How to Care for Dracaena Lisa

Are you a fan of dracaenas? Then you’ll love Dracaena Lisa!

Dracaenas are classic indoor plants, beloved by beginning houseplant owners and experienced indoor gardeners alike. These hardy plants are beautiful, space-efficient, and very tolerant of indoor conditions, making them popular for homes, offices, and even malls and airports. 

Dracaena Lisa in particular is known for its shiny, dark-green leaves and graceful, slender trunks. While some “dragon tree” type dracaenas have slim leaves (Dracaena marginata is a great example of this), Dracaena Lisa has broader leaves, like many of the varieties often referred to as “corn plants,” given that their leaves resemble those that grow on corn stalks. 

It grows well with several plants grouped in one pot, making it the perfect plant to fill out an empty corner in your home.

Here’s everything you need to know about growing Dracaena Lisa and helping it thrive indoors.

Height & Spread

These plants can grow up to about 3-5 feet tall indoors, with a spread of about 1.5 feet per plant. (Keep that in mind if you have more than one plant in a single pot.)

Overall, this plant is quite compact and utilizes vertical space nicely, so it’s a great choice if you want a striking plant without a lot of horizontal spread!

Potting Soil

Soil 

Dracaena plants, Dracaena Lisa included, do best in a well-aerated, fast-draining potting mix. 

Regular cactus potting soil can work well if you mix in a couple handfuls of perlite or vermiculite to increase aeration. 

You can also make a wonderful dracaena potting soil by mixing one part peat, one part loam, and one part perlite or vermiculite.

But if you aren’t a DIY indoor gardener who likes to make your own potting mixes, we have a great solution that’s ready to go right out of the bag!

Our Premium Potting Soil for Indoor Plants is perfect for Dracaena Lisa because it balances moisture retention and drainage to create the ideal soil conditions for your plant. It stays aerated for a good long time thanks to the inclusion of perlite and orchid bark, and is full of nutrients from green organic compost to help your dracaena thrive!

Potting and Position

Make sure to pot your Dracaena Lisa in a planter that has drainage holes and that is about 2-3 inches larger than the width of the root ball. The material of the planter doesn’t matter, but keep in mind that terracotta has a moisture-wicking effect, which can be helpful if you tend to have a heavy hand with the watering can.

One of the best things about Dracaena Lisa (and dracaenas in general) is that they don’t require a ton of sunlight. Sure, these plants will thrive in bright, direct sunlight from an east-facing window, but they will also do just fine farther back in a room with a window or near a north-facing window. 

If you’re like us and have a lot of plants crowding your east-facing windows and not a lot of greenery elsewhere in your home, this is great news!

As long as there is a window in the room, your dracaena should be fine. These plants also do pretty well in fluorescent lighting. This is one reason why they’re so popular in malls and offices! Your plant won’t grow as quickly in lower light and may not create such dramatic light and dark-green coloring, but it will be healthy. 

Just make sure you keep a close eye on the soil conditions, as light can affect how efficiently your plant uses water.

Temperature & Humidity

Another great thing about Dracaena Lisa is that it thrives in typical room temperatures and humidity levels. 

Temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit are fair game here. Your plant should be fine in indoor humidity levels, but if you notice the leaves getting dry and you know you’re watering properly (more on that in a minute), you may want to start misting your plant, group it with other plants, or set up a nearby humidifier. 

Watering

Watering your Dracaena Lisa properly is one of the most important parts of helping this plant thrive! Both the frequency of watering and the type of water you use are crucial here, so listen up:

This plant grows on riverbanks in its native habitat in Africa, so it does best in consistently moist but not wet soil. Water when the top 2-3 inches of potting mix feel dry or when a moisture meter reads 3-4. (By the way, we’re huge fans of soil meters around here because we find that they give a much more accurate indication of the moisture level of the actual root ball. More on that here.)

