A song of india

Dracaena, Song of India ‘Variegata’

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Height:

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

Spacing:

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

N/A

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brea, California

Carlsbad, California

La Mesa, California

Denver, Colorado

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida(2 reports)

Boynton Beach, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Debary, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(3 reports)

Hobe Sound, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Key West, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Naples, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida(2 reports)

Seminole, Florida

Tampa, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Ahuimanu, Hawaii

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Heeia, Hawaii

Kaneohe, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Waikane, Hawaii

Denham Springs, Louisiana

Gonzales, Louisiana

Summerville, South Carolina

Alice, Texas

Broaddus, Texas

Crosby, Texas

Kalama, Washington

show all

Caring for the Song of India Plant: Tips and Tricks

The Song of India plant (Latin name Dracaena Reflexa or the retired Pleomele reflexa) an upright tree or evergreen shrub, has yellow stripes on short, narrow pointed leaves. This slow growing, versatile plant decorates many homes and offers shade for smaller garden plants. It needs a minimum of water, and diffused sunlight to survive, which explains why you find in so many offices.

>> Check out The Song of India on Amazon <<

Although it’s an often used as a decorative indoor plant, you can also plant it in your backyard, where it can reach heights of up to 20 feet. The Dracaena Reflexa, native to Madagascar and Mauritius, thrives in warm climates.

Song of India Plant Facts

The lanceolate leaves taper to a point like a lance and grow in tight whorls. Upon closer, inspection, the arched-over leaves look like they’ve been waxed. These glossy, striped leaves can shoot up to one foot long and a few inches wide, so keep them pruned to avoid run-ins with errant leaves as you’re walking down the hall or in your garden.

Photo by Troy Mckaskle licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Song of India’s small, white sterile flowers are barely noticeable. Lower leaves eventually die off and reveal thin, silver-brown stems.

Commonly used on pedestal stands in homes and offices, the Song of India provides a contrast

to artwork, and many interior decorators use it as a design piece, along with furniture.

It’s adaptable to most indoor lighting conditions from bright lights of a reception room with the dim lights of a home theater. If you want the best for your plant, though, give it lots of light.

The Song of India is versatile and handles both indoor and outdoor growing well.

The Dracaena Reflexa can be used as screen barrier or hedge in your garden. It breaks up larger ornamental gardens with lots of flowers with its arched, glossy leaves.

Along with a few other Dracaena plants, the Song of India is included on the NASA list of top air-purifying plants.

The Tropical Plant Technician offers a few tips on “Caring for Dracaena reflexa ‘Song of India’” in this video from the Larry Scott YouTube Video Channel.

Planting and Caring for the Song of India

The Song of India is a great addition to large gardens, reaching a height of 8 to 20 feet tall. According to the University of Florida IFS Extension, the Song of India plant can survive in near-drought conditions. If you’re too busy to water plants, this one will survive. It’s sensitive to salt spray and coastal waters, so plant in an interior garden if you leave near the ocean.

Like its Dracaena relatives (the Madagascar Dragon Tree plant, Lucky Bamboo plant, etc.) , these towering plants needs high humidity to stay healthy and should be raised in an ideal temperature between 65 and 85 degrees. If exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees for long periods, its leaves wilt and the plant may die. (source)

Boost humidity by putting your plant on a tray of pebbles with warm water underneath, or use a small humidifier.

>> Get your own Song of India on Amazon <<

Grow Song of India in mildly acidic soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.5. Make sure top soil is 50% dry before watering. The soil used for indoor and outdoor Dracaena Reflexa should be slightly moist at all times. The stems are a bit weak, so you may need to prop them up with string or wire.

If leaves turn yellow and droop, ensure you’re not over watering. Prune some of the damaged leaves. Remember, you can skip watering for a month in the winter, and the plant will be just fine.

Feed your plant liquid fertilizer monthly in the spring and summer at a quarter of recommended strength, or use the fertilizer diluted at 10/10/10.

Whether you decide to plant indoors or outdoors, make sure the Song of India in a spot where it can get indirect sunlight. Bright, constant sunlight scorches its’ leaves, but occasional bright sunshine shouldn’t be a problem.

