Dracaena compacta plant of the Asparagaceae family is one of the best indoor houseplant because its lean shape and compact foliage makes it ideal for decorating corners. This plant needs only a minimum amount of care and will even continue to grow in low light.
Carry on reading our guide below to learn the art of looking after this Dracaena genus plant in the most time and energy-efficient manner possible.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- What Is Dracaena Compacta?
- Dracaena Compacta Care
- Light Requirements
- Water Requirements
- Soil Requirements
- Temperature Requirements
- Humidity Requirements
- Fertilizing Requirements
What Is Dracaena Compacta?
Dracaena compacta is an indoor plant species native to Africa that is sought-after due to its slim growth, compact foliage, and the ability to grow and thrive with the minimum care provided. It is also slow-growing and you will not need to repot it very often.
Dracaena Compacta Care
Care for indoor Dracaena compacta by putting it under indirect bright light and water it deeply when the soil becomes three-fourths of the way dry. Maintain high temperatures, 25 percent humidity, and fertilize only once or twice each year. Continue reading for the in-depth details of this plant’s care.
This plant needs bright indirect light for most of the day, so make sure to keep it in a brightly-lit room and not in dark and dusty corners.
– Growing Dracaena Indoors
Dracaena compacta needs bright but indirect light to grow and thrive. Keeping them indoors in a brightly-lit room with windows is the right choice. Don’t put them under direct light as they are quite sensitive and prone to getting sun-scorched.
Find out which windows are the most ideal placement for this plant in this section.
– Western-facing Window
The western-facing window is ideal during summer because it lets in direct sunlight only for a couple of hours of the morning. For the rest of the day, only indirect light comes through the western-side window and you can safely place your plant near it.
– Eastern-facing Window
The eastern-facing window is quite similar to the western-facing one as it, too, receives direct sunlight for three to four hours each morning and indirect light for the rest of the day.
– Southern-facing Window
In the winters, you can also keep Dracaena compacta near the southern-facing window which lets in relatively harsher light. However, take note that during summer, your plant would not tolerate being put near this window.
– Growing Dracaena in Fluorescent Lighting
Artificial grow lights for plants allow you to keep these plants in windowless rooms such as basements. In fact, these lights might be better than natural light since they provide your plant with consistent levels of light all the time.
We strongly suggest that you invest in fluorescent lights and install them on top of your plants. Keep these lights on for at least 8 hours each day. LED lights are another more cost-efficient option that you can employ.
– Growing Dracaena in Low Light
Dracaena compacta is an easy-going plant that will survive being put under very low levels of light as well. But keep in mind that in such a case, its growth will be very slow and just the bare minimum. Its leaves will also turn yellow and start wilting.
Give ample amounts of water whenever the soil becomes three-quarters of the way dry.
– When To Water
Water this plant whenever its soil becomes dry about three-quarters from the top. The Dracaena compacta plant is generally drought-resistant, meaning that it doesn’t need to be watered very often. In fact, you will need to water it regularly only during the hot, dry summer months from March until August.
– How To Check
You can check how dry the soil is by putting a stick inside and then checking its condition when it comes out. If it comes out moist with soil, then the plant is definitely not ready for more water. If it comes out completely dry three-quarters of the way, only then should you water the plant again.
You can also use a pencil instead of a stick. Our favorite gadget for this purpose is the moisture meter. It is a bit expensive, but when inserted into the soil will accurately tell you how moist your soil is. You can then determine when to water the plant next.
– How To Water
This plant likes to be watered deeply. This means that you should use a large amount of water each time. Pour water on the soil and not the plant. Your plant would become susceptible to rot if it is drenched in water each time.
Keep pouring the water slowly and steadily until liquid starts coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom. Allow some time so that the draining water accumulates in a tray under the pot, then remove this tray. If you let your pot stay on top of this water-filled tray, then this can cause root rot to develop as well.
– What Type of Water
Using either distilled or pure, filtered water is highly recommended for Dracaena plants as common tap water often contains chemicals and minerals that turn the leaves of the plant brown.
Has your municipal tap water been checked from a laboratory? If the report says it’s safe for plant use, then go ahead and us that, otherwise distilled water is your safest bet.
Your Dracaena plant needs soil that is loose and allows air and water to pass easily through it while also giving the roots adequate space to grow. It should also be full of nutrient-rich organic content, which tends to retain moisture for a long time.
Take an ordinary potting mix and add 50 percent organic substance to it like peat or sphagnum moss. Also, add perlite or pieces of bark to improve drainage. Your soil should have a pH of around 6 to 7, so mix these ingredients in an appropriate proportion.
Dracaena compacta is a plant that needs approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit temperature during the day. At night, its temperature requirements are above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
While it will tolerate minor exposure to cold temperatures, never allow this plant to experience temperatures below 54 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. As they are not frost-hardy, they will undergo shock under these circumstances, where their leaves will turn yellow and start falling off.
