Belgian Evergreen/Dracaena Sanderiana ‘Gold’
This is an adaptable plant which is ideal for first efforts at hydroponic culture: the Belgian Evergreen will even grow in plain water. The slender stem is clothed from the top to the bottom with long, (20cm/8in), narrow, clasping leaves and can grow to 2m (6ft) tall. The Belgian Evergreen is one of the less spiky-looking Dracaena and is a good species to select for the home: small plants are ideal for dish gardens and will do well for a year or so in a bottle garden, where they will appreciate the humid environment. This West African plant is more often seen in a green and white striped form The cultivar D. s. ‘Gold’ has golden-green leaf margins and makes an interesting and graceful plant to add to any collection.
Coming from tropical Africa, the Belgian Evergreen must be kept in warm, draught-free conditions: in Winter, keep temperatures at a minimum of 18°C (64°F), and aim for active growth at temperatures of 21° and 24°C (70° and 75°F).
This soft-leaved Dracaena needs bright, but indirect, all year through: insufficient light will reduce the leaf variegation which makes this cultivar so attractive.
Keep thejust moist, but avoid wetness, especially in Winter: if low temperatures are unavoidable, keep the compost rather dry and encourage Dracaena sanderiana ‘Gold’ to take a period of enforced rest.
Provide the Belgian Evergreen with a humid atmosphere: if the temperature range is as mentioned above, this Dracaena will need misting every day, and twice a day in Summer. In addition, place the pot on a tray of moisture-retentive pellets, making sure the roots are not in contact with the water.
From late Spring through to early Autumn, feed the Belgian Evergreen every week, using a proprietary foliage houseplant food.
As the Belgian Evergreen is in active growth for much of the year, it is possible to repot overcrowded examples at any time of the year: choose a free-draining, loam-based compost.
Grow this Dracaena in a-free medium in an attractive pot. Keeping it well supplied with water. Change the water every month, and add a few drops of liquid plant food, together with a handful of crushed charcoal. Avoid using clear glass pots: the effect of light on the water encourages the growth of unattractive algae.
Leaf drop: This type of Dracaena is less prone to sudden leaf drop than others: if this does occur, it may be due to draughts, too little water or a lack of humidity.
Scale and Red Spider Mite are common pests, but may be controlled with a proprietary insecticide in the form of an insecticide-impregnated spike: RSM is discouraged when humidity levels are high.
Dracaena leaf spots appear as pale brown irregular spots, edged with purple: the cause may be Coniothyrium concentricum or Phyllosticta draconis. Remove and burn any affected leaves and treat with a fungicide containing the active ingredient benomyl. Do not use Bordeaux mixture.