The Song of India is easy to grow in any backyard. “Dracaena Reflexa – “Song of India” – A Great Tropical Foliage Plant You Should Know About” From the Eat Your Backyard YouTube video channel gives you a firsthand look at caring for this plant.

Propagating Song of India Plants

If you want new Song of India plants, you can’t buy a pack of seeds. You need to propagate new plants from woody or herbaceous cuttings from one of your grown plant. Luckily, the Song of India is easy to prune, and you can keep cuttings from burgeoning plants to grow new ones. For your outdoor garden, all you need to do is stick cuttings into the fertile soil if you want new plants in your gardens.

Prune off the bottom half of leaves Cut off about 11 or 12 inches in length from one of your leaves on a fully-grown plant, and push it into compost soil. Keep watering it and wait a few weeks. As the new plant sprouts, few leaves may drop off but, it will eventually show robust growth.

Repotting Song of India Plants

If you buy a Dracaena reflexa from the supermarket, repot it in loose soil. Supermarket plants aren’t usually well-cared for, so be prepared to get your hands dirty when you get home. Make sure pots have excellent drainage to prevent standing water, which can damage the plant.

>> Buy The Song of India plan on Amazon <<

A full-size Song of India plant can be repotted every two or three years if the developing roots run out of space in the container and try to escape through the lip of the pot or drainage holes. A root bound or pot bound Song of India may have wilted or browning leaves. This plant isn’t as sensitive to being root bound as many others, and smaller Song of Indias can thrive even if they’re slightly pot bound.

Other Song of India Care Requirements

Scales or mealybugs may infest indoor Song of India plants. Pick off scales off with a gloved hand or prune infested leaves.

Keep your dog or cat away, because like other Dracaena plants they’re poisonous to pets. It’s a good idea to plant the Song of India in the back part of your garden, where small children and animals can’t get to it.

Dracaena Song Of India care tips:

I first saw a Dracaena reflexa, then called Pleomele reflexa, when I was working as an interior plantscaper in Boston. We didn’t get many in from the grower in Florida but I’ve always loved this plant. It develops an interesting somewhat twisted form as it grows which adds to its appeal. I’ve been growing Dracaena reflexa Song Of India for many years and want to share these care tips with you.

You’ll see this plant sold as Song Of India, Dracanea Song Of India or Dracaena reflexa Song Of India. It has vibrant chartreuse foliage (that I just love!) which needs a good amount of natural light to sustain. If you’ve followed me here or on social media you know how plants with chartreuse foliage knock my socks off.

A few specifics:

Size

You most often see these for sale as smaller plants in 6″ or 8″ grow pots which are table top plants. When you get into the 10″, 12″ & 14″ grow pot size, those are floor plants. The tallest I’ve seen a Song Of India as a houseplant is 6′.

Growth Rate

Slow to moderate. The more light it gets, the faster it’ll grow.

Uses

Like many houseplants, this is a tabletop plant as well as a floor plant. Mine is 18″ tall right now & sits on a small chest. Over the years it’ll grow into a floor plant as long as it gets strong natural light & is repotted every 2-3 years.

Close Relatives

The ones I’ve seen are the Dracaena reflexa, which has darker foliage & the Song Of Jamaica, which is medium green edged in yellowish white.

Here’s that vibrant chartreuse foliage up close.

Exposure

The Song Of India is a medium to a high light houseplant. Mine is in my kitchen in an east/south exposure where a sliding patio door & a frosted skylight gives it a good amount of bright natural light all day.

I rotate it every couple of months so it gets the light evenly all the way around. Don’t let it get too much direct, hot sun or it’ll burn. And, don’t even try this plant in low light – it’ll be a no go.

If you’re in a less sunny climate, an east or west exposure is fine. Just keep it away from hot, sunny windows & direct afternoon sun. In the darker winter months, you might have to move yours to a location with more light to keep it happy.

Watering

I water mine & then let it dry out by at least 1/2 before watering again. Mine is currently in a 6″ pot & I water it every week (I’m in Tucson – a sunny, dry climate). In the winter months it’s every 2 weeks. Adjust this for your climate & the exposure, the size pot yours is in, & the soil mix.

Temperature

If your home is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your houseplants too. Just be sure to keep your Dracaena Song Of India away from any cold drafts as well as air conditioning or heating vents.

