Dracaena Lemon Lime

November 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

dracaena lemon limeThe colours which surround us reportedly have an effect on our mood. The colour green is said to relax and calm us down. In addition, light green is supposed to give us a shot of optimism on account of its association with spring and new lives being born. If this is true, it means that the Dracaena Lemon Lime, with its lively light green foliage, is an ideal plant for anyone who wants to bring a bit of happiness into their home 🙂

Care

The Dracaena Lemon Lime has very similar requirements to the cultivar Compacta which I’ve already described elsewhere. The main difference between these two is such that the Lemon Lime is slightly more resistant to neglect.

The similarity between the requirements of these two cultivars is so wide, that in fact I have simply copied and pasted some of the paragraphs that describe the care of the Lemon Lime from the article about the Compacta, merely changing the name of the plant.

Light

The Dracaena Lemon Lime prefers places that are well lit (although not ones in direct sunlight). In places like this it grows better and its leaves are more vivid and strongly coloured – their lime coloured margins become wider and the dark stripe in the middle narrower.

In summer my several-year-old Dracaena sits about 1 m from my south-facing balcony door, in winter I move it a little closer. In this place the plant has a lot of bright scattered light which seems to suit it fine.

Here I’d like to point out that the Dracaena must be guaranteed a proper amount of light all year round. Otherwise, its bottom leaves can start to dry out (starting from the tips) and drop off. This usually occurs in winter when the days become darker and shorter. If you’re not able to provide the plant with sufficient natural light, you can always try to use artificial light.

Don’t worry if your Dracaena Lemon Lime sheds a few of its lower leaves during the year. However, if it sheds a few in the course of any given month, it means that either it is sick or it is growing in unfavourable conditions.

In order for the plant not to bend over to one side, turn it round once every few weeks.

Care

  • Difficulty: medium
  • Watering: moderate
  • Light: medium bright
  • Temperature: from 18ºC (65ºF)
  • Air humidity: humid
  • Propagation: tip cuttings, cane cuttings

Impact on the air

  • Toxin removal: ?/10
  • Water transpiration: ?/10

Characteristics

  • Origin: Tropical Africa
  • Height: can reach a few meters
  • Growth rate: about 15 cm (6 in) a year
  • Lifespan: several years
  • Fragrance: very rarely, only when blooming
  • Poisonous: YES

Watering

As is the case with the Dracaena Compacta, the watering frequency of the Lemon Lime depends on the season of the year. In summer you should water the Dracaena more often, in winter (especially when the temperature in the room is lower) you should do it less often.

Only ever water the Dracaena when the soil in the pot has almost completely dried out. Too moist a substratum will cause the leaves to yellow and can also make the roots rot and the plant die. Ideally, the soil in which the Dracaena Lemon Lime grows should only ever be minimally moist, almost dry, at any depth in the pot. Almost dry, that is, not bone-dry, because this will cause the tips of the leaves to dry out.

Water the plant until excess water flows into the saucer, wait 2 minutes, then pour the remaining water out of the saucer so that the soil in the pot does not soak up too much. In addition, use permeable soil, thus avoiding it becoming too heavily soaked when watering.

Feeding

The Dracaena Lemon Lime doesn’t grow very fast, therefore it is not necessary to feed it, especially when the soil in the pot is fresh. However, if the plant has not been repotted for a few years, you can feed it with some fertilizer for green plants in spring and summer every 1 – 2 months.

Air humidity

As far as the Dracaena Lemon Lime is concerned, the proper level of air humidity is as important as the amount of available light and how much it is watered. The rule of thumb is this: the higher the humidity, the better. No matter how much light you provide the Dracaena with, or how regularly you water it, the leaves of the Lemon Lime will dry out and drop off if the humidity of the air around it is too low (below 50%). This can easily happen in temperatures below 20°C. A situation like this can often occur in the heating season in winter, when it is dry and warm in the flat; the humidity falls below 40% and the temperature stays on the high side.

Greenhouse with dracaenas Lemon Lime in Netherlands

A greenhouse with the dracaenas Lemon Lime in Netherlands
Ruud Morijn / BigStockPhoto.com

To provide the plant with sufficient humidity, sprinkle it with water at least twice a day if the air humidity in the home goes below 50%. If the air humidity is higher, you can limit misting to once every 1 – 2 days.

Of course, if you have neither the time nor the inclination to sprinkle the plant by hand, you can use an air humidifier.

You can buy a simple hygrometer, which will allow you to measure the air humidity in your room, for about 10$ (in 2016).

Temperature

In winter, when there is less light, the temperature should be lower, about 18°C/ 65°F (remember not to water too much). In summer the temperature should be higher, preferably around 24°C (75°F).

Repotting

Every spring check to see if the roots of the plant fill the pot and if so, repot the Dracaena to a pot which is 2 – 4 cm (1 – 2 in) wider in diameter. In the case of larger or older specimens growing in big pots it would be enough simply to replace the top few centimeters of soil.

Pruning

dracaena lemon lime - a tip cut and planted next to the mother plant

A tip cut and planted next to the mother plant

Pruning the tips of the Dracaena Lemon Lime makes a real difference to its appearance. Without cutting, this plant hardly ever branches out at all.

Cutting the tips of the plant in spring can stimulate the plant to branch out and in consequence to take on a dense and bushy form. Unfortunately, contrary to its sister, Compacta, the cultivar Lemon Lime branches out more rarely. Sometimes, in the place of the old leaf rosette that has been cut off, only one new rosette grows out from the trimmed shoot. Of course, it can depend on the time of cutting, the condition of the plant and at what height the plant has been cut.

You can cut the plant at any height, even under its leaves right back as far as the bare trunk. After a few weeks one or, with a modicum of luck, a few sprouts will appear where you made the cut.

You can use the severed tips to propagate the plant. I often place them in the same pot, just next to the mother plant. This way, after a few seasons the plant has a couple of trunks with crowns of leaves at different heights, which looks very attractive.

Propagation

The simplest way to propagate the Dracaena Lemon Lime is with tip cuttings. In order to do this you can use the tips that have been cut off the plant to make it branch out (see above, the paragraph on pruning).

Another method is to allow an 8 centimeter long piece of the cane (stem) to root in a humid atmosphere at a temperature above 22°C/ 71°F (by simply laying it on the soil).

Pests / diseases

My Dracaena Lemon Lime has never been infested by any pests. As with other dracaenas it rarely becomes a target for them. However, you can come across an opinion that mealybugs, scales or spider mites can sometimes feed on dracaenas. If this happens, just use an appropriate insecticide (you will find more information on this topic in the section “house plant diseases”).

You will find a lot of general information about the care of potted flowers in the post "The basics of house plant care".

Toxicity

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the Dracaena Lemon Lime is toxic to pets.

Appearance

Dracaena lemon lime leaves

jonnysek / BigStockPhoto.com

The Dracaena Lemon Lime has stiff shoots that grow straight up, each of them having a rosette of long (20-50 cm / 10-20 in) leaves at its top. The dark green middle of the leaves is separated by a thin white stripe from the lime coloured edge.

The plant grows rather slowly, about 15 cm (6 in) a year. After a few years it can reach a considerable size.

 

 

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Łukasz Dumiszewski

A computer scientist who likes house plants and who once wanted to be a writer. A blogger who writes about his experiences in growing house plants by using the benefits of computer science. 😉

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