Dracaena Rikki Cane Plant Care and Propagation

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is also known as the Dracaena Rikki, Rikki Cane Plant, Dracaena fragrans ‘Rikki’, Dracaena deremensis ‘Rikki’, Chinese Money Tree, and Dragon Tree.

This is a relatively new cultivar of the Dracaena deremensis.

As such, it is associated with other cultivars of the plant including the Dracaena Janet Craig, Dracaena Compacta and Dracaena Warneckii.

The Dracaena Rikki Cane features narrow, archive leaves look a bit like plastic.

If you look closely, you’ll also notice some yellow variegation on its green leaves.

Because it is a tough, resilient, easy to care for plant that is low maintenance, it is popular in homes as well as offices.

How do you care for the Dracaena Rikki Cane? This is a tropical plant that enjoys consistently moderate to warm, humid environments.

It does well in medium as well as low light. But will grow quite well in bright indirect light as well.

Avoid too much sunlight or direct sun as this can burn its leaves.

Water the plant only when the top few inches of soil have dried as it is prone to overwatering and root rot.

Dracaena Rikki Cane Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is a variegated plant with yellow or lime green patterns on its green leaves. As such it does need sufficient light to maintain its color.

That said, it prefers medium indirect light indoors.

It will likewise do well in bright light provided that the light indirect, filtered or dappled.

This Dracaena plant also does not have any issues with low light. Although, from what I’ve seen, you still want to monitor it if you place it somewhere with low light, at least initially.

That’s because if the light is insufficient, it will struggle to grow.

Thus, you’ll see a smaller plant with fewer leaves and smaller foliage at that.

The plant’s variegation may also revert back to being solid green.

While this is much less of an occurrence with the Dracaena Rikki Cane compared to other Dracaena varieties, it can still happen.

Therefore, it if important to at least monitor the plant for a few weeks to see how it responds to its location.

If you notice its leaf colors suffer or the plant’s overall growth slow, move it to a brighter spot.

However, when you do, be careful to avoid intense, direct sunlight.

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is sensitive to very strong or harsh light. This applies to both natural sunshine and artificial lighting (which you can use in case you don’t get a lot of sunlight in your home).

Avoid positioning the plant near in the path of the sun’s rays especially during the middle of the day. It will be able to tolerate about 1-3 hours of this.

But beyond that, you’ll see its leaves get dry, its colors fade or bleach.

Similarly, in excess intensity, the sun can also burn the plant’s leaves.

The same is likewise true for LED grow lights. Therefore, try to distance the plant at least 6-12 inches from the bulbs that emit heat.

 

Temperature

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is a tropical plant that prefers consistently moderate to warm climates.

This is why its ideal temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although, the plant will do well as long as temperature stays between 55 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as you keep it within this range, it won’t have any problems as far as temperature goes.

This is why the plant likes the outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. The weather stays relatively moderate to warm the entire year in these locations.

As such, you can keep the Dracaena Rikki Cane outdoors all year round.

However, it is not a good idea to do so in colder climates.

The Dracaena Rikki Cane has a temperature tolerance of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, avoid leaving it anywhere colder that this.

While it will tolerate this condition for a short period, leaving it there or colder for extended periods of time will give it problems.

The plant will not only experience slower growth but also develop leaf problems.

You’ll see curling, wilting and yellow foliage. And the colder it gets or the longer it is left in this environment, the more likely its leaves will eventually start dropping.

As much as possible, keep the plant away from temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here, it will experience cold damage which is very harmful to it.

More importantly, don’t leave it anywhere there is frost. Bring it indoors as the weather gets colder since it will not survive the winter.

 

Humidity

The Dracaena Rikki Cane likes humidity. It gets this from its native environment.

Tropical regions are best known for their warm to hot climate and also the high humidity which makes it harder to tolerate the heat.

As such, the plant is accustomed to more moisture in the air because of this.

And given a choice, this is what it prefers.

That said, one of the things that make Dracaena plants easy to care for and low maintenance is that they adapt very well to a wide range of conditions.

And this is the case with humidity.

It does not mind average indoor humidity. The Dracaena Rikki Cane will do well as long as the air does not get too dry.

This is why you likely won’t need to make any special adjustments to your home to accommodate the Dracaena Rikki Cane.

However, because of its higher humidity preference, it is a good idea to mist the plant.

Note that this is optional. So, you don’t need to do it.

