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Dracaena Fragrans, corn plant

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Description

The Dracaena Corn Plant is a slow growing, sometimes flowering, shrub which is wildly popular as a houseplant. The scientific name for the corn plant is Dracaena fragrans, which is the true corn plant in its native and original form, with solid dark green leaves. Many other varieties of Dracaena plant now exist, including Dracaena deremensis, Dracaena sanderiana, and Dracaena massangeana. The most commonly known Dracaena in western society is the massangena variety, which is known for the yellow-lime green colored stripe that runs down the center of each dark green leaf.

Corn Plant Care Guide

Light

Most of those in the Dracaena genus including the Corn Plant do best in light shade or gentle filtered sunlight. The leaves will scorch if too bright and if it’s too dark the new leaves will be quite small and the stripe(s) may look quite different to those found on the older ones.

Watering

These plants benefit from a little “drying time” between waterings. So water well and then wait for the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again. If your Corn Plant is placed in a good spot with reasonable light and warm temperatures, (excluding Winter) you can keep the soil moist at all times. Regardless of your placement, in Winter reduce the watering like you would for almost all houseplants, but the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely.

Humidity

Reasonable humidity is required to prevent blemishes on the Corn Plant’s leaves. Misting is a good way to achieve this as well as helping to keep the leaves dust free.

Feeding

Regular feeding in Spring and Summer is recommended. You don’t need to feed in Winter or feed newly repotted plants.

Temperature

The Ideal growth range is between 16°C – 24°C / 60°F – 75°F. No lower than 10°C / 50°F and avoid even light frosts at all costs.

Repotting

You only need to really repot every two or three years. But there is no harm in doing it more frequently if you feel it’s needed and of course if you have the space and a big enough pot for it.

Propagation

There are three main ways to propagate and typically you can do all three methods at once to create multiple plants. In time the canes will become leggy as the leaf area shifts higher and higher up the plant which means you can:

  • Remove the crown and pot it up in potting compost to start a new plant, use a rooting hormone and to increase your chances further, provide bottom heat.Tip – if you can’t provide bottom heat, only attempt this in Summer and keep it warm.
  • Once the crown has been removed you can cut the remaining cane back to about half the original length (or more or less depending what you are trying to achieve visually). New growths should eventually form at the cut edge.Tip – because several new growths can form at the cut, this is how you can create a multi-caned plant.
  • Assuming you’ve done both things above, you will have a piece of cane left which can be cut into bits and used to create a “Ti Tree“. Allow to dry slightly before sticking straight up in potting compost. Keep the soil warm and moist.Tip – the pieces need to face “up” in the direction they were growing when part of the parent plant so you may want to mark the cane before you get started.

Speed of Growth

It’s quite slow growing, but there is enough new growth to notice its “alive” and draw attention to itself (that might sound wacky, but seasoned indoor plant owners will know what we mean).

Height / Spread

This depends on how tall your ceiling is! To be fair, while natively it could reach 15m / 49ft or more, indoors you will probably run out of large enough pots to allow the plant to ever reach such a size, so expect it to only reach 2m / 6ft after many years.

Flowers

You rarely find flowers on indoor plants from the Dracaena genus, D. fragrans though is the exception. Pay attention when we say the flowers are still not frequent enough to call their appearance “common”, but they do occur occasionally if the plant is mature and being treated well.

Disclaimer : The image is for reference purposes only. The actual product may vary in shape or appearance based on climate, age, height, etc.

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