Dracaena Song of India plant or Dracaena reflexa Variegata (dra-SEE-nah, ree-FLEKS-uh) hails from Mozambique, Madagascar and other islands located in the Indian Ocean.
This member of the Asparagaceae family is a slow-growing evergreen perennial plant grown outdoors in a tropical setting but is usually kept as a houseplant in North America, where it is only winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10B through 12.
The common name, Song of India, refers to the origins of the plant.
Its genus name, Dracaena, means female dragon, and its specific epithet, reflexa, refers to the downward bending flowers of the plant.
Dracaena Song of India Plant Care
Size & Growth
When grown indoors, Song of India reaches a maximum height of about 6′ feet tall over many years.
If grown outdoors in a tropical setting, the plant can grow to be 18′ feet tall and 8′ feet wide.
The leaves of Song of India are its main calling card.
The 4” – 6” inch leaves are pointed and narrow and arranged in a spiral along the stem.
The base color of healthy leaves is a deep, impressive green with bright, chartreuse margins.
As the plant grows taller, the lower leaves die off naturally, revealing attractive stems.
Flowering & Fragrance
Every once in a great while, Dracaena Song of India will produce clusters of very tiny, white, nondescript flowers, which may transition into reddish-orange berries.
This is extremely rare in houseplants.
Light & Temperature
Dracaena Song of India should be kept in a sheltered setting where the temperature never falls below 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C).
Protect the plant from direct sunlight, but do provide plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.
Too much sun causes leaf burn.
Too little light causes the plant to become leggy, spindly, and faded.
Watering & Feeding
- Song of India prefers fairly dry soil.
- Allow the top couple of inches to dry out before watering it thoroughly.
- Humidity should be fairly high.
- Dry air causes the tips of the leaves to turn brown.
- Provide humidity with regular misting or place pots on a pebble tray with water.
- A humidifier in the room is yet another solution to the low humidity problem.
- Give your Dracaena Song of India a feeding of diluted liquid houseplant food every 6 – 8 weeks throughout the spring and summer growing season.
- Don’t feed in autumn and winter when the plant will appreciate a rest.
Soil & Transplanting
Song of India likes a nice, light, airy, quickly draining potting soil.
Heavy soil will lead to root rot.
Add a bit of sand, perlite, or vermiculite to regular potting mix to lighten it a bit.
Grooming & Maintenance
This plant needs little maintenance, but you may need to provide stakes for plants growing very tall. This will help prevent them from falling over.
Remember not to be alarmed when the lower leaves begin to shed on their own.
How To Propagate Dracaena Reflexa Variegata
This Dracaena is propagated via stem cuttings.
Take good, healthy 6″-10″ cuttings, remove the lower leaves and place the cutting into a container of clean water.
Another option is to dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder and stick the cutting in a pot with a 50/50 ratio of peat moss and perlite.
Before you know it, roots will begin to grow.
When the cutting has a few strong roots, just transplant it into a pot of good, light, fast-draining potting soil.
Song of India Plant Pest or Disease Problems
Song of India is subject to fusarium leaf spot if it is overwatered or kept overcrowded.
These spots can get quite large and look very unsightly on the leaves.
Cut off affected leaves and be careful not to overwater or overcrowd your plants.
Weakened plants may be subject to infestation by scale, spider mites, or mealybugs.
Remember to keep your plants properly watered, in the right light setting, and provide the right level of humidity and gentle ventilation.
Is The Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?
All Dracaenas are a bit toxic. Be sure to keep your plants out of reach of children and pets.
Is The Plant Invasive?
This tropical plant does not appear to be invasive, even in Florida, where it is possible to grow it outdoors, year-round.
Suggested Dracaena Song of India Plant Uses
Song of India, with its slow-growing indoor habit and its love of bright, indirect light, makes a nice tabletop or desktop plant.
It does well in an office setting with fluorescent lights and a stable, comfortable year-round temperature.
Its colorful leaves make it a popular choice for public venues, such as shopping malls.
Large specimens make nice indoor/outdoor container plants allowed to grace your patio or porch in the spring and summer and brought in for the winter.
In tropical settings, the plant grows nicely outdoors all year and makes a nice hedge or accent plant.
It is an excellent addition to any tropical garden setting.
In Hawaii, the leaves are used as additions to flower arrangements and leis.
Song of India is very easy to grow, and a good choice for a beginning gardener looking to add an exotic touch to his or her plant collection.