Grown for their handsome, colourful foliage, dracaenas need a temperature of 16°C. (60°F.) or more from April to September, and 13 to 16°C. (55 to 60°F.) from October to March. They thrive in a hot, humid atmosphere. Dracaena terminalis is more correctly called Cordyline terminalis – the two families are rather confused and it has numerous varieties with foliage variously tinged rose, green and white. D. fragrans victoriae is even more show}’ with handsome green and cream striped leaves. D. godseffiana Florida Beauty is a trailing variety with green leaves speckled with white. As dracaenas age they tend to lose their lower leaves and if young plants are propagated each year these can take their place. Propagation
There are several ways of increasing dracaenas. Some kinds can be raised from seed but special forms or varieties must be propagated from cuttings. Pieces of stem can be cut into 1 -in. lengths and if these are placed in a warm, moist propagating frame in sandy. Peatydormant buds will soon develop to form new plants. Another method is to take root cuttings or ‘toes’ from the plants.
These are cut off with a sharp knife and placed in small pots containing sandy potting soil. The best time for taking these cuttings is in spring and summer, and in a warm propagating frame new growth soon forms.
The young plants are moved first to 3-in. pots filled with John Innes No. 1 Potting Compost and they should be kept in the warmest part of the greenhouse until they are growing away well. Later, they can be potted on into 5- or 6-in. pots. After taking root cuttings, the old plants must be repotted. Use the same sized pots and John Innes No. 2 Potting Compost which should be well firmed round the roots.
Syringing and Shading
During hot weather the plants benefit if they are syringed overhead. Rain water is best for this purpose as hard tap water will mark the foliage. The leaves are particularly susceptible to damage in the winter and they should not be sprayed overhead at that time. Sponging of the leaves is necessary to keep them healthy and to bring out their full beauty. The variegated kinds need good light but shade should be given from strong sunshine.
Watering and Feeding
Once the plants have filled their pots with roots, water should be given liberally and regular feeds of liquid fertiliser supplied.
The dracaenas are nowadays used as house plants but, as already pointed out, they have rather exacting temperature and atmospheric requirements and it is as well to remember this when considering them for house display.