House Plant Identified as Dracaena Compacta

I received this houseplant as a gift, with no instructions on how to care for the plant . Please help if you can.


Hi Laurie,

Your plant is called a Dracaena Compacta. It has been trained to look like a topiary.

Light: A dracaena compacta grows more quickly in medium light. In low light these plants barely grow at all, tend to lose leaves, and are easily over-watered resulting in root rot. Rotate dracaenas so that they don’t grow toward the light and lose their shape.

Water: Like other indoor plants, a dracaena compacta  uses less water when in low light than in bright light. Keep the plant on the dry side to prevent root rot and Leaf Spot Disease. Allow the top ¾ of the soil to dry out before watering, in low light this could take two weeks or more. Dracaena compacta plants do better when watered on a regular schedule. Brown tips usually indicate too much water or too much chlorine or fluoride in the water. Yellow leaves or totally brown leaves usually indicate under-watering. If your water contains a lot of fluorine, chlorinator salt allow it toast out overnight before using it or use rain water or distilled water.

Plant Food: Slow growing plants like the dracaena compacta, require very little fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small..  Feed only twice a year, once in the spring and once in the summer, and be sure to dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended stength.