You’ve brought home a bright, beautiful new dracaena plant, and it’s set up in the perfect spot in your home. As you prepare to give it the best little life you can, it’s crucial you understand its watering requirements.
The watering requirements of a dracaena plant are fairly simple. As an overall low-maintenance houseplant, its soil and leaves simply need to stay moist. This can be achieved with regular misting and watering several times per week. Ensure the soil fully dries between watering and never gets soggy.
Throughout this article, you’ll learn more about watering a dracaena plant. We’ll explain a bit of background about the plant and all the details of when, how, and what type of water to give it.
The Basics: About Dracaena Plants
You’ve made an excellent choice for a popular houseplant. With about 40 species total, the most common type is also known by the full scientific name, dracaena reflexa, or nicknames Song of India or Plemele. The origins of this plant can be traced back to Madagascar and other islands in the Indian ocean. It is a member of the asparagus family.
Interestingly enough, the stem of a dracaena plant contains a thick, red resin. In centuries past, people used this resin for dyes, medicines, and toothpaste. Today, it’s still used for photoengraving and as an ingredient in varnish.
Tip: Dracaena stems are called canes. You can prune them back at any time to keep the plant the size and shape you desire. Stems you trim off may be propagated to grow a new plant. It’s best to do this in the spring or summer when your plant is actively growing.
Whether it was a factor in your houseplant decision or not, you may be pleased to know that caring for a dracaena plant is quite simple. They can even thrive fairly well with no care at all. As an added bonus, according to NASA’s Clean Air Study, they help purify the air.
Tip: To maximize the plant’s ability to exchange air freely, you can wipe the upper surfaces and undersides of the leaves regularly with a damp cloth.
Watering Requirements for Dracaena Plants
With fairly simple care requirements overall, the dracaena’s watering needs are no different. Still, some specifics in the watering regimen will help your plant thrive to its fullest potential. Using the tips below about the type, frequency, and technique for watering, you’ll be on your way to a happy, hydrated houseplant.
How Often Do You Water a Dracaena Plant?
As with any plant, your dracaena plant does need to stay hydrated. You can do this by misting the leaves with water and keeping the soil moist.
How often should this be? Likely a few times per week.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s important you make sure the soil is never soggy. Even though this type of plant is native to subtropical regions, it cannot tolerate wet soil.
A great rule of thumb is to ensure you’re only watering when the soil feels dry to the touch. In other words, you should let the topsoil dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can cause root rot or other stress-related diseases, so check your soil before giving it more.
How Do You Water a Dracaena?
Should you sprinkle your dracaena plant with water? Spray it? Avoid the leaves? Apply the water directly to the soil or roots?
As mentioned above, there are two recommended ways to keep your plant moist. While your dracaena is not terribly picky, it’s recommended you apply water to your houseplant in both of these ways:
Your dracaena will very much enjoy a light misting of its leaves. Perform this with a simple spray bottle several times per week. Try this green geometric REPUGO plastic spray bottle from Amazon – it’s as beautiful as it is functional.
Misting is a particularly important aspect of dracaena care during periods of low humidity. Depending on where you live, this is probably the case in wintertime. Without this added moisture to the plant’s leaves, you may see the tips turn yellow or whole leaves turn brown. If you notice that, get to misting.
Pouring Directly to the Soil
In addition to misting the leaves, you should apply water directly to the soil of your dracaena plant. Simply pour it on at a gentle pace and move about to cover the entire soil surface, therefore saturating the root system.
The health of your dracaena plant also depends on having adequate drainage in the pot. Make sure you have the right components in your pot to allow the water to drain through. This is crucial, and without doing this properly, you may risk the life of your plant.
What Type of Water to Use for Dracaena Plants
Purified water is recommended for dracaena plants since they are sensitive to fluoride, which can be common in public water sources like tap water. If you notice leaves turning dark brown or dead parts of the plant with yellow edges, this may be a hint your plant is experiencing fluoride toxicity.
Tip: Perlite potting mix may also provide too much fluoride to your plant.
How Much Water Do You Need per Watering?
So when you do water your dracaena, how much does it need at a time? Generally speaking, dracaenas need less water than most indoor houseplants.
When the topsoil is dry, and you’re ready to water, you can water it thoroughly. This should be until water flows continuously and freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. You might like to add a saucer under your dracaena’s planting container to collect that water that flows out during watering.
Tip: Promptly drain the water from the saucer, so you don’t leave standing water at the base of your plant.
Warning Signs Related to Dracaena Watering
You can read our complete article on overwatering dracaena plants here. Yellowing or drooping leaves are one major sign you’re giving your plant too much water or poor soil drainage. Be on the lookout for these signs and adjust accordingly.
If it’s just the bottom leaves yellowing and falling off, don’t worry. That’s normal for this type of plant. Dracaenas shed leaves and regrow new ones.
Bonus Tips for Successful Dracaena Care
- Sunlight – A dracaena plant isn’t too picky about how much light it receives, but it will benefit from a permanent location in brightly filtered light. A sunny windowsill or in front of a sheer curtain are great spots for it. Keep it out of direct sunlight, which can scorch the foliage.
- Temperature – Your dracaena will love a room temperature of 60-70℉. (15-21℃). At nighttime, the plant will tolerate temperatures about 10 degrees colder. Overall, as long as it’s not too cold (colder than 55℉ or 13℃) or subject to significant drafts, the dracaena plant is forgiving of a variety of temperatures.
- Fertilization – Appropriate fertilization is an important care component of a healthy dracaena plant. You should feed them about every two weeks in the spring and summer. Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer. During the fall, fertilizing once a month is plenty. You can stop feeding them in the winter months when the plan will benefit from a dormancy period.
And there you have it – you’re ready to give your dracaena its best life with adequate watering and misting. Remember, soggy soil or leaves are the enemies to your plant, so make sure you allow a few days between any form of hydration to give it a chance to dry out before adding more.
Here is a rundown of the key points in this post regarding watering requirements for your dracaena houseplant:
- Plant your dracaena plant in a potting container that allows for adequate drainage, possibly with a saucer underneath.
- Make sure your plant’s soil is completely dry before you water again.
- Mist the leaves regularly.
- Water the plant a few times per week directly on the soil until water flows freely out the bottom of the pot’s drainage system.