Dracaena Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”) is a very popular houseplant that comes with a name that’s very easy to remember. It belongs to the Asparagaceae family, and is a sport of the Dracaena Warneckii.
Its lovely looks, good size and being easy to care for makes something you’ve probably seen at least once or twice in homes and offices. To some extent, this may also be because of its air purifying ability.
That said, when grown indoors, the plant’s size fairly manageable, growing to between 4 to 8 feet tall depending on how big the pot it lives in and how often if is pruned. But, outdoors, it grows to as tall as 15 feet or more.
Its most attractive features are no doubt is dark green, long, sword shaped leaves which grow up to 2 feet in length each. These also look shiny and have a leather texture.
In most cases, the plants you see in containers is actually more than one. On its own, a singular plant doesn’t give you enough foliage to be eye-catching. As such, they usually come in 3 to 5 stalks per pot.
This is why you’ll see a nice, full plant almost all the time.
Dracaena Janet Craig Plant Care
Dracaena Janet Craig Light
The Dracaena Janet Craig grows in the forest understory. As such, it is used to getting less light compared to the taller plants. Similarly, because the canopy of trees and their branches and leaves cover most of the sun’s rays, the plant is used to indirect, filtered or dappled sun.
As such, it grows fastest in medium light conditions. However, it will survive low light as well.
But, lack of light will stunt or slow its growth. Similarly, it will cause it to produce smaller, narrower leaves.
On the other hand, exposure to direct sunlight, even for half and hours to a couple of hours daily is enough to burn its leaves. Too much bright light will also cause brown spots on its leaves.
So, it is a good idea to keep it away from the direct path of the sun.
The plant actually does best when a bit neglected. This means is doesn’t need a lot of attention and you can leave it alone without having to worry it will die on you.
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Dracaena Janet Craig Temperature
Dracaena Janet Craig enjoy moderate to slightly warm temperatures. Ideally, you want to keep it somewhere between 65 to 80 degrees.
It does not like extreme heat. And, cannot tolerate cold conditions either.
This makes the home a good place for it as people like similar conditions, be it in the summer or winter.
As such, you want to avoid temperatures over 90 degrees. Beyond this level, it won’t be happy. And, once things get up to 95 degrees, you’ll its leaves lose their color.
This is why you’ll see nurseries cover the plant with shade cloth or keep it under some kind of shade. This is not so much for low light but more to keep it from getting too hot.
Similarly, it cannot tolerate conditions below 55 degrees. If you leave in in this kind of temperature for a few days to a week, it will experience foliage damage.
Dracaena Janet Craig Humidity
When it comes to humidity, the plant enjoys humid environment. But, it does well on average household humidity. This is another reason why it is an easy plant to take care.
- It can handle low to medium humidity, so you don’t have to worry about indoor, home or office levels.
- Medium and low light doesn’t kill it.
- It can take neglect.
Together, this makes it a very durable plant to grow indoors. Add its beauty and you have one popular houseplant.
Your Dracaena Janet Craig does not need a lot of water. In fact, overwatering is the most common problem that kills the plant.
As such, you want to worry about watering it too much as opposed to too little.
A simple guideline to follow is that as long as the top soil looks a little moist or is a bit moist to the touch, don’t water.
You want to wait for at least the top 2 inches of the soil to dry before watering. And, don’t worry if you’re a little late. You have a lot of leeway.
As long as the dryness stays between the upper 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil (root ball), you’re fine. So, don’t take the 2 inch depth literally. It is just a starting point.
That said, just like temperature, your Dracaena Janet Craig does not like extremes. This means don’t let it dry out completely. And, more importantly don’t overwater it.
Also, keep in mind that its environmental conditions affect how quickly the soil dries. And thus, how often you’ll need to water. Here are just a few examples.
- More light means faster growth and more warmth. So, you’ll need to water more regularly. Less light like during winter means allowing the soil to dry out more.
- High humidity means less watering.
- Fast draining soil means more watering. Heavy soil means less watering.
- Porous containers means more watering as some liquid will seep out the sides.
- In its active growing season (spring and winter) it will drink more to sustain growth. So, it will need more regular waterings.
- Warm weather means more evaporation. So, more watering then compared to cooler temperatures.
- Dryness or moistness of soil also affect how fertilizer works. If soil is dry, fertilizer can be toxic to your plant’s roots because it becomes a lot more concentrated. So, this can result in fertilizer burn.
These are just some examples why no 2 Dracaena Janet Craig plants will ever get the same amount of water or watering frequency. All these factors, plus others, will determine how much and how often it needs to water.
So, depending on the conditions you have at home, it will vary considerably with other growers.
That said, when you water, make sure to water thoroughly. Then allow the excess liquid to drain completely. Throw any extra water that ends up in the saucer under the pot.
Finally, be careful with tap water.
Dracaena Janet Craig is sensitive to fluoride and chlorine along with other chemicals that are often present in tap water. Toxicity from any of the chemicals will cause its leaves to turn yellow and have brown tips.
So, if you want to use tap water, let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours before using it on the plant. Alternatively, you can use rainwater which is free as well, and chemical free.
Dracaena Janet Craig Soil
The three most important features of soil your Dracaena Janet Craig wants are:
- Airy (well-aerated)
This combination allows it to get enough oxygen and water to allows its roots to be happy. It also lets it get enough sustenance from the air, water and nutrients.
