Dracaena fragrans (cornstalk dracaena or happy plant is a flowering plant species that is native throughout tropical Africa, from Sudan south to Mozambique, west to Côte d’Ivoire and southwest to Angola, growing in upland regions at 600 to 2,250 m (1,970 to 7,380 ft.) altitude.
Dracaena fragrans is a slow growing shrub, usually multistemmed at the base, with mature specimens reaching 15 m (49 ft.) or taller with a narrow crown of usually slender erect branches. Stems may reach up to 30 cm (12”) diameter on old plants. In forest habitats, they may become horizontal with erect side branches. Young plants have a single unbranched stem with a rosette of leaves until the growing tip flowers or is damaged; after which it branches, producing two or more new stems. Thereafter, branching increases with subsequent flowering episodes.
The leaves are glossy green, lanceolate, 20 to 150 cm (7.9 to 59.1”) long and 2 to 12 cm (0.79 to 4.72”) wide; small leaves are erect to spreading, and larger leaves usually drooping under their weight. The flowers are produced in panicles of 15 to 160 cm (5.9 to 63.0”) long, with the individual flowers at 2.5 cm (0.98”) diameter each, with a six-lobed corolla, pink at first, opening white with a fine red or purple central line on each of the 7 to 12 mm (0.28 to 0.47”) lobes. They are highly fragrant and popular with pollinating insects. The fruit is an orange-red berry 1–2 cm (0.39 to 0.79”) in diameter, containing several seeds.
B. Growing Dracaena Fragrans
- More interest comes from the plant when the growing tip is chopped off as it sprouts into many stems.
- The leaves are long and glossy with yellow and white stripes on them.
- The plant is great indoors, since it is fine with filtered light conditions.
- Try to locate the plant somewhere near a window.
- Too little light will result in the plant losing its stripes and become more of a plain green plant.
- Dracaena fragrans is fairly easy to grow indoors.
- They make good houseplants because they are tall and narrow, so they fit well into most indoor settings.
- Their growth is also fairly easy to control.
- If you don’t have a green thumb, this plant is quite simple to grow as it can withstand a fairly significant amount of neglect from casual indoor gardeners.