How Often Do You Water A Dracaena? (An Owner’s Top Tips)

Dracaenas don’t need a lot of water, and it’s actually better for them to be slightly underwatered rather than overwatered.

My advice is only to water your Dracaena when the top one to two inches of soil become dry. This has served me well for over five years and is an easy rule to remember.

In this guide, I’ll take you through everything there is to know about Dracaena watering – from why it is important to how to tell if you are doing it right. Let’s get into it.

How To Tell You Are Watering The Right Amount

One of the first things I do to ensure I am watering my Dracaena the correct amount is to check the moisture level in the soil.

This is pretty simple, I just check the first inch to two inches into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water the plant. On the other hand, if the soil feels moist, I know it’s safe to hold off on watering for a bit longer.

Another sign that I am watering the Dracaena appropriately is observing the leaves.

If I see yellowing leaves, it could be an indication that it’s overwatered.

In contrast, if the leaves are going crispy and brown at the tips, it could mean that I am not providing enough water.

My Watering Routine

When I water my Dracaena, I make sure to:

  • Water thoroughly so the water reaches the roots
  • Allow excess water to drain (drainage holes are essential here)
  • Let the soil dry out slightly between watering sessions (1 to 2-inch rule)

By following these guidelines, I can maintain a healthy balance of moisture for my Dracaena plant, ensuring it thrives and grows well.

Factors That Affect How Often You Need To Water A Dracaena

There are several factors that affect how often I need to water my Dracaena plant.

In this section, I’ll discuss some key factors, including temperature, sunlight, seasonal variation, and the growth rate of my Dracaena.


The temperature of my home plays a crucial role in determining how often I should water my Dracaena.

I’ve noticed that when the temperature is higher, the soil tends to dry out more quickly, and I need to water my Dracaena more often.

On the other hand, during cooler periods, my Dracaena requires less frequent watering as the soil retains moisture for a longer time.

I make sure to adjust my watering schedule accordingly to prevent overwatering or underwatering my plant.


The amount of sunlight my Dracaena receives also affects its watering needs.

Dracaenas generally prefer indirect sunlight, but if they are exposed to more direct sunlight, the soil may dry out faster, requiring more frequent watering.

In shaded areas, the soil retains moisture for longer, and I can water my plant less often.

I always try to find the perfect balance and location for my Dracaena to ensure it gets the right amount of sunlight without stressing it out. For me, this is usually set back from a north-facing window.

Seasonal Variation (Summer Vs. Winter)

I’ve observed that during the summer months, I need to water my Dracaena more frequently due to higher temperatures and increased evaporation.

Conversely, during winter, my plant’s water requirements are typically less since it is in a dormant phase and the temperature is lower.

For me, this works out as once every 1 to 2 weeks during the summer period and as little as once per month during the winter.

Growth Rate Of Your Dracaena

The growth rate of my Dracaena plant also plays a role in how often I need to water it.

As my Dracaena grows at a faster rate, it needs more water to support this growth.

Additionally, if I have recently repotted my Dracaena, I like to water it more often to support new root growth.

What Problems Can Overwatering Cause?

If there’s one thing to remember about Dracaena care, it’s that overwatering is much worse than underwatering.

Yellow/Brown Leaves

When I overwater my Dracaena, the leaves might start to turn yellow and brown.

This is an early sign of overwatering, and if I notice it, I can quickly adjust my watering schedule to prevent further damage.

Overwatering leads to a lack of oxygen for the roots, essentially starving them of nutrients and eventually causing them to rot (known as root rot).

Root Rot

Overwatering can also lead to root rot in my Dracaena.

Root rot occurs in overwatered conditions for two reasons:

  • As the roots starve due to a lack of oxygen, they die and start to rot.
  • A dormant fungus in the soil becomes active in overwatered conditions, leading to root rot.

To prevent root rot, it’s essential to avoid overwatering and ensure proper drainage of the soil by using the right soil mix and drainage holes.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves are another issue that can arise from overwatering.

When the roots become suffocated due to a lack of oxygen, my Dracaena’s leaves may droop as a sign of stress.

A Dracaena plant up close
My Dracaena Marginata Plant

To fix this issue, I reduce the frequency of watering to let the soil dry out enough to allow the plant to recover.


Overwatering can attract pests to my Dracaena, such as fungus gnats, mealybugs, and scale and other insects that thrive in damp conditions.

Pests can cause damage to the plant, including weakened growth and reduced resistance to diseases.

To prevent pests, it’s important not only to overwater but also to ensure good circulation around the plant and to avoid misting.

What Problems Can Underwatering Cause?

Underwatering, while not as serious as overwatering, can also cause issues with a Dracaena – and these tend to be much easier to notice.

Crispy Leaves

One of the issues I may face if I don’t water my Dracaena enough is crispy leaves.

Underwatered Dracaenas may have leaves that become dry and brittle and develop brown tips or edges.

This happens because insufficient water supply causes the plant cells to lose their internal moisture.

As a result, the leaves lose their turgidity and crisp up.

Slow Overall Growth

Another problem I might encounter with my Dracaena due to underwatering is slow overall growth.

Dracaena plants require an adequate amount of water for proper nutrient uptake.

When they don’t receive enough water, they tend to grow much slower and can even become stunted.

It’s important to remember that while Dracaena plants can survive in less well-lit spots, they use less water and grow slower in such conditions.

By being attentive to my Dracaena’s watering needs, I can prevent issues like crispy leaves and slow growth, ensuring it remains healthy and thriving.

In Summary

The secret to a happy Dracaena in terms of watering is to only water when the top of the soil is dry.

It’s easy to remember this rule, and keeping things simple will help you to avoid overwatering, which can cause serious issues like root rot that can be much harder to deal with.

I hope this guide has helped clear up any uncertainties you had about watering your Dracaena!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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