This is what a mature Song Of India looks like.

Humidity

This plant is native to the tropics. Despite this, I’ve found them to be adaptable & do okay in our homes which tend to have dry air. Here in hot, dry Tucson mine is looking good so far after having it for a couple of years. My plant has a few small brown tips & that’s a reaction to the dry air.

If you think yours look stressed due to lack of humidity, then fill the saucer with pebbles & water. Put the plant on the pebbles but make sure the drain holes &/or the bottom of the pot aren’t submerged in any water. Misting a few times a week should help out too.

Fertilizing/Feeding

I’ve found that Song Of Indias aren’t that needy when it comes to feeding. Right now I feed all my houseplants with a light application of worm compost followed by a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2″ layer of each for a smaller sized plant. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.

I can’t recommend a specific fertilizer because I’ve never used 1 for my Song Of India. Mine looks just fine so I have no need at the moment. That could change!

Whatever you use, don’t fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter – that’s their time for rest. Over fertilizing your Song Of India will cause salts to build up & can burn the roots of the plant. Be sure to avoid fertilizing a houseplant which is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.

Soil

Use a good organic potting soil when repotting this plant. You want it to be enriched with good stuff but also to drain well. I’m partial to Smart Naturals because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s great for container planting, including houseplants. I also mix in a handful or 2 of coco coir, charcoal & organic compost.

Repotting/Transplanting

I’m repotting my Dracaena Song Of India this Spring. When I lift the plant up & look into the drain holes I can see the roots. It’s now in a 6″ pot & I’m transplanting it into an 8″ pot. I’ll be doing a post & video on this soon so stay tuned for that.

Yours will probably need repotting every 2 or so years depending on how it’s growing.

The canes, or stems, close up.

Propagation

It’s easy! Simply take end cuttings which are 6-12″ long. Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp when doing this. I’ve propagated always them in water. You can also do it in a light mix like a seed starting mix or succulent & cactus mix.

Pruning

This plant doesn’t grow fast so pruning really shouldn’t be necessary. If so, it’ll be for propagation &/or when the stems get too leggy. You can cut them down & sprouts will eventually appear towards the top of the stems. The parts you cut off can also be propagated.

Pests

The Song Of India can be susceptible to mealybugs, especially deep inside the new growth. That’s what happened to mine last year. These white, cotton-like pests like to hang out in the nodes & under the leaves. I simply blasted them off (lightly!) in the kitchen sink with the spray & that did the trick.

Also keep your eye out for scale & spider mites. It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control pronto.

Pets

All dracaenas are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject – here’s more info on this for you. Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.

Here are a few things good to know regarding your Song Of India plant:

They gradually lose the bottom leaves as the plant grows taller. It’s how the plant grows just like the Dracaena Lisa & Dracanea marginata.

The Song Of India develops into a cane or trunk form with time. As a small plant you may buy it with foliage up & down the stems but that changes with time.

If the “trunky” look isn’t for your thing, you can prune the top parts off & propagate. Just know that the plant won’t grow too much taller over time if you do that on the regular.

The tops of this plant really lean toward a light source. I rotate mine every couple of months.

Don’t keep it too wet or the roots will succumb to root rot. Roots need oxygen too.

The Song Of India is easiest to clean in sink or shower. Heat can blow a lot of dust around. The leaves of your plants need to breath & a build up of dust can prevent this. A damp, soft rag does the trick as well as a good spray off. And don’t use a commercial leaf shine – it blocks the pores.

You can see that the twisting form has started even on this smaller plant.

If the leaves of your plant are turning yellow, it’s most likely too dry. If the leaves are turning yellow/brown, it’s most likely too wet. Or, if the canes (stems) are mushy, it’s too wet. And remember, if the occasional lower leaf falls off, it’s just the nature of this plant and how it grows. If a lot of leaves are falling off, there’s a problem.

In Conclusion: To have success growing a Song Of India as a houseplant, you need to give it medium to high light. Many people fail with this plant because of low light and too much water. It needs to be planted in a mix which is aerated and drains well yet is rich.

If you like chartreuse foliage and have strong natural light, the Song Of India should be your next houseplant purchase. Don’t expect it too grow too fast though because it really takes its time. But my oh my, that new growth is vibrant and glowing!

