How to Care For Lemon Lime Dracaena

This beautiful variegated plant has proven air-cleaning abilities. Lemon Lime Dracaena is slightly different from other plants in its family because its variegated leaves are neon yellow and green. However, the twin benefits of beauty and clean air it offers are not too hard to come by because the care of this plant is straightforward, just like caring for its cousins in the genus.

The plant typically attains heights of between five feet and seven feet. You can manage the size by regular pruning if you intend to keep it as a tabletop plant.

The following are some notable points.

potted lemon lime dracaena on wooden floor
Photo by @soil.andsun via Instagram

Placement

Lemon Lime Dracaena doesn’t do well under direct sunlight. Intense sun rays scorch it and cause the leaves to be pale, thus robbing it of its beauty. Though it doesn’t do well under direct sunlight, it doesn’t like darkness either. It doesn’t produce enough foliage if you place it under dim light. It results in long stems and few leaves, whereas leaves offer the most of the plant’s benefits. Leaves give the plant its signature appearance and clean the air.

The best place to place this plant is under medium to bright indirect sunlight. Place the plants behind a sheer curtain if your windows allow too much light into the house. This is especially the case if your windows face the West or the South. This will enable them to get the sunlight without enduring direct sunlight.

You should turn the plant from time to time to expose all its sides to sunlight equally. Equal exposure allows it to grow uniformly on all sides. Dust tends to affix itself on Dracaena. When dust attaches to the leaves, it blocks sun rays which, in turn, inhibits photosynthesis and the plant’s health. You should, therefore, dust the leaves from time to time using clean water. Also, ensure you wipe them gently with a soft fabric to avoid damaging them.

Routine Maintenance Practices

This plant doesn’t like too much water. Having the soil waterlogged has more or less the same effect on this plant as a lack of sufficient water. In both instances, you will see the tips of the leaves begin to turn brown.

It would help if you allowed the pottage to lose some water before watering again. The best way to confirm that the soil is sufficiently dry for the next drink is by checking the first two inches of the earth. If it is dry, at two inches, water the plant and repeat next time. You will figure out how often to water your Lemon Lime Dracaena in different seasons with time. As much as you may know how often to water it, you should always check for moisture in the top two inches of the soil.

You should also check for moisture when you first bring the plant home for the first time. It might have been watered recently at the nursery. It is also advisable to air the soil of a new plant before watering because sellers usually compact the soil to keep the plant in place before transporting them. Airing the soil allows the water to penetrate the soil easily.

A plant whose soil has the proper moisture but still has browning leaves may indicate that your water has too much fluoride. Dracaena doesn’t do well in such an environment, and you should change the water. You might also have noticed that many superphosphate fertilizers contain fluoride. Avoid such fertilizers with Dracaena.

You need to note that this plant’s leaves brown and drop as part of the normal process of producing new leaves. It would help distinguish between distressed leaves and the ones browning naturally. Natural browning and dropping occur from the lower side, while leaves affected by adverse conditions can brown on any part of the plant.

The plant also performs best when watered with water at room temperature. Thus you should avoid taking water directly from the tap to the plant. Fetch the water from the tap and sit overnight to obtain the room temperature. If there is a little fluoride in the water, it will dissipate into the air as the water sits overnight. On the other hand, if the water has too much fluoride, you might need to get a different water source altogether.

Pests

Spider mites and mealybugs are some of the more common Lemon Lime Dracaena pests you need to be wary of. Check under the leaves when dusting them to see if there is an infestation. One way of controlling the infestation is by maintaining a high moisture environment. Unfortunately, this environment isn’t recommended for the Dracaena. You should use insecticidal soap or chemicals such as acaricides.

Toxicity

This plant can be toxic to pets and humans if ingested. You should, therefore, keep the plant out of reach of these two.

Pruning

We earlier mentioned that this plant sheds its leaves as a natural part of growth. It would help to trim these dead leaves to keep the tree looking tidy. If the tree gets too tall, you should just cut part of it at the top. Pruning the top of the Dracaena is the main way to keep the plant short enough to sit on the table.

The section you prune doesn’t remain leafless forever; it produces more leaves eventually to make your plant look as good as you want it to be. The plant can be pretty sensitive to germs, and you should sterilize the knife you will use with a concentrated alcohol solution.