When it’s time to water, give the soil a good soaking. Slowly add water to the soil until it starts to drain, and then let the pot drain completely. If your soil is well-aerated and if your plant is getting sufficient light (it doesn’t need tons of light, but it does need some), you should be watering every 7-14 days, depending on the time of year.

It’s also super important to use distilled, purified, or rainwater to water your Draceana Lisa. Dracaena plants as a whole are very sensitive to the chemicals in tap water and will often develop leaf discoloration, especially browning of leaf tips, if exposed to them. 

At the very least, leave tap water out overnight or for at least 8 hours to give the chemicals a chance to evaporate before watering your plant.

Indoor Plant Food for Neon Pothos Plant Care

Fertilizing

Since it grows slowly, your Dracaena Lisa won’t need a ton of fertilizer, but it does need some. 

During the spring and summer when your plant is most likely to be growing, fertilize once or twice per month with a gentle liquid fertilizer like Indoor Plant Food (this stuff is gentle enough that you can even use it with every watering). 

Repotting

As a slow-growing plant, you won’t need to repot your Dracaena Lisa often. Plan on repotting your plant every other year or so, unless the soil becomes hard and compacted, or if you notice signs that your plant is outgrowing its pot, like roots popping out of the top or bottom.

Pruning

You probably won’t have to prune your Dracaena Lisa often to control its shape because it stays pretty neat and tidy on its own. You may need to trim away damaged material from time to time to keep the plant healthy.

If you prune healthy leaves to control the plant’s shape, make sure to use clean scissors or shears and cut the leaf at the base, close to where it connects to the trunk. Simple!

If you prune dead or damaged leaves, same story. Use clean tools and cut near the base if you’re removing the whole leaf. If you’re just trimming a damaged section of a leaf like brown spots or dried-out tips, make sure to cut inside the damaged portions to avoid cutting into the healthy tissue. If you cut the healthy parts, this will cause them to dry out and brown anyway!

Why does my Dracaena have yellow leaves?

Yellowing can have many causes, so you may need to use the process of elimination to figure out what’s going on.

First, check the moisture level of the soil and think of when you last watered. If the soil is still wet long after you last watered, or really dry just a few days after being watered, you might be over- or underwatering your plant. 

If the soil is too wet, it’s a good idea to make sure your pot and soil are draining well enough and that your plant is getting enough light. Low light and poor drainage can both cause and exacerbate overwatering!

Other causes of yellowing can include overfertilization, nutrient deficiency (so think about how often you fertilize), improper soil pH, poor lighting conditions, and insect infestations (more on this later).

Should I cut brown tips off my Dracaena?

The tips of your Dracaena Lisa may turn brown if you water with chlorinated water, if you underwater, or if your plant needs more humidity. Those tips won’t heal, so it’s fine to cut them off. Just make sure to cut only the damaged tips and not the healthy part of the leaf. 

Dracaena Lisa Propagation

Dracaena Lisa is fun to propagate! You can propagate by rooting a cutting in soil or water or by air layering. 

If you decide to take a cutting, here’s what to do: using clean, sharp shears, cut off the top few inches of your Dracaena Lisa. This section should have at least a few sets of leaves on it. Then peel off the bottom leaves until you have at least an inch or two of bare stem with some leaves still growing out of the top. 

Now it’s time to root!

Soil

To root your cutting in soil, you can dip the end of the stem in rooting hormone (or mix this into your water) and place it upright in a container of potting mix. Put in bright, indirect sunlight and water thoroughly. 

Over the next few weeks, keep the soil consistently moist. You may also want to put a plastic bag or plastic wrap over the top to lock in humidity, as this can help a cutting to root. 

Within a month or two, your cutting should have rooted, and you can either keep it in its current planter or transplant it to a more permanent setup.

Water

To root your cutting in water, place the cutting upright in a clear glass container of water with a little Propagation Promoter mixed in. Put it in a bright place and keep the water topped off, switching it out completely at least once per week. 

In a month or two, you should see new roots forming! Once those roots are an inch long, you can plant your cutting in soil and care for it like a mature Draceana Lisa.

