Dracaena deremensis Dracaena1

Edward F. Gilman 2

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.
Figure 1.  Dracaena.

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.
Figure 2.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.

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 https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS183

Date: 2015-05-26
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Contacts

  • Gail Hansen de Chapman