Dracaena braunii: Ribbon plant

Family: Asparagaceae
Common name: Dracaena, Ribbon plant, Ribbon Dracaena

A very common Dracaena plant seen in home gardens, this plant is often confused with Lucky bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana. But Lucky bamboo flowers are 5 times longer than those of Dracaena braunii, and the leaf base is not as congested.

Dracaena braunii plants grow to a height of 1-2 meters with erect green stems which are covered with the bases of the leaf sheaths. Leaves are dark or light green, with a wavy margin and an elongated pointy tip.

Some variants have leaves are so bright that they look phosphorescent, and some variants have variegated green and white leaves. They are 8-15 cms long, the petiole merged with the leaf seamlessly. Petioles are about 5 cms long, the base of which wraps around the stem.

Though not very common, these Dracaena plants produces bunches of 5-7 flowers held aloft on tall stalks. The inflorescence is greenish-yellow with a purple tinge on top. Individual flowers are white or cream in color, about 1-2 cms long.

These Dracaena flowers are lightly fragrant. After pollination, they produce small orange-red fruits that are rounded, with 1-3 lobes.

They can be grown as indoor or outdoor plants like other species of Dracaena like Dracaena marginata or Dragon tree, Dracaena fragrans or Cornstalk dracaena, Dracaena reflexa or Song of India, Dracaena trifasciata or Snake plant. All these Dracaena plants are low-maintenance, fuss-free, pest-resistant beauties that can be grown easily in home gardens.

Dracena braunii plants prefer good sunlight, and need to be placed near sunny windows when grown indoors. They also need regular watering, well-drained soil and occasional fertilization.

Too much direct sunlight may cause browning of leap tips, too little sunlight can cause yellowing and drooping of leaves. These plants are generally pest-resistant, but any infection from mealy bugs or flies can be addresses with neem oil spraying.

Though they are native to the African continent, growing near forest edges and mangroves, they are now available in nurseries all over the world. These plants prefer warm and humid tropical weather.

Propagation is through seeds or stem cuttings, that root readily in water.