How to Care for Dracaena Florida Beauty

The Dracaena Florida Beauty is also called the Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty and the Japanese Bamboo.

It is a lovely plant that features green leaves with lots of yellow spots.

The spots make an amazing pattern covering majority of the plant’s leaves.

It is native to West Africa an is accustomed to tropical and subtropical climates.

How do you care for the Dracaena Florida Beauty? The plant needs plenty of light to thrive. It does best in medium indirect or filtered light.

It will also do well in low light while still maintaining is yellow colored spots.

The plant is low maintenance making it easy to care for. But never overwater it as it is prone to root rot.

Dracaena Florida Beauty Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Dracaena Florida Beauty thrives in medium light indoors. It needs a plenty of light to thrive.

But the one unique thing is shares with many other Dracaena plants is that it does not need a bright or very bright light to maintain its lovely variegations.

Instead, it will do very well in medium light and will tolerate low light as well.

This is something that many variegated plants in other genera won’t be able to do.

Instead, if you leave them is average or low light, you’ll see their variegations fade and become more green in color.

Similarly, any location in your home with dappled or diffused light will work just as well.

Outdoors, partial shade or semi-shade is best.

An area with dappled shade like under a canopy or a tree will also work with no problems.

However, be careful with very strong or intense light.

This means keeping the plant away from direct sunlight especially during the hottest times of the day. This will scorch its leaves.

And even if the leaves don’t get burned, the harsh light will cause discoloration.

On the other hand, in case you don’t get much light into your home because there isn’t much window access or the sun isn’t coming through the windows, don’t worry.

You can use artificial lighting to keep the plant happy.

Here’s LED grow lights work really well. However, keep in mind that you’ll need at least 12 hours of daily grow light exposure for the plant to thrive.

You don’t need nearly as much with natural sunlight as the plant will do very well with at least 4-6 hours of this on a daily basis.

The other thing about grow lights is that it is important to keep the bulbs far enough from the plant as well.

The bulbs emit heat. And keeping that plant too close will burn its leaves.

I like to keep the grow lights at least 8-12 inches from the plant. Although, I known many growers who use 5-6 inch distances as well.

 

Temperature

The Dracaena Florida Beauty thrives in tropical and sub-tropical climates. It prefers warm conditions that stays fairly consistent all year long.

This is why it grows best outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.

Indoors, its ideal temperature level is between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. And it can tolerate higher temperatures as well.

On the other hand, it can only tolerate a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

This means it is a good idea to keep the plant away from cold environments.

Indoors, this is not a huge problem since most homes have moderate temperatures. Still, there are some pitfalls you want to watch out for in your home.

The temperature can drop significantly during winter. Also, some areas have significantly lower nighttime temperatures compared to daytime conditions.

Air conditioners or open windows with cold drafts should be avoided as well.

Outdoors, the plant is at the mercy of nature.

This means that if you live areas with winter climates, it is a good idea to bring the Dracaena Florida Beauty indoors before the temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit and below.

Keep in warm indoors and you can take it back outside when the temperatures starts to rise again around the middle of spring.

 

Humidity

The Dracaena Florida Beauty has an ideal humidity of 60% to 80%. This is the range at which the plant will thrive.

As such, if you can place it in these conditions, it will grow faster, produce more foliage and maintain more lush leaves and colors.

The good news is that the Dracaena Florida Beauty will do well in average room humidity as well.

Therefore, if your home or where you live does not get high humidity, it is not a problem growing the plant.

In most cases, you won’t have any moisture problems indoors.

The only exception is if you live somewhere with very dry air.

In this case, it is a good idea to monitor the plant’s leaves. As long as they stay healthy and maintain their color, then there is no problem.

The plant itself should look healthy as well.

However, if you notice brown leaf edges and tips or crisping in the margins, this is sign that the leaves are getting dry and will turn brittle.

It is a sign that they are not getting enough humidity.

So, you need to help the plant out.

Similarly, be careful about air conditioners and heaters. While your home’s humidity may be fine for the plant, once you turn on these appliances they will dry up the air considerably.

Therefore, keep the plant out of rooms where the radiators, heaters or air conditioners will be running.

 

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How Often to Water Dracaena Florida Beauty

The Dracaena Florida Beauty does not need a lot of water. While it has average watering needs, you’re better off allowing it to dry a bit between waterings.

That’s because excess water or watering the plant too often can lead to overwatering and potentially root rot.

Both are harmful for the plant and can even kill it.

Instead, wait until the top 50% to 75% of the soil dries up before you add more water.

This allows a portion of the soil to dry between waterings so avoid too much water or watering too frequently.

Why is this important?

That’s because the too much water will keep the soil wet.

As such, always watch out for wet or soggy soil surface. This is usually a sign that you may be giving the plant too much water or watering it too often.

When there’s excess water, the roots will eventually find themselves swimming in moisture.

The problem here is that water will push out all the air from the soil. As a result, the roots end up suffocating due to the inability to breathe oxygen.

If this lasts too long, the roots will die from suffocation. Then they will rot.

Dead and rotten roots don’t work anymore.

So, the plant ends up not getting as much water or nutrients from the soil.

And the longer the soil stays overwatered, you’ll see more roots get damaged or rot.

If this persists, it will come to a point where the remaining healthy roots cannot support the entire plant anymore. Thus, the plant will weaken, deteriorate and slowly die.

This is why it is important to watch out for too much moisture.

And in addition to checking the soil, it is a good idea to note any changes in the leaves as well.

Wet, mucky soil is a bad thing.

Similarly, brown leaves can mean the plant is being overwatered. On the other hand, yellow leaves can indicate it needs more water.

 

Dracaena Florida Beauty Potting Soil

The Dracaena Florida Beauty needs moist, well-draining soil.

