Dracaena reflexa 'Variegata'
Common Name: song of India 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Asparagaceae
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 12.00 to 18.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12. Easily grown as an indoor plant in St. Louis. Use a loamy, peaty, well-drained potting soil. Keep soils uniformly moist but not wet. Leaf tips and margins may brown if soils become too wet or too dry. For best results, site plants in areas with bright indirect light. Plants should be protected from direct sun (except for limited early morning sun) and drafts (plants are sensitive to cold). In too much shade, plants may grow spindly with the variegated leaves losing their variegation. Plants like high humidity and consistent year-round temperatures. Pots may be placed on a bed of wet pebbles to increase humidity. Foliage may be regularly misted with water. Room temperatures should not dip lower than 65°F. Plant stems may need staking or other support as they grow taller with age. Plants may be propagated by stem cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Dracaena reflexa (synonymous with and formerly known as Pleomele reflexa) is a tropical shrub or small tree that is native to Madagascar, Mauritius and some additional nearby islands in the Indian Ocean. Although plants in the wild may grow to 18' tall or more, houseplants will typically grow much shorter (upright-oval to 3-6' tall). Container plants usually have multiple stems. Species plants have dark green narrow-lanceolate to elliptic leaves (to 4-6" long) with parallel veins. Leaves are spirally arranged in whorls. Lower leaves will die off over time, revealing interesting stems. Tiny white flowers in clusters are not particularly showy. Flowers are sometimes followed by orange-red berries. Indoor plants infrequently flower and fruit. Genus name from Greek means female dragon. Flower inflorescences are often reflexed (bent downward), hence the specific epithet. Common name of Song of India is in apparent reference to this plant's native range in the Indian Ocean.

Genus name comes from the Greek word drakaina meaning a female dragon.

Specific epithet means bent back sharply.

'Variegata' is a popular variegated form that is commonly grown indoors as a foliage ornamental in homes, offices, shopping malls and hotels in many parts of the world. Its leaves are deep green with yellow-lime green margins when young, maturing over time to a lighter green with creamy margins.


Watch for spider mites, scale and mealy bugs. Root rot may occur if soils are poorly drained or over watered.


Containers for bright indoor locations.