Plant identification: Gold Dust Dracaena (Dracaena Godseffiana) Care Tips

My daughter got this plant when she moved in to college. We don’t know what it is and it isn’t happy. Any help you can provide is appreciated!!

 

Hi Wendie,

From the picture of the sad looking plant that you sent, I’d say that it’s a Gold Dust Dracaena (Dracaena Godseffiana).  It doesn’t really look like any other dracaena plant so that’s why it’s a little difficult to identify.

 

Here’s a healthy looking Gold Dust Dracaena.

Green leaves with yellow speckles on Drcaena Gold Dust

Here are some care tips on how to grow a Gold Dust Dracaena:

Light: These dracaenas, unlike other dracaenas, really likes bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light..

Water: Keep the soil barely moist but never soggy. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out before watering.

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 monthly during spring and summer never during fall and winter. When in doubt, do not feed! Dracaena plants need vert little plant food.

Temperature:  60°F -70°F (15.6°C-21.1°C) during the day. If possible, temperatures at night should be 10° cooler.

Keep the plant away from cold draft and air conditioners.

Pests: Keep an eye out for spider mites and scale.

The entire plant is poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants especially to dogs.