Happy Gardening,

Dracaena Reflexa

There are various cultivars of the dracaena reflexa that display different leaf variations, although the most popular you’ll see sold in garden stores is the yellow edged variegata type. They usually grow up to about 3ft tall indoors (which takes a fair few years) and have a bushy tree type of look about them.

Like other dracaenas these are fairly easy to care for and grow and can withstand a certain amount of neglect, but not as much as other dracaena plants. The song of India does need it’s bright light and quite high humidity levels to thrive. The worst two things a grower can do is over water or allow the temperatures to drop very low.

How it looks: The leaves are the main attraction to this species – although it does flower (we’ll cover that shortly). These leaves are glossy that arch over and grow up to 1ft long and a couple of inches or so wide. Some of these seem to grow quite out of hand (especially outdoors) and start to look a bit ugly, which can be overcome with pruning and training it’s growth.

Flowering: As mentioned this species can flower and blooms clusters of near white small flowers that are not very attractive or noticeable.

Removing toxins: The song of India plant was used in the NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) clean air study which proved to remove a considerable amount of toxins from the environment.

Note: Another similarity to other dracaenas is the bottom leaves will begin to turn yellow and fall, which is totally the norm. They are just shedding leaves to grow new ones, so don’t worry.

Song Of India Dracaena – How To Grow Variegated Song Of India Plants

Dracaena is a popular houseplant because it is easy to grow and very forgiving of novice gardeners. It’s also a top pick because there are so many varieties with different sizes, leaf shape, and color. A variegated dracaena plant, like the Song of India dracaena, for instance, gives you beautiful, multicolored foliage.

About Variegated Song of India Dracaena

The Song of India variety of dracaena (Dracaena reflexa ‘Variegata’), also known as pleomele, is native to islands in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. In the wild or in a garden with the right conditions, this dracaena will grow as tall as 18 feet (5.5 meters), with a spread out to eight feet (2.5 meters).

Indoors, as a houseplant, you can keep this variety much smaller, and, in fact, they generally only grow to about three feet (one meter) tall in containers. Song of India plants are described as variegated because the leaves are multicolored with bright green centers and yellow margins. The colors fade to lighter green and cream as individual leaves age. The leaves are lance-shaped and grow spirally around branches, up to one foot long.

Song of India Plant Care

Notoriously difficult to kill, dracaena will look best and be healthiest if you provide it with the right conditions and minimal care. These plants need indirect light and warm temperatures. They prefer humidity, so you can set the container on top of a dish of rocks in water, or you can mist your plant regularly. Make sure the pot drains well and keep the soil moist but not wet. Provide a balanced fertilizer once or twice a year.

As with all dracaena varieties, the pretty leaves of Song of India will turn yellow as they age. As the bottom leaves on the plant yellow, simply trim them off to keep the plant looking neat and tidy. You can also trim and shape as needed, and you may find that the plant need staking for support as it grows taller.

