The Dracaena compacta plant, a compact, slow growing member of the Dracaena family, is native to South East Africa. It is often referred to as Dracaena fragrans or Dracaena deremensis. The closest relative of the Compacta is the Dracaena janet craig, but the Compacta is quite different in appearance. The Dracaena Compacta has a thick green stem and several clumps of short dark green leaves 2″-4″ in length. It’s a beautiful addition to homes or offices, but it’s a bit more difficult and more expensive than other dracaenas.
Light: A Dracaena compacta plant grows best in medium light. In low light area they grow very slowly or not at all, tend to lose bottom leaves more quickly, and are easily over-watered. Rotate dracaenas weekly so that they don’t grow toward the light, become one sided, and lose their beautiful shape.
Water: Like other indoor houseplants, a dracaena compacta uses less water in low light than in brighter light. Keep the plant on the dry side to prevent root rot and Leaf Spot Disease. Allow the top ¾ of the soil to dry out before watering. In low light this could be two weeks or more. Compacta plants do better when watered on a regular schedule. Dark brown tips usually indicate the following: too much chlorine or fluoride in the water, water is too salty (never use water that has passed through a softener), or too much plant food. Muddy brown leaf tips on new growth means the plant needs more water.
Fertilizer: Slow growing plants like the dracaena compacta, require very little fertilizer. Feed only twice a year, once in the spring and once in the summer, and be sure to dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength.
Temperature: Dracaena compacta plants like warm room temperatures 60-75°F (16-24°C). Cold winter drafts and heaters can damage the leaves.
Pest: Mealy Bugs and scale can be a problem.
Disease: Leaf Spot Disease, caused by a fungus living in the soil, causes reddish brown spots on the new leaves. Over- watering causes root rot. The best way to prevent both of these problems is to let the soil dry out before watering the plant.