This sounds a bit ironic since the soil is meant to stay moist yet drain, right?

But what it really means is that the soil should be able to retain some water. The goal is to hold enough to keep soil moist but not wet.

At the same time, it should be able to drain excess liquid, so the roots don’t end up sitting in water for long periods of time.

This gives the roots enough moisture to drink and stay hydrated.

But not too much water then they end up drowning in it.

By doing so, the Dracaena Florida Beauty stays healthy.

In contrast, avoid any water-retentive soils. This includes heavy, dense or compacted soils. These will retain too much water that it puts the plant at risk of overwatering and root rot.

On the hands, also stay away from very sandy soils.

This will drain too much liquid too quickly. As a result, the soil dries very fast and the roots will eventually become underwatered.

The good news is that there are many simple potting mix recipes you can make at home.

Here are a couple that work really well. And they’re very minimalist. So, you don’t need a couple of ingredients.

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part pumice or perlite

You can also go with:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part clay pebbles

I also find that is a good idea to add a 1/4” layer of worm compost on top for organic slow-release nutrients.

 

Fertilizer

The Dracaena Florida Beauty is a light feeder. Nevertheless, it still needs nutrients.

Giving it proper nutrients will help sustain growth and allow it to maintain its beautiful leaf colors.

At the same time, it allows the plant to avoid any problems arising from deficiencies.

Use a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-4 weeks during spring and summer. Make sure the plant gets enough nitrogen as this is what fuels its leaf development.

Once early or mid-fall arrive, stop feeding. The plant will also need to rest up during winter to gear up for its next growing season when spring arrives.

If you keep your Dracaena Florida Beauty in a pot indoors, dilute the dose by 50% to avoid overfertilizing the plant.

Similarly, only apply plant food when the soil is moist. Never when it is dry.

You don’t want to overfertilize the plant as this increases the risk of chemical burns from the fertilizer. This can damage the roots and leaves.

 

Pruning

The Dracaena Florida Beauty will grow into a good sized indoor plant. Although, you don’t have to worry since it won’t get anywhere as big as other Dracaena varieties.

This species can grow to between 3 to 6 or so feet high.

But the upper range is usually only achieved outdoors in the ground. In contrast, potted indoor Dracaena Florida Beauty usually grow to about 3 or so feet tall and around 3-4 feet wide.

Because it produces a lot of leaves, it will need pruning depending on how full or dense you want it to look.

Additionally, some stems and leaves will go wayward and look like outliers.

If you don’t like them and prefer the plant to look neat and somewhat uniform, it is a good idea to prune these stems off.

 

How to Propagate Dracaena Florida Beauty

Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty propagation is easy because it responds well to stem cuttings. Thus, you can take healthy stems and grow them into new plants that look like clones of their parent.

The best time to propagate the plant is spring.

Here’s how to propagate Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty from stem cuttings.

  • Take a healthy stem cutting. I prefer something that is about 3-4 inches long so there’s enough length to plant it into soil or root in water.
  • Place the cutting into a pot with well-draining potting mix. You want the cutting to stand upright as this is how it will grow. You can use wooden sticks or straws to keep it upright for support.
  • Water the soil until moist. Never overwater the soil.
  • Leave the cutting in medium, indirect light.

It will take several weeks for the cutting to root. In most cases this will be around a month.

During this time, take care of the plant like you would its parent.

Alternatively, you can also propagate the Dracaena Florida Beauty in water.

With water propagation, place the cutting into a container filled with water. You’ll need to replace the water every few days so it does not get cloudy.

Once there are enough roots and the roots are at least 2 or more inches, you can move the cutting from water into a pot filled with well-draining potting mix.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Dracaena Florida Beauty

The Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty likes to be somewhat root bound. As such, there’s not need to be in a hurry to repot it or move it to a larger container.

In most cases, the plant takes about 2-3 years before it needs repotting.

Therefore, the only time you’ll need to repot it is when it has gotten quite root bound or even severely root bound.

I like to go a little bit earlier than severely root bound since the plant will get stressed if you leave it in that environment for long periods of time.

The best way to check is to look at the bottom of the pot.

If there are roots sneaking out of the drainage holes, then it means get ready to repot.

Spring to early summer is the best time to repot the plant.

When choosing a new pot, get one that is one size larger or 2 inches wider than the current container. Also, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom.

Then prepare enough well-draining soil (see the potting mix recipes above) to fill that new pot.

You want to replace the spent soil with fresh mix.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty is toxic when ingested. Unfortunately, every part of the plant it toxic including its leaves, stems, sap, flowers, fruits and roots.

Therefore, keep the plant way from reach of young children, cats and dogs.

When eaten, it can cause vomiting (sometimes with blood), excess drooling and other side effects.

 

Dracaena Florida Beauty Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Pests are not a common occurrence for the Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty. But they can happen.

So, it is always a good idea to observe the plant to see if there are any bugs present.

The most common pest problems for this plant include mealybugs, scale and sap sucking insects. You may also see some piercing insects as well attack the plant.

If you use a lot of nitrogen, your Dracaena Surculosa Florida Beauty will also produce lots of young, new leaves. This is something that attracts aphids.

In any of these cases, immediately treat the plant since these pests will weaken the plant as they populate and grow in number.

 

Diseases

Root rot from overwatering is a big issue. And it is something you want to avoid at all costs.

That’s because it is totally preventable.

However, being too generous with water is usually the main cause for this.

So, always allow the soil to dry between 50% and 75% before adding more water.

Similarly, don’t wet the leaves when you water the plant.

Instead, water directly onto the soil. Doing so will prevent leaving foliage wet for long periods of time. When this happens, it increases the risk of bacterial and fungal diseases.

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