Caring for a Dracaena after 2 years

Plant Parent

Hi there, I really love your Instagram and so happy to have discovered your mailing list too!

I have a Dracaena (at least I think that’s what it is, I am a relative newbie!) and I purchased it about 2 years ago as a baby. It’s now nearly 6 foot tall and while I’m not bothered about the size ( I actually love it) I’m really concerned about how to best look after it. Do I need to trim the lower leaves? They look a bit brown at the tips. Should I be pruning it for better overall health and shape? If so, what’s the best way to do this? My final question about the plant is about watering. I always let the plant dry out before watering again but it seems to grow a mouldy substance on top of the soil while drying out? Is there anything i can do to avoid this?

Photo attached. Please note, since moving to this location over the summer, the radiator in the picture hasn’t been on, we may need to find the giant plant a new location in the house should we need to turn the heating on.

Looking forward to hearing from you, best wishes!!


You have a beautiful Dracaena here and it sounds like it has been happy with you for the last two years!

EVERYONE’s lower leaves on a Dracaena will have brown tips. I cringe every time I hear “you should raise the humidity to prevent brown tips” because that does NOTHING but give people a reason to be disappointed in themselves for not being able to raise the humidity enough. Look closely at the leaves in a conservatory – ALL the older leaves on a Dracaena have brown tips. It’s not something to prevent but, assuming you have already given the plant your best possible conditions, it should be admired – the leaf does the work of transpiration and filtering. After years of work, these cells get worn out and rupture. It’s a fact of plant life.

A Dracaena’s growth structure is that it just keeps getting taller along the one stem (you have two stems here). If you cut it, new growth will grow out of the SIDE of the cut end. If you are prepared to have a kink in the trunk near the top, then you can cut it but most people would prefer not to have that so I’d leave it.

If you have a photo of this mouldy substance, that would be helpful. Otherwise, I’d just scoop it out if it really bothers you – I don’t think it’s bothering your plant at all if you say you’ve had it for over two years – it definitely looks great!

Plant Parent

this is such wonderful news! Thank you so so much for taking the time to reply to me, I’m so grateful. So good to hear it’s doing okay and I don’t need to worry about the tips browning. And I really love your attitude towards it, how it’s showing how the plant has done exactly what it’s meant to have done. I will now admire those little brown tips every time I notice them!!

I hear you regarding the cutting, I think it might end up a little wonky if I cut whereas at the moment it’s straight. Maybe let’s just leave it and see how tall it will get!

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

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