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Dracaena fragrans

Previously known as:

  • Dracaena deremensis
Phonetic Spelling
dra-SEE-nah FRAY-granz
Description

A slow-growing shrub in frost-free tropical climates, the corn plant is typically grown as a houseplant.  It is called a corn plant because of the resemblance of the tall, unbranched stem to a corn stalk; the habit is palm-like with age and leaf drop.  Cultivars of this species are used as a specimen, filler, screen, or hedge. It has been shown by NASA to remove indoor air pollutants.  It will survive under low light conditions for 2-3 years. 

Keep in bright to moderate filtered light indoors. It thrives in lower light level situations: direct sun can burn the foliage, but if light levels are too low, the leaves will narrow. Keep the soil moist during the growing season but cut back on the water in the winter. Plant in average bagged potting soil and in a pot with drainage holes. Place a saucer beneath the plant to collect water and then discard any that accumulates. Repot when the plant starts to lift or sends roots out the drainage hole.  Leaves can turn brown at the tips if indoor humidity is too low.  Mist the leaves to prevent this especially in the winter when the heat is on.  Keep the temperature above 50 degrees F if possible.  They thrive in temperatures of 70-80 degrees F. 

Corn plant is the most variable of three commonly cultivated dragon palms due to having a broader cultivar selection.  It can be distinguished from the other two by the medium-width leaves, commonly between 1-2.5". 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: It is susceptible to thrips and mealybugs. It is sensitive to fluorides and built-up salts so if leaves turn brown try watering with non-fluorinated water and flush salts monthly. 

Family name previously Agavaceae.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Indoor shrub with spirally arranged leaves
  • Leaves linear-lanceolate, 1-2" wide
  • Leaves USUALLY have 1-2 central yellow or white stripes

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bausei'
    Leaves have central white band.
  • 'Compacta'
    Does well indoors
  • 'Janet Craig'
    All-green leaved cultivar.
  • 'Mass Cane'
  • 'Variegated Warneckii'
    Leaves are variegated with yellowish to cream stripes.
  • 'Warneckii'
    Leaves are variegated with 2 white stripes
'Bausei', 'Compacta', 'Janet Craig', 'Mass Cane', 'Variegated Warneckii', 'Warneckii'
Tags:
#fragrant flowers#houseplant#slow growing#shade garden#showy leaves#low light#interiorscape#air pollution tolerant#glossy leaves#striped leaves#exotic looking#fantz#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-h#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#tropical#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bausei'
    Leaves have central white band.
  • 'Compacta'
    Does well indoors
  • 'Janet Craig'
    All-green leaved cultivar.
  • 'Mass Cane'
  • 'Variegated Warneckii'
    Leaves are variegated with yellowish to cream stripes.
  • 'Warneckii'
    Leaves are variegated with 2 white stripes
'Bausei', 'Compacta', 'Janet Craig', 'Mass Cane', 'Variegated Warneckii', 'Warneckii'
Tags:
#fragrant flowers#houseplant#slow growing#shade garden#showy leaves#low light#interiorscape#air pollution tolerant#glossy leaves#striped leaves#exotic looking#fantz#problem for cats#ebh#ebh-h#problem for dogs#problem for horses#tropical feel#tropical#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dracaena
    Species:
    fragrans
    Family:
    Asparagaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical Africa
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-trunked
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a small orange-red berry. Rarely blooms or fruits as a house plant.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers appear in panicles 6–60 in. long. Individual flowers are an inch in diameter, with a six-lobed corolla, starting out as pink, opening white with a fine red or purple central line on each of the lobes. The flowers are highly fragrant. Rarely blooms as a house plant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are glossy green and can be variegated with white or yellow. They grow 2-3 ft long, 8-48 in long, and 3-5 in wide. Leaves droop as they get longer. Crowded, arranged spirally, sessile, clasping to sheathing, simple, linear-lanceolate, acute, entire, prominent midrib, all green or with medial yellow or white stripe(s). Looks similar to corn leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Unbranched, woody stem
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Pollution
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses