Feeding A Dracaena – How To Fertilize Dracaena Plants
By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Dracaena plants are a fixture in many homes, gracing a spot in front of a window or bringing needed decor to a corner. Their large size and height make them a focal point in many homes. In warmer climates, dracaena lives outdoors year-round. This article will help with that.
Prior to Feeding a Dracaena Plant
Before we discuss feeding a dracaena and dracaena fertilizer needs, let’s talk about some problems that might resemble fertilization errors.
Leaf tips and edges may turn brown from the wrong kind of fertilizer. However, they may display this problem from too little humidity as well, so before you fertilize, correct humidity issues if needed. Mist daily, place a pebble tray nearby or purchase a room humidifier. Adding proper humidity will be suitable for your plant, and it will begin to look better even before fertilization.
Yellowing of leaf tips and edges sometimes indicate the plant has gotten too much fluoride. This might come from the water or from the soil. Perlite in soil can provide fluoride as can superphosphate fertilizer. Consider what is turning your plant tips yellow before fertilizing dracaena.
Streaks and spots can result from too much direct sunlight. Poor soil drainage, too much water, drafts, temperature changes, or insect infestation can cause leaves to drop off, so clear up these problems before fertilizing dracaena.
Ideally, you have a healthy plant to repot into fresh soil before fertilizing, but if not, clear up any issues that you can. Learning how to fertilize dracaena will likely make your plant healthier and possibly promote a surge of growth.
Dracaena Fertilizer Needs
Some experts recommend to fertilize these low feeders only once in spring and again in early autumn. Others say to feed once or twice a month during spring and summer. Feed them in March through September, allowing a period of dormancy during winter. Use a low dose, balanced plant food.
If your dracaena is inside, you may want to use less fertilizer than for those growing outside. Dracaena grows slowly, so proper care allows the plant to grow in its timeframe.
Pruning this plant may promote growth as well. Remove damaged parts of leaves with sharp pruners, keep the soil moist, and provide proper light for a happy and beautiful dracaena plant. Choose a feeding schedule and learn when to feed a dracaena for the most rewarding results.
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Read more about Dracaena Plants
Dracaena: the tips of the leaves dry. Dracaena Marginata - home care
Dracaena marginata is a tree plant with a strong trunk. The height of the trunk sometimes reaches 3 m. At the end of the trunk are foxes in the form of a beam. On young plants, they are raised up, gradually the leaves sag. The leaf has an elongated shape with a fringing at the edges, so the plant is also called fringed dracaena. The edging is either yellow or reddish. As the trunk of the palm tree grows, the lower leaves die off and fall off. Thus, the trunk is formed in the form of scales or scars. The plant is well adapted for office premises and home growing conditions. The most common grades of dracaena are: Marginata, Bent off or Reflex, Godsef or Surkuloza, Fragrant, Deremskaya.
Dracaena Compacta Plant Care
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
FAQs about Dracaena Marginata
Why do the leaves of Dracaena Marginata become dry?
If the lower leaves dry up and the plant sheds them, this is the natural aging of the foliage. If the tips of the leaves dry out, it indicates that the air is dry.
When does it bloom?
Dracaena will bloom with regular mineral fertilizing and proper care.
Why do the leaves of Dracaena Marginata turn black? This indicates that the plant has problems with the root system. Therefore, it dries out excess leaves. To help your dracaena, cut it and put it in water to build up the root mass.
Is it possible to plant 2-3 Dracaena Marginata plants of different lengths in one container?
It is possible, but at the same time, the plants will look beautiful if they are of different height, as if the tops are at the same height, they will oppress each other.
Dracaena Marginata is a very popular and beautiful plant that does not require much attention and care, while beautifully decorating the interior. A little attention and love of a florist - and the plant will feel like in her homeland, growing the branches well and quickly and delighting everyone around.