady spot, this plant is happy anywhere and easy for beginners to care for.
That’s why it’s a popular choice for office decor, providing a long-lasting touch of green.
14- Dracaena Gold Cord
Meet the flashy Dracaena Gold Cord, a new horticultural sensation! This leafy superstar stuns with its bold yellow blotches, creating a dazzling display.
Don’t let its rosette shape fool you, it’s got style, and it knows it! This shortie prefers to keep it low and sassy, so it won’t grow tall like other clumpy varieties.
15- Dracaena fragrans Tornado
Meet the Dracaena Tornado, the plant that’ll make you feel caught in a whirlwind with its swirling, wavy leaves. It’s like a mini tropical storm in your living room! And the best part?
It won’t take up too much space, so you can have a little slice of paradise no matter how tiny your apartment is.
16- Dracaena Cordyline
The Cordyline Dracaena is the cappuccino of houseplants, with broad leaves that are a rich blend of brown, purple, and dark green.
The color changes as the sun hit it just right, making this plant a fashionable accent for any room interior.
Types of Dracaena: Ground-Plantable Varieties
1- Dracaena concinna
Dracaena concinna is a happy-go-lucky plant originally from Mauritius. It’s got a compact stature, standing at just 6-9 feet tall and not branching out much, making it a space-saving superstar.
Its leaves are rimmed with a bold red border, and each plant has its own unique style.
This plant is a winter warrior, tolerating temperatures as low as 41°F and even down to 32°F depending on the conditions. So, you can keep it outdoors even in colder climates!
2- Dracaena Tricolor
It’s the belle of the ball in the dracaena world! This fancy cultivar, born from Dracaena Marginata, shows off its green leaves with bold red and yellow stripes like a true showstopper.
It’s known for its striking and vibrant foliage, making it a sought-after star and just as tough as its parent, Marginata!
3- Dracaena draco
The dragon’s blood tree, also known as Dracaena draco, boasts striking long and narrow leaves. Its signature feature is the vibrant red sap that earns it its nickname.
This plant is a long-lived legend in the plant world! With some trees living over 1,000 years old. And with its hardiness and ease of growth, who wouldn’t want one of these mythical creatures in their backyard?
But don’t let its cool factor fool you – the Dracaena Draco can grow up to 65 feet tall! So, if you want to keep one of these bad boys around, make sure you have enough room in your yard.
With smooth bark and beautiful, straight leaves, this variety can be planted in the ground due to its impressive cold tolerance, just not quite as hardy as the Marginata.
Discover the Diverse Delights of Dracaena!
Ready to spice up your space? With so many different dracaenas to choose from, you’ll surely find the perfect fit! These leafy lovelies come in all shapes and sizes, from towering giants to petite plants.
So don’t let the lack of blooms fool you – a well-cared-for dracaena can still brighten up your home with its vibrant foliage. Pick your plant based on the room you want to add it, and watch it thrive!