Dracaena Lemon Lime – How to Plant, Propagate, Repot & Prune

The Dracaena Lemon Lime is formally known as the Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’. But, it goes by a number of different nicknames. These include the following just to name a few.

  • Lemon Lime Warneckii
  • Warnecki Lemon Lime
  • Lemon Lime
  • Dragon Tree

It is also worth noting that it is closely related to the Dracaena Janet Craig and Dracaena Warneckii. Both of which have some similarities to the Lemon Lime.

However, you can distinguish them by analyzing their foliage.

  • Dracaena Lemon Lime – has lighter green colored leaves with yellow stripes. Thus, its name.
  • Dracaena Janet Craig – has solid green leaves
  • Dracaena Warneckii – has green leaves with white stripes.

Once you know this, it is easy to tell one from another which can come in handy when you’re in the nursery picking out plants.

That said, it is the Dracaena Lemon Lime’s amazing looking leaves that make it very attractive. And, it is also easy to care for which increases its value as a houseplant.

But, before you go out to get one, be aware that it can grow up to 5 or 7 feet tall indoors. Thus, you want to have enough space to allow it to grow. Although, pruning can help limit its size as well.

Dracaena Lemon Lime Plant Care

Dracaena Lemon Lime Light

The Dracaena Lemon Lime can take a wide range of lighting conditions.

It does best when given bright, indirect light. But, won’t mind medium light. And, can adapt to low light conditions as well.

This makes it easy to care for indoors like home.

That said, its lighter color leaves means that more light is better. When it comes to plants, those with solid dark green leaves are the most efficient when it comes to photosynthesis.

On the other hand, plants with variegations and lighter color foliage are less effective at doing so. This means they need to get more light to produce enough food and energy for themselves.

However, it is very important to keep in mind that the Dracaena Lemon Lime can only take very little direct sunlight. If placed in a location with long hours of exposure to the sun’s rays, the will experience sunburn. And, you’ll see its leaves go pale in color.

On the other hand, lack of light in dim locations will cause it to become leggy as it tries to reach out towards the light source. It also won’t be able to achieve its bright, vibrant colors here. Instead, new leaves will be thinner and narrower than they normally would be.

As such there are a few things your can to do help it absorb more light.

Cleaning and dusting its leaves helps a lot. Doing this removes debris that can block some light absorption.

Similarly, rotate the plant every few weeks or monthly so that all sides of the plant receive ample light. This will promote even growth.

Finally, watch out for falling leaves. While dropping a few leaves is a normal part of its foliage cycle, if you see many leaves drop or it keeps happening, check two things: light then water.

 

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Dracaena Lemon Lime Temperature

Your Dracaena Lemon Lime is native to Africa. Thus, it is used to warm weather. And, id does best when climate is kept between 70 and 75 degrees.

The good news is this is also the temperature range we humans are comfortable with. As such, most of our homes maintain these conditions. And, during summer or winter, we use air conditioning or heaters to regulate it there.

That said, the plant doesn’t have much of a problem adapting to higher temperatures. And, as long as it doesn’t get overly hot, it won’t experience a lot of stress.

However, the same isn’t true with colder climates.

Your Dracaena Lemon Lime is not frost hardy. And, it cannot live in freezing temperatures.

As such, it is best to keep it somewhere the temperature stays above 50 degrees. You do not want to let the plant stay below 45 degrees because if kept there for long periods, its root will sustain damage.

Once this becomes extensive, you won’t be able to save or revive it from cold damage.

Similarly, allowing it to stay in conditions between 45 and 50 degrees for extended periods will result in black leaves, which you eventually need to remove. But, the roots will stay in tact so you can still save it.

If you live in USDA Hardiness zones 10 to 12, this is less of a problem. In fact, you can keep the plant outdoors all year round.

 

Humidity

Humidity is another important climate condition you want to consider.

Just like temperature, your Dracaena Lemon Lime prefers high humidity. But, it doesn’t have a problem adapting to regular room humidity.

