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Dracaena thalioides Lance Dracaena, Dwarf Dracaena

Edward F. Gilman, Ryan W. Klein, and Gail Hansen


Dracaena thalioides is a plant that finds its native habitat in tropical Africa. This 1- to 2-foot-tall species has an upright growth habit and is used in the landscape for its attractive foliage. The dark green leaves are 12 inches long and sit atop a 10inchlong petiole. The leaf blades are lanceolate in shape and have prominent parallel veins. Small, pink, star-shaped flowers occur in 10-inch-long spikes that appear at various times throughout the year. The flowers and small, fleshy fruits of this plant are inconspicuous.

Full Form - Abelia x grandiflora: glossy abelia
Figure 1. Full Form - Abelia x grandiflora: glossy abelia
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS


Leaf - Abelia x grandiflora: glossy abelia
Figure 2. Leaf - Abelia x grandiflora: glossy abelia
Credit: Edward F. Gilman, UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Dracaena thalioides

Pronunciation: druh-SEE-nuh thal-ee-OY-deez

Common name(s): lance dracaena, dwarf dracaena

Family: Agavaceae

Plant type: ground cover

USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Figure 3)

Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round

Origin: not native to North America

Invasive potential: not known to be invasive

Uses: mass planting; ground cover; suitable for growing indoors

Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 3. Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

Plant habit: upright

Plant density: dense

Growth rate: slow

Texture: coarse


Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: entire

Leaf shape: linear

Leaf venation: parallel

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: 8 to 12 inches

Leaf color: green

Fall color: no fall color change

Fall characteristic: not showy


Flower color: pink

Flower characteristic: unpleasant fragrance; year-round flowering


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: unknown

Fruit cover: fleshy

Fruit color: unknown

Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not particularly showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems

Current year stem/twig color: not applicable

Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in the shade

Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay

Drought tolerance:

Soil salt tolerances: poor

Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches


Roots: sprouts from roots or lower trunk

Winter interest: no special winter interest

Outstanding plant: plant has outstanding ornamental features and could be planted more

Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Lance dracaena is one of the most shade tolerant plants used in south Florida landscapes. It is frequently utilized as a tall ground cover for shady areas of the landscape and also makes a nice indoor container plant. It is used like cast iron plant in USDA hardiness zones 7 through 9.

This plant will flourish in partial to full shade on rich, moist soils of good drainage. It performs well in acidic soils and will thrive on two applications of fertilizer per summer.

Pests and Diseases

No known pests are associated with Dracaena thalioides.

Publication #FPS188

Release Date:October 24, 2023

Related Collections

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About this Publication

This document is FPS188, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Revised October 2023. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus; Ryan W. Klein, assistant professor, arboriculture; and Gail Hansen, professor, sustainable landscape design; Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Gail Hansen de Chapman