How to Grow and Care for Florida Beauty Plant

Florida Beauty or Dracaena surculosa in a container

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The Florida Beauty Plant (a Dracaena surculosa cultivar) is an award-winning tropical evergreen shrub. It stands out for its slender, upright, bamboo-like branches and lance-shaped dark green leaves densely peppered with striking spots of variegation. The variegation turns from bright yellow to a creamier white as the plant matures.

As with many types of Dracaena, providing it remains evenly moist and has access to bright, filtered light, Florida Beauty is a low-maintenance houseplant, ideal for beginners.

 Common Name Florida Beauty Plant
 Botanical Name Dracaena Surculosa 'Florida Beauty'
 Family Asparagaceae
Plant Type Perennial
 Mature Size Up to 3 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure Partial
 Soil Type Moist, Well-drained
 Soil pH Acidic, Neutral
 Bloom Time Winter (rare when grown as houseplants)
 Flower Color Green, White
 Hardiness Zones 9-11 (USDA)
 Native Area Africa
Toxicity Toxic to pets, toxic to people

Florida Beauty Plant Care

Here are the main care requirements for growing a Florida Beauty Plant:

  • Use a loose, well-draining potting mix.
  • Position in a spot that receives bright but indirect light.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season, but avoid standing water.
  • Pick a warm, draft-free spot with higher-than-average humidity.


Position your Florida Beauty Plant somewhere it gets plenty of bright but indirect light indoors to see the most impressive variegation on the foliage. Outdoors, the plant can handle a few hours of direct morning sun. Too much direct hot sun can result in leaf scorch and drop, and too little sun means the variegation will fade.


Florida Beauty Plants can handle a wide range of soils and potting mixes, provided they are loose and well-drained.

If you want to make your own rich and slightly acidic potting mix, add equal parts peat, loam, and perlite or vermiculite. Alternatively, try a cactus soil with a few handfuls of perlite or vermiculite added to ensure plenty of air circulation around the roots.


These plants thrive when the soil is kept evenly moist during the growing season. But don't go overboard—leaving your Florida beauty plant in standing water typically leads to root rot. In the winter, wait for the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again.

Temperature and Humidity

As you would expect for a tropical species, Florida Beauty Plants appreciate it if you keep them warm, humid, and away from drafts. If temperatures remain above 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, you can grow them outdoors in a patio container.

They grow best in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home is dry, it pays to increase the humidity around your Florida Beauty. Try grouping with other tropical species, investing in a humidifier, or adding a tray of pebbles with water under the plant's container.


Florida beauty plants are slow-growing, but applying a weak dose of balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during the spring and summer growing seasons helps promote lush, leafy growth. They won't need feeding during the winter when growth slows.


There aren't any heavy-duty pruning requirements with a Florida Beauty Plant. But that doesn't mean you don't need to invest in some pruning shears. Trimming older, overgrown stems in winter promotes new, healthy growth in spring. Light trimming also keeps your plant in a shape and height that fits your space.

If you want to cut weak growth to promote new healthier stems, cut the stems back to around six inches from the base of the plant in early spring.

Propagating Florida Beauty Plant

Florida beauty plants are easy to propagate from tip cuttings, and you can do this when tidying up your specimen with a bit of pruning in the spring when active growth starts. Here's how to give it a whirl:

  • Grab some sterilized, sharp pruners and take a cutting of a healthy branch tip with three or four leaves on it.
  • Plant the tip in a small pot (around three inches high) with moist potting soil. An equal mix of peat and sand works well.
  • Cover the plant with a plastic bag to seal in moisture and humidity.
  • Keep the container in a warm spot (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) with access to indirect light.
  • The plant shouldn't need any additional water for the four to six weeks it takes for the cutting to root.
  • Once the plant takes root, remove the bag and water whenever the top half inch of the potting mix is dry. Offering a feed of weak liquid fertilizer every fortnight can encourage stronger growth.
  • Once you see roots appearing on the soil's surface, transfer the plant to a larger pot with a potting mix suitable for Dracaena.
  • Continue with care as per an adult Florida Beauty Plant.

Potting and Repotting Florida Beauty Plant

Florida Beauty Plants are slow-growing and like being slightly rootbound. This means they shouldn't need repotting more than every other spring. When repotting, don't select a pot that is too large, as it can make it difficult for the plant to absorb all the moisture in the soil, and they won't be as snug and potbound as they like. When the roots are creeping well out of the drainage holes, this is usually a sign they are ready for a change. Make sure the new pot has ample drainage holes.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Florida Beauty Plants are rarely bothered by diseases, and pests aren't a major issue. But mealybugs are sometimes attracted to these plants. Keep an eye out for these fuzzy white sap-sucking insects gathering around the base of your plant. They emit sticky secretions that are mold havens and can stunt plant growth.

Luckily, if you catch them early enough, spraying the bugs with water and wiping them off the plant with a cloth can be enough to get rid of mealybugs. Wiping down the plant with neem oil helps prevent these pests from returning.

Common Problems With Florida Beauty Plants

Florida Beauty Plants might be low-maintenance, but no plant is no-maintenance. Thankfully, your plant often gives you early warning signs that you need to make changes to its care before it dies. Look out for these signs your plant has a problem.

Leaves Turning Brown

Avoid overfertilizing. The first sign that you are overfeeding is often leaf margins turning brown. Browning and drooping leaves can also indicate your Florida Beauty is receiving too much intense, direct sunlight.

Plant Leaves Falling Off

Look at the light your Florida Beauty is getting if you suddenly start seeing lots of leaves falling off. Remember they like bright but indirect light. Shade or intense sunlight isn't this plant's friend.

Still seeing leaves dropping? Consider whether the spot you have them is too drafty.

Leaves Turning Yellow

If you're overwatering your Florida beauty, you might notice the green foliage turning yellow before root rot kills it. However, yellowing leaves aren't always a reason to panic. Older foliage will eventually turn yellow and drop to make way for new, healthy leaves.

Watch out for the yellow or creamy white variegation disappearing too. When the leaves turn back to solid green, this can be a sign your plant needs more bright but indirect sunlight.

  • How tall does a Florida beauty plant grow?

    It's rare for slow-growing Florida beauty plants to reach more than three feet tall when kept indoors. They are ideal plants for growing in rooms where space is limited while, with their architectural foliage, still making an impact.

  • What is the difference between Dracaena Florida beauty and gold dust dracaena?

    Gold dust plant is the common name for Dracaena surculosa. Florida Beauty is a cultivar of this species. The variegation on the leaves of Florida beauty is more dense than on the gold dust plant, with the many yellow or creamy white blotches sometimes joining together to make a large spread of color.

  • Is Dracaena Florida Beauty toxic?

    Keep these plants away from curious kitties, pups, and kids. The Florida beauty plant is mildly toxic to pets and people.

Article Sources
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  1. Florida Beauty. ASPCA,

  2. Dracaena Surculosa. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.