Dracaena fragrans – That’s How It Got Its Name

Dracaena fragrans

Dracaena fragrans – Did you know it flowers? We get emails regularly asking about the flowering of Dracaena fragrans. The emails go something like this:

I have a Dracaena fragrans – “Corn plants bloom” and have had the plant for 5 years – in some cases more. It is blooming for the first time. I did not know it even bloomed.

  • How long will the flowers last?
  • Will the plant die?
  • Can I cut off the flower stalk?

I must go on record and let you know that I am writing only from experience and cannot give you the full details on the corn plant Dracaena fragrans flowering indoors – it’s not the most common event!

Hopefully some of our interiorscapers will write and give us their hints and tips.

As I write this I have a Dracaena fragrans massangeana planted outside in the ground and flowering. It is approximately 180 feet from my house and I can smell the intoxicating fragrance every evening.

Dracaena massangeana cane is a cultivar of Dracaena fragrans but with yellow variegated foliage.

NOTE: I’ve also have seen red edge dracaena marginata flower a few times and also all green Janet Craig Dracaena but nothing like Dracaena fragrans.

Background on Dracaena Fragrans

Most of the time you find Dracaena fragrans or dracaena deremensis flowering it will be on very mature plants. Plants usually grow more than 6 feet tall.

The flower stalks emerge out of the center of the leaf whorl and will grow to sometimes 3 feet in length arching to the ground.

In the evening the plant gives off a sweet fragrance that is noticeable for hundreds of feet. The fragrance is very strong as some of you have experienced. One person even said that they had to open the office doors to air out the place!!!

Now to the questions:

Will the Plant Die?

No – This dracaena plant will continue to grow. The plant will begin by putting out a new head of foliage. The center of the plant – the growing tip – is no longer active after flowering.

A new “head” will emerge out of the center of the foliage next to where the flower stalk was. This is similar to pruning a plant and new growth starts below the cut.

It is also possible that more then one head may emerge. Specimens with branched trunks occur when two heads develop where the old flower stalk was and has matured.

How Long Will the Flower Last?

The fragrance last each evening for approximately 3 to 7 days. It may last longer indoors because it is protected from the elements. After a period of time the flower stalk will eventually wither away.

Dracaena Plant Care & Growing Requirements

Dracaena fragrans are low-maintenance plants. They also make great indoor plants bearing green leaves and seasonal flowers. Although they are easy to grow, you need to provide their basic needs for optimal health.

As indoor houseplants dracaena fragrans should be placed in an area with filtered sun. Too little light results to compromised growths and disappearance of stripes on its leaves. Plant them on a well-drained soil. Loose potting soil or potting mix for indoor plants can be bought almost anywhere.

Keep them evenly moist but try not to over water. Doing so would make your dracaena susceptible to root rot. Leaving them dry for some time will result to brown foliage tips. Avoid giving water with fluoride and boron as they are sensitive to these elements.

Fertilize your dracaena fragrans lightly. Use calcium supplements to avoid leaf-tip burns.

Can I cut off the Dracaena flower stalk?

Yes, you can cut off the flower stalk. Remember, while the plant is flowering it is putting its energy into the flowers and not in the stems or other parts of the plant.

I’d like to hear from the interior people or floral designers but I think they would recommend flower stalks cuttings for a couple of reasons.

  • The potency of the fragrance indoors can be very strong (especially in commercial settings)
  • Pollen may get on the leaves and give a dirty look.

How about you – ever had your Dracaena fragans flower?

image: source