En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Care of Dracaena fragrans, cultivar

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - July 09, 2007

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Care of Dracaena fragrans, cultivar
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I just recently purchased a tree which I was told was called a Dracaena or also corn plant. I can not seem to find a site that will inform me on how to take care of this tree. If you can please let me know how or where I can find how to care for this plant I would really appreciate that.

ANSWER:

The focus and expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is limited to plant species native to North America. While we are, therefore, not experts on your plant - an African native, we grow tropical and subtropical house plants in our own homes, too, so perhaps we can pass along a couple tips.

The plant you've referred to as the "corn plant" is probably Dracaena fragrans, likely the cultivar D. fragrans 'Massangeana'. It is called that because the upright stalk and leaves resemble a corn plant, Zea mays. The wide leaves make it adaptable to the low light of indoors, and would burn if exposed to sunlight in an outdoor planting. One of the biggest problems in indoor plants is too much moisture or humidity, causing mildew. Symptoms of that are the pesky little fungus gnats that will show up. Make sure your pot is in a good house plant soil and a pot that permits adequate drainage. At the same time, if the tips of the leaves start to turn brown or curl, the plant is probably not getting enough water. Decide which mistake you're making, and then cut it out.

Another problem you will need to make provisions for (and you may already be aware of this) is the size this tree-like plant can grow into. I'm sure you have seen examples of them in shopping malls and large office building lobbies. They can grow to 15' tall and more. That's going to require a big pot, a tall ceiling and a very strong man (or front-end loader) to accommodate the mature plant.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Swarming insects on non-native willow in Washington PA
September 25, 2011 - I have had a very large, beautiful pillow willow bush/tree growing next to our garage for about 8 years. Last year at the end of August, it began to attract white-faced hornets and yellow jackets by t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native tomatoes from Spokane WA
August 18, 2012 - I have 2 tomato plants in 1 whiskey barrel, they are in abundance with tomatoes. My problem is when the tomatoes start to ripen, half green & half light red within 1 day the tomatoes are really soft ...
view the full question and answer

Problems for non-native St. Augustine grass from Little Rock AR
July 18, 2012 - We sodded St. Augustine grass four weeks ago. For the first three weeks we had no rain and temperatures over 100 degrees. We have watered 20 minutes twice a day since installation. There are brown pat...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a non-native lucky bamboo plant
July 05, 2014 - I have gotten a lucky bamboo plant which is kinda large and want to transplant but don't know how can you help me?
view the full question and answer

Damage to non-native peach trees in Austin
January 02, 2010 - I have 3 peach trees, different varieties. In the past years it has just produced worm-eaten fruit, most of which falls to the ground before ripening. Can these trees be treated for a better crop th...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center