Dracaena Sanderiana (Ribbon Dracaena) Care Guide

Hi Judy,

I have looked and looked online and have been unable to ID one of my houseplants. A photo is attached.
Thank you every so much for your help.


Hi Lenni,

Your plant is a type of Dracaena sanderiana, also known as a Ribbon Dracaena. It is the plant used to make the Lucky Bamboo plant. Here is a picture of healthy Dracaena sanderiana. This is an easy care plant that can be grown in water or in soil.

Care tips on how to grow a Dracaena sanderiana in soil (when used as a Lucky Bamboo plant it is grown in water).

Light: A Dracaena Sanderiana can grow very slowly in low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. but prefers medium to bright indirect  light. No direct sun or the leaves burn.

Water: Keep the soil barely moist, never soggy. When in doubt, do not water. The top few inches of soil should be dry before your water. Remember, the soil at the bottom of the pot is wet even when the soil art the tops is dry. The chloride or fluoride in household water can damage the leaves. Use distilled water or allow your tap water sit out overnight before using it to allow the chemicals to evaporate.​

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 every other month in the spring and summer when plant is actively growing. Feed once in the fall, and never in the winter. Alway dilute the food to 1/2 the recommended strength.

You can find my care tips for all types of dracaena plants in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.