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Publication #FPS183

Dracaena deremensis Dracaena1

Edward F. Gilman2

Introduction

The upright, multiple, unbranched stems of dracaena, with rosettes of arching, broad evergreen leaves, form a heavy but graceful tropical clump, suitable for low-maintenance container culture or specimen planting in the shaded landscape (Fig. 1). Leaf color ranges from green to grey-green with various white striped patterns available. The white striped and variegated cultivars can brighten a shaded yard or dark corner.

Figure 1. 

Dracaena.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Dracaena deremensis
Pronunciation: druh-SEE-nuh dair-rem-MEN-sis
Common name(s): dracaena
Family: Agavaceae
Plant type: shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 2)
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: specimen; container or above-ground planter; border; suitable for growing indoors
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

Figure 2. 

Shaded area represents potential planting range.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 8 to 12 feet
Spread: 2 to 5 feet
Plant habit: upright
Plant density: open
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: coarse

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: spiral
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: undulate
Leaf shape: linear
Leaf venation: parallel
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 8 to 12 inches
Leaf color: variegated
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Flower

Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: flowers periodically throughout the year

Fruit

Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: fleshy
Fruit color: red
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: very thick

Culture

Light requirement: plant grows in the shade
Soil tolerances: slightly alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; occasionally wet; loam
Drought tolerance: moderate
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches

Other

Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Dracaena looks best in shade and is tolerant of drought and a wide variety of soil types, though preferring an organic soil. Plant on one to two-foot centers in a mass planting. Shade tolerance makes this a good house plant.

The cultivar 'Warneckii' has a broad stripe along each margin and is commonly available.

Propagation is by tip cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

Mites, thrips, and chewing insects are a problem.

Dracaenas are sensitive to leaf spot diseases.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FPS183, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.