Growth, Height: Tree, a shrub 6 to 15 feet tall (5-6ft as a houseplant)
Sun Requirements: Indirect, bright light
Soil Requirements: Loose, well-draining
Toxicity: Toxic to pets
Dracaena – Pleomele or Song of India
Pleomele is a tree native to Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, and other islands of the Indian Ocean. It’s an ornamental plant loved for its evergreen leaves and thick stems.
As a tree, it can reach nearly 6m, but it’s much smaller when grown as a house plant. It’s upright and often has an oval shape with lanceolate leaves.
The leaves are 5-20cm long and spirally arranged. They have parallel venation and grow in tight whorls.
Its flowers appear in mid-winter and are usually small, white, and clustered.
Care Tips for Pleomele
Grooming and Maintenance
This plant reacts well to pruning, so it’s suggested to prone back the extra growth. Pruning leaves usually turn yellow, so you’ll know exactly where to trim.
Trimming promotes the sprouting of multiple new heads. As a result, your plant will grow healthier and bushier.
You should cut the leaves once you notice them turning yellowish.
Feeding and Watering
Song of India isn’t the best at water-storing and likes to be on the dry side. This makes the plant perfect for people who tend to forget to water their plants.
Watering it too often usually results in the rotten root, so it’s best to water it only when its soil is dry. It also doesn’t require too much maintenance, so it’s relatively easy to care for.
Keep the soil moist during the spring and fall, but dry in the winter. When it’s cold, you can water the plant once every two weeks, but as always, adapt to your climate.
How frequently you’ll water it depends on the size of the house plant as well. Still, the general rule of thumb is to allow the soil to try at least 50% before watering it again.
When it comes to feeding, Pleomele isn’t as needy and doesn’t require frequent fertilizing. Doing too much will result in salt building up, which can lead to burnt roots.
If you choose to fertilize the plant, avoid doing so in later fall or winter.
Soil and Transplantation
You want to enrich your Pleomele when transferring it to a new pot, so use good organic soil. All Dracaena plants, including Song of India, likes loose and well-draining soil.
It prevents water from standing around its roots and accumulating for long periods. This can often result in the root rotting quickly, so make sure you go for the right soil.
It’s often best to use an all-purpose potting mix for this plant. You can always add some sand to the potting mix if you notice it’s not draining well.
Make sure not to transplant it before the root fills the container. You can either re-pot it in a bigger pot or in the ground if the temperature is right.
In most cases, you should transfer it to a new pot every two years for better growth.
Temperature and Light
Pleomele does well in normal room temperatures around 65° to 75° Fahrenheit or 18° to 24° Celsius. It likes heat better than the cold, so anything below 50°F or 10°C is likely to harm it.
If you used to keep it outside, you should definitely bring it inside once the temperatures start to drop. Even when indoors, you should keep it away from any cold, so avoid keeping it near doors and windows.
It likes bright, indirect light that brings out the best colors and helps it grow. But, keep it away from the direct sun, or you’ll notice the leaves turning yellow.
Song of India can survive in low-light, but you won’t see it thrive in these conditions. It’s best to keep it in bright light.
Dracaena plants love humidity, so avoid placing them in dry environments that can cause the tips to change color.
Propagating Dracaena Reflexa
Pleomele Dracaena propagates from stem cuttings. All you should do is take 3” to 5” long stem tips and dip them into a plant rooting powder.
Place two cuttings together to get the best results. Also, make sure your potting mix is moist and sterile because cuttings rot quite easily.
Place the pot in a shaded area and move it to brighter light only once the plant is established.
Pleomele Dracaena Disease Problems
The Song of India can develop mealybugs, especially in the new growth. It looks like white, cotton spots hanging under the leaves.
To treat the disease, you should first remove the affected parts, after which you should take the house plant outdoors. Spray it to remove the pests and use an insecticide soap to get rid of any bugs that remained.
Your Song of India might also get fusarium leaf spot disease. It looks like spots usually forming on young leaves or leaf tips that you left wet for too long.
Over time, these leaves turn yellow and brown.
Keep an eye out for spider mites and scale. Spider mites usually attack plants that are too warm and dry, so proper care and maintenance are crucial. Make sure to treat any pests as soon as you notice them because they multiply at incredible speed.
If not, pests will travel to other plants you might have around Pleomele Dracaena.
Dracaena Reflexa Troubleshooting
An outdoor plant is more likely to develop serious problems like fusarium leaf spot and soft rot. Here are some of the most common problems common for Dracaena plants.
Fusarium leaf spot – this is a fungus issue that usually happens due to excessive watering. It shows up as reddish or tan spots on the young leaves near the base. Cut down on watering and apply some fungicide to the house plant.
Soft rot – sadly, this isn’t something you can fix, and you’ll probably have to throw away your house plant. You’ll know it has soft rot by the look and smell that resembles rotting. Its lower leaves will collapse as well, and the green will turn brown.
Dracaena Reflexa and Toxicity
All Dracaena plants are toxic to pets, so you should be careful if you have one around your furry friend. This is especially for pets that like to nib on leaf tips, which is something cats like to do.
You’ll know your pet may have poisoned themselves with Dracena Reflexa if he/she vomits (with or without blood), has excess saliva, and dilated pupils.
You should see a veterinarian if any of these symptoms show up.
Touching any part of the plant isn’t harmful to pets or humans. Still, you can wear garden gloves if you want to be extra-safe when working around Dracaena Reflexa.
How do you take care of a Pleomele?
This tropical houseplant is easy to take care of as it doesn’t require frequent watering. It likes being indoors, but you can also transfer it to your garden if the conditions are right.
Although this plant can survive in low light, it thrives in bright light, but make sure to keep it away from direct sun. Proper care helps it grow tall and healthy.
Do Dracaena plants purify the air?
Dracaenas are among the most efficient plants that remove formaldehyde from the air. When grown indoors, dracaenas remove trichloroethylene, benzene, and xylene from your home.
Dracaena Reflexa, or Song of India, is a houseplant. It’s one of the most popular indoor plants that thrive in humidity, bright light, and very little water.
When grown indoors, its green leaves look spectacular in any corner, regardless of how big the plant is. Although it can grow both indoor and outdoor, it won’t grow as big as it does in its native Madagascar.
How do you care for a Dracaena Reflexa?
All you have to do for this houseplant is to keep its soil at least 50% dry. Watering it too frequently will cause it to rot.
As we said, you can keep the tree indoor, or you can plant it in your garden, but remember that it loves humidity and brightness, so avoid placing it in dark areas.
It’s a tropical tree, but it still doesn’t like direct sun.
Where can I buy pleomele or Song of India?
Most of the time you can go to your local plant store, but if you just want it shipped to your house, check out Etsy for pleomele where you’ll be able to see reviews and check out reliable sellers.
Dracaena Reflexa, otherwise known as Song of India, is a beautiful house plant with luscious green shades.
It’s ideal for those who often forget to water their plants as it doesn’t require too much water. Let the soil dry before watering it to avoid common Dracaena issues.
It’s a perfect house plant that lasts from spring to spring, looking excellent in any corner of your indoor and outdoor space.