Dracaenas like the dragon tree are great additions to your household. They feature pretty ornamental foliage and are also recognized as effective air cleaners, capable of removing chemicals like formaldehyde from the air. This can improve the air quality in your home.
To keep your Dracaena plants strong and healthy, you want to ensure they get sufficient light, water, and food. Dracaena fertilizer will provide the plants with the nutrients they need. Read on to find out what type of fertilizer, liquid or granular, is best.
The Best Fertilizer for Dracaenas
Fertilizer provides dracaenas with valuable nutrients needed to thrive. Dracaenas generally aren’t known for their blooms. However, you increase the chances of getting a flowering plant if you fertilize it properly.
Knowing what dracaena fertilizer to use is the first step. Liquid fertilizer is generally ideal because it allows for more controlled and concentrated application. This is especially handy for indoor houseplants, so you don’t have to worry about making a mess.
Granular fertilizers tend to be better for outdoor use, where they can easily cover larger spaces. Granular types are also more likely to be “slow-release” and release nutrients into the soil with each rainfall over time. You don’t need this for your indoor Dracaena.
Dracaenas will thrive with a water-soluble commercial houseplant fertilizer. You can buy these products at a local home-and-garden shop or online.
Look for mixes with a 3:1:2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. You will see these nutrients listed as N, P, and K on the packaging.
What do these nutrients do? Nitrogen contributes to plants with green leaves, while phosphorus helps develop healthy roots, and potassium supports the plant’s general cellular function.
The mix should also include sodium, zinc, manganese, copper, and iron.
Related: Watering Dracaena Plants
When and How to Fertilize Dracaenas
While fertilizing dracaenas may seem like a straightforward process, there are several factors to consider. If you follow a careful fertilization schedule, as outlined below, you may risk damaging the plant.
When to Fertilize Dracaenas
So, how often should you apply your dracaena fertilizer to indoor plants like Dracaena marginata? This depends on a few factors.
When you first bring your Dracaena home, wait one month before fertilizing it. Personally, I would wait 6 months or more.
Your Dracaena needs to acclimate to its new location (which will differ in terms of light exposure). Indoors Dracaenas nee bright indirect light. Fertilizing too soon will encourage active growth and place stress on the plant while it’s still acclimating.
After this, in the spring and summer months, you should feed the flowers every four weeks when growth is most potent. This is the active growing phase, requiring more nutrients.
A well-fed dracaena will show healthy leaf and stem growth over the warmer months. If growth is slow, the plant isn’t getting enough nutrition. You can ramp up fertilization to every two weeks in this case.
However, beware of signs of over-fertilization, which include brown or yellow leaf tips.
In the fall and winter months, you don’t need fertilizer at all. Plants go largely dormant during this period, storing nutrients in their roots to get through the winter.
Just how often you fertilizer your Dracaena species also depends on factors like how much light it gets. Here are some general tips:
- A dracaena that receives a lot of light (outdoors) should be fertilized every two months.
- A dracaena that gets medium light should be fertilized four times per year.
- A dracaena that gets low light should be fertilized once or twice per year.
So, why does the amount of light affect fertilization? Sun exposure causes plants to grow more quickly and use up lots of energy. Therefore, the more sun your Dracaena receives, the more often you must fertilize the plant.
Fertilizer and water can lead to Dracaena Fluoride Toxicity.
How to Fertilize Dracaenas
Before you fertilize, gather your supplies. You will need your fertilizer, a clean watering can or bucket and a liquid measuring cup. Mix the soluble fertilizer with water according to the labeled directions.
Make sure to measure precisely. You don’t want to risk overfertilization. Use room-temperature water and mix thoroughly with a stick or spoon until the fertilizer dissolves fully.
Next, thoroughly saturate the soil to the point that moisture comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the plant’s pot. If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you have to be more judicious. Don’t apply too much water.
If you’ve overdone it with the dracaena fertilizer, you will see signs like brown edges or tips or yellowing leaves. If this is the case, place the Dracaena in the sink or shower to leach out the soil.
Let it sit in running water and let the water drain out of the bottom of the pot for a minute or two. (If your Dracaena’s pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you will have to repot it before you do this). This will wash away excess fertilizer.