Extra moisture in the air will keep the plant healthy. And its leaves will stay more vibrant.

That said, if you decide to mist the plant, be careful not to overdo it.

That’s because wetting the leaves or leaving water spots on foliage increase the risk of fungal diseases. The plant can be prone to different leaf spot infections if you do this.

So, never spritz too much water on foliage.

If you accidentally do so, use a dry towel or paper towels to pat dry the wet spots.

 

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How Often to Water Dracaena Rikki Cane

The Dracaena Rikki Cane enjoys moderate watering. It also can tolerate a bit of dryness.

But never leave or keep the soil wet and mucky.

The plant is prone to overwatering and root rot. Thus, you don’t want to add too much water too often as this will keep the roots wet, which the plant hates.

Instead, stay on the drier side of things.

Note that you also don’t want to let the soil get completely dry. If this happens often enough or for prolonged periods of time, the leaves will get discolored, wilt and later drop.

As such, the best time to water the Dracaena Rikki Cane is to allow part of the soil to dry between waterings.

If you like to water your houseplants regularly, make sure to wait at least until the top 2-3 inches of soil has dried before you add more water.

On the other hand, if you want to take a more conservative approach like I do, you can wait until the top 50% to 75% of the soil is dry before watering.

Anywhere between these 2 ranges will work well.

They key is to avoid the extremes.

When watering the plant, do so thoroughly. This means saturating the soil deeply to make sure that the moisture reaches the root zone. This lets the roots get the hydration them want.

After that, allow the excess water to drain out completely.

This extra step takes a while as the water will gradually drip and drain out of the holes at the bottom of the pot.

But it is important to avoid overwatering, waterlogged soil and possibly root rot.

Finally, keep in mind that the Dracaena Rikki Cane is sensitive to too much chlorine, fluoride or salts in the water. So, avoid hard water or highly mineralized tap water.

Use distilled water, filter the water or collect rainwater instead.

 

Dracaena Rikki Cane Potting Soil

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is not picky about the kind of soil it grows in. And it will do well in regular potting soil.

It is also not too fussy about soil pH. Although, it seems to grow better when soil pH is kept between 6.1 to 6.5.

Again, these features make the plant easy to care for indoors in your home.

That said, I prefer to use well-draining soil for the Dracaena Rikki Cane as well as my other Dracaena species.

That ‘s because of their susceptibility to overwatering.

In doing so, you reduce the risk of waterlogged soil which leads to too much water fort he roots. And because of this you’re better able to avoid root rot.

On the other hand, avoid heavy soils or anything that tends to retain a lot of water.

This will increase the risk of wet feet and keep the roots in too much liquid which can suffocate them.

Similarly, be careful about very sandy soils or those that drain too much moisture. Again, this has to do with the plant’s dislike for extremes.

If the soil you use drains too much moisture too quickly, the roots will end up drying up and underwatered.

The good news is that it is easy to create the perfect potting mix for the Dracaena Rikki Cane.

You can combine:

  • 1 part potting soil
  • 1 part perlite or pumice.

If you already use regular potting soil for the plant, just monitor it for a few weeks initially. In case the soil happens to hold too much moisture, you can add a few handfuls of perlite.

Add a few handfuls at a time and see how it responds.

Once you reach the right level of soil moisture where there isn’t too much water retention or drainage, then that’s the mix that’s right for your Dracaena Rikki Cane given your home’s environment.

 

Fertilizer

The Dracaena Rikki Cane will grow faster, taller and produce more foliage when fed with fertilizer.

Apply a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. This is when the plant is actively growing.

Thus, it is when you want to focus your feeding efforts.

Similarly, make sure the pant gets sufficient light and water during this time as these are other important growth factors.

However, don’t overfertilize the Dracaena Rikki Cane.

It will cause the leaves to turn brown or yellow.

More importantly, commercial fertilizers contain salts which the plant hates. When the salts accumulate in the soil due to overfeeding, the increase the risk of damaging the roots as well.

Therefore, always dilute the application by 50%.

Also, don’t fertilize the plant when the soil is dry.

It also does not need plant food during the fall and winter as this is its time to rest.

 

Pruning

The Dracaena Rikki Cane will grow into a mini-tree indoors. In this environment, it will usually grow to between 4 to 7 feet.

However, if you keep it outdoors it can grow to between 8 to 12 feet all.

This means that the plant will need space to grow but vertically and sligltly less so horizontally.

It is a fast grower as well.