The name of this plant, ‘Song of India’, always intrigued me. Whispers from exotic movies watched as a kid I expect. It was interesting to find out, when doing an internet search on the name, that there is actually an old Big Band performance on You Tube of a composition called ‘Song of India’. Was the plant given its English name from that piece of music? Further research also told me that this plant is not actually native to India. It is native to islands like Madagascar and Mauritius in the the Indian Ocean though.
‘Song of India’ is another one of my loved tough plants. It is not fussy about soil as long as it has good drainage. It thrives in my coral sand soil. It is high drought tolerant and will grow in partial or full sun. It grows slowly and is upright in growth although it widens out in the middle as it gets older. It will grow 4-5 meters high if allowed to grow naturally. Mine is above the height of our house and is part of the boundary hedge planting. Actually, it is one of the few ‘Song of India’ plants that I have seen that has been allowed to grow to full height. Most are kept cut down to lower than five feet. The mature tree has small white flowers early winter and then a few yellow/orange berries. I have never seen disease or insect problems with it. Strong salt winds may mean some dry leaf drop with lots of dry leaves to rake up on the lawn but the tree does not look bare from it. I like these dry, long lasting dropped leaves to use as mulch in my container plants. I notice that the thick foliage growth of the tree makes it a popular place for birds nests.
The wild native Dracaena relexa is plain green in color so the ‘Song of India’ is a variegated variety grown by nurseries. There is another variety grown by nurseries called ‘Song of Jamaica’ which has leaves with stripes of two shades of green. I also have that growing in our boundary hedge and it grows the same way as the ‘Song of India’.
‘Song of India’ is very popular here in Hawaii for tropical flower arrangements. Strong, upright branches are needed for this so the naturally shorter curled branches of my old tree do not work well. Instead, a shrub must be kept topped at easy reach height and then the vigorous new growth harvested when it gets to the required size for selling to floral shops.
We gathered huge amounts of ‘Song of India’ several years ago to decorate the big white tent for my daughter’s wedding reception. We tied clumps of floral oasis on the tent poles and filled them with ‘Song of India’ branches, big Laua’e fern leaves and long hanging strands of Asparagus Fern.
The leaves of the ‘Song of India’ are also used in lei making here in Hawaii. The attractive leaf colors contrast well with other foliage and flowers. Although the leaf is a little stiff and pokey it works well in certain styles of lei such as the haku lei and lasts well.
To propagate ‘Song of India’ I have always used cuttings. I will usually put several cuttings cuddled up together in a large pot of potting media and then leave it in a shady place for several months to grow strong roots. They seem to do better this way than in individual pots. One thing to remember with this plant is to just remove the leaves from the bottom of the cutting but do not trim the upper leaves back as usually done with cuttings. Those leaves will not grow back and the resulting plant will not look so good or you will have to wait for the plant to grow taller for new nicer leaves and then remove the lower cut leaves. I also dip these cuttings in rooting powder to help them get going.
Aloha
PS April, 2019
After having both Song of India and Song of Jamaica growing in my garden for over twenty years now, I want to add a little note about seedlings. I have never seen volunteer seedlings coming up from Song on India, but the green leafed Song of Jamaica does have seedlings that show up around my garden. I am always pulling them up when I see them these days as I do not want weed trees but of course they could be dug up and potted to grow elsewhere. It does make me not so keen on the Song of Jamaica.
May, 2019
Have just come back from a long trip to find the Song of India and Song of Jamaica trees just covered in blossom. It must have been something to do with weather conditions this year. There is a fragrance coming from the flowers in the evening. I picked some and had it in a vase in the kitchen. As the night wore on the flowers really opened up with beautiful long stamens and then died off in the morning.

Pleomele – Dracaena Reflexa

Botanical Name: Dracaena reflexa

Commonly known as Pleomele or Song of India, this is one of the more decorative types of Dracaena that is grown indoors.

Whorls of yellow-banded green leaves spiral upright, reaching about 3 ft (90 cm) tall. Its compact form and slow growth make it an ideal room accent. Give a young plant a boost by placing it on a pedestal plant stand. Those upright rosettes of colorful leaves will look spectacular.

Care is easy. This Dracaena thrives in average room conditions, even tolerating dry indoor air. It will survive in low light, but you’ll get the best leaf color and growth by keeping this tropical in bright light year-round. Just don’t overwater. Soggy soil will cause stems to become soft and mushy at the soil level.

Keep it Clean

Upright leaves tend to be dust-catchers. Set your plant in the shower and gently spray the leaves with tepid water. Or wipe them off with a damp cloth.

Repot in spring when roots become coiled in the container or grow out of the drainage holes. Use a pot only 1-2 inches (5-8 cm) larger than the old pot because a pot that’s too big will hold too much water. Always use fresh potting mix when you repot a plant.

Dracaena reflexa even shrugs off pests, although dry air may attract spider mites to its leaves. Regular misting with water will do double-duty, raising the humidity and keeping those pests away.

Dracaena Reflexa Care Tips

Origin: Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean

Height: To 3 ft (90 cm)

Light: Bright indirect sunlight. You’ll get the best leaf color in bright light, but keep the plant out of direct sunlight which can cause brown scorch marks on leaves.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist spring through fall, slightly drier in winter. Do not let soil get waterlogged, which can cause root rot. Dracaenas are sensitive to fluoride, often added to tap water. Use distilled or rainwater. Always use room-temperature water for your indoor plants.

Humidity: Average room (around 40% relative humidity). Dry air may cause leaf tips to turn brown; there are easy ways to raise the humidity for house plants.

