Dracaena Fragrans

Dracaena Corn Plant

The dracaena corn plant (botanical name: dracaena fragrans massangeana) is a well known indoor plant which is grown in many homes and offices within the US, UK and Europe.

There are a few dracaena fragrans varieties that display different types of leaves such as the massangeana, lindenii and victoria. The one with the common name corn plant or cornstalk is the massangeana.



Picture of dracaena corn plant

If your a grower needing a plant for a center piece in a room or a focal point, this is one of those types of species which looks the part. Once it begins to mature and grows over 4 feet in height it makes an ideal office or hotel plant and looks the business in large living rooms and hallways.

What's great about growing a corn plant as well as how attractive they look is they're fairly easy to care for and maintain - like many other dracaena plants.

How it looks: This plant grows with one or more canes (stems) and then produces new stems and a crown of leaves near the top of the cane. These canes can grow up to 6 ft or more indoors or they can be cut at the top as soon as they reach a suitable height.

The most popular types of leaves on the D.fragrans can be green on the outer edge and yellow in the center (D. fragrans massangeana), or yellow and green striped edges with green in the center (D. fragrans lindenni). The broad and glossy lanceolate leaves arch over and sit nicely within a rosette.

Flowering: The corn plant produces fragrant flowers in it's natural habitat, but it's not likely to bloom indoors - although they can. It's the foliage that's the real attraction for this plant.

Removing toxins: The dracaena fragrans was a plant used in the NASA's clean air study which proved to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the environment.

Easy to grow: The corn plant is fairly easy to grow and quite tolerant of neglect (i.e., low light levels and lack of water), although it will start looking unattractive when neglected. The worst thing's to do with this plant is over water it or let it stay in direct sunlight for too long, otherwise it's a tough cookie.


Origin: Africa.
Names: Corn or cornstalk plant (common). -- Dracaena fragrans (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): Height 6ft and more indoors.
Poisionous for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs.

close up of leaves

Corn Plant Care

Temperature: Temperatures from 60°F (15°C) - 75°F (24°C) are ideal. Under 55°F/12°C is going to harm the plant which may become noticeable if the leaves begin curling. Try and avoid the plant being near cold drafts, which will also cause harm.
Light: A good mix of sun shine and shade is ideal for this dracaena, but hardly any direct sunlight. Although it grows quicker and better in bright light you'll also find it survives and grows well enough in low light conditions.
Watering: I would advise a grower to keep the soil slightly damp to the touch and in the winter slightly dry.
Soil: Most well draining potting soil mix types are fine to use.
Fertilizer: From April until September use a liquid fertilizer that's diluted - once every 2 - 3 weeks, whilst it's growing.
Re-Potting: I would suggest re-potting once very 2 -3 years and a pot one size bigger if it's becoming terribly pot bound. Slightly pot bound is fine.
Humidity: Normal room humidity is fine.
Propagation: These are quite easy to propagate from stem tip cuttings, best done in spring or summer. You can also cut a new or old rosette and re-plant it. After replanting keep the soil moist and mist the leaves which will encourage the plant to grow. A tall plant can be propagated using the air layering method.
Pruning: You will find the lower leaves on this plant turn yellow after a period of time which is normal, and the leaves on this plant only have a life span of 2 - 3 years anyway. Remove the lower leaves when they begin to yellow. You can also cut the top of a cane (stem) when it has reached the height you wish it to grow up to and re-plant the cutting.

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