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Most gardeners do not have the luxury of space and must thus think of where they will place plants before buying them. Are you in the same boat?
Are you curious about how big the dracaena can get and how you can accommodate its growth? Well, I have the answer for you.
In the wild, the dracaena has the ideal growing conditions. And it’s not uncommon for it to be several feet tall (>50 feet), towering over other species.
But in indoor conditions, its growth takes a bit of a hit. In most cases, it grows to about two to ten feet tall with a circumference of about two feet.
If you convert these measurements to meters, the dracaena reaches about 0.6 meters to 3 meters in height and about 0.6 meters in diameter. That’s not so bad.
Of course, the dimensions depend on the dracaena species you have at home. I will cover some of the most common cultivars, how much they grow and how to get them to grow faster or slow down.
How Big Can Dracaena Get?
The term dracaena refers to the dracaena genus, under which more than 170 species exist. For example, I own a dracaena marginata (dragon tree) which is native to Madagascar.
And its growth will not be exactly what you would find in all other species under this genus. Let’s review some of the most common species so you can get an idea of just how much your dracaena can grow:
- The Dracaena Fragrans: This species also goes by the name corn plant owing to the look of its leaves. If you’ve seen sweet corn before, you will appreciate the similarity in the foliage. This plant often grows about 5 feet tall on average, with a diameter of two feet.
- The Dracaena Marginata: I have this lovely plant at home and cannot get enough of its beautiful aesthetic. It can grow up to ten feet tall if you take good care of it and allow it to grow undisturbed. Its diameter should be about one to two feet if you do not force the stems to branch.
- The Dracaena Godseffiana: Have you heard of the gold dust dracaena? This plant takes on a shrub-like appearance, growing about three feet tall.
- The Dracaena Deremensis: This is yet another common dracaena species. It can grow up to ten feet tall if left in the right conditions.
- The Dracaena Reflexa: This species also has a shrub-like appearance and stands out due to its flexible stems.
Under all these and other species, cultivars also exist. For example, the Dracaena Deremensis has a Warneckii cultivar that grows four feet tall.
Yet under the same species, you have the Janet Craig cultivar that can be ten feet tall!
Thus, the height of your dracaena will come down to its species and cultivar. But for the sake of this article, I will stick with anything from two to ten feet.
You may also like: 5 great benefits of a dracaena for your home
How Fast Does Dracaena Grow?
Is the dracaena a fast grower, or do you have to coax it for it to show any signs of growth? If you’re hoping that species under this genus are fast-growing, I am sorry to burst your bubble.
Dracaenas are slow-growing plants (painfully slow in some cases). Take the Marginata as an example. It can take a decade to reach five feet!
So, you can expect that you will need to wait a while and practice a great deal of patience before you can see a lot of gains.
On average, your plant will grow about 18 inches a year (1.5 feet) if you give it the right conditions. And that would allow it to hit the 10-foot mark at around 7 years or thereabout.
On the plus side, the dracaena grows upwards and outwards. Even as a young plant, you can still enjoy a bushy plant. And as it grows, the circumference only increases.
How To Get a Dracaena to Grow Bigger
Dracaenas are slow-growing plants that can hit the 5-foot mark or 10-foot mark in a decade. So, how do you get your plant to reach ten feet sooner rather than later?
Ensure it gets Enough Light
Most dracaenas do not enjoy direct sunlight. However, you should not deprive them of light, as without it, they cannot make enough food to support their growth.
For more on light, we have an article on the light requirements for a dracaena marginata
Amount of light
Ensure the plant gets medium or bright indirect light for six hours each day. And if you don’t have enough light, consider supplementing natural light with artificial lighting.
Protect the Plant from Pests
Pest infestations damage the plant’s ability to make food and thus hamper its growth.
Watch out for known pests like aphids, scale, and spider mites, and use natural means to keep them at bay. I find that using neem oil deters pests from attacking plants.
Keep the Dracaena Foliage Clean
If the plant’s leaves are blocked from receiving light owing to dust and dirt, they will not make enough food. So, avoid this by wiping down the leaves once a month or when you notice that the leaves are not clean.
Maintain a Regular Watering Schedule
Dracaenas do not enjoy being in waterlogged soil as this drowns their roots and kills them. They also do not enjoy being in dry soil for too long.
As such, you should always balance the watering schedule to ensure the plant remains in moist but not wet soil.
And the way to do so is by only watering the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If you have trouble gauging the moisture content in the soil, consider getting a moisture meter.
Feed the plant
What better way to stimulate growth than adding fertilizer to the mix? Take note that these plants don’t need much fertilizer.
As such, use an all-purpose feed diluted to a quarter of its strength. And only use the feed in the active growing months.
The goal is to ensure your plant remains healthy. Once that is over and done with, fast growth will follow.
You may also like: How to Care for a Dracaena Outdoors
What Can You Do if Your Dracaena Gets Too Big?
What happens when your growth stimulation tactics bear too much fruit and your dracaena grows too big? Here are some ways to handle this outcome:
Pruning the Plant
Using a sharp knife, cut the stem at the point where you want to halt the growth spurt.
New stems will emanate from this point, and you can keep cutting them off to keep the plant at a particular size. It’s best to do this in the spring, giving the plant time to heal.
Cut Back on Feeding
Fertilizer encourages the plant to grow. So, cutting back on it will result in reduced growth.
Don’t deprive the plant of its basic care needs to keep it from growing – this would only hurt the plant.
In the wild, your dracaena can grow as tall as fifty feet. But you cannot expect it to do so indoors when its source of nutrition and stability lies in a potting mix.
Instead, your plant will likely hit 10 feet, and that will be as far as it goes before it starts branching out.
If you want your plant to grow bigger than this, you can always move it outdoors and plant it in the ground. However, that only works for people who live in hot and humid climates (preferably USDA zones 10 to 12).
Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues: