How to Grow and Care for Song of India Plant (Pleomele) Indoors


Song of India Plant, Dracaena reflexa

Botanical name: Dracaena reflexa
Synonym: Pleomele reflexa Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Common names: Song of India Plant, Pleomele, Song of Jamaica

Description

Song of India Plant (Dracaena reflexa) also called Pleomele or Song of Jamaica is a spectacular plant which bears yellow-banded, short, narrow, pointed, green leaves, arranged spirally and are tufted at the end of the branches.

The stems are weak and are about 3 ft high. This plant requires moist air inorder to thrive.

Pleomele is easy to grow and can survive in low light but the variegation develops best when under bright light.

Song of Jamaica is a spectacular plant which is ideal as a specimen plant or as a table-top plant on account of its compact size.

Origin

Dracaena reflexa is native to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius and other nearby islands of the Indian Ocean.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Song of India Plants are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Dracaena Plants online from Etsy.

Song of India Plant, Dracaena reflexa

Photo Credit: Toronto Bulk Flowers

Dracaena reflexa Care Indoors

Song of India Plant (Dracaena reflexa) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Dracaena reflexa has no need for frequent repotting as it grows best when slightly root-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat, to minimize pests and diseases and to encourage a bushy growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Song of India Plant grows best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.

Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Dracaena reflexa can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

Watering

Water song of India Plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep soil consistently moist.

Decrease watering in the cold season and maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and death of the plant; ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Use water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant. Make sure that the water is free of chlorine, flourides and other chemicals to prevent brown leaf tips.


Temperature

The best temperature for growing Pleomele is an average warmth with a minumum of 130C. Keep it away from drafts as they cause sudden changes in temperature which can lead to brown leaf tips and edges.

Humidity

Song of India Plant requires high humidity to thrive. Brown leaf tips is an indication of low humidity.

To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pests infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Song of India Plant every 2-3 weeks during the growing period with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer for lush growth.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Occasionally flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole.

Repotting

Repot Song of India Plant at the beginning of the growing season when the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes as the plant prefers to be slightly root-bound.

Use a pot 1 size larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy. Never allow the roots to sit in soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil

The best soil for Song of India Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients like this Tropical Organic Potting Mix available on Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Song of India Plant involves removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and reduce pest and disease infestations.

To encourage a bushy and compact growth, cutback the stems. New stems will sprout below the cut.

The foliage emanating from the pruning, can be used to propagate new plants.

Propagation

Song of India Plant (Dracaena reflexa) can be propagated by stem-tip cuttings at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Song of India Plant from stem-tip cuttings

Take 2-3 in. long stem-tip cuttings from a healthy Song of India Plant and ensure each cutting has some leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from.

Dip the lower cut-end of the cuttings in a rooting hormone to hasten rooting.

Fill a rooting container with free-draining rooting soil. Lightly moisten the rooting mix.

With a pencil or similar object, make a hole in the moist rooting mix. The hole should be slightly wider than the diameter of the cutting.

Insert the cutting in the previously made hole in the moist rooting mix and lightly firm the soil around the cutting.

Cover the container with clear polythene sheet to increase humidity for faster establishment.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight to avoid cooking the plants.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the new Pleomele plants are well established after which you can begin routine care.

Song of India Plant, Dracaena reflexa

Photo Credit: PlantVine

Dracaena reflexa Problems Indoors

Song of India Plant (Dracaena reflexa) problems indoors are brown leaf tips and edges, yellow leaves, leaf spots, plant death, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaf tips and yellow edges

There are four possible reasons for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Song of India Plant. One possible reason is too dry air (low humidity).

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to elevate humidity.

The second possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Pleomele is underwatering which results in too little moisture in the soil.

Maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Song of India Plant is chemical accumulation in the soil.

Use only chemical free water to water the plant and regularly flush out salts from the soil.

The fourth possible reason for brown leaf tips and yellow edges in Song of India Plant is cold draughts.

Keep the plant away from cold draughts like windy doors and windows to prevent sudden drops in the temperature.

Plant death

Song of India Plant is prone to root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil. The disease causes the plant to die. Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid soggy soil.

Cut down on watering during the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Another possible cause of the death in Song of India Plant is keeping it too cold.

Maintain an average room temperature and protect the plant from cold draughts.

Pleomele could also be dying from accumulation of salts in the soil.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole.

Brown leaf spots

Song of India Plant will develop brown leaf spots if it is underwatered. Maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold period but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Bleached dry leaf patches

Direct sunlight on Song of India Plant will cause bleached dry patches on the leaves. Move the plant to a shadier spot or protect it from direct sunlight by instaling a light curtain.

Yellowing leaves

Yellowing of the lower leaves is a natural process in Song of India Plant. As the plant matures, it sheds the lower leaves. Each lower leaf turns yellow and dries leaving a crown of leaves on top of the cane-like stem.

Leaves soft, curled with brown edges

If the temperature is too low for Song of India Plant leaves become soft and curled and the edges turn brown. Maintain an average room temperature and protect Pleomele from cold draughts.

Pests

Common pests in Song of India Plant are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read on how to identify and get rid of pests in houseplants.

Is Song of India Plant toxic?

Song of India Plant (Dracaena reflexa) is toxic to both humans and pets as outlined by ASPCA. The leaves contain a substance which is toxic. If ingested they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, loss of appetite and depression.

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