This hardy, decorative houseplant, formerly called a Pleomele reflexa, is native to Madigascar, Mauritius, and other islands of the Indian Ocean. The Dracaena reflexa, Song of India, has yellow stripes on short, narrow, pointed green leaves that are spirally arranged on the stem and tufted at the branch ends. The usual Dracaena reflexa has solid green leaves. This is a slow growing plant that can be used as a table plant, bush, or short tree.
Dracaena plants are considered to be slightly poisonous, especially to dogs and cats. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
A Dracaena reflexa likes bright indirect light but no direct sun
Like all dracaenas, the reflexa likes to be kept on the dry side. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering. Over- watering, resulting in root rot, is the main reason this plant dies.
Feed monthly in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing with a balanced plant food diluted to 1/4 the recommended strength. Do not feed in the fall and winter.
65°F (18.3°C) – 85°F (29.4°C). Temperatures below 55°F (12.8°C) can damage the leaves. Avoid cold drafts and heaters.
Does well in basic household humidity, but grows faster and leaves look better in higher humidity.
Scale, mealy bugs, spider mite: You can see a picture and read more about these insects in the Glossary of the of the website.
Dracaenas, especially when they are misted, may get fusarium leaf spot disease. This fungal infection causes water-soaked leaf spots on young leaves. As the spots become larger, they turn reddish-brown or tan and frequently have a yellow margin.
Use a loose, quick-draining soil to prevent over-watering and root rot. If your regular soil seems heavy, add some sand.
Dracaenas like being root-bound in small pots. Move your plant to the next size pot once the roots have filled the existing container.
Dracaenas are stalk plants so it is natural for bottom leaves to turn yellow and drop off as long as you are getting new growth at the top of the plant. Pruning plant tips helps the plant stay bushy and full.
Use 3′-5″ stem tip cuttings. Allow cuttings to sit out overnight before planting several in a small pot of loose soil; this allows the cut end to dry out and helps prevent root rot.
Clean Air Plant
All dracaena plants help clean the air of harmful toxins.
Poisonous Plant Info
A Dracaena reflexa is usually listed as a non-toxic plant, but cases have been reported of cats suffering tremors after eating some of the leaves.
The spots you describe sound like a disease called leaf spot. The first thing to do is keep the leaves totally dry and reduce the humidity around your reflexa. Then remove all diseased leaves and any dead plant material that may be lying on the soil. If the disease persists, you’ll need to spray the plant with Neem Oil or a Fungicide.
You can move it outside if you are careful about the weather conditions. Be careful not to let it get any direct sun. Direct sun will burn the leaves and ruin the plant’s appearance. Reflexas like to be very warm, so do not move them outside until the evening temperatures are not going below 65 degrees. Cold air and drafts really cause the plant to deteriorate.
Although some dracaenas, like the janet craig, can do well in low light; the dracaena reflexa, especially the variegated variety, really needs bright indirect light to look its best. You need to move your plant to a location where it will get better light if you want the leaves to look their best.