But, at the same time, prevents excess moisture buildup. This keeps the plant from getting wet feet or sitting it water for too long.
Good drainage, removes excess moisture quickly. This reduces the risk of root rot, which can potentially kill your plant.
If you have good quality potting mix at home, you can use that. Growers often add lava rocks to their dracaena soil to improve drainages and improve its aeration.
This is a good option because you want to be careful with perlite since the plant is sensitive to fluoride. Perlite can cause fluoride buildup especially if you use a lit of it. So, while the substrate is often used to improve drainage, it isn’t the best candidate for dracaenas.
That said, you can rinse the perlite before using it to remove the fluoride. Some growers use lime to neutralize it. But, in this case, because dracaena like slightly acidic soil, lime (which is alkaline) is not a good match.
Other options for drainage include pine bark, sand and pumice. You do want to monitor the sand, if you decide to go with that as it can get compact after some time. That negates the loose and airy requirements.
Fertilizing Dracaena Janet Craig
Dracaena Janet Craig are light feeders. So, like water, you want to stay on the conservative rather than the aggressive end.
This is one mistake most beginners often do believing that more fertilizer means better growth.
Unfortunately, following that very local train of through can thoroughly mess up your houseplant. And, its is not just dracaenas in this case.
All you need to keep it happy is to feed it twice a year – once in the spring and another time in the summer. You can use regular houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Here, less is more.
The reason you don’t want to use too much fertilizer is that the plant doesn’t need it. Just as importantly, excess fertilizer leaves more salt residue.
It is also worth noting that low quality or cheap fertilizer will leave lots more than your regular or high quality products. Similarly, synthetic leaves more slat minerals compared to organic. But, both are good options. The one you want to avoid are cheap, low quality plant food.
Too much salt residue is bad because it ‘burns’ the roots and leaves of the plant. If enough accumulates in in the soil, the roots will sustain damage as it keeps absorbing water and nutrients (and the fertilizer salts with it).
Also, these salts will then travel up to the leaves along with the sustenance to keep the foliage healthy. But, as they accumulate they do the same thing by burning the leaves.
As such, you’ll see burnt (brown) leave tips. You’ll only see the burnt roots later on when you repot.
Your Dracaena Janet Craig does not need a lot of pruning, except to shaping it and limiting its growth.
As it gets taller indoors, you will likely need to trim it back every so often if it gets too tall or its foliage spreads out too much.
Pruning also helps remove leggy stems or those that get long with only few leaves.
It also helps produce a fuller, bushier plant.
You’ll also want to cut off any older leaves and stems that are discolored, damaged or dying.
Dracaena Janet Craig Propagation
The easiest way to propagate your Dracaena Janet Craig is via stem (cane) cuttings.
Here, you’ll cut off a few pieces of stems. Ideally, you want to grow 3 to 4 stalks per container. Many growers will start with more than one pot just in case some don’t propagate successfully.
Once you have the cutting, you can root in it water or directly plant it into soil.
Water roots much faster as you’ll see something by 2 weeks or so. Rotting in soil takes closer to a month. But, it eliminates the need to move the plant from water to soil.
Dracaena Janet Craig Transplanting & Repotting
Dracaena Janet Craig are built on strong root systems. And, you want to give its roots enough room to se their foundation. But, you don’t want to give it too much room because:
- It prefers, and grows better, in smaller pots
- Overly large pots increase the risk of overwatering
As such, you want to balance size with growth and plant health.
That said, these plants grow big outdoors.
But indoors in containers, the size of the pot affects how tall it will grow.
- Keeping in in a 14 inch pot will allow it to grow up to about 3 to 4 feet high.
- Keeping it in a 10 inch pot lets it reach about 2.5 or so feet tall.
So, you can control how big the plant eventually gets. This way, you don’t end up with a lovely plant that’s overwhelming the rest of your living room décor.
This also means when and how big a container your choose when repotting will eventually affect how big the plant gets.
The one constant is you always want a pot with drainage holes (at least one)
Ideally, repot when you see roots peeking out of the drainage hole. That’s the first sign that it has outgrown in home.
To make the plant look bushy, you’ll often see 3 or 4 plants grown per pot, depending on the size of the container. This gives you more leaves and stems so you don’t have a bare plant.
As such, if they outgrown their container and you don’t want to increase the size of the pot, you can separate parts of the large plant into smaller ones in separate pots.
Keep your Dracaena Janet Craig away from curious hands and mouths as they are toxic to humans and animals. Young children, dogs and cats may want to tug, play or chew on their leaves.
This is a no-no as they’re slightly poisonous. As such, it can cause vomiting and irritation.
That said, they’re not deadly. Nor will they cause long-term damage.
But, it is still worth the precaution because of the unpleasant side effects.
Pests and Diseases
Your Dracaena Janet Craig can experience pets and diseases.
When it comes to pests, mealybugs and scale are the most common unwanted visitors. They can cause serious damage over time so it is important to spot them or signs of their work early on.
Once you see them, separate the plant from others and check if they’ve spread to those plants as well.
Treatment often involves dishwashing soap and water or spraying with insecticidal soap. You can also use neem oil.
When it comes to diseases, overwatering is can result in root rot. This is why I’ve talked so much about well-draining soil and proper watering above.
Additionally leaf spot is another problem. In some cases, but not always, it can be caused by too much moisture as well. This can be from the soil or the leaves be it from humidity or watering over the plant.