Air Layering

Air layering works best if your plant is getting too tall and you want to replant part of the top. 

To do this, use sharp, clean shears to make a shallow cut around the stem about a foot from the top. Don’t cut too deep or you might accidentally decapitate your Dracaena Lisa!

Once you’ve done this, wrap the wound in damp (not soaked) sphagnum moss and then wrap the moss in plastic wrap. Secure the whole thing with string or twist ties.

Every day or so, loosen the plastic and use a spray bottle to rewet the moss, but don’t let it get soggy. Within a few months, you should see roots growing from the cut you made in the trunk.

Once the roots are an inch long, use sharp shears to cut off that whole section of the plant, including the roots, and plant it in soil. Ta-da! Now you have a new, smaller Dracaena Lisa!

Dracaena Lisa Common Problems

You might run into problems with your Dracaena Lisa, but if you catch and treat them early, your plant can make a quick recovery!

Watch out for these warning signs.

Leaning

If you notice your dracaena leaning to one side, your plant might be reaching for the nearest light source. Make sure to rotate your plant a quarter turn or so each time you water so it will grow evenly. 

If your plant is leaning but the trunk isn’t bent, you may be able to repot the plant to be more upright.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to fix a crooked trunk other than to propagate, as we described above. But it is preventable!

Drooping

Drooping can have several causes. In many cases, it’s simply shock from being moved or repotted. So if your plant has experienced big changes recently, it might just need a week or two to get used to its new situation. Continue to care for it consistently and leave it alone otherwise! The last thing it needs right now is more change. 

Drooping can also be caused by over- or underwatering (check the moisture level of the soil), a draft (watch out for cold doors, vents, and windows!), or an insect infestation (check for bugs!). 

Again, the process of elimination is your best friend when it comes to diagnosing plant issues!

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by fungus in the soil that attacks the roots. This fungus thrives in overly wet conditions, so you may run into this problem if your plant is overwatered. 

If you notice soft, dark-brown spots on your Dracaena Lisa’s leaves or notice a bad smell coming from the soil, you might have root rot. 

The best treatment is to repot into fresh soil and a clean pot. Make sure to prune any rotting roots before repotting. 

Afterward, make sure the plant gets enough light and go a little easier on the water for a while. When you do water, use our Root Supplement to help the roots heal.

Scale

Scale is a hard-bodied insect that attaches itself to leaves and stems and sucks out the juices. It looks like little brown bumps. You know, like scales. 

To remove them, pry them off with your fingernail or use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Then spray your plant down with diluted neem oil or Leaf Armor to prevent the scale from returning. 

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are a soft-bodied scale species that look like little white fuzz balls. They also leave behind fluffy white webbing and sticky, clear residue called honeydew. If you see them, use a showerhead or kitchen sprayer to rinse them off your plant (tip the pot on its side to avoid washing the pests into the soil) and follow through with neem oil spray.

Read more here about how to deal with common indoor pests!

Can Dracaena plants go outside?

Sometimes! 

Dracaenas are hardy in agricultural zones 7-11, but bring your plant inside if outdoor temps drop to below 60 degrees. 

Don’t plant your Dracaena Lisa in the ground if temperatures commonly get lower than this at night.

Is Dracaena Dorado toxic to cats?

Yes, all dracaena species are toxic to cats and other pets. They aren’t known to be toxic to humans, but don’t go snacking on your plant, and don’t let your kids take a bite out of it either!

Dracaena Lisa Care Final Thoughts

Draceana Lisa is beautiful and easy to care for, and a great choice for a space that doesn’t get a ton of natural light or have a lot of room for horizontal spread. If you love the look of indoor trees but don’t have the space or desire to care for one, Dracaena Lisa is a great compromise!

Give it a try!

Learn more about your dracaena plants and discover more houseplant care resources: 

Houseplants for Millennials Book 

Houseplants for Beginners Webinar

Houseplant Resource Center Facebook Community