As many of you know by now … I have a soft spot for abandoned, sad-looking plants. Our friend “Flora” the Dracaena Fragrans houseplant was in that category until she received a lot of tender loving care and truly “blossomed”. Here’s her success story …
One day I came home from work and spotted a very sad, forlorn plant on the driveway leading to our townhouse. You could just tell it was a shell of its former regal self. Most of the remaining leaves were brown and shriveled. Her one stalk was leaning precariously, and quite frankly she looked ready for hospice care.
I asked my husband how it ended up on our property. He replied that he pulled her out of the neighbor’s garbage pile … thinking the plant was dead, he figured I might want to reuse the large, plastic pot.
Upon further inspection, I saw a glimmer of hope in this dejected plant. Heck there were two green leaves … maybe with a little cleaning up and attention this tropical specimen may survive.
First thing I did was remove the dead leaves and add more soil to the pot. My hubby gingerly carried her inside and I went to work gently straightening her stalk and giving her some water. I don’t think it was my imagination … she looked happier already! I then named her “Flora” just because it sounded right.
Fast forward four years and Flora has tripled her size, she’s now at least six inches taller than me (I’m 5″ 2″), she has three healthy straight stalks, and her leaves are lush and full.
Best of all … she recently bloomed!! I’ve read it’s rare that an indoor kept Dracaena fragrans blooms … but I feel she’s so happy now that she wanted to show us her appreciation for saving her life. (yes, I personify plants ; )
Here’s the progression of her flowering last November …
Dracaena Care Tips
There are several different types of dracaena houseplants. Flora is a dracaena fragrans (nickname corn plant), like all dracaenas, they are tolerant of lower light, missed waterings, and some general neglect. This dracaena is especially popular because of its long, graceful, green leaves that have a yellow and light green stripe running down the center.
The leaves grow out of a central woody cane. When small, a dracaena corn plant can sit on a table, but their claim to fame is as a stately tall plant growing up to 10 -12 ft’.
Tropical East Africa
These plants benefit from a little “drying time” between waterings. So water well and then wait for the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again. If your Corn Plant is placed in a good spot with reasonable light and warm temperatures, (excluding Winter) you can keep the soil moist at all times.
Regardless of your placement, in Winter reduce the watering like you would for almost all houseplants. But the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely.
Reasonable humidity is required to prevent blemishes on the Corn Plant’s leaves. Misting is a good way to achieve this as well as helping keep the leaves dust free. I wipe off Flora’s leaves with a damp towel periodically and she likes the attention … we call it her “spa day” ; )
Regular feeding in Spring and Summer is recommended. You don’t need to feed in Winter or feed newly repotted plants.
The ideal growth range is between 65°F – 75°F. No lower than 55°F and avoid even light frosts at all costs if brought outside during the warmer months.
Pruning A Dracaena Fragrans:
You will find the lower leaves on this plant turn yellow after a period of time which is normal. The leaves on this plant only have a life span of 2 to 3 years anyway. Remove the lower leaves when they begin to yellow. You can also cut the top of a cane (stem) when it has reached the height you wish it to grow up to and re-plant the cutting.
In addition to brown leaf tips caused by watering with fluoridated water, leaf discoloration can be caused by temperature fluctuations, water stress, and calcium deficiency. If your plant is healthy, the biggest problem is likely to be dust on its leaves. Clean the leaves with a damp cloth every so often to keep it looking its best.
Watch out for spider mites, thrips, and scale, which can be a problem with most house plants.
The dracaena fragrans was a plant used in NASA’s clean air study which proved to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the environment.
Have you grown any type of Dracaena? If so, what are some of your favorite varieties? Reach out via our Contact form – we love hearing from our readers!
For the adventures of another one of our rescued plants (a very popular flowering houseplant), Read the Story Here. Be kind to your plants … but don’t overwater them!