Dracaena massangeana is part of the dragon plant family.
Dracaena massangeana key facts
Name: D. fragrans ‘massangeana’
Common names: corn stalk plant, mass cane, dragon plant
Family: Agavaceae, indoor plant
Exposure: very well-lit, even full sun
Soil: draining soil mix – Height: 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 m) – Foliage: evergreen
Its complete scientific name, D. fragrans, hints to its rare amazingly scented blooming. Here are 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
The 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 put 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 – do the opposite if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you live in a house that is quite dark, avoid purchasing this particular dracaena. It won’t cope well with lack of light.
Watering Dracaena massangeana
All year long, mist water on the leaves, preferably soft water.
Watering in spring and summer
This 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 say that watering one or 2 times a month should be enough.
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.
- Here’s an article on how to make dracaena cuttings.
Diseases and parasites on Mass Cane
Watering is what makes your Massangeana plant vulnerable: don’t overwater and make sure soil drains well.
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.
Dracaena messangeana losing 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 fuzzy spots appear, leaves lose their color
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’ has variegated leaves. They’re nearly always darker green on the outside and lighter green on the inside.
- D. massangeana ‘Lindenii’ – also has beautiful yellow markings. They seem painted on leaves in soft swaths.
Other Dracaena fragrans varieties don’t have this:
- Dracaena fragrans ‘Hilo Girl’ shown above/right.
- Dracaena massangeana ‘Santa Rosa’ – all green. Leaves tend to stay attached longer than other varieties, even when stressed.
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.
- Did you know that plants cleanse pollution from the air indoors?
- A cousin found in many homes: Dracaena marginata
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?
I’ve been growing one for years and it thrills me to know I can cut it shorter without killing it. It’s nearly taller than the window! Thanks for giving me the courage to hack at it now!
I have one, about six feet tall, potted indoors under a skylight. I have had it about five years and it has consistently been healthy. Recently (and to my shock!) it has bloomed, and looks just like the the Smart Tip above. I don’t really have a question but am stunned by this, especially since the Smart Tip suggests that it is almost a rare occurrence. Anymore information about blooming would be interesting to know. Thanks very much.
My plant was bright & colourful but lately the nice yellow stripe in the middle has also turned green. First lighter green, so you can still see a difference but then they turn all green. Been googling a lot but not one site addresses this. Maybe you can tell me?
Hello! Usually, leaves lose their variegation (different colors like green and white or cream) in the following cases:
– lack of light: if under too much shade, or in a dark room, the plant tries to make up for the low light by producing chlorophyll (the green color of leaves) across the entire leaf, even if some of it was originally variegated.
– leaf grows older: young leaves tend to show a strong, clear color difference, but this slowly changes in time as the leaf ages.
I suspect your draceana massangeana is lacking light, relatively. It still has enough to grow, but not so much that the colors stay marked. Is there a way you can give it more light, either by putting it nearer a window, placing a white or reflective object/mirror behind it, etc? Remember that it doesn’t like the air to be too dry, so as you bring it closer to the window, find ways to also increase air moisture around it.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for your quick reply. Unfortunately I don’t really have a spot where it can get lots of ‘shaded’ light coz of the layout of the space. But I dusted the leaves, that was overdue and will keep an eye on, and I also trimmed it so light reaches the leaves more easily.
It is 4 years old so think that would then also play a role. I want to repot it, give it a fresh start. All together, should make at least a bit of difference.
Sure thing! Another tip is to spread a light-colored mulch on top of your pot, this will reflect some of the light it gets up where the plant needs it. White gravel, aquarium rock
Amazed by all the wonderful, useful information particularly given my total ineptitude with growing anything very much.
I have just purchased my first dracaena massangeana. Apart from my own ineptitude the question is whether my best friend here in Trieste, Italy will love it and look after it properly when I return to Australia for a few months!? We can but hope…..
Thank you very much for your nice comment, Hugh! I’m happy this information helps. If you’re worried about how it may survive, just have your friend over for a meal and show him or her how you water – and give a calendar with days marked on it to be sure! Note that it’s better to underwater than to overwater, so if a date is missed, just wait for the next one instead of doubling down…
My own personal dracaena favorite is the dracaena bicolor!