Dracaena Compacta Care

Placement

PRO TIP: The Dracaena Compacta does particularly well with a regular watering schedule. Check in with the soil frequently until you find a frequency that works for your plant in its particular environment.

Native to southeast Africa, the Dracaena Compacta — also known as the Dracaena Janet Craig — is an elegant, slim, low maintenance tree similar to the other members of its family. Its tufty foliage is tighter than its counsins', as its name would suggest, making it an excellent addition to corner spaces. These plants are slow growers and therefore ideal if you are looking for a tree of a particular size and shape, as it is unlikely to quickly outgrow the form you buy it in.

Place your Dracaena where it will receive medium to bright indirect light and avoid extended periods of direct sun. It can tolerate the lower end of moderate light spaces but watering will need to be reduced.

If you are unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office, read our guide for how to measure light in your space.

 

Dracaena Compacta Leaf Close Up

The Dracaena Compacta is a tightly groomed plant, and will require regular shaping to keep its unique form.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: Dracaena trees are sensitive to salts, minerals, and chlorine in tap water. Let the water sit for 24 hours in a bucket or your watering can before giving it to the plant. This will allow for some of the unwanted materials to evaporate.

Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.

Dracaena trees prefer the soil to dry between waterings, but not completely through the pot. Typically, watering every 10-14 days will keep the soil with a nice even level of moisture. You never want the soil to be soggy as this plant can be prone to root rot, however allowing the soil to get bone dry will result in brown tips on the plant's leaves. It’s a delicate balance, but once you fall into a routine, the Dracaena Compacta will react well to regular waterings. The Dracaena also appreciates a humid environment, and will appreciate a humidifier, pebble tray, or regular misting.

Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Dracaena Compacta and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and size of the vessel play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants potted with drainage, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plant's watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for your plant’s specific moisture requirements. 

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir first in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks. Then the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! My Dracaena has dropped a few leaves!

  • Don’t sweat it! The Dracaena will drop leaves as part of its pattern of growth throughout the year. However, if the leaf drop becomes persistent it’s important to assess your plant’s light and water conditions.

My Dracaena has brown tips and discoloration. What do I do?

  • This is most often a sign of overwatering. Feel the soil with your finger; if it is moist allow the soil to completely dry out before you water the plant again, and pull back on the amount of water you are giving the plant.

My Dracaena is developing many yellow leaves that are drying out and dropping.

  • This is typically a sign of underwatering. Adjust the watering routine by either watering slightly more frequently, or by applying heavier waterings at the same interval.

How do I tell when my Dracaena needs water?

  • The easiest way to tell if your Dracaena needs water is to feel the soil. If the soil is still moist ½ of the way down, then you shouldn’t water the plant. Only water when the soil is dry almost all the way through the pot.

How much light does my Dracaena Compacta need?

  • Dracaena Compactas are often considered to be low light tolerant plants but can’t thrive in extremely low light situations. In general, it’s good to have your plant within a few feet of a window facing south, east, or west. Monitor your plant for signs of leaf drop or scorching and adjust its location as needed.

Can I put my Dracaena next to the AC / heater?

  • We wouldn’t recommend it. Although these plants don’t like to be very wet, they do like humidity in the air around them. When conditions are too dry they will drop their leaves. If the plant is wagging from the air circulation, it’s best to find another spot.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.

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