Song of India is a tropical shrub typically grown indoors and favored for its alternating dark green and chartreuse stripes on narrow, lanceolate leaves with veining. Keep in mind that Dracaena spp. is toxic to dogs and cats
Song of India Care
Here are the main care requirements for growing song of India.
Place the plant in indirect sunlight.
Provide moist, well-draining soil.
Allow the soil to dry somewhat between waterings.
Avoid putting song of India anywhere near a slightly cold draft
Song of India requires bright, indirect sunlight for at least four hours per day. These conditions keep the foliage vibrant but too much sun is also harmful and can cause leaf scorch.
Song of India is not very particular about soil. A peaty, well-drained potting mix is best. Remember that more peat in the plant’s soil will cause the soil to decompose faster: Alleviate this issue by repotting your plant as needed (about once per year each spring) to change its soil. One way to remedy this is by making a potting mix of your own with bark, peat, pumice, vermiculite, and perlite.
Water your plant often enough to keep its soil moist, but not soaked, from spring through fall. Song of India requires less water in the winter. Never overwater this plant, as it’s especially susceptible to root rot. One issue to be aware of is the genus’ sensitivity to fluoride: A good practice is to use bottled or purified water for your plants. A symptom of fluoride damage is wilting on the leaf margins.
Temperature and Humidity
Keep normal room temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit for song of India. This species is native to the warm climate of the Indian Ocean, and it does not tolerate cold well; even a slight draft near a cold window can do serious harm. The plant prefers humidity on the higher side.
Feed the plant bi-weekly in the spring and summer with a water-soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted by half. No feeding is needed during the winter months.
Most of the 120 plants in song of India’s genus come from Africa, and many of its species are kept as houseplants.
Song of India does not typically need to be pruned but you can trim the stems if they grow too long or leggy. Pruning your plant can help encourage fuller and bushier growth. Using a clean pair of gardening shears, cut the stem at the base where it protrudes from another stem. At the cut location, new leaves will eventually begin to grow and fill out the plant.
Propagating Song of India
Song of India is not typically grown from seed but can easily be propagated from cuttings. It’s best to propagate this species in the spring when it’s actively growing, and taking cuttings will also help your plant grow fuller. Each cutting can be used to grow a new plant. Here’s how:
Gather a clean pair of gardening shears and a small container. Choose either purified water (bottled is an easy option) or a mixture of peat moss and perlite to grow your cutting.
Locate a stem at least 6 inches long that you’d like to propagate from your plant. Carefully trim it off using the shears.
Place the cutting in its new container in an area with bright, indirect light. This species can be rooted in water, or you can dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant it in a mixture of equal parts peat moss and perlite.
Keep the mixture consistently moist, but not soggy.
Once the plant is established (after a few weeks), plant it in a larger container with well-drained soil and care for it as usual.
Potting and Repotting Song of India
Depending on the region you live in, song of India can be grown indoors or outdoors throughout the year. If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12 you can plant song of India directly in the ground. Outside of those zones, the plant should be kept in a container outside in summer months and indoors during colder weather, or indoors year-round.
This species is a slow grower and only needs to be repotted every few years. When your plant is outgrowing its container, choose a pot one size larger with plenty of drainage. Avoid excessively large pots, as they may hold in too much moisture. Unglazed ceramic or terra-cotta pots are helpful, as these porous materials do not trap as much water as plastic or metal pots.
Fill the new pot with the potting medium of your choice and leave space for the plant’s roots in the center. Carefully lift the plant from the original pot, shaking away excess soil from its roots. Place the plant in its new pot and fill any empty areas with soil. Thoroughly water the soil, allowing water to drain, then care for it as usual.
How to Get Song of India to Bloom
Song of India does not often bloom when grown indoors, but plants grown outdoors in suitable USDA Hardiness Zones can bloom in the late winter, early spring, or even in the summer.2
What Do Song of India Flowers Look and Smell Like?
Clusters of tiny white flowers are reportedly quite fragrant when in bloom.
How to Encourage More Blooms?
Plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and humidity are essential for this plant to produce its flowers. While it’s very unlikely for this species to flower as a houseplant, providing the right sun exposure and moisture levels may encourage blooming.
Caring for Song of India After It Blooms
Allow the flowers to die naturally. Decrease watering the plant during the winter season.
Common Problems With Song of India
While song of India is typically regarded as a very easy houseplant to care for, it can still run into a few common problems. Most often, improper light and watering lead to issues that can be diagnosed by observing the plant’s leaves.
Brown leaves indicate that the plant is either receiving too much sun or too much water. If the plant’s leaves are brown, dry, and crispy, it’s probably developing leaf scorch and it should be moved to a shadier location. Brown leaves that aren’t dry may indicate that the plant is overwatered.
Brownish leaves that have more of a red tinge may indicate fusarium leaf spot. Overwatering or too much humidity could be causing the problem.
Yellow and Wilting Leaves
Yellowed leaves are also a sign of overwatering, which can quickly lead to root rot and cause severe damage. Check the soil and if it’s soggy, the plant should be drained thoroughly or repotted in a fresh soil mixture. Fluoride damage can also cause yellow, wilted leaves, in which case it’s best to switch to purified water rather than using tap water.
When your song of India’s leaves are drooping, the plant likely needs less sun and more water. Move the pot to a shadier location and water the plant thoroughly, taking care to allow all excess water to drain completely.