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Dracaena dermensis ‘Janet Craig’

Gravel/Soil/Mulch Estimator

Dracaena dermensis ‘Janet Craig’


Common names: Dracaena compacta, Compacta Janet Craig, Pineapple Dracaena, Janet Craig compacta, Dwarf Dracaena

Dracaena dermensis compacta [dras-SEE-nuh der-eh-MEN-siss kom-PAK-tuh] belongs to the Agavaceae (agave) family and originates in tropical Africa and Asia. It can reach a height of up to 3? to 6? feet when planted indoors with leaves spreading up to 2 to 5 inches in length.

Due to its stylish appearance and ability to grow in dark rooms, the dwarf dracaena is a favorite among houseplants.


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Flowering and Fragrance: The Dracaena compacta plant is grown as a foliage plant characterized by thick, stiff, glossy dark green leaves, which spread out to form rosettes around the canes.  Though it is rare, sometimes ear-like white or pink flowers grow from the middle of the rosette and give out an intense honey scent.

Light and Temperature: This plant thrives best in low light conditions. However, if grown indoors, it can also tolerate high indoor light.  The only difference is that it will require frequent watering up to once a week. With more light, plants will use water at a higher rate.  The ideal temperature range for the dwarf dracaena lies between 65° and 80° degrees Fahrenheit, but it can tolerate colder temperatures up to 40° degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering and Feeding: The dwarf dracaena generally does best when grown on the dry end of the watering spectrum. The slow growth of the plant makes it difficult to determine symptoms of over or under watering.  Sometimes, symptoms such as brown tips or brown spots on the leaves can show up a few weeks after the initial damage has occurred.  This is why it’s best to keep weekly track of water application or consider using a self watering planter.  Changing factors in the environment such as light and temperature also affect the watering schedule of how frequently and how much you should water your plant.

When the soil has low moisture content and almost dried out is a good sign of your plant needs watering.  Dracaena plants are famous for displaying brown leaf tips from being sensitive to boron and fluoride. Indoor professionals who maintain plants indoors recommend avoiding tap water and use distilled water for watering Dracaenas.

Due to its slow growth rate, Dracaena Janet Craig compacta does not need a lot of feeding.  However, if the plant has not been repotted for a few years, you can feed some liquid fertilizer in summer and spring, every one to two months.

Soil and Transplanting: When potting or transplanting use a well-drained soil to avoid soil becoming heavily soaked when watering. Transplant when the plant grows too large for the pot. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.  Use a well-aerated potting mixture made up of at least 50% or more organic matter. Another option is planting in lava rock.

A bagged potting soil for house plants like an African violet soil mix works well.  Check up every spring to make sure that the roots of the plant aren’t filling the pot. If they are, repot your plant to a larger pot.

Grooming and Maintenance: The dracaena compacta is an easy plant to grow but slow growing and require some attention to stay in the best condition.

Remember – slow growing plants take time to replace damaged leaves.  Keep an eye on the level of air humidity as it can affect the appearance and growth of the plant.

The ideal humidity level is at 25%. If the humidity is low, compacta can dry out. If it’s too high, you may end up overwatering the plant without realizing it.

To keep the leaves in their best shape, wipe them with a damp cloth once a month to remove dirt and dust.

Dwarf Dracaena Pest or Disease Problems: This plant is most commonly susceptible to mealy bug. These pests look like small pieces of cotton stuck on the plant. These bugs nestle down in the foliage crown.  Remove the mealybugs wiping them off the leaves with alcohol dipped on a wet paper towel, spraying them with a Neem oil solution.  However, if the problem persists, it is a good idea to cut out new growth crowns to remove the bugs nestled inside.  Avoid overwatering that can lead to root rot.

Suggested Dwarf Dracaena Uses: Use Dracaena compact as an accent plant potted alone in an attractive decorative container. Group several together in a large pot for a leafy display.  Their compact habit makes them excellent, modern, contemporary additions to a credenza, in a kitchen or a new companion in the office.  Compacta makes a great companion indoor plant along with the Peace Lily, Chinese evergreen, cast iron plant, and others.