Dracaena Colorama Care and Propagation Guide

The Dracaena Colorama is also called the Dracaena Marginata Colorama. It is a large, beautiful, durable plant that is low maintenance.

It is best known for its variegated leaves that feature pink, red and green leaves.

The plant grows on a sturdy stem and has an upright growth habit.

How do you care for the Dracaena Colorama? Keep the plant in medium indirect, filtered or dappled light. Avoid direct sunlight.

It adapts very well to homes and offices because it has no issues with low light. It will likewise grow well in fluorescent and grow lights.

The plant needs a good amount of space to grow tall and spread its leaves.

Dracaena Colorama Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Dracaena Colorama thrives in medium indirect light. Ideally, it prefers natural light from the sun. However, it will tolerate artificial lighting as well if your home does not have lots of access to the sun.

You can use fluorescent or LED grow lights.

Both of these work well which is why it is easy to grow the plant in homes and office environments.

If you notice that the leaves don’t have as bright or vibrant color, you can move the plant to bright, indirect, filtered or dappled light as well.

However, be careful with very strong, intense light.

In most cases, try to keep the plant away from direct sunlight especially that during the middle of the day. This is too harsh for the plant.

And as a result, its leaves can burn. Even if they don’t, you’ll see them get discolored and become dry.

As such, if you keep the plant in a bright or sunny room try to position it away from the sun’s rays.

On the other hand, while the Dracaena Colorama can tolerate low light, this is not ideal for growth. If you notice pale colored leaves or slower growth it is likely the plant is not getting enough light.

Similarly, fewer leaves and smaller foliage are a sign that it needs more light.

Outdoors, partial shade is ideal.  Try to avoid full sun.

Instead, the plant prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. This is because the morning sun is gentler while the afternoon sun is very intense.

 

Temperature

The Dracaena Colorama prefers temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It enjoys moderate to warm environments that stay fairly consistently all year round.

That’s because it is accustomed to tropical and sub-tropical conditions.

As such, it enjoys growing in the outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. In these locations, the weather stays sunny all year long. And the temperature is often moderate to warm which the plant likes.

The good news is that the Dracaena Colorama fits right in with most homes thanks to its temperature preference.

This makes it easy to grow indoors in addition to its medium light needs.

However, try to keep the plant away from anything cold.

It dislikes low temperature. In fact, try to avoid anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Indoors, this means keeping it away from air conditioners and cold drafts. Always check what the temperature is in your home during winter as well.

Outdoors, its temperature tolerance can be a problem if you live anywhere with winters.

In most cases, the plant is best grown indoors as a houseplant. However, you can take it outside during the warmer months.

The key is to bring it back indoors once things get colder by around mid-fall or so.

Don’t leave the Dracaena Colorama outdoors during winter as it will not live to see the spring.

 

Humidity

High humidity is another common feature of tropical and subtropical climates. As such, the plant favors these conditions.

And it will be happiest if you keep it in humidity of 60% and 80%.

However, it has no problems growing in average humidity as well. Thus, this makes it easier to grow in most homes.

That said, keep in mind that some nurseries or garden centers will keep the plants they sell in greenhouses.

As such, these plants will be used to high humidity.

So, if your home has average humidity, it may suffer in the short term.

Thus, it is always a good idea to ask the nursery or garden center what their growing environment is. This way you can acclimate the plant gradually when you get home.

The biggest thing to look out for when humidity is the plant’s leaves.

If you see its leaves turn brown on the edges and tips or they become dry and crispy, it means the plant needs more humidity.

This is your cue to help it out by misting the plant or setting up a humidifier.

You can likewise go with a pebble tray which is not only hands-off but also cheap (in most cases free) to DIY at home.

 

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How Often to Water Dracaena Colorama

The Dracaena Colorama has average to slightly low watering needs. Note that it is not drought tolerant. So, don’t let the soil dry out completely.

On the other hand, avoid watering it too much as well.

In most cases, overwatering or underwatering are the main causes of problems.

Therefore, pay special attention to this especially when you’re getting to know the plant.

In general, the Dracaena Colorama needs watering once every 1 to 2 weeks.

Although, this frequency changes based on the time of year. During the summer, you’ll need to water more regularly as the soil dries faster.

In the winter, scale back of water considerably as the soil takes much longer to dry.

Because of this the best way to know when to water the Dracaena Colorama is to check the soil.

Allow the top 2 to 4 inches of soil to dry between waterings. I like to keep this as the minimum to prevent overwatering which can lead to root rot.

If you want to be more conservative, you can likewise wait until the top 50% to 75% of soil has dried before you add water.

Anything in between will work as well.

The key is not to water the plant before the minimum level.

At the same time, don’t let the entire root ball go completely dry either.

For former will increase the risk of overwatering while the latter ups the possibility of underwatering.

Once it is time to water the plant, give it plenty of moisture by soaking the root ball. Then let the excess liquid completely drain after.

This will give the roots all the hydration they want. Then drain the excess water.

In addition to checking the soil, observing the color and texture of the leaves will also help you know if there’s a watering issue.

Brown leaves means the plant is getting too much water. In contrast, yellow leaves usually indicate dehydration.

The last thing to keep in mind is that the Dracaena Colorama is sensitive to highly mineralized water.

This means that if your tap water is high in chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals, the leaves can turn yellow or brown as well.

Therefore, if you’ve checked all the other possibilities and you cannot figure out why there’s leaf discoloration, consider tap water quality.