As such, unless the air in your home is very dry, it should be fine.

To give you an idea, you want to keep humidity over 40%. Below that, it is a good idea to mist or employ other humidity-raising strategies.

As long as you can keep humidity between 40% and 60% you won’t have any problem with it. Although, for optimum growth, it prefers slightly higher levels.

If you’re not sure what the humidity is at home, it is a good idea to invest in digital hygrometer. This will let you know the humidity in any room almost instantly. So, you can adjust it as needed.

 

Watering Dracaena Lemon Lime

Your Dracaena Lemon Lime is drought tolerant. This makes it easy to care for even for beginners as it won’t mind if you miss a few watering sessions here and there.

An important thing to keep in mind is the plant is better off in drier than wetter conditions. That’s because it can tolerate dryness. On the other hand, consistently soggy or muddy soil will result in brown tips and foliage discoloration.

That said, letting the plant get dehydrated and allowing it to stay this way will also change its leaf color.

So when should you water your Dracaena Lemon Lime?

The best time to do so is when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil goes dry. And, using your sense of touch is the best way to check this. You can stick your index finger into the soil.

If the soil is dry at 2 inches or deeper, it is time to water. But, as long as there is moisture at this depth or above it, wait a few more days before testing the soil again.

This will help prevent overwater.

Similarly, checking every few days or so, especially in the beginning will give you a good feel of how long it takes before the soil dries.

Do note that this does change depending on the time of year. During the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing, you will need to water ore often.

In winter, when it takes a breather from growing, you can cut back on watering.

As such, going by feel is much better than following a strict schedule.

Finally, brown tips may also be caused by hard water or tap water that contains lots of chemicals.

Since the Lemon Lime is very sensitive to fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals, their presence in tap water can be a problem. It all depends on how much your municipality adds.

As such, rainwater or distilled water is best. You can likewise allow tap water to sit at room temperature for 24 hours to make sure that the chemicals evaporate before you water your plant with it.

 

Soil

Dracaena Lemon Lime appreciates well-aerated, fast-draining soil. This allows its roots to receive enough oxygen while any excess moisture is drained. In doing so, it helps prevent waterlogging or overwatering.

So why kinds of soil fit this description?

One of the easiest potting mixes you can create is mixing 50% potting soil with 50% perlite or pumice. Both perlite and pumice increase drainage. Although, pumice is chunkier which provides better aeration. So, for this specific plant, I prefer pumice just a bit more than perlite. However, both will work.

Many growers also use a combination of regular potting mix and add lava rocks. Lava rocks look like small pellets. As such, the extra air pockets between them let oxygen pass and excess liquids to drain better.

Another option to lava rocks are clay pebbles.

You can use any of these options along with regular potting soil to keep your Dracaena Lemon Lime happy.

 

Fertilizing Dracaena Lemon Lime

Dracaena Lemon Lime don’t need a lot of fertilizer to do well.

As such, all you need to feed it is balanced organic houseplant fertilizer once a month during its growing season (spring and summer). Make sure to dilute the concentration by half to prevent overfertilizing.

You don’t need to give it plant food during the fall or winter as it isn’t actively growing during this time.

I like to use organic fertilizer because it doesn’t leave as much salt residue. You can likewise use synthetic if you’re trying to save money. These are not only cheaper but also contain a higher dosage. So, you do want to follow the package instructions then dilute as needed.

However, do avoid cheap fertilizers as they leave considerable amounts of minerals which build up over time. If you do use them, make sure to flush the soil more often to remove them from other soil. Otherwise, they can cause root burn.

Finally, do check with the nursery on whether the soil you get from them contains slow release fertilizer. if it does, you won’t need to feed the plant for a while. Make sure to also ask an estimate of how long the dosage lasts. This will give you an idea of when to start feeding it.

Similarly, if you apply compost to the soil, you may not need to feed your Dracaena Lemon Lime at all. Or, at most give it very little plant food.

