The many Dracaena varieties are a popular choice in homes, both for their air-purifying qualities and wide range of shapes and sizes.
The subtropical Dracaena plant can be a little finicky but are still less picky than roses and similar plants. One of the biggest problems people face with raising their Dracaena is proper watering.
Even with ideal soil, it’s easy to overwater these plants.
The good news is that proper watering can be easy once you’ve learned a few simple rules.
Tips On Dracaena Watering
Dracaena can be finicky, so just knowing when and how much water is only the first step.
For a truly healthy plant, you will also have to consider the type of water to use. Some of the most popular Dracaena varieties are:
- Dracaena marginata plant
- Dracaena Deremensis Janet Craig and Dracaena Warneckii
- Dracaena compacta
- Dracaena Fragrans Massangeana (corn plant)
When and How Much Water?
As with many subtropical plants, Dracaenas love moisture, but hate standing in it.
Higher humidity levels will mean your plant needs less frequent watering, so schedules rarely work well on this plant.
You will instead need to do the finger test to find out when your plant’s actually thirsty.
To do this, simply poke your finger into the potting soil to find out how deep the moisture is.
Dracaena will typically require watering when the soil surface has dried to touch.
However, most owners prefer to wait until the soil is dry 2 to 4” inches deep on adult plants to prevent accidental overwatering.
Water your plant generously, slowly pouring until you see water beginning to seep from the drainage holes.
Remove any excess water to ensure there’s no standing water.
Remember, having too much water will result in root rot, so when you aren’t sure, it’s better to give too little than too much.
Choosing the Proper Water
One of the worst things you can give any houseplant is tap water.
Municipal water supplies have numerous added chemicals that can be harmful to your plants. These include bromine, chlorine, and fluoride.
While letting tap water sit overnight will help reduce chlorine content, it won’t necessarily help with the other chemicals.
Learn about Dracaena fluoride toxicity.
Instead, the best water you can give your Dracaena is fresh rainwater.
When this isn’t an option, distilled water (sometimes referred to as baby water) is the best alternative.
You may choose to treat the water occasionally with hydrogen peroxide to simulate the benefits of rainwater, but don’t do this every watering. More on Hydrogen Peroxide for plants here.
In a pinch, you may also choose to use filtered water.
Be careful in which type of filtration system you use, as some remove particles but not chemicals.
Some common contaminants in tap water may also be harmful, such as lead, nitrates, salts, and zinc.
Thus, to truly purify tap water for plant use, you will need a filtration system that addresses both mineral and chemical contaminants.
There is also one more option that plant enthusiasts often miss: appliance distillation.
Dehumidifiers and air conditioners both attract condensation when running. The resulting water in their drip trays is naturally distilled and perfectly safe for plant use.
Quick Summary of Dracaena Care
Members of the Dracaena genus are quite varied, but they all have similar care needs. These can be summed up as:
- Bright, indirect sunlight (avoid unfiltered, direct light)
- Well-draining soil
- Higher humidity is best
- Always observe proper watering techniques.