In many cases, if you buy a bigger plant, you’ll see growers cluster 3 or more canes into a pot.

These canes will populate the pot better giving you more leaves. And their varying heighs give the plant more character as well.

Because of the Dracaena Rikki Cane’s potential size, pruning may or may not be something you want or need to do.

This all depends on how much space you have for the plant.

Some gardeners will prune the top of the plant to limit its size. Others will trim the leaves to keep it from getting too wide.

As such, it really depends on your preference and how much room you have to spare for the plant.

 

How to Propagate Dracaena Rikki Cane

Dracaena Rikki Cane can be done in many ways. This includes, top cutting, stem cuttings, air layering and division.

Each of the methods are different. And you can use them for varying purposes.

But the easiest way to propagate the Dracaena Rikki Cane is via top cuttings.

Top cuttings are also called stem tip cuttings because you take the top part of the plant and cut it off. This will then be able to grow into a new plant.

Due to how the process is done, some growers call it beheading as well.

I don’t particularly like the last term because of its more gruesome nature. And I definitely don’t like thinking about beheading my beloved plants.

In any case, that’s just my opinion.

Here’s how to propagate the Dracaena Rikki Cane from top cuttings.

Take a health stem tip with a few leaves on it. You want to cut it just below the leaf life. However, make sure that there is at least one node included with the cutting.

Nodes are very important since that’s where the new roots will grow.

These are the while, round bumps on the stems.

If you cannot locate them, try running your fingers down the stem and you’ll feel the bumps. These are the nodes.

Don’t worry about the mother plant as it will grow out again from the area where you cut it.

Once you have the top cut, you can propagate it in water or in soil.

I particularly like to plant it directly into soil because it will root much faster. Plus, there’s less effort since you don’t need to move the cutting later on.

To propagate in soil,

  1. Place the top cutting into a pot with well-draining soil.
  2. Keep the pot in a warm location with medium indirect light. Water as needed to keep the soil moist. But avoid leaving the soil mucky or soggy.
  3. It will take a few weeks for the roots to develop.

Note that the roots will grow fastest during spring and early summer. So, this is the ideal time to propagate.

You can do so during fall and winter.

But it will take much longer for the roots to grow. Additionally, you need to make sure the cutting gets enough light and stays warm.

On the other hand, if you decide to propagate in water, place the cutting into a container with water.

Use a transparent jar during water propagation so you can monitor the roots as they develop.

This is the biggest advantage of this method.

In a few weeks, you should see roots grow from the cutting.

Move the cutting to a pot with well-draining soil once the roots reach about 1-2 inches long.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Dracaena Rikki Cane

The Dracaena Rikki Cane will need repotting as it gets bigger. The plant’s relatively fast growth and its large size potential means you’ll eventually need to use 10 inch and larger pots later on.

However, avoid the temptation of jumping sized immediately.

Instead, start out with a container that’s just slightly bigger than the plant.

A lot will depend on the size of the Dracaena Rikki Cane you get.

Each time it outgrows its container and becomes root bound, repot the plant to a pot that is 2 inches wider.

This will let the plant keep growing.

On average, it takes around 2 years before you need to repot this Dracaena species.

However, it is always better to check the roots to see if they’ve outgrown the pot before you move it to a bigger container.

The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is toxic to both humans and animals. Every part of the plant is toxic when ingested.

However, it is safe to touch, hold, carry or work on.

Therefore, it is a good idea to keep it away from reach of young kids, dogs or cats who may accidentally eat the leaves or other parts of the plant.

 

Dracaena Rikki Cane Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is fairly resistant to common houseplant pests. But this does not mean that you should be complacent with it.

As with other houseplants, there’s no such thing as being immune to these bugs.

Therefore, pest problems can still happen, albeit less so compared to other plants.

The most common pests that will bother the Dracaena Rikki Cane include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and scale.

These are small insects so close and through inspection especially under the leaves is needed.

That’s where they like to hide.

And if you spot any, immediately isolate the plant and apply neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

 

Diseases

The Dracaena Rikki Cane is not prone to diseases. However, it is important to avoid any situation where you put it at risk.

In most cases, this involved excess moisture.

Root rot occurs from overwatering and waterlogged soil. As such, be careful not to water the plant too often since its does not like wet feet.

Similarly, when you water, don’t wet its leaves.

Doing so, will increase the risk of fungal disease especially if the wetness does not dry within a certain amount of time.

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