Temperature: Normal room temps (65-75°F/18-24°C) will suit this plant. It tolerates hot better than cold; do not expose it to temperatures below 50°F/10°C. Even cold drafts near a door or window will harm it.

Soil: Good-quality, all-purpose potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks in spring and summer with a balanced (such as 10-10-10) water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Take 3-4 inch (8-10 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring. Pot 3 in the same container for a fuller effect. Cuttings are easy to root in moist sterile potting mix.

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Dracaena reflexa “Variegata”: “Song of India”

Are you always on the pursuit of easy-care but also fabulous looking houseplants? Me too. And when you throw in anything chartreuse colored—at least for me—I am seriously all in. So obviously when I stumbled upon the Song of India plant and learned more about what it takes to make it happy (very little, in fact) I immediately purchased one, brought it home and introduced it to my growing interior plant family.

Here’s what you need to know about your potential new plant friend.

Above: This 4-inch potted Song of India Houseplant from JacquelineHomeGarden is $11 on Etsy.

Native to a collection of islands in the Indian Ocean such as Madagascar and Mozambique, Song of India is a Dr. Seuss-looking plant with bright chartreuse striped leaves that are narrow, pointed and that are spirally arranged on its stems. While this evergreen plant is slow to grow, this is not a bad thing as this quality makes it the perfect (and popular) houseplant.

Plant Song of India in a pot, where it fortunately will not quickly outgrow its home and will instead sit happily on a desktop or shelf. Of course, you can buy a large specimen at the nursery and let it be a focal indoor shrub or small tree; it can grow to about 3 to 6 feet over many years. And, if you are a lucky dog and live in the mild temperature zones of 11-12, Song of India can be planted outside in a partly sunny spot and used as an evergreen focal plant in a tropical garden setting, where it can grow to an impressive 18 feet with an 8 foot spread.

Various cultivars of Dracaena reflexa exist, although the most popular one is the yellow-edged type. And know that like all Dracaenas, this plant is considered slightly poisonous, especially to curious cats and dogs who like nibbling on plants. Also note that this plant’s lower leaves can start to turn yellow and fall off but don’t stress as this shedding is totally normal and the plant is actually self-pruning to make way for new, lovely leaves.

Cheat Sheet

Above: Photograph of Song of India grown outdoors, by Choo Yut Shing on Flickr.

  • This easy to grow and forgiving plant is perfect for the novice gardener. Use as a bush, table plant or short tree in a home or office. If grown in a frost free zone, use this evergreen plant as an unique hedge or flanking an entry.
  • Consider propagating new plants by taking a stem cutting, removing the lower leaves, and then placing it in a jar of water where it will produce roots. After new roots appear, transplant to a pot filled with soil.
  • The genus name is derived from the Greek word ‘drakaina’ which means a female dragon.
  • Song of India is very popular in Hawaii for using the dramatic leaves in leis and tropical flower arrangements.

Keep It Alive

Above: This Dracaena “Song of India” in a White Ceramic Cachepot is $49 at White Flower Farm.

  • Song of India needs bright, indirect light. Intense, direct sun will unfortunately burn the leaves and low light will cause the plant’s yellow-lime striped vibrancy to fade and the plant to turn spindly. Mild morning sun can be an option.
  • Plant in quick-draining soil to prevent root rot or overwatering. And like all dracaenas, reflexa likes to live on the dry side which means let about half of the top soil dry out before giving it a drink. If your potting soil seems too heavy, add some sand to the mix.
  • In the spring and summer while the plant is actively growing, feed it with a diluted basic houseplant food.
  • Hailing from high humidity places, this plant may display brown leaf tips if the humidity is too low. Simple fix? Either place the pot on a bed of wet pebbles or regularly mist with water to raise humidity, plus this trick clears potential pests away.
  • Top pest that may trouble Song of India is fusarium leaf spot which causes exactly that, leaf spots. The spots may grow larger, turn reddish-brown or tan so simply remove any affected leaves. And while not common, also keep an eye out for mealy bugs, spider mites or scale.

For more houseplants we love, see:

  • Gardening 101: Pothos
  • Gardening 101: Monstera
  • Gardening 101: Philodendron

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