Corn Plant/Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’
This Dracaena could be said to be one of the most popular of all evergreen foliage houseplants: while most often offered as a plant with a trunk – and grown on from caneor ‘plants’ imported from the Guinea region of West Africa – it can also be grown as a low and spreading rosette of strappy, yet lax leaves. The cultivar Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ bears leaves marked with a broad central stripe of yellow-green; on well grown and mature plants, the leaves can reach 90cm (3ft) long and 10cm (4in) wide. Mature plants may also produce the yellow and scented flowers; younger plants grown from cane cuttings can be used to add height to any plant display.
This plant from Tropical Africa must be kept warm and out of any draughts: in Winter, keep temperatures at a minimum of 18°C (64°F). For active growth, temperatures need to be in the range21-24°C (70-75°F).
Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ should be provided with good, bright, but indirect, light all year through: poor light will reduce the rich leaf variegation
Keep thejust moist, avoiding over-watering, especially in Winter: if low temperatures are unavoidable, keep the compost on the dry side and the plant should survive through any cold periods.
Provide this plant with a humid atmosphere: if the temperature range is as recommended, mist the plant daily. In addition, place the pot on a tray of moisture-retentive pellets, making sure the bottom of the pot is not actually sitting in the water.
During the growing period, feed Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ every week, using a proprietary foliage houseplant food.
As this plant is actively growing for most of the year, it is possible to repot overcrowded plants at any time: use a free-draining, loam-based compost and provide the plant with some means of support for the taller stems until the roots have taken hold in the fresh compost.
The often sparse topknots of leaves atop the cane 2- cuttings give an air of the exotic, as the plants look like miniature palm trees; exploit this by using Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’ as a backdrop to a full range of small-leaved plants, which can be displayed like a tropical island in miniature.
Sudden leaf drop may be due to draughts, too little water or a lack of humidity. Adjust the conditions accordingly.
Scale and Red Spider Mite are common pests of Dracaena and may be controlled if a proprietary insecticide in the form of a plant spike is used. Red Spider Mite is also discouraged when humidity levels are high.
Dracaena leaf spots appear as pale brown irregular spots, edged with purple: the cause may be Coniothyrium concenthcum or Phyllosticta draconis. Remove and burn any affected leaves, and treat with a fungicide, containing the active ingredient benomyl. Do not use Bordeaux mixture on Dracaena.