Dracaena massangeana, the mass cane plant

Dracaena massangeana

Dracaena massangeana belongs to the dragon plant family, and its complete scientific name, D. fragrans, hints to its rare amazingly scented blooming.

Dracaena massangeana key facts

Name – Dracaena fragrans ‘massangeana’
Common names – corn stalk plant, mass cane, dragon plant
Family – Agavaceae

Type – indoor plant
Exposure – very well-lit, even full sun
Soil – soil mix

Height – 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 meters)
Foliage – evergreen

Here are the tips and advice to care for your Dracaena massangeana, how and when it should be repotted, watered and what diseases infect it.

Related: problems a dracaena plant can get

Planting and repotting a Dracaena massangeana

Dracaena massangeana in a pot

Potted Dracaena massangeanaThe Dracaena massangeana plant requires good soil mix that can be amended with ⅓ compost, if you’ve got some.

In order to enhance drainage, pour clay pebbles or small stones into the pot to form a layer at the bottom.
This will help ensure that roots won’t wallow in water, which could be fatal to it: check out this picture of a Dracaena massangeana with yellow leaves.

  • Set up your dracaena in a fair-sized pot filled with special indoor plant or leaf plant soil mix.
  • Although it may be necessary to repot in spring every 2 or 3 years, when not repotting go for regular topdressing instead.

Outdoor Dracaena massangeana

As is customary for plants in pots, feel free to place a bed of gravel, small stones or clay pebbles to drain the water better. Atop this layer, you’ll be using a blend of soil mix, garden soil and sand.

Generally speaking, dracaena is intolerant to the cold and will only grow outside wherever the climate is quite warm with a temperature always higher than 63 to 65°F (17 to 18°C).

Where to place a Dracaena massangeana indoors

Under our climates, Dracaena massangeana adapts well to living indoors in our apartments and homes.
It grows best when surrounding temperatures hold at around 70 to 72°F (20 to 22°C) and requires very good light, even direct sunlight.

Choose for it a place near a window facing to the South or West so that it would bathe in a good deal of both indirect light and sunlight.

If you live in a house that is quite dark, avoid purchasing this particular dracaena because it won’t cope well with the lack of luminosity.

Watering Dracaena massangeana

All year long, mist water on the leaves, preferably soft water.

Watering in spring and summer

Watering Dracaena massangeanaThis is usually the time of the year when the dracaena massangeana grows most.
Water regularly while letting the soil mix dry in the surface before watering again.

Watering must be regular but limited, in order to not suffocate the plant’s roots. Every 4 or 5 days is largely sufficient.

More or less every two weeks, you can offer it some liquid fertilizer, taking great care to moisten the soil mix beforehand.

Watering in fall and then in winter

Start reducing the watering because the plant water needs begin to decrease.
Only when the soil is dry down to the first inch or so (a couple centimeters), water to moisten the entire soil mix clump again.

Again, one might contend that watering one or 2 times a month should suffice.
But this also depends on where your dracaena is placed: if it is in full sun, its needs will surely be higher.

  • This colder season is also when to stop adding fertilizer, from October all the way to March and April.

Corn stalk dracaena propagation

This reproduces very easily by preparing cuttings. This generally means sacrificing one of the stems in order to make new plants. What’s nice is that you can make several plants : all you need are portions of stems that are around 6 inches long (15 cm) at least.

Diseases and parasites that attack dracaena massangeana

Falling or withering leaves

This is undoubtedly due to either lack of light or excess water.

  • Find a more exposed location for it and reduce watering to match our recommendations above.

The Dracaena messangeana loses its leaves

This is what happens when the dracaena is too cold.

  • Find a more appropriate location for it, it requires minimum temperatures of 65-66°F (18-19°C) and ideally 70 to 72°F (20 to 22°C).

Leaves turn yellow more than usual

If the plant continues to produce new leaves, this is part of your dracaena massangeana’s natural cycle. Trees, even evergreen trees, lose their leaves to renew them.

  • However, if no new shoots appear and your dracaena looks a bit sad, it might have fallen victim to red spider mites due to an excessively dry atmosphere.
    If so, you must treat the plant with an insecticide.
  • As mentioned above, overwatering is a common cause of dracaena yellow leaves, and is most certainly the case if most of the leaves of your D. massangeana are turning yellow.

White velvety spots appear, leaves turn pale and lose their colors

This is surely due to an onslaught of scale insects.

  • You can eliminate scale insects with a rag dipped in alcohol spirits, carefully rinsing the leaves with water afterwards.
  • Read the tips you need on fighting mealybugs, the other name of scale insects.

Dracaena massangeana varieties

D. fragrans ‘Massangeana’ is typically marked with leaves that are variegated, in this case darker green on the outside and lighter green on the inside.

Other Dracaena fragrans varieties don’t have this, like Dracaena fragrans ‘Hilo Girl’ shown below.

Varieties of Dracaeana massangeana

Learn more about dracaena massangeana

Although some varieties look very similar to palm trees, dracaena massangeana isn’t a palm tree.
The similarity is confusing and the care it needs is often very close to that of a palm tree.

All in one aesthetic, resilient and very easy to grow, this is one of the most appreciated and often-purchased indoor plants.

Its foliage is particularly elegant and unique, and its shape and bearing brings a touch of exotic life to a living room, dining area, or any other room of the house that is well-lit.

  • The lifespan of a dracaena massangeana can be long, provided it isn’t infected with the diseases that sometimes impact this genus.

Read also:

Smart tip about Dracaena massangeana

Did you know that on very rare occasions, sometimes only after several decades, the Dracaena massangeana will flower and release a scent that is surprisingly appealing?

Dracaena massangeana flower

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois): Flower Council Holland
CC BY 4.0: Kim & Forest Starr,
CC BY-ND 2.0: Lauren Gutierrez