You can check this by using filtered water, distilled water or rainwater.

You can also let the tap water sit in room temperature for at least overnight before watering the plant. The time will allow the excess chemicals to evaporate away.

 

Dracaena Colorama Potting Soil

The Dracaena Colorama will do well in regular potting soil. Although, it will grow best in well-draining soil or a 1:1 mix of peat moss and loamy soil.

Good drainage will help keep the roots in moist soil that does not stay too wet.

It also appreciates soil pH between 6.0 to 7.0 which will allow the plant to efficiently absorb the nutrients from the soil.

If you prefer something simple and easy to create, you can use this soil mix instead:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part perlite

You can also substitute perlite with pumice if that’s what you have on hand.

I also like to add a 1/4” layer of worm compost on top to give the plant some natural slow-release nutrients.

Since both overwatering and underwatering are problems for the plant, you want to stay away from:

  • Heavy, dense, compacted or water-retentive soils
  • Very sandy or very fast draining soils

The former will retain lots of water. In this case, too much for the Dracaena Colorama. On the other hand, the latter will drain too much water too quickly leaving the plant underwatered.

Finally, make sure the pot you use for the plant has drainage holes.

This way, any excess liquid can drip out of the pot instead of buildup at the bottom of the container which will keep the soil wet.

 

Fertilizer

The Dracaena Colorama is not a heavy feeder. Therefore, avoid the temptation of giving it a lot of plant food.

It can be easy to overfeed the plant.

Unfortunately, doing so can result in fertilizer burn which will damage the leaves as well as the roots.

Instead, feed the plant every 2 to 4 weeks during its growing season (spring and summer). Dilute the dose by half strength and stop around early to mid-fall.

It does not need fertilizer during winter as its growth will slow down.

Also, make sure the soil is moist when you add fertilizer. Never feed the plant when the soil id dry.

It is also a good idea to ask the seller when you buy the plant whether they’ve added fertilizer to the soil. If they did, they will tell you how long before you should start feeding the plant.

This way you don’t double the dose by applying plant food when the soil already has fertilizer for the first 3 or 6 months.

 

Pruning

The Dracaena Colorama grows vertically and has an upright growth habit. In its native habitat, it can reach as tall at 15 to 20 feet tall.

It will also get quite wide reaching anywhere between 3 to 10 feet from side to side.

However, indoors, it won’t grow as big when kept in pots.

Still, the plant can reach between 6 to 8 feet high if you just let it grow out.

Thus, in most cases, growers and home gardeners will prune the top off to limit its size to less than 6 feet high.

Additionally, they will also trim its leaves to keep them from taking up too much space.

As such, while the plant is a slow grower, you’ll still need to prune it as it gets big. How much and how often will depend on the size and shape you’re going for.

That said, compared to other Dracaena plants, won’t suddenly surprise you with growth spurts. The color of its leaves means it does not have as much chlorophyll.

So, this keeps its growth rate in check.

In addition to pruning for height and shape, it is also a good idea to clean after the plant.

Whenever you see old leaves turn yellow or brown, it is time to prune them. These are easy to spot at the bottom of the plant.

Also, if any leaves drop or fall off, remove them.

You don’t want to leave them there to decay as they will attract pests.

 

How to Propagate Dracaena Colorama

The Dracaena Colorama is easy to propagate from stem cuttings. This lets you grow new plants from the one you have at home.

You can use the cuttings your pruned or you can make new cuttings at any time.

Although, the best time to propagate the plant is during spring to early summer.

The most important thing is to make sure each cutting hast at least 2 nodes with it. Then remove the lower leaves.

Plant the cuttings into a pot filled with well-draining soil.

Then keep the soil moist while leaving the pot in medium indirect light.

Alternatively, you can propagate the Dracaena Colorama in water as well.

Here, fill a jar with water and place the cuttings in the liquid. Submerge the nodes in the water as this will allow them to root after a few weeks.

The goal is to wait until the new roots are at least an inch long or more.

Then you can move the cuttings from the jar of water into a pot filled with soil.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Dracaena Colorama

The Dracaena Colorama only needs repotting every 2 or so years. Wait until it has become root bound before you repot.

Avoid doing so when not needed.

When the time comes to repot, go up one container size. Avoid overpotting the plant as this increases the risk of overwatering.

You can keep increasing the size of the container each time the plant gets root bound.

Once it reaches its desired height, you can stop to control the growth.

Increasing its pot size is like telling the plant’s root system you can keep growing. As such, it will happily keep extending its roots as the plant gets bigger.

In addition to going up one pot size, use a container with adequate drainage holes. This ensures that the excess moisture can exit the pot.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Dracaena Colorama is toxic to both humans and animals. Thus, keep it away from young children as well as cats and dogs.

If they happen to ingest any part of the plant, call your pediatrician or veterinarian whichever the case may be.

The plant can cause vomiting, irritation, drooling and other side effects.

 

Dracaena Colorama Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Dracaena Colorama can experience pest problems. Although, this is not a common occurrence, you still need to be on a lookout for them.

Spider mites, scale, thrips and mealybugs are among the most common pests that will attack the plant.

As such, you want to regularly inspect for these bugs and treat them immediately if you spot any. They tend to multiply fairly quickly so they will grow in number fast.

 

Diseases

The plant is prone to root rot. This becomes a problem when the plant becomes overwatered.

Therefore, it is always important to allow part of the soil to dry between waterings. Additionally, use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.

However, it is fairly resistant to bacterial and fungal infections.

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