Plants

Corn Plant Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Dracaena Fragrans”

Read our guide to Corn Plants for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Dracaena Fragrans”
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Corn Plant, also known as Fragrans/Fragrant Dracaena or Cornstalk Dracaena, is the solid green variety of the Dracaena family. The plant’s name has its origins in Greek: Dracaena – means female dragon and we’re sure that Khaleesi, the “Mother of Dragons” has a few of them in her home.

Dracaena Fragrans is a popular indoor plant. It gets its name from its leaves, which resemble the corn stalks of the Zea mays a.k.a regular corn.

Dracaena plants are easy to grow and resilient. They don’t have special requirements when it comes to water, light, and other aspects of their daily care. If you’re new to gardening and are looking for a friendly plant that will grow healthy and happy despite occasional accidents, then this houseplant is perfect for you.

Strongly scented flowers, occasionally produced on a plant grown in its native habitat, gave the plant its name. Young plants don’t flower indoors, but older plants might bloom once or twice a year.

Fragrant Dracaena is native to tropical East Africa, where it grows in humid, tropical forests. It is completely green and its foliage has an olive-green hue. In its native habitat, Dracaenas are frequently shaded by nearby vegetation, so they don’t really like unfiltered sunlight.

There are many other species of Dracaena plants, including Dracaena Massangeana, Dracaena Deremensis, and Dracaena sanderiana. The most popular variety of Dracaena is the Massangena, which can easily be differentiated from the other cultivars as it has yellow-lime and light-green stripes that go down the center of each dark green leaf.

Dracaena Fragrans
Dracaena Fragrans

About Dracaena Fragrans a.k.a Corn Plant

  • Other common names for the Dracaena Fragrans are Massangeana cane, Dragon Tree, Ribbon Plant, or Mass cane.
  • A great thing about it is that it generates oxygen and makes the air in your home healthier for you and for your loved ones.
  • In addition, the Dracaena is particularly good for enhancing air quality because it absorbs toxins. In a NASA study on clean air, scientists have found that Dracaena plants can remove toxic substances from the air, including xylene, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
  • This is a slow-growing plant that does not need frequent pruning or maintenance. Its slow growth can be an advantage as the plant will make a perfect decoration in your home and you won’t have to worry about moving it to a bigger container.
  • Dracaenas will fill any empty space and you can count on them to maintain their current shape without becoming too big.
  • Dracaena plants are usually inexpensive and easy to find. They can be found at most plant stores and home improvement stores at reasonable prices compared with other houseplants of similar sizes.
  • They are tolerant of most lighting conditions and will be comfortable in any corner of your home.
  • Dracaenas are quite robust, making them easy to grow and care for. Gardening novices, people who travel a lot, or who are very busy will easily keep this plant alive.
  • You won’t regret buying a Dracaena because, as mentioned above, it requires very little attention, yet it is very aesthetically pleasing.
  • Keep children and pets (especially dogs) away from this plant because it is quite toxic when chewed. The common signs of Dracaena poisoning are hypersalivation, vomiting, lethargy, depression, anorexia, and other digestive issues.
Leaves of the Dracaena Fragrans
Leaves of the Dracaena Fragrans

Dracaena Fragrans Features: An Overview

  • Dracaena Fragrans is a slow-growing tree-like houseplant. It typically consists of several thick stems that grow from the same root system.
  • The mature specimens reach15 m (50 feet) or more, with a crown of slender upright branches and large leaves.
  • Stems can reach up to 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter on mature plants. Young plants have a single branchless stem with a rosette of leaves.
  • Once the young plant blooms or is pruned, it will divide into several branches.
  • The leaves are glossy green, lanceolate, 20–150 cm (8-60 inch) long, and 2–12 cm wide. They closely resemble the foliage of regular corn.
  • The tinier leaves of the Dracaena are vertical, while the larger leaves droop due to their weight.
  • The flowers of the Dracaena grow in panicles (loose branching clusters) that can be between 15-160 cm (6-63 inch) long, depending on the size of the plant.
  • Initially, the flowers are pink, and when they open they are white with a fine red or purple central line on each lobe. They’re extremely fragrant and popular with pollinating insects and birds.
  • The fruits of the Dracaena are orange-red berries, 1–2 cm (0,4-0,8 inch) in diameter, and have many seeds.
Dracaena Fragrans
Dracaena Fragrans

Growing Dracaena Fragrans

Dracaena Fragrans plants will thrive in partial shade, near a north-facing window. It is important, especially during the warm summer months, not to expose your Dracaena plant to bright sunlight. The sun can burn the leaves causing them to become burned or bleached.