Keep them away from open windows and cold drafts from vents and air-conditioning units, especially during winters.
This plant needs at least 25 percent humidity levels at all times in order to grow properly. Usually, this much humidity is present in most of our houses. Simply put this plant in the kitchen or the bathroom and they will receive 25 percent humidity.
– Maintaining Humidity During Winter
During wintertime, most indoor Dracaena compacta plants undergo stress because their humidity requirements are not being fulfilled properly. While maintaining heat during winters, a lot of indoor rooms become too dry for this plant to handle.
Learn how to increase humidity indoors during winter below:
- Place a pebble tray under the pot and fill it with water. The evaporating water will improve the humidity around your plant. Make sure that water doesn’t touch your pot though, as this will lead to the development of root rot.
- Mist the plant lightly every three or four days. You can also wipe their leaves with a damp cloth instead of misting them.
- A humidifier is the easiest method of maintaining the humidity levels of your choice. This device will let you know the humidity levels in your room and will help you maintain the proper environment for your plants.
The Dracaena plants really don’t need to be fed much. Find out some important tips regarding fertilizing this plant below.
– When to Fertilize Dracaena Compacta
Only fertilize this plant at most twice a year at the beginning of spring and summer. Never fertilize this plant in the winter as it might suffer from severe fertilizer burn.
– How to Fertilize Dracaena Compacta
Always water the plant and its roots thoroughly before fertilizing. This is a preventative measure to save the plant from getting burned. When using liquid fertilizer, always dilute it to half or one-quarter of its original strength.
It is better to use slow-release fertilizers in pellet form. Simply bury these pellets in the soil around the plant once or twice a year.
It is important to help the Dracaena compacta plant maintain its shape and develop new growths by pruning it regularly. Remove old and dead leaves during the warm months of spring so the plant can use its energy for the new growths. New leaves will grow from these pruned areas, making the plant look extra bushy and healthy.
You can propagate dracaena compacta by using both tip and stem cuttings in either water or soil as a medium. Check out the section below to see how this can be done successfully.
– Tip Cuttings
Cut the tip of your stem until just below the leaf line. Your cutting should have at least two to three leaf nodes in it. Take a transparent jar and fill it with clean water. Place your cutting in this jar and put it under a partially-shaded location.
In a couple of weeks, tiny new roots will begin to grow from the cuttings. Don’t forget to change the water every week. When these roots grow to be a few inches long, take your tiny plant out and pot it in the soil.
– Stem Cuttings
Take sharp gardening shears and use it to cut a piece of stem that is at least 8 inches long. It should also have two or three leaf nodes in it. Apply rooting hormones to your stem cuttings as this helps promote root growth.
Make a loose and well-draining soil and fill a pot with it. Moisten the soil adequately before planting the new stem cuttings. Bury your cutting into this soil, but remember that one or two leaf nodes should be inside the soil so that new roots will grow from them.
Place the pot in a partially-shaded location. You can also cover it with a transparent plastic sheet to increase humidity. In a few weeks, you will see new leaves and roots growing from your plant.
– Growth Rate
Dracaena compacta plants are an overall slow-growing plant that grows at a maximum rate of 4 inches per year. If cared for properly, it can grow up to become 3 to 6 feet tall. Its leaves are present in a circular arrangement and they grow to a length of 2 to 5 inches each.
The most common problems you might face with this plant are fungal diseases and pests. In this section, we’ll be talking about some of these problems and what you can do about them.
The two most common diseases of the Dracaena compacta plant are leaf spot and root rot disease. Both of these diseases are harmful to the plant and can eventually cause death, so make sure to immediately do something about it upon diagnosis.
– Fusarium Leaf Spot
This is a common disease of the Dracaena plant that occurs mainly when the plant is exposed to unnecessarily high levels of temperature and humidity. Repotting the plant in recycled soil that was previously infected will also cause it to get infected. You will see yellow and brown spots appearing on the leaves.
– How To Treat Leaf Spot
Here is a handy guide to use when your plant develops this disease:
- Use a mixture of ethanol and water and spray it on the affected leaves.
- Prune the most severely damaged leaves.
- You can also spray fungicide on the affected plant every couple of days for a few weeks.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a fungal infection most commonly occurring in plants that cannot tolerate being overwatered. Brownish-black and moist rot spots will appear on the leaves and stem. It is moderately progressive and will kill your plant if not treated in time.
What Causes Root Rot?
Soil that is constantly moist and waterlogged will lead to the proliferation of the fungi that causes root rot. These conditions can be a result of watering this plant too frequently even when the soil hasn’t begun to dry out.
Sometimes, your watering schedule is normal but the drainage of the soil is poor. Poor soil drainage results when the soil is too compact and made up of more than the normal amount of clay. Poor drainage also occurs when the drainage of your pot isn’t adequate enough.
