One of the most important aspects of caring for dracaenas is making sure that they have the right type of soil.
Soil has a big impact on how much moisture will be available to the plant, as well as nutrients and how likely it is for overwatering to occur. Succulent soil is actually a great option for dracaenas because it is well-draining and nutrient-rich.
In this article, I’ll cover exactly what conditions dracaena needs from soil, why succulent soil is a good option as well as how to make your own (and alternatives) that work just as well.
Let’s get into it.
- What Soil Conditions Does My Dracaena Need?
- Why Succulent Soil Can Be Used For Dracaenas
- Alternative Soil Mixes For Dracaenas
- Tips For Maintaining Dracaena Soil
- What Happens If You Use The Wrong Type Of Soil?
- In Summary
What Soil Conditions Does My Dracaena Need?
For a dracaena plant to thrive, it’s essential to provide the ideal soil conditions. When choosing a soil type for dracaena, you need to consider factors like moisture, pH level, nutrients, and texture.
First off, dracaena plants need soil with excellent drainage properties. This is because they don’t like sitting in wet or soggy conditions, which can lead to symptoms like yellowing or browning of the leaves and eventually root rot.
To achieve this, I use loamy soil that is rich in nutrients and has a light, loose texture. I sometimes mix in some pebbles, pumice, or coir to improve the drainage even further.
Another crucial aspect to consider is the pH level of the soil. Dracaena plants generally do well in slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH of around 6.0 to 7.0.
Why Succulent Soil Can Be Used For Dracaenas
Succulent soil is a viable option for dracaenas because it is well-draining, full of nutrients, and naturally slightly acidic which suits dracaenas.
If you aren’t sure about using a homemade succulent mix or a store-bought version, here’s a quick rundown of both (spoiler, they’re both fine to use).
Store Bought Succulent Mix
Store-bought succulent soil usually contains an ideal composition for dracaenas:
- Slightly acidic pH levels
- Peat moss, bark, or coco coir for organic matter
- Perlite, vermiculite, or sand for proper drainage
Moreover, store-bought succulent soil is known to have added fertilizers containing the three essentials – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) – which can help to promote growth right from the start.
Make Your Own Succulent Mix
I also enjoy making my own succulent mix for my dracaenas. To create a well-balanced potting mix for these plants, I combine the following ingredients:
- 2 parts peat moss or coco coir for moisture retention and organic matter
- 1 part perlite or vermiculite for adequate drainage
- 1 part sand or fine pine bark to prevent the soil from becoming too compact
Alternative Soil Mixes For Dracaenas
You don’t have to use succulent soil for your dracaena to grow and thrive.
Here are a few alternatives that I’ve had success with over the years.
Cactus Soil And Peat Mix:
Combining equal parts of cactus soil and peat helps to create a well-draining, slightly acidic soil for a Dracaena.
This mix ensures that the roots can access the moisture they need without becoming waterlogged.
Bark, Compost, And Indoor Potting Mix
Another soil mix that has worked well for one of my Dracaenas was a blend of finely shredded bark, finished compost, and an indoor plant potting mix.
I like to use equal parts of each for this mix and I’ve never had any problems with it.
Commercial Dracaena Mix
There is a lot of commercial soil mixes that work fine for dracaenas.
A great tip that I’ve used in the past is to look for soil mixes that are well-draining and nutrient-rich. These are pretty much the only two things that you need to get right for your dracaena (assuming the soil mix isn’t highly acidic or alkaline)
Tips For Maintaining Dracaena Soil
Getting the right type of soil for your dracaena is only half the battle, the rest is checking the soil every so often to make sure it is in good condition:
- Inspect the soil regularly for signs of mold, fungus, or pests.
- Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings.
- Fertilize every few weeks during the summer to make sure the nutrient content of the soil is high.
That’s pretty much it!
Maintaining the soil is quite easy, the secret is to keep it relatively dry.
What Happens If You Use The Wrong Type Of Soil?
Using the right type of soil is crucial for dracaenas, and to understand why it’s important to know what can go wrong if you use the wrong type of soil:
- Overwatering Becomes More Likely – If you choose a soil that doesn’t drain well you will very likely overwater your dracaena, which will eventually lead to root rot and the death of the plant.
- Fluoride Content – This one is quite rare, but if your soil has a high fluoride content it can cause severe problems for the dracaena.
- May Lack Nutrients – A lot of soil mixes don’t contain many nutrients due to a lack of organic material. Expect slow growth from your dracaena if this is the case.
- Soil May Drain Too Well – In rare cases, you may use soil that actually drains too well and doesn’t hold on to moisture. This will quickly lead to underwatering, causing the leaves to go crispy and dry and eventually die.
I’ve listed a few handy ingredients in the table below that you can add to your dracaena soil mix to instantly make it better.
|Vermiculite||Retains moisture, lightweight, improves drainage|
|Coco Coir||Eco-friendly, retains water, and improves aeration|
|Pine Bark||Good aeration, decomposes slowly, drains well|
Just keep in mind that these won’t fix your soil if you are using the wrong mix to begin with.
Succulent soil is a pretty good option for dracaenas, but it isn’t the only option out there.
Hopefully, some of the options in this guide give you a good place to start for your dracaena. Repotting with a new soil mix is a great way to bring some new life into your plant’s life.
If you’re interested in learning more about dracaenas then feel free to check out some of my other articles below: