The genus and family name of a plant usually ventures into the bizarre, and often unpronounceable, leaving many of us to wonder – where on Earth do the names of our favorite plants originate from? The origins of plant names often date back many centuries, derived from ancient and forgotten languages.

The word Dracaena (pronounced Dra-see-na) comes from the Ancient Greek word, Drakaina, meaning “female dragon.” Many likened the red stems of the Dracaena to the color of dragon blood.

To learn more about this curious plant, keep scrolling!


Dracaena care

Since they originate from arid deserts and tropical rainforests, it’s best to keep Dracaenas in areas with higher humidity. Pebbles maybe be placed around the base of the plant to increase humidity. Though they require less watering than most indoor plants, it is good to keep them hydrated by misting the leaves and keeping them in drained, nutrient-rich soil. Once the soil is dry to the touch, it is time to water the plant. Depending on the species, Dracaena can thrive in both medium and low light indoor environments.

Dracaena varieties

There are over one hundred different species of Dracaena. Some of the most popular are as follows:

  • Dracaena marginata
  • Also called: Dragon Tree
  • Dracaena reflexa
  • Also called: Song of India
  • Dracaena deremensis
  • Also called: Dracaena fragrans, Corn Plant, or Janet Craig
  • Dracaena sanderiana
  • Also called: Lucky Bamboo Plant

Growing Dracaena outdoors

As we said, Dracaena plants originate from arid deserts and tropical rainforests, so they are not tolerant of frost. If you do happen to live in a frost-free climate, Dracaenas can make beautiful additions to your outdoor landscape.

Other Dracaena facts

All of the many different species of Dracaena in the world possess a secondary thickening meristem. The meristem is the tissue in all plants that help them grow. The Dracaena’s secondary meristem helps them grow wide, thick and succulent roots. Because of this, many experts have termed this the “Dracaenoid thickening.”

The red gum-like resin in the stems of Dracaena were used centuries ago for things like toothpaste, dye and cures for rheumatism, dysentery and as a general cure-all for certain tribes. Today, it is more commonly used for varnish (such as for the wood on a violin) and photoengraving.

To find more interesting facts about indoor plants, explore our Plant Doctor library.