25 Types of Dracaena Plants

A Selection of Houseplants and Tropical Trees for Outdoors

Dracaena fragrans

Yurii Kushniruk / Getty Images

Dracaena is mostly known as a houseplant but this genus of about 170 species also comprises trees that are too big to be grown indoors. Regardless of their size, what all dracaena plants have in common are spear- or grass-shaped leaves that grow from one or more thick, fleshy, cane-like main stems. In their native tropical environment, which is Africa for most species, some dracaena plants can grow to 20 feet or more. As houseplants, they remain much smaller, under 8 feet in height. 

When grown indoors, the plants rarely produce flowers. Dracaena are appreciated for their foliage, which is often variegated. Unless you are a dracaena aficionado, many of the varieties look similar, and the only distinguishing factor may be the price. Common dracaena varieties such as the snake plant (D. trifascita) are available at big box stores while other, rare varieties are highly sought after by plant collectors and very pricey. 

One of the reasons why dracaena is so popular as a houseplant—and what all varieties have in common—is that the plant is low-maintenance and easy to care for. And, an important consideration in many indoor settings, they do well in low light conditions. In fact, too much direct sunlight, such as in a location in front of a window, can damage the foliage. While the plant can survive in very little light, most varieties do best in bright, indirect sunlight that mimics the conditions in the native habitat where Dracaena are often understory plants. Bright indirect light is are especially important for varieties with variegated foliage because in a very low light setting, the variegation becomes weaker and less striking. 

Here are 25 varieties of Dracaena. Unless otherwise noted, they are grown as houseplants.

Warning

All Dracaena plants are toxic to dogs and cats.

Tip

The botanical nomenclature of Dracaena is not always consistent, which can make shopping for a specific variety tricky. Some sources refer to striped variegated cultivars that belong to the D. fragrans species as D. deremensis, while other sources identify them with their correct species name, D. fragrans, and additionally identify them as members of the Deremensis Group.

To add to the confusion, there have been some significant taxonomy changes where plants are now assigned to another genus but are still sold in the nursery trade as Dracaena, such as the ti tree. Other species that were previously classified under another genus are now in the Dracaena genus, such as D. trifasciata, which was previously classified as Sanseveria.

  • 01 of 25

    Dragon Tree ‘Colorama’ (Dracaena marginata ‘Colorama’)

    Dracaena marginata ‘Colorama’

    skymoon13 / Getty Images

    This dragon tree has variegated pink foliage with white and green stripes. It needs very bright yet indirect light to keep its unique colors.

    • Height: 5-6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 02 of 25

    Dragon Tree ‘Magenta’ (Dracaena marginata ‘Magenta’)

    Dracaena marginata ‘Magenta’

    Meredith Heil / Getty Images

    The outstanding feature of this palm-tree look-alike are the green leaves with magenta-red edges. In its native habitat, it grows 15 to 20 feet tall but as a houseplant, this tough and easy-to-care-for houseplant can kept pruned to a manageable height of 6 feet or less.

    • Height: 6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 03 of 25

    Dragon Tree ‘Tarzan’ (Dracaena marginata ‘Tarzan’)

    What distinguishes this cultivar from other dragon trees are the tougher, wider, and slightly thicker leaves, and the spiky shape of the leaves at the top of each stem.

    • Height: 6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 04 of 25

    Dragon Tree ‘Tricolor’ (Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’)

    Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’

    tc397 / Getty Images

    This variegated form of the dragon tree has rich colorful leaves banded with white edges.

    • Height: 6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Cintho’

    This vibrantly colored, relatively short dracaena variety has broad leaves with distinct emerald and lime-green stripes. Because it grows multiple stems in a single pot, it looks like a mini-tree.

    • Height: 3 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 06 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Dorado’

    The dark green thick leaves with lime-green edges of this cultivar curl downwards. The lavish broad foliage grows in a compact, dense manner around the stem.

    • Height: 4-5 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 07 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Hawaiian Sunshine’

    For narrow indoor spaces, consider this compact variety with an upright growth habit. The attractive glossy dark green foliage has light and dark green stripes. You can move this plant outdoors during the summer, provided that you place the container in a partial shady to shady location.

    • Height: 3-6
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 08 of 25

    Dracaena Janet Craig (Dracaena fragrans ‘Compacta’)

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Compacta'

    Zloyel / Getty Images

    Another highly popular varieties of dracaena, this cultivar of the corn plan is considered a workhorse because it can survive even in low light conditions. Its shiny, solid, wide, dark green leaves have wavy margins.

    • Height: 3-6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Lemon Lime’

    Oksana Lyskova / Getty Images

    A strikingly colored cultivar whose sword-shaped leaves with cream-colored, greenish-yellow, and lime stripes sit at the top of the tree-like stem.

    • Height: 5-10 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 10 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight’

    The glossy yellow-green leaves of this slow-growing cultivar gradually become a lighter lime-green as they mature.

    • Height: 6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 11 of 25

    Mass Cane (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana')

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana'

    Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

    The corn plant (D. fragrans) is a dracaena species that was named after the resemblance of its leaves with the leaves of a cornstalk both in appearance and texture. Mass cane is one of the most common cultivars, with woodier stem than the species. It has yellowish lime-green stripes down the center of its leaves.

