Dracaena Limelight Care, Propagation & Repotting

The Dracaena Limelight is also known as the Cornstalk Dracaena. Its scientific name is Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’, which makes it a Dracaena fragrans.

The plant belongs to the  Deremensis Group of Dracaenas.

The plant is best known for its lime green leaves which makes it stand out in any houseplant collection. It ranks among the few plants including the Neon Philodendron, Neon Pothos and Lemon Lime Philodendron which have this kind of foliage color.

So, if you like bright green/lime colored leaved plants, consider one of these beautiful species.

As with other Dracaena plants, the Limelight is an air purifying plant.

It is native to tropical Africa including countries like Sudan, Angola and Mozambique.

How do you care for the Dracaena Limelight? The plant thrives in medium to bright light. This will allow it to maintain is gorgeous color.

Avoid direct sunlight. And try to stay away from low light as well even if the plant can tolerate it.

It enjoys warm temperature and will do well in average humidity. But avoid overwatering the plant.

Dracaena Limelight Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Dracaena Limelight has gorgeous lime green leaves that make it stand out. As such, to maintain this unique and lovely color, the plant needs medium to bright indirect light.

It can likewise tolerate low light. But its leaves won’t be as vibrant.

And too little light will cause the leaves to be less lime green and more green.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of putting the plant is low light, it is a good idea to experiment a little. As you do, monitor the leaf color and the behavior of the plant.

If you see its leaf color diminish, its growth slow or its leaves not growing as big as they should, move it to a brighter location.

Make sure that the plant received indirect, filtered, dappled or diffused light.

This is what it likes. Avoid strong, intense or direct sunlight.

Outdoors, partial shade is best. Don’t leave the plant under full sun.

Why?

Excess light will damage its leaves. While harsh or intense light is okay with the plant, its leaf color will be affected.

And it there’s excess exposure, its leaves may even get scorched.

So, you’ll see either brown or yellow leaves depending on how much intensity the direct sun has.

It is also worth noting that this holds true for artificial lights.

While you can use fluorescent lights or LED grow lights to help the plant especially if you don’t get a lot of light indoors or during winter, keep the plant at least 6 to 12 inches away from the bulbs.

LED grow lights emit heat which can burn the leaves as well if you keep the plant too close.

Finally, it is good practice to clean the leaves.

You don’t need to do this regularly. But do clean them once you see dust starting to form on the leaves’ surfaces.

This will ensure they get optimal lighting and the dust particles don’t get in the way of transpiration.

 

Temperature

The Dracaena Limelight can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. But it is not frost hardy.

Thus, the temperature range it enjoys is on the warmer end.

Ideally, this Dracaena plant prefers temperatures to stay between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it easy to grow indoors since the levels exactly match the environment most homes have.

But keep in mind that as long as the plants stays between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be fine. In fact, it will be okay even at 95 degrees Fahrenheit conditions.

That’s because it comes from tropical Africa.

Thus, it is used to the heat.

And as with other tropical regions in the world, this area has no cold weather nor does it have winters.

This is why the Dracaena Limelight has very poor tolerance to the cold.

It is not accustomed to low temperature. And it hasn’t spent much time in that kind of environment.

As such, avoid anything cold as much as possible.

Try to keep the plant away from temperatures that are below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is why the Dracaena Limelight does very well outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. There is no snow or frost in these areas.

So, as long as where you live does not experience freezing temperatures, you can keep it outdoors even during November through March.

However, if you get winters, make sure to bring the plant back indoors if you do give it a vacation outdoors during the warmer months.

I know many growers who just keep it indoors as a houseplant.

 

Humidity

The Dracaena Limelight does well in average room humidity. This is another aspect that makes it low maintenance and easy to care for.

That said, the plant prefers high humidity. Ideally, it wants humidity between 60% and 80%.

But it will tolerate average humidity without any problems or harm.

Thus, if you have the time, it is a good idea to mist the plant occasionally.

You don’t need or want to do this too often. And never overdo it.

Don’t wet the leaves whey you spritz it with water. Also, don’t leave any water spots on the foliage. Both of these increase the risk of fungal diseases.

If you do accidentally over mist the plant, get a towel and pat down the leaves to help get rid of the excess moisture.

If you prefer a less manual method that’s more hands-off, you can use a pebble tray or humidity tray.

Both work the same way. Although, they have different setups.

With a pebble tray,

Get a tray that’s big enough to fit the pot in. Fill it with water and place rocks or pebbles that will clear the height of the water line.

Then place the pot with the plant on top of the pebbles.

Make sure the pot is well-balanced and stable. It should not tip over. Also, the pot should never touch the water or get wet.

As the water evaporates, it will increase humidity around the plant.

And all you need to do is refill the water when it gets depleted.