 

Pruning Dracaena Lemon Lime

Don’t be alarmed if your Dracaena Lemon Lime drops some leaves now and then. This is part of their foliage life cycle as leaves get older.

If you don’t want to wait for this shedding process to happen naturally, you can likewise trim back the lower leaves. This helps the plant look healthier and neater.

Similarly, the plant will get bigger. And, if it outgrows the space it is in, you can prune the taller stalks with few leaves. You can cut them anywhere below the leaves.

This will reduce its size. More importantly, it will encourage new growth that will make the plant look healthier.

It is likewise a good idea to clean the plant’s foliage with a damp cloth regularly. These attract dust and other tiny particles.

 

Dracaena Lemon Lime Propagation

The easiest way to propagate Dracaena Lemon Lime is via stem cuttings. Here’s how.

  • Take a 4 to 6 inch stem cutting. Make sure there are at least 2 leaf nodes.
  • Dip the cut end into rooting hormone.
  • Plant the stem cutting into a good sized pot with well-draining potting soil.
  • Withing a few weeks, new roots should begin to develop.
  • Keep the plant in a warm, humid place. You can cover it with a plastic bag to improve humidity.
  • Water the soil as needed.

 

Transplanting & Repotting

The Dracaena Lemon Lime will grow to about 5 to 7 feet indoors. This makes it much more manageable than its size outdoors.

Nevertheless, you’ll likely need to prune it to keep it looking good and control its size.

In addition to pruning, repotting will also be another task you’ll need to do. But, with much less frequency.

For the most part, you can expect to repot once every 3 to 5 years. While some will tell you between 1 to 2 years, I’ve found that this isn’t likewise the case.

However, if you want to refresh the soil more often, this will probably be a good idea.

In most cases, I like to wait until the roots start coming out of the drainage holes before repotting. The only other time you’ll need to before that is in case of emergency.

When something isn’t right or the plant is having trouble and you can’t seem to figure out why, repotting often helps as it give the plant a new start. Since water is often part of the problem, fresh soil allows it get drier living conditions.

How to Repot Dracaena Lemon Lime

  • Choose a pot that’s at most 2 inches larger than your current one. Make sure it has a drainage hole.
  • Also, have fresh, well-draining potting mix on hand. You can use any of the recipes above. Since they require a little bit of mixing, it is a good idea to portion them and mix them together right before you take the plant out of its container. That way you can use it immediately.
  • Fill the new container with potting mix up to about a third or 40% of the way.
  • Gently take your plant out of its container. Watering it 24 hours before you repot helps reduce stress of the process.
  • Brush off excess dirt and soil. Also spread out the roots.
  • Insert the plant into the center of the new container.
  • Fill the remaining space around the root ball with soil.
  • Pack the soil down but not too tightly since you don’t want it to get too compact.
  • Water the soil.

 

Toxicity

As with many houseplants, pest and disease are a hassle. Unfortunately, your Lemon Lime does experience some of these issues.

With pests, mealybugs and spider mites are the most common attackers. And, the best way to keep the away is to keep the plant healthy and regularly clean its leaves.

Dirty leaves with grime attract these critters. And by regularly cleaning its foliage you not only keep them away but are also able to spot any changes or problems early.

Use insecticidal soap spray to eradicate them if you find any signs of these creatures. You want to treat your plant as soon as possible as pests tend to spread quickly.

 

Diseases

Similarly, your Dracaena Lemon Lime also experiences some disease problems. The most common being leaf spot. This is a result of excess moisture especially in its foliage.

Often this happens if the leaves get wet or aren’t allowed to dry quickly. The culprit is often one or a combination of:

  • Watering the leaves or getting them wet
  • Lack of sunlight so the leaves don’t dry quickly
  • Lack of air circulation

Another preventable problem is damage from fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals in tap water. Toxicity from any or a combination of these chemicals also harm your plant.

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