– How To Treat Root Rot
Take the whole plant out of the pot; don’t forget to loosen the soil around the roots first. Wash the roots to remove all the soil attached to them. Discard the old soil and the pot — these are already infected and cannot be of any other use.
Inspect the entire plant carefully. Using sharp gardening shears, remove all the decaying parts of the roots, stem and leaves. Repot the plant in fresh soil that is well-aerated and loose in a new pot.
Treat with a strong fungicide for a few weeks afterward. Make sure to improve the watering and drainage of your plant from now on.
Thrips and mealybugs are the two bugs that affect this plant a lot. Learn about both in detail below.
Thrips are tiny, black-colored insects that often attack the Dracaena plant. These are very small in size and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Not only do they carry viruses that might harm your plant, but they also suck the nutrient-filled sap from your plants. Consequently, your plant becomes weaker and eventually starts dying.
– Signs of a Thrips Infestation
Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect that your plant has these bugs:
- Initially small, white patches of silvery streaks might appear on the leaves of the affected plant.
- Sometimes, whole leaves start turning yellow and then begin falling off.
- Over time, these insects cause stunted growth and the development of poor-quality foliage.
– How To Treat Thrips
Wash the entire plant with insecticidal soap and water every three days to get rid of them. Apply neem oil using a Q-tip on the leaves. You can also spray this oil on the affected plant. Neem oil is a great natural insecticide agent.
You can also use insecticidal spray directly on the plant. Always use a mild one so that its harsh chemicals don’t negatively impact your plant. Another natural method is to introduce products that cause harm to thrips such as diatomaceous earth.
Mealybugs are another nuisance that you might face attacking the Dracaena compacta plant. They are small, oval and flat insects that are white in color. They also suck the nutrients out of your plant and weaken it.
– Signs of a Mealybug Infestation
On close inspection, you will be able to see puncture wounds on the leaves. Mealybugs leave behind a sticky substance on the leaves called honeydew, which you can both see and touch. This honeydew further attracts fungus and other pests to your plant.
In the advanced stages of the infestation, the Dracaena compacta leaves will turn yellow and might even start to drop.
– How To Treat a Mealybugs Infestation
Here are some steps to follow if you find your plant facing a mealybugs infestation:
- Wash With Water and Soap
The most important thing to do is to wash your plant thoroughly with soap and water. Use a soap with good insecticidal properties. This will not only remove these pests physically but also kill their larvae.
- Apply Water and Milk
Mix milk with water in a proportion of 20 to 80. This mixture is also a pretty effective as well as a natural method of getting rid of mealybugs.
- Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is another natural product that can effectively remove mealybugs. It is easily available in the market these days. Use a Q-tip to apply it to the affected leaves and to the colonies of mealybugs hiding under leaves and stem sheaths.
- Use Castor Oil
Castor oil, when applied directly to mealybugs using a cotton pad or a Q-tip, will also suffocate and kill them.
- Spray an Insecticide
A strong insecticidal spray will get rid of these bugs within days. However, take note that most of the sprays available in the market are too harsh on the chemicals and might negatively impact your plant as well.
Should I cut the brown tips off my Dracaena Compacta?
Yes, cutting brown tips from Dracaena Compacta is recommended for aesthetic reasons, and to prevent potential disease spread.
Can I use bottled water for my Dracaena Compacta?
Yes, using bottled water is fine for Dracaena Compacta, but letting it sit for 24 hours first allows chemicals to dissipate.
Can Dracaena Compacta survive in low light?
Yes, Dracaena Compacta can survive in low light, but it may grow slower and require less water. Place near a north-facing window.
Dracaena compacta plants are beautiful and easy to care for, which is why they are sought-after and loved by both beginner and expert gardening hobbyists.
Now that you have a clear idea of their care and propagation requirements, let’s have a brief recap of the information we learned above:
- The Dracaena compacta plant needs bright indirect light to grow and thrive. Keep them in a room lit by an eastern or western-facing window in the summer and a southern-facing window in the winter.
- Give this plant distilled and filtered water. Wait for the soil to become ¾ of the way dry and then give ample water. Your soil should have 50 percent organic levels in it. The ideal soil pH is 6 to 7, and it should also be loose and well-draining.
- The Dracaena compacta plant can be propagated using an eight-inch stem cutting as well as stem tip cuttings. Both water and soil propagation work initially but later on you will have to plant this in a pot.
- This plant has a moderate growth rate and grows by 4 inches each year if provided with the ideal warm temperatures and more than 25 percent humidity.
- Overwatering this plant and poor drainage will cause it to develop root rot, while very high temperatures and humidity will predispose this plant to a disease called leaf spot. These diseases can be treated with ethanol and fungicide.
The Dracaena compacta plant is very easy to grow and care for. You simply have to make sure it receives adequate sunlight, water and temperature levels for it to grow to its full potential.