With a humidity tray,

The concept is the same with a pebble tray.

But instead of pebbles, you’ll be placing a grate on top of the tray. This will cover the entire tray. And the grate’s holes will allow the water the evaporate.

Big holes are better as far as the grate is concerned.

Then place the pot on top of the grate.

A humidity tray if definitely more stable than a pebble tray.

But the grate has to be strong enough to hold the plant as it gets bigger and heavier.

 

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How Often to Water Dracaena Limelight

The Dracaena Limelight can tolerate periods of dryness. And some owners will even tell you that it is drought tolerant.

As such, avoid watering the plant too often.

While it does like moist soil during its growing season, there’s no need to get over zealous about watering the plant.

In general, it will usually need watering once every 7 to 14 days if you live in warmer climates. In cooler areas, you may only need to water the plant every 2 or 3 weeks.

Therefore, if you’re going to err, it is better to err on the side of underwatering the plant.

It will not mind as much most of the time.

And it is able to quickly bounce back from lack of water just in case.

On the other hand, avoid overwatering the plant. You’ll know this by feeling the soil.

If the soil feels soggy, wet or mucky, then it is likely that the plant is getting too much water. Thus, cut back on frequency.

The tricky part about knowing when to water the Dracaena Limelight is that the weather changes through the year.

So, it will need more regular watering during the summer. And much less during the winter.

As such, it is better to water based on the soil.

This way, you take the weather out of the equation.

Instead, you’ll know when to water the plant by feeling the soil. I like to do this once every 4 or 7 days.

If the soil is wet or moist, don’t water.

But if the soil is dry, check further.

I like to wait until the soil is 50% to 75% dry between waterings. However, if you can’t wait that long, you can water once the top 2-3 inches of soil has dried.

Never add water before this level as it increases the risk of overwatering and root rot.

The other thing about watering the Dracaena Limelight is that it is sensitive to excess salts and minerals.

So, if you notice brown leaf tips and you can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong, check your tap water.

If you’re using hard water or your tap is highly mineralized, then too much salts and minerals will damage its leaves as well.

The solution is to collect rainwater, use distilled water or filter the tap water.

Alternatively, you can leave the tap water overnight to let the excess salts and minerals evaporate before you use it to water the plant.

 

Dracaena Limelight Potting Soil

The Dracaena Limelight will do okay with standard potting soil. However, I prefer to use well-draining soil because of the plant’s susceptibility to overwatering.

If you do go with regular potting mix, make sure to monitor the plant initially.

This will let you see if it is retaining too much moisture.

If so, you can add perlite to increase drainage.

This way, you keep the plant safe from excess moisture. Better safe than sorry.

That said, I do prefer using well-draining soil with good aeration.

The good news is that it is easy to achieve this. And there are many way you can do so without much trouble.

One option is to combine:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part perlite (or pumice)

Alternatively, you can start with a good quality potting mix. Then either add perlite or coco coir.

You can use either. And you can go as high as 25% of the mix.

But add as needed only. So, if the soil is doing well after adding 20% perlite to the potting mix, then stop there.

The key is to add drainage and aeration to standard potting soil.

Doing so will allow the roots to stay away from too much moisture. At the same time they get sufficient oxygen to breathe.

Last but not least, make sure the pot you’re using has drainage holes.

This way, any excess water that drains from the soil can drip out of the container.

 

Fertilizer

The Dracaena Limelight will grow better with fertilizer. But it is not a heavy feeder.

Therefore, whatever you do, never overfeed the plant.

That’s because commercial fertilizers contain salts in addition to the nutrients they have.

From above, you know the Dracaena Limelight does not like excess salts. So, as you feed the plant more, you’re not only giving it more nutrients but also more salts.

When too much of these salts build up in the soil, it becomes toxic and damages the roots then leaves.

This is what’s called fertilizer burn.

So, only use as much fertilizer as needed. And the product label will tell you the amount.

For the Dracaena Limelight, once a month feeding during spring and summer is all it needs. Dilute the application by half strength each time.

You can use an all-purpose fertilizer.

Also, if you’re buying the plant from a shop or nursery, always check if they’ve added fertilizer or not.

Most shops will give the plant some kind of fertilizer in the soil. But the amount can vary. Thus, some will only have 1 months’ worth while others have 6 months’ worth of fertilizer.

So, make sure to ask.

This way you don’t end up feeding the plant when its still has a dose. This will double to application increasing the risk of overfertilizing.

 

Pruning

In its native Africa, the Dracaena Limelight can grow to 50 feet tall in the wild.

Fortunately, it does not get anywhere near that height in your home or backyard.

Like all plants, the Dracaena Limelight will be smaller if kept in a pot compared to grown in the ground. Similarly, an indoor plant will be much smaller than one grown outdoors.