    • Height: 6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 12 of 25

    Dracaena Warnock (Dracaena fragrans ‘Warneckii’)

    Dracaena fragrans ‘Warneckii’

    lizfernandezg / Getty Images

    The bushy, upright growth habit around a central trunk, and the grey-green leaves with crisp white or green stripes make this variety another favorite houseplant. The plant is also referred to as striped dracaena but because many other dracaena varieties also have striped foliage, the common name is misleading.

    • Height: 5 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect sunlight
    Continue to 13 of 25 below.
  • 13 of 25

    Dracaena fragrans ‘White Jewel’

    Dracaena fragrans ‘White Jewel’

    Crystal Bolin Photography / Getty Images

    If you are looking for a dracaena to brighten up a spot in your home, this variety might be just the one. The glossy dark green leaves have white stripes and traces of light green stripes.

    • Height: 4-6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 14 of 25

    Song of India (Dracaena reflexa)

    Dracaena reflexa

    passion4nature / Getty Images

    This tropical shrub makes an easy houseplant that grows multiple stems in a single container. Its leaves are edged with a band of gold.

    • Height: 3-6 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 15 of 25

    Snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

    Dracaena trifasciata

    Adam Yee / Getty Images

    This is of the most popular houseplants for a good reason. With its stiff, sword-like leaves, this slow grower is tough and easy to care for, even for inexperienced plant parents. It has a reputation for being indestructible.

    • Height: 6 in.-8 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 16 of 25

    Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

    Dracaena sanderiana

    Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

    Also known as Chinese water bamboo, this is a bamboo in name only. It can grow in water or a gravel-filled pot with water.

    • Height: 3-4 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25

    Ribbon Dracaena (Dracaena sanderiana ‘Silver Ribbon’)

    Another variegated cultivar of lucky bamboo, this one has slightly twisted leaves with colorful stripes.

    • Height: 4-5 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 18 of 25

    Dracaena sanderiana ‘White Stripe’

    The variegated leaves of this popular cultivar of lucky bamboo are deep green with a white creamy edge.

    • Height: 3-4ft.
    • Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
  • 19 of 25

    Gold Dust Dracaena (Dracaena surculosa ‘Florida Beauty’)

    Dracaena surculosa ‘Florida Beauty’

    Jobrestful / Getty Images

    The broad leaves of this cultivar have distinctive bright creamy yellow spots that look like gold dust, hence the common name.

    • Height: 2 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
  • 20 of 25

    Dracaena surculosa ‘Milky Way’

    This rare dracaena has a clumping growth habit and thin, arching stems. The broad elliptic leaves have a white long band in the center, which gave this variety its name.

    • Height: 1 ft.
    • Light: Bright indirect or filtered sunlight
    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Green Zebra Plant (Dracaena goldieana)

    Another rare dracaena that is native to tropical West Africa, also known as zebra stripe dracaena. It has dark green leaves with grey banding. The plant can be grown outdoors or indoors, where it won’t get quite as tall.

    • Height: 10 ft.
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade outdoors; bright, indirect sunlight indoors
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 11-13
  • 22 of 25

    Dracaena Tree (Dracaena arborea)

    Dracaena arborea

    Julija Kumpinovica / Getty Images

    This tree is also known as the slender dragon tree. And indeed, with its woody, thin, upright trunk and long, lance-shaped, dark green leaves, it can be easily mistaken for a palm tree. The tree is native to tropical West Africa. Because of its size, it is usually grown outdoors.

    • Height: 15 ft.
    • Light: Full sun
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11
  • 23 of 25

    Spikes (Dracaena indivisa ‘Proven Accents’)

    This is the only annual dracaena species on this list. The trademarked cultivar ‘Proven Accents’ is a heat-tolerant, low-maintenance outdoor plant for gardens and patios. It is grown for its foliage—long, sword-shaped leaves, that provide contrast in a flower bed. It is also suitable to be grown in containers.

    • Height: 2-3 ft.
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7-11
  • 24 of 25

    Red Blood Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco)

    Dracaena draco

    Maya Karkalicheva / Getty Images

    Because of its height, this evergreen tree with sword-shaped leaves is best for outdoors but it can also be grown as a houseplant, in which case it will not grow as tall. The tree is native to the Canary Islands and northwest coastal Africa. The name comes from the blood-like color of the tree’s sap.

    • Height: 15 ft.
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-12
    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Socotra Dragon Tree (Dracaena cinnabari)

    Dracaena cinnabari

    Sloot / Getty Images

    With its dense crown, this striking evergreen tree looks like a gigantic mushroom. Only the top leaves are green while the branches underneath are bare, which gives them the appearance of gills. The tree needs a warm, tropical climate, and a location with ample, unobstructed sunlight all day. It is native to the Socotra archipelago in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden.

    • Height: 33 ft.
    • Light: Full sun
    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 10-11


Article Sources
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  1. Dracaena. ASPCA.

  2. Dracaena fragrans (Deremensis Group) 'Limelight'. Missouri Botanical Garden.