How to Care for Dracaena Giganta

The Dracaena Giganta is a variegated plant that featured long green leaves with yellow stripes in the middle.

It is a multi-trunked plant but you don’t see the brown canes as they are hidden below. All you see are its long, gorgeous foliage.

Like other Dracaena plants, the Giganta is good at cleaning indoor air.

How do you care for the Dracaena Giganta? It will grow in low, medium and bright, indirect light. But its variegations will be less prominent is lower light conditions.

Avoid strong or intense lighting. This includes direct sunlight.

Keep the plant in a warm location with good humidity for optimal growth. It does not need pruning although you can trim it if you wish. Never overwater the plant.

Dracaena Giganta Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Dracaena Giganta will do well in different lighting conditions. This makes it easy to care for indoors as well as outdoors.

That said, its ideal location is somewhere with medium to bright indirect light.

This will allow its yellow variegations to maintain their best colors.

However, you can also keep the plant in low light without harm or problems. It will grow happily there.

The main difference is that its yellow variegations won’t be as pronounced as they would be if they have plenty of light.

In general, the less light it gets, the less striking the yellow variegations will become.

Similarly, after a certain point in low light, its growth can likewise be affected. You’ll see the plant growth slower, produce fewer leaves and the leaves will be smaller as well.

As such, avoid dim, dark or very shaded locations.

If you don’t get a lot of light into your home, then you may need to experiment a bit and observe how the plant responds to different positions.

Another option is to use artificial lights.

You can use fluorescent lights or LED grow lights as the Dracaena Giganta responds very well to these. And you can use them to supplement natural sunshine or on their own.

The key difference is that artificial light won’t cover the entire color spectrum as the sun does.

Therefore, to compensate for this you need to provide the plant more exposure.

The Dracaena Giganta will need at least 12 hours of artificial light. In contrast, it only needs 4-6 or more hours of sunlight daily.

Last but not least, avoid very strong or intense light.

This applies to both sunshine and artificial lighting.

With natural light, keep the plant aways from the direct rays of the sun. Ideally, avoid direct sunlight during the middle of the day (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.).

This is when the sun is the hottest. And it comes in through the south facing window.

On the other hand, with LED grow lights, keep the plant at least 6-12 inches from the bulbs as these will emit heat.

 

Temperature

The Dracaena Giganta is a tropical plant. Thus, it is used to warm weather with lots of sunshine.

Just as importantly, in the tropics, the sunny, warm climate prevails the entire year. And there is no winter or even cold months to speak of.

Therefore, the Dracaena Giganta prefers temperatures to stay between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, it will do well as long as the conditions stay between 55 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

It will also be able to tolerate 95 degree Fahrenheit conditions without any problems.

But it’s a completely different story with the cold.

Since there is no cold weather or even cold months in the tropics, the plant has poor tolerance to this environment.

Avoid temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant is not frost hardy either.

Additionally, it hates temperature fluctuations. The more sudden and the larger the swings, the more likely it will experience problems including browning leaves.

The Dracaena Giganta’s temperature preferences means that it is well-suited for indoor growing. That’s because most homes will have temperatures around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

The key is to avoid certain situations that can sneak up on you.

The most common are air conditioners and cold drafts coming in from open doors or windows. If you have a cold spot in your home where the nighttime temperature can drop significantly from that of daytime, also avoid this location.

Then there’s the winter which will keep your home’s internal temperature colder.

Outdoors, you’re at the mercy of nature.

Here, the Dracaena Giganta thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 outdoors. And you can leave it there all year round.

That’s because the weather in these locations tend to stay sunny and moderate to cool even during the latter months of the year.

In contrast, if you live somewhere with snow, frost or winter weather, make sure to bring the plant indoors or keep it there once the temperature drops under 55 degrees Fahrenheit around the middle of autumn.

 

Humidity

The Dracaena Giganta prefers high humidity. And it will thrive when humidity is kept between 60% and 80%.

