Dracaenas are known for their beautiful foliage and being so low-maintenance that they can thrive in a variety of conditions. But do they ever produce flowers? How can you encourage your Dracaena to bloom?
Even indoors, Dracaenas can produce a flower spike with clusters of small, fragrant flowers that are usually white or pale in color. Flowers are likely to occur only after the plant is mature. To bloom, Dracaenas need plenty of sunlight, well-draining soil, and (most importantly) their owner’s patience to bloom.
Though it isn’t extremely common, Dracaena species will produce flowers when they are fully mature and kept in ideal conditions. To learn more about what to expect from your Dracaena in the flower-department, plus tips to encourage blooms in your indoor plant, read on!
When and How Often Do Dracaenas Flower?
Dracaenas can bloom two or three times per year in the wild, but indoor Dracaenas are unpredictable. After the plant flowers once, it is more likely to do so in the future, but there is no regular cadence. Some Dracaenas bloom yearly, and some skip years in between.
My own Dracena Lisa produced flowers after about 6 years in an east-facing window with no window coverings. It is almost 5 feet tall, and nothing was different about the conditions that could have caused a sudden bloom. The blooms lasted just over a week, and it hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to flower again since then.
Dracaenas usually bloom in late spring or late autumn, as seasonal changes seem to trigger them to flower. It is thought that mild stress prompts the plant to flower, so that may be why they bloom when the external environment is changing. But there is the potential for them to flower at any time of year.
Which Types of Dracaena Flower?
Any type of Dracaena can flower, technically speaking. They are classified as angiosperms, which encompass all types of flowering plant species. Dracaenas reproduce by generating flowers and seeds, but that is not the only method of reproduction. Some species spread via underground rhizomes, and Dracaenas can also be propagated by stem cuttings.
The Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) has the best-known flowers among Dracaena species. As you might guess from the “fragrans” in its scientific name, Corn Plant flowers have a strong scent that emerges in the evening and night hours. The scent is so strong that it can bother some sensitive people, although others love it. Corn Plant and other Dracaena blooms smell sweet and can be compared with lilac’s or jasmine’s scent. Corn Plants flower more easily than other Dracaena species.
Dracaena varieties such as the Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) and Song of India (Dracaena reflexa) have also been known to bloom indoors. Although their blooms are not as fragrant as the Corn Plant’s, they all exude some scent. It is not easy to get any kind of Dracaena to bloom indoors, but some varieties like Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) don’t ever seem to produce flowers.
What To Expect From Your Dracaena Blooms
First, be prepared to wait. Dracaenas need to reach a certain maturity before they even have the possibility of blooming. Many people report having these plants for 10 years or longer before being surprised with flowers.
Dracaena flowers are usually white, pink, or pale yellow and grow in dense clusters on a long stalk. Although you can’t really call the flowers showy or dramatic, they are pretty, and it’s exciting to see them on a plant that rarely blooms indoors.
Be aware that some people find the scent of Dracaena flowers overpowering, and they have been known to cause headaches. You may want to put your Dracaena in an unused room or place it outside while it’s flowering if you experience these reactions.
Dracaena blooms also produce a nectar that is very appealing to insects but can create a sticky mess inside your home. You might choose to protect the area below your plant, move the whole thing outside, or remove the blooms, so you don’t have to deal with dripping nectar.
Dracaena flowers have a strong, sweet scent that is meant to attract pollinating insects. Blooms usually last about a week, after which time they start to die and drop off the growing tip. You can prune off the stalk at this point since it tends to look unsightly and make a mess.
How Can I Get My Dracaena to Bloom?
Although it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what gets a Dracaena to bloom, there seem to be a few actions a houseplant owner can try to make blooms more likely.
Plenty of Bright Indirect Light
Dracaenas can survive in low-light conditions, so they often end up in dark corners or shady hallways. But plants need a lot of energy to devote to creating flowers, so providing your Dracaena with plenty of bright (but not direct) sun is the most important way to support flowering.
Move It Outside In Spring
Dracaenas are more likely to get the right conditions to bloom if they are moved outside for the growing season. Even a sunny window can’t match the amount of sunlight available outdoors for the plant to photosynthesize. Just be sure to slowly acclimate a Dracaena, so its leaves don’t get sunburned.
Dracaenas suffer from overwatering, and it’s one of the most common mistakes people make when growing these plants. The top 50% of the potting soil should be allowed to dry out before you give the plant a thorough soaking again. Be sure your container has drainage holes, and the soil drains easily.
Slightly rootbound Dracaenas are more likely to bloom than those that have been recently repotted. Wait as long as possible before moving your Dracaena to a bigger pot if you’re trying to encourage blooming, but do note that this is a stressor to your plant. If you decide to go this route, just know that you’re exchanging potential blooms for the overall health and happiness of your plant so proceed with caution.
Do Dracaena Produce Seeds?
In the wild, Dracaenas produce small fruits all along the stalk after the flowers have dropped off. They are usually bright red or orange (depending on the species), which probably attract animals to eat them. Each fruit has 1-4 seeds inside.
A single Dracaena can produce a viable seed on its own since these plants can self-pollinate. However, without insects to assist with pollination, it is unlikely that your indoor plant will be able to produce fruits. If your Dracaena is placed outside while it’s blooming, it’s more probable.
Most people will choose to propagate their Dracaenas by easier methods, such as stem cuttings, but adventurous plant owners may want to try to pollinate, harvest, and propagate Dracaena seeds from their houseplants.
Should I Cut Off Dracaena Blooms?
Some people do choose to cut the flowers off their Dracaenas, and there are several reasons that could make this the right choice:
- The smell is too strong
- Pollen and/or sticky nectar falling on furniture or floors
- Unattractive blooms
- Flowers are dying off
Pruning the flowering stalk of a Dracaena is easy and will not harm the plant. Simply use a pair of sterilized garden shears to cut through the flowering stalk as close as possible to the plant’s main stem.
Remember that plants have to devote a lot of their energy to blooming, so your Dracaena may not grow new leaves or stems while it’s flowering. If your preference would be to have more growth in the foliage instead of the flowers, pruning the flower stalk may be the option you prefer.
Putting it All Together
Indoors, it seems that Dracaena blooms have no rhyme or reason behind them and usually require a lot of time and patience before they appear. Since most of us grow Dracaenas for their beautiful foliage, I encourage you to simply focus on keeping them happy instead of trying to force flowers.
After a few years, your plant may give you the exciting surprise of flowers—or it may not. Since there are plenty of other options for houseplants that flower beautifully and easily, Dracaenas can be appreciated for their hardiness and lush foliage instead.