Dracaena Dorado is a lesser-known variety similar to the more popular Dracaena fragans, which is also called the corn plant. While similar in many ways, Dracaena Dorado is known for its shorter, perkier leaves and slimmer stems, or canes.
Like all Dracaena varieties, Dracaena Dorado is easy to grow and looks beautiful in any indoor space.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about caring for this lovely dracaena variety.
Dracaena Dorado Plant Care
As with all dracaenas, Dracaena Dorado is native to Africa, is quite drought-hardy, and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep. Still, it’s best to know what makes this plant happy so you can grow the greenest, healthiest plant possible!
Height & Spread
Dracaena dorado can grow up to 4 or 5 feet tall indoors, and will only spread to about 1.5 feet (though this spread may be larger if you have more than one plant in a pot).
This plant is quite horizontally compact, so if you want something striking that won’t take up a lot of floor space, this is a good choice!
Soil and Potting
No dracaena plant likes to sit in soggy soil for long, and Dracaena Dorado is no different.
Make sure to use a potting mix that drains quickly so your plant doesn’t have wet feet. Commercial cactus soil can work, but you may want to mix in a few extra handfuls of perlite or vermiculite to keep it well-aerated.
You can also mix one part peat, one part loam, and one part perlite or vermiculite for an easy, DIY dracaena potting soil.
If you want a high-quality soil that’s ready to go right out of the bag, however, our Premium Potting Mix or Indoor Plants is an excellent choice for all dracaena varieties!
It’s also critical that you put your plant in a pot with drainage holes. The best soil won’t help if your pot can’t drain!
Does dracaena need sunlight?
Even though dracaena is known for being a low-light plant that doesn’t need a lot of bright light to thrive, it still needs some light. So you can’t just stick it in a windowless room and expect it to be happy.
Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal for Dracaena Dorado, but it will be fine in just about any room with a window.
What you definitely DON’T want to do is put your Dracaena Dorado in direct sunlight, because this will scorch the leaves in no time and cause them to turn yellow or brown.
Dracaena Dorado isn’t fussy when it comes to temperatures and will be happy with regular indoor room temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. As a rule of thumb, if you’re comfortable with the temperature, so’s your dracaena. Easy!
Though your Dracaena Dorado isn’t picky about its temperatures, it does like a fair bit of humidity.
40% humidity is the ideal indoor level for a dracaena, so if you live in an arid climate or if you use a lot of indoor climate control, you may want to give your Dracaena Dorado a little help in the humidity department.
You can set up a humidifier near your plant or place it in a kitchen or bathroom (these rooms tend to be a little more humid than other areas of the house). Grouping plants together can also help, because they’ll raise the local humidity level slightly as they respirate.
Placing your dracaena on a humidity tray can also be beneficial. You can buy these at any gardening center or just make your own by filling a shallow tray with water and pebbles and sticking the whole plant on top (just make sure the roots and soil don’t touch the water).
If none of those options work, there’s always misting. Here’s how to do this properly. (Yes, there is a right and a wrong way to mist your plants!)
How Often to Water Dracaena
Proper watering is one of the most important parts of Dracaena Dorado care. These plants are pretty drought-resistant and don’t like being overwatered, so it’s important to make sure your plant is actually ready for a drink before you water it.
Water when the top half of soil has dried out, or when a moisture meter reads 2. (We highly recommend using a meter, by the way, because it will give you a much more accurate idea of what’s going on deeper inside the pot. Here’s how to use a moisture meter.)
For most plants, this means you’ll be watering every 10-14 days. When you do water, thoroughly soak the soil and let it drain completely.
Another important note about watering dracaenas: All dracaena varieties, including Dracaena Dorado, are sensitive to chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals in tap water. Dried-out leaf tips are a sign that your plant isn’t pleased with its water, so watch out for this.
So when you water your plant, make sure to use purified water, distilled water, or rainwater if you can get it. At the very least, leave tap water out overnight to allow some of the chemicals to dissipate.
Like most dracaenas, Dracaena Dorado grows slowly and is therefore a light feeder when it comes to nutrients. You won’t need to fertilize much at all to keep your Dracaena Dorado happy!
During the spring and summer when your plant is most likely to be growing, fertilize once per month with a gentle liquid fertilizer like Indoor Plant Food.
Skip fertilizing completely during the fall and winter.
As a slow-growing plant, you will only need to repot your Dracaena Dorado every other year or so. In fact, you can hold off on repotting until you see signs that the soil is becoming compacted or that the plant is starting to outgrow its pot. If you notice roots popping out the top or bottom of the pot or growing in a circle around the inside of the pot, your plant is probably ready for a pot upgrade.
If the soil has become hard and doesn’t absorb water readily, this is also a good time to repot into a soil that’s more aerated.