Fertilizer

Dracaena doesn’t need too much fertilizer, and the potting mix in which you plant usually contains some fertilizer. If you need to apply fertilizer to the plant, the best way is to get a water-soluble fertilizer. The strength of the water-soluble fertilizer is still too much for Dracaena, and you should dilute it to half strength before applying. This plant only grows during summer and spring, and these are the seasons when you should apply fertilizer to it. The application shouldn’t be too frequent. Once every two months is enough.

Temperature and Humidity

Lemon Lime Dracaena performs optimally under room temperatures of between 60 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a too-cold environment, avoid this plant. It doesn’t do well in extremely cold temperatures. The correct humidity level for Dracaena is between 40% and 60%.

Also read:

lemon lime dracaena
Photo by @kizzysjungle via Instagram

Propagation

Propagation is necessary when you want to increase the number of Dracaena Lime Grass plants under your care. Maybe you need to replace a dead plant, or you want to gift this beauty to a friend. There are three possible ways of propagating it as follows.

Beheading

Beheading, as the name suggests, involves cutting off the top of the plant. Beheading doesn’t destroy this plant since the nodes near the top of the plant start sprouting roots soon after beheading. By beheading, you have the mother and daughter plants.

 Steps to propagate lemon grass by beheading.

  • Use a sharp, sterilized tool to cut your lime grass plant below the leaf line. Ensure the beheaded cutting has at least one node at the bottom, leaving a node is vital because the plant roots at the nodes.
  • Take the cutting and plant it in moist, rich soil. You can place the cutting in a water bottle with a narrow opening. Let a small distance, about one millimeter, between the water and the cutting. The gap makes the plant root faster as the plant will release roots fast as it tries to reach out to the water. Rotting the plant with water lets you see how the roots form.
  • Keep the container containing your cutting in a warm place and monitor it as you wait. Rooting is faster in summer than in winter, so it is advisable to propagate in summer.
  • Move the plant to a suitable substrate when the roots reach one inch if you are rooting in water. Also, it may be possible to keep the plant in a bottle as it still looks beautiful in a type of hydroponic arrangement.

The main disadvantage of propagating by beheading is that you can only propagate one plant from the mother at a time.

Stem Cuttings

Using stem cuttings enables you to propagate many plants from one mother simultaneously.

  • Take one plant, behead it and propagate it as above. Only cut using a sharp, sterilized tool to keep the mother and daughter plants free of any infections on the cutting tool.
  • Cut the stem that remains into as many cuttings as possible. Each cutting should be eight inches long and have some modes since roots grow from nodes. Leave at least a node on the stem that remains on the original plant. Other leaves will sprout from the node to allow the plant to grow again.
  • Put the cuttings in moist soil or water to allow the plant to root. The rots will appear on the nodes underwater or buried in the soil, while the nodes above ground will sprout roots.
  • Move the newly rooted cuttings to a suitable substrate and allow the plant to grow under normal conditions.

Air Layering

This propagation method lets the daughter produce roots before cutting them off the mother plant. To propagate this way, you need the following;

  • A sterilized knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Rooting hormone

The following are the steps to take.

  1. Determine the position where you want roots to appear in the new plant.
  2. Use the knife to scrape off the bark where you want the rooting to occur. It is best to strip on a nose. The width of the stripped area should be about half an inch.
  3. Dust the rooting hormone on the stripped section of the bark. You can still propagate Lemon Lime Dracaena without the rooting hormone, but it will allow the stem to produce roots faster.
  4. Dip your sphagnum moss in water, position it around the stripped part of the bark, and secure it with the plastic wrap.
  5. You can cut off the head below the roots and transplant it to a pot when you see roots growing on the wounded section.

Repotting

This plant can stay healthy and in good condition in a pot for up to two years. If you realize that the soil has become too loose or the roots are overgrown after this time, it is time to report. The repotting period can go up to three years. You should always report your Dracaena during spring.

Conclusion

Lemon Lime Dracaena is a beautiful plant; it is easy to maintain and propagate. This kind of plant gives you a micro climate at home, cooling things down and purifying the air. However, the plant is toxic to pets and humans, you should locate it in your house with this fact.

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