Unfortunately, this is not an easy task for most households.

That is unless you live in an area with tropical, subtropical or Mediterranean climate. It will also be easier if you live near the coastline, a beach or lake.

Of course, you can also maintain high humidity in a greenhouse.

But for most people, this is not the case.

The good news is that the Dracaena Giganta will do just fine in average room humidity. This makes it much easier to grow indoors.

Its adaptability and toughness are what make it a popular houseplant.

Still, I do suggest monitoring the plant when you first take it home with you.

The key sign to look for are brown leaf edges and tips. These will develop if the humidity if too low. That’s because the leaves will dry up in its extremities.

So, when you see this, it means it needs help.

You can mist the plant once or twice a week when the air gets dry.

I like to keep a hygrometer near my plants to make it easy to tell when the humidity is low. This usually happens in winter or when the summers get dry.

But it can be a regular thing if you live in a desert city or something similar.

 

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How Often to Water Dracaena Giganta

The Dracaena Giganta can tolerate dry periods. Its drought tolerant nature means that while it does enjoy moist soil, infrequent watering is ideal.

The goal is to avoid wet, soggy or muddy soil.

If you see the surface of the soil with puddles of water or staying mucky, it likely means you’re watering the plant too often.

In general, the Dracaena Giganta only needs watering every 7 to 14 days.

This frequency will change as the weather gets hotter or colder at different times of the year. As such, you will find yourself watering more regularly during summertime. But much less in the winter.

The reason is that the weather and how much sunlight there is affects how quickly or slowly soil dries.

As such, you will end up watering more or less depending on these factors.

This is why it is much better to rely on the soil to know when to water the plant compared to counting the number of days.

I like to wait until the top 50% to 75% of the soil is dry between waterings.

This works well for the Dracaena Giganta because it does better in dry conditions than wet.

Why?

Excess moisture or watering the plant too frequently can lead to overwatering and root rot. Both of which the Dracaena Giganta is prone to.

On the other hand, it tolerates dryness much better.

Another thing to watch out for is what’s called “tipping”. This is something that occurs in Dracaena plants.

These plants are sensitive to lots of chemicals and minerals in the water.

So, if you notice the tips of the leaves drying out and turning brown but you’re giving it sufficient humidity, consider checking your tap water.

Some municipalities add lots of chlorine, fluoride and other salts in the tap.

In excess, this is harmful to the Dracaena Giganta.

So, if this is the case, you can use rainwater, distilled water or filter the tap water before using it on the plant.

Similarly, you can collect some tap water and leave them overnight for the chemicals and minerals to evaporate.

 

Dracaena Giganta Potting Soil

The Dracaena Giganta will thrive in well-draining soil. Although, it will be fine in standard potting soil.

Of the two, I prefer to go with well-draining soil mixes.

However, from what I’ve seen, as long as you use a good quality potting mix, the Dracaena Giganta will do just fine.

Just in case, you may want to have some perlite on hand.

If you notice the soil retaining too much moisture, add a few handfuls of perlite to increase drainage. This is a simple fix.

You can add as you go until you see the soil draining enough of the moisture.

Again, the reason for this is the plant’s susceptibility to too much moisture. Overwatering, waterlogged soil and root rot are the things you want to avoid.

Therefore, it is a good idea to always check the soil.

It should not retain too much water as this will cause the roots to end up sitting in liquid for long periods of time. They hate this.

More importantly, it can lead to root rot and fungal infections.

If you see yellowing and browning leaves, quickly unpot the plant and check the roots. Unusually, this combination is an early sign of root rot due to overwatering.

If there is root rot, prune the rotten roots and repot the plant in dry soil.

 

Fertilizer

The Dracaena Giganta will benefit from regular fertilizer during its growing season.

This is when the plant is actively growing. So, make sure to give it the sunlight, water and nutrients it needs.

With all of these factors, moderation is key.