If your plant is going to be exposed to any kind of intense, direct light, make sure you protect it with a curtain or with anything that will filter the light. Too little light can also be a problem as low, indirect light can cause variegated cultivars to lose some of their bright stripings.

Mature Dracaena plants that grow indoors will develop long, stretched, and thin leaves with very little diversification. You can cut them back to your preferred length if they become unattractive and new shoots will soon emerge. The cuttings can be easily rooted, but we’ll talk about this more in the propagation section.

Over time, the leaves of Dracaena plants tend to accumulate dust, especially on the upper sides. You can clean the leaves with a feather duster or with a soft brush.

Creme & Green Corn Plant – Dracaena, From Amazon

Optimal Temperatures and Humidity for Dracaena Fragrans

Dracaenas do very well when the temperatures are above 13°C (55°F), but if it’s hotter, they can suffer from leaf burn. In hot weather, the leaves of Fragrant Dracaena will start to twist and bend in an effort to reduce their exposure to the sun. When the temperatures drop, the leaves will return to their normal shape.

Dracaena Fragrans is susceptible to cold damage if the temperatures drop below 5°C (40°F), especially if it is windy. You should keep your corn plants away from the cold and from strong winds. Plants that were damaged by cold temperatures have light grey or brown leaf margins. Plants with visible signs of cold damage will survive, but make sure not to trim the damaged leaves right away. Allow the plant to recover first.

Corn plants love humidity, but winter is often a time of low humidity in most homes due to indoor heating. You can easily maintain a healthy plant by lightly sprinkling the leaves with a water spray to increase humidity. You can also place the plant’s pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, the environment will be pleasantly moist around the plant.

Watering and Fertilizing Fragrant Dracaena

If you water Dracaena Fragrans plants properly, they will grow healthy and they’ll quickly become wonderful companions to your other flowers, shrubs, and decorations. Corn plants are water-lovers, so they need regular watering.

Be careful though, excessive watering can damage your plant and cause root rot. Overwatering is a common mistake that all gardeners have made at least once. Try to apply the ‘soak and dry’ technique until you discover the perfect watering balance.

When watering Fragrant Dracaena, make sure the soil is soaked all the way through. The excess water should be allowed to drain off. It is very important to plant your Dracaenas in well-draining soil that will absorb plenty of water and stay moderately dry between watering.

When it comes to the watering needs of Dracaenas, which are tropical plants, rainwater is brilliant! If you don’t live in a rainy area, make sure you water the plants often during spring and summer, otherwise, their leaf tips will turn brown.

Dracaenas are very sensitive to excess fluoride. If you use fluoride-heavy tap water for your planta, their leaves might become burned. Try switching to distilled water, rainwater, or water collected by a dehumidifier.

Experts recommend not using any fertilizer when growing Dracaenas, as it can cause more harm than good. Generally, corn plants do very well without it, but if you feel that your plant needs extra nutrients, you can fertilize them occasionally.

Propagating Dracaena Fragrans

The corn plant is a perfect plant to propagate because getting successful buds is usually easy and fun.

If you want to multiply your Dracaena, it’s best to wait until spring because that’s when the growing season begins. Start by making a cut two to five inches from a healthy stem that has buds. Use a sterilized instrument to avoid damaging the plant.

Place the cutting into a new pot with fresh soil and make sure the shoots remain above soil level. Water the freshly planted cuttings immediately and continue to care for them as usual.

Corn plants don’t usually need pruning, though you may wish to trim it to achieve a shape or size that suits your space. To reduce your corn plant’s height, simply cut the top off horizontally, with a pair of sharp scissors. You may also want to trim the leaves that have turned brown or that look damaged and unhealthy. You can do so by removing them right from the nodes (where the leaves sprout from the branch).

Indoor plants may attract mealybugs or spider mites. To prevent bugs from attaching to your corn plant, clean the leaves regularly. Shower your plants with a spray bottle and a drop of a gentle, natural cleaner to remove pests and dust. If your corn plant deteriorates because of an infestation, use an insecticide spray or specialized spider mite spray.

Repotting Dracaena Fragrans

The corn plant should be repotted annually to encourage growth and to ensure that it’s happy and healthy. This is an easy process and all you have to do it to lift it gently from its current pot and remove the attached soil while trying not to damage its roots. Place the plant into a larger pot and pour fresh potting soil around its base. Don’t squeeze the new soil too tightly, as you risk preventing proper drainage.

In Conclusion

Dracaena Fragrans, also known as Corn Plant or Dragon Tree is an adaptable plant that can easily be grown indoors. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced one, you’ll soon make friends with this versatile ornamental plant.

Now that you know everything about growing and caring for Dracaena Fragrans, you just have to buy one and to choose a nice container that will compliment your interior design.

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Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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