Dracaena warnekii, like all dracaenas, are hardy, slow-growing plants that thrive on neglect. Sometimes referred to as a “striped dracaena”, the warnekii has long, pointed, narrow green and white striped leaves and can be used as a table plant, bushy floor plant, or tall cane plant for home and office. The “jumbo” variety has wider leaves and is a more compact plant. The “lemon lime” cultivar has yellow and green stripes. A dracaena warnekii is one of the few colorful indoor plants that can survive in low light conditions. NASA recommends the dracaena warnekii as a clean air plant, one of the top ten plants for removing formaldehyde from the air. 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 warnekii survives in low light, but grows faster and fuller in medium light. In low light, the new leaves may be smaller and narrower. Direct sun burns the leaves.
All dracaena plants like to be kept on the dry side. Water well and then allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering again. Never allow the plant to sit in water. The lower the light level the less water a dracaena warnekii needs. All types of dracaenas are very sensitive to fluorine and chlorine. If your household water is heavily chlorinated or contains a great deal of fluoride, allow it to sit out over night before using it; use water from an outside hose; use rain water or distilled water. Never use water that has passed through a water softener. It is too salty and can damage the leaves.
Dracaena plants do not require much fertilizer. Feed monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. It’s not necessary to feed dracaenas in the fall or winter.
Usual household temperatures between 65°- 80°F (18.3°-26.7°C). are fine for a Dracaena Warnekii. Keep the leaves of striped dracaenas away from cold windows, air conditioners, and heaters.
Dracaena plants prefer high humidity but do well in basic household humidity.
Although dracaenas can bloom, they rarely flower as potted plants.
Mealy bugs and spider mites
Fluoride toxicity causes brown leaf tips and long tan/brown streaks in the white stripes of the leaves. Over watering causes root rot. Fusarium Leaf Spot Disease causes reddish tan spots with wide, yellow halos on a Dracaena Warnekii.
Use a fast-draining well-aerated loose soil. Dracaena plants can even be grown in soil mixed with lava rock.
These plants like to be root-bound in a small pot. When the roots have filled the existing pot, it is time to move your dracaena warnekii to the next size container. Be sure any pot you use has drip holes in the bottom.
Brown leaf tips can be cut off the leaves with a wet scissors. Tall stalks with only a few leaves at the top can be cut anywhere along the stalk. New growth appears all along the stem below the cut area.
A Dracaena warnekii is propagated by stem (cane) cuttings.
Clean Air Plant
NASA recommends a dracaena warnekii as a clean air plant.
Poisonous Plant Info
Dracaena warnekii plants have a level #1 toxicity and are considered slightly poisonous especially to dogs and cats.
Cane plants such as a Dracaena Warnekii or Striped Dracaena naturally lose their bottom leaves. As long as new leaves are developing at the top of the Dracaena plant canes, there’s no need to worry about bottom leaves falling off.
Leaves of a Dracaena Warnekii HousePlants, or the Striped Dracaena Plant, get blotchy and have a reddish haze when they are being attacked by a houseplant pest called spider mites. Spray your Dracaena HousePlants with the green solution (recipe in the Glossary) every 10 days for a month.
Dark brown tips on the leaves of a Dracaena warnekii can be a sign of over- watering, too much fluoride in the water, too much fertilizer, or severe under-watering. Let at least 50% of the soil in your Striped Dracaena dry out before watering, fertilize monthly in the spring and summer and never in the fall and winter, and use water that does not have fluoride in it.
If your Dracaena Plant only has leaves at the top of the stalks and nothing the rest of the way down to the soil line, cut the canes back to where you would like them to branch out. All Dracaena Plants will start to send out several new stems from below the cut area very quickly. You can plant the tops of the Striped Dracaena stalks you cut off in the same pot or start a new plant; leave only 6” or less of stem connected to the sections you are planting.