So, you’ll see many Dracaena Limelight of different sizes.

In the yard, the plant can reach between 6 and 15 feet tall and between 4 to 6 feet wide.

This means you need to give it enough space to grow.

Indoors, it usually grows to about 5 feet tall. Although, I have seen one that was about 7 or 8 feet hight.

Because the plant’s leaves will flare outwards as it gets fuller and bushier, you do want to give it 3 to 4 feet of width side to side.

In general, the Dracaena Limelight will grow to a tall plant with leaves coming out in different directions.

Its large, lime leaves are what make it amazing.

And I love it when you just let the plant grow out and become very bushy. It looks stunning that way considering how the colors change to become lighter on the upper leaves.

That said, you may not have enough space to the sides or want it to be less full.

If so, you can prune the Dracaena Limelight. However, it does not really need pruning and it is very low maintenance.

The new leaves which are brighter grow from the top. And the lower leaves are the older ones.

As such, you will see some lower leaves get old or drop. Remove these as they occur.

And clean out the fallen leaves as well.

 

How to Propagate Dracaena Limelight

Dracaena Limelight propagation is often done via stem cuttings. This allows you to grow more of this beautiful plant at home for free.

And it does not require any special tools or experience.

All you need is a sterilized pair of pruning shears or a knife.

Then take a stem cutting from the plant. Make sure the plant is healthy and the cutting you get is likewise healthy with a few leaves on it.

The best time to propagate this plant is during spring.

Once you have the cutting, you can decide if you want to propagate the cutting in water or directly plant it in soil.

Water propagation is the more popular choice because you can monitor the roots as they develop through a transparent container or jar.

However, I prefer to directly plant the cutting into a pot with well-draining soil. This is what’s called soil propagation.

The reason I prefer this method is that I’ve noticed that the cutting grows faster here. So, you don’t have to wait as long for the roots to develop.

Additionally, you don’t need to take the extra time and effort to move the cutting from water to soil later on as well.

With water propagation, place the cutting in a jar with water.

It takes a few weeks for roots to grow. And you’ll need to change the water before it gets cloudy.

Once the roots have reaches 2 or 3 inches long, you can transfer the cutting into a pot with soil mix.

With soil propagation, you get to skip the extra step with water.

Instead, plant the cutting directly into a pot filled with well-draining potting mix.

The roots will grow from the cutting in a few weeks time as well. During that time, all you need to do is take care of the plant like you do its parent.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Dracaena Limelight

The Dracaena Limelight likes being a little bit root bound. And it only needs repotting every 2 to 3 years.

So, don’t be in a hurry or repot it annually.

It will not be happy as you keep on uprooting it.

The longer the plant stays rooted, the stronger its foundation will also be.

But once it gets quite root bound, you’ll need to repot. That’s because if the pot is too small, the roots will get crowded.

This will eventually stress the plant and hinder its growth.

As the roots take up more space in the pot, there will be less soil as well.

This means the soil won’t be able to hold enough water or nutrients to sustain the plant. This will cause growth to slow and the plant to weaken.

This is why it is a good idea to check the soil every spring.

If you see roots circling the pot or coming out from the drainage holes at the bottom of the container, it means it is time to repot.

Spring is the best time to repot which lets you move the plant once you’ve gotten all the equipment ready.

When repotting, use a container with drainage holes. And choose one that is 2-3 inches wider than the current pot.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Unfortunately, the Dracaena Limelight is toxic. It is toxic to people and animals. Therefore, keep it away from young children, cats and dogs.

Note that the plant is only toxic when ingested.

So, touching, handling, carrying it will not cause any harm. But eating or chewing any part of the plant can lead to vomiting, drooling and many other side effects.

 

Dracaena Limelight Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Mealybugs, scale, spider mites and thrips can attack the Dracaena Limelight. As such, it is important to keep an eye out for them.

Regular inspection is the best way to do this.

Unfortunately, because this Dracaena plant has lots of leaves, it does require some effort to check the leaves.

Don’t forget to check the undersides which is where the pests like to hide.

Regular leaf cleaning as well as proper plant care will help prevent pests.

 

Diseases

The Dracaena Limelight is a touch plant. And while it is not susceptible to diseases, you still need to be mindful since many diseases are man-made.

The most common is root rot due to overwatering.

Watering too often is a common mistake that gets this plant into trouble. Therefore, avoid doing so.

Instead, wait for the soil to dry between waterings.

Also, use well-draining soil and a pot with sufficient drainage.

Another potential issue are leaf diseases, leaf spot is a common one. And it happens due to getting the leaves wet too much or not letting them dry quickly enough.

Again, this is usually man-made.

It happens when you water over the plant and wet the leaves instead of directly onto the soil. Over misting can also cause this.

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