Avoid too much of any.

  • Excess sunlight will burn the leaves.
  • Too much water will lead to root rot and fungal diseases.
  • Overfertilizing can cause chemical burn that damages the roots and leaves.

Instead, give the plant what it needs and it will grow optimally.

For the Dracaena Giganta, use an all-purpose fertilizer diluted to half its recommended strength.

Stop feeding by early to mid fall. And don’t give the plant any fertilizer during winter.

Another thing worth noting is when you first get the plant from the nursery, make sure to ask them if they’ve added fertilizer.

It is also important to ask them the details.

Most nurseries will give the plants 6 months’ worth of fertilizer. If so, you don’t need to feed the plant during the first 6 months.

Doing so will double the dose which can lead to overfeeding.

That said, some stores only give it 1 or 3 months’ worth of plant food.

So, do check with them when you buy the plant.

 

Pruning

As its name suggests, the Dracaena Giganta will grow into a big plant.

Its leaves will get really long and grow out from the center of the plant. As such, as it gets bigger, you’ll see the come out like they and look like the something from Game of Thrones.

In short, this will be a floor plant.

And its leaves will get quite big and bushy with proper care.

This is what makes it beautiful.

The best part is you don’t really need to do a lot of pruning. You can remove some leaves as they get older or discolored.

But outside of that, it is really all about size and shape control.

When you take off the leaves, the plant won’t get affected. And because it has many leaves, it won’t quickly go bare either.

 

How to Propagate Dracaena Giganta

Dracaena Giganta propagation is usually done from cuttings. That’s because the cuttings root readily which makes it easy to grow new plants.

You can propagate the cuttings in water which is the more common and popular way. Or you can plant the cuttings directly into soil.

Both methods work well.

However, while propagating in water allows you to see the new roots as they develop, it also means you need to take the extra step of rooting it in water.

Once the roots develop to a few inches long, you can transplant the cuttings from water into a pot with well-draining soil.

If you have rooting hormone at home, you can apply this on the open end of the cutting to increase rooting.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Dracaena Giganta

The Dracaena Giganta will need repotting as it grows. This will allow the plant to keep getting bigger.

In general, it takes about 2 years before you need to repot it.

However, a lot depends on how fast or slowly the plant grows. And this will depend on its living environment and growing conditions.

More light, fertilizer and humidity usually mean a bigger plant.

But all the other factors like water, soil and pests also come into play.

Thus, I like to check the pot once a year during spring to see if the plant needs repotting.

The telltale signs are the surface of the soil and bottom of the pot. If you see rooting coming out from the surface of the soil or sneaking out from the holes beneath the pot, it is time to repot.

Spring is the best time to repot as the plant is actively and quickly growing.

When doing so, choose a container that is one size larger than the current pot. Don’t jump sizes.

Also pick a pot with drainage holes to avoid waterlogged soil.

And have enough fresh, well-draining potting mix to replace the spent soil.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Yes, the plant is toxic. But it becomes toxic when ingested.

Therefore, the plant is safe to touch, carry, work on or hold. The key is not to chew, eat, consume or swallow any part of the Dracaena Giganta.

This means it is a good idea to place the plant somewhere the kids, cats and dogs won’t reach or be near it.

 

Dracaena Giganta Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Pests are not a huge problem for the Dracaena Giganta. But it can be susceptible if the plant is not healthy, weak or under stress.

Additionally, dusty leaves attract insects. So, it is a good idea to regular clean the leaves to keep dust from collecting.

Aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and scale are the most common pests that will attack this plant.

And they will weaken it if you allow them to turn into an infestation.

Thus, it is important to regularly check the plant for any potential pests and immediately isolate then treat the bugs.

 

Diseases

Root rot due to overwatering is the biggest thing to look out for.

It is easy to overwater the plant. Additionally, make sure to use soil that has sufficient drainage to avoid letting the roots stay wet for extended periods of time.

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