The best time to repot is in the spring when your plant may be gearing up for a growth spurt. This stored energy will help your plant recover from the shock of being repotted.
Dracaena Dorado isn’t known for getting overgrown or unruly, so you probably won’t need to prune in order to control its shape often. Still, if you decide you need to give your plant a haircut, make sure to use sterilized shears or scissors (clean with soap and water, disinfectant, or rubbing alcohol) and cut close to the base of the leaf where it attaches to the stem.
If your leaves become damaged from scorching, tap water, etc., it’s a good idea to prune away the dead material so your plant can divert its energy toward supporting healthy growth.
To trim away dead stuff, use sterilized scissors to cut away any brown or crispy spots, and take care to cut inside the damaged area, avoiding cutting into healthy tissue. Cutting the healthy parts will only cause those areas to dry out and turn brown anyway.
Dracaena Dorado Propagation
Dracaena Dorado can be propagated with seeds or with stem cuttings. Here’s how to do this.
Propagating from seeds isn’t common, and you won’t be able to harvest seeds from an indoor plant, but if you do manage to locate some seeds online, you can also purchase growing kits for starting seeds. These often come with containers, humidity covers, soil, and heating mats.
If you want to DIY this, simply place the seeds on top of a shallow container filled with potting medium (like the ones we described earlier), water thoroughly, and keep in a bright, warm place, but not in front of a heater. Heating mats and grow lights work best for starting seeds.
You should also keep the seeds covered with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to lock in humidity. Keep the potting medium moist. When you start seeing strong roots and leaves, you can plant your new seedlings in bigger planters!
A much easier way to propagate your Dracaena Dorado is by cutting off the crown of the plant.
To do this, use sterilized shears to cut off the top two or three inches of your plant, which should include a few sets of leaves. Strip the leaves off the bottom so that you have an inch or two of bare stem showing and a few leaves left on top.
Then place the cutting upright in a clear glass container of purified water with a little Rooting Hormone. Place in a bright place and wait for it to grow roots! Once the roots are a few inches long, you can plant the new plant and care for it like a mature dracaena.
Why Is My Dracaena Turning Yellow?
Dracaena Dorado may yellow for a variety of reasons.
First, make sure your plant isn’t in direct sunlight. Harsh sun can cause the leaves to discolor in no time!
Second, make sure you aren’t using tap water to water your plant. If you are, it’s time to switch to purified or distilled.
Next, check on the moisture level of the soil. If it still feels wet a week or more after you watered, your plant may be overwatered. If the soil feels very dry, your plant might be in desperate need of a drink.
If everything with your lighting and watering situation seems to be okay, ask yourself how much you’ve been fertilizing. If you haven’t fertilized your plant in a long time, it might need some nutrients. If you’ve been fertilizing, you might be giving your plant too much. Adjust as needed!
Dracaena Dorado Diseases & Pests
Dracaena Dorado is an easygoing plant, but you may still run into some issues. Watch out for these warning signs.
If you notice soft, dark-brown spots on your plant’s leaves, your dracaena is probably overwatered and may even have root rot.
Try giving your plant a bit more light, scaling back on the water, and using our Root Supplement when you do water. Remove the damaged material, using sterilized scissors.
If the problem persists, it’s time to repot the plant into fresh, fast-draining soil and a clean pot. Make sure to trim away any rotting roots you see. Moving forward, be sure your plant is ready for a drink before you water, and use our Root Supplement to help the roots heal.
Spider mites are a household pest that can sometimes move into your indoor plants! If you notice fluffy white webbing or tiny brownish-red dots on the leaves, you might have spider mites.
Rinse the leaves with a hose, showerhead, or kitchen sprayer to dislodge as many insects as possible. It’s a good idea to tip the plant on its side to avoid washing the insects right back into the soil.
Afterward, spray your plant down with diluted neem oil or Leaf Armor to kill off stragglers and prevent more from returning.
Mealybugs are another pest that might infest your Dracaena Dorado!
These little buggers are small, white, and secrete a sticky, clear goo called honeydew. They can also suck the juices out of your plant’s leaves, which can give them a withered look.
To remove these insects, get some rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and dab any insects or nests you see to get them to let go. Follow through with diluted neem oil spray.
Also, introducing natural predators like ladybugs can be an effective way to combat mealybugs, if you don’t mind some friendly bugs in your home!
Dracaena Dorado FAQ
Is Dracaena Dorado toxic to humans and pets?
Dracaena Dorado is toxic to animals (not deadly, but it can make them very sick) but isn’t known to be toxic to humans.
Give Dracaena Dorago a Try!
Dracaena Dorado is a wonderful plant for beginner houseplant parents and experienced indoor gardeners alike! This hardy and beautiful plant is the perfect choice to spruce up your home without a lot of work, space, or light. Give it a try!
Learn more about your dracaena plants and discover more houseplant care resources: