Red Star Dracaena Care: Learn About Growing Red Star Dracaenas

Red Star Dracaena Care: Learn About Growing Red Star Dracaenas

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Image by Rita Petcu

Looking for something interesting to grow in the garden or home? Consider adding Red Star dracaena to your list. Read on to learn more about this lovely specimen.

About Red Star Dracaena Plants

The dark red, almost burgundy, sword-like leaves of Red Star dracaena (Cordyline australis ‘Red Star’) add an unusual flair when growing in a display. Surround it with blooms that peak from spring to fall in an outdoor bed or grow it as a focal point in the garden. Likewise, this plant makes a great addition in the home.

Cordyline australis is a dracaena-like species. While this interesting plant goes by the name of dracaena or palm, it is neither – technically, the Red Star dracaena palm is a type of cordyline plant. Dracaena and cordyline are close cousins, and both may resemble yucca (another cousin) or palm trees. Most dracaena and cordyline start out palm-like but their trunks, or canes, eventually branch out as they get older, hence the palm moniker. That being said, they’re all different genera.

Cordylines, unlike most dracaena plants, are typically grown as outdoor plants with exception to the Ti plant (pronounced “tee”), although this really depends on the region.

Growing Red Star Dracaena

Growing Red Star dracaena palm in USDA zones 9 to 11 is a great way to frame an entryway or add height to an outdoor bed. Some info says the plant is hardy in zone 8. If your winter temps don’t get below 35 degrees F. (1.6 C.), it will likely be fine outside if some cover is provided.

In colder areas, grow the plant in a container to bring indoors for winter.

Though it grows moderately, it is a large plant in maturity and the trunk may get thick. As with others in the family, it cannot tolerate consistently cold temperatures. Keep this in mind when locating the containerized plant outside. It may be heavy, so have a plan on how to get it inside when winter arrives.

Grow Red Star in a full to part sun area. Keep in mind that it can reach 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 m.), depending upon growing conditions.

Red Star Dracaena Care

Information indicates this plant should have regular watering during the growing season, depending on how much sun it gets. If it gets lots of sun, water more often than if it grows in a part shade bed. Container plants normally need water more often than those in the ground. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Grow the plant in average well-draining soil. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10).

Although pruning isn’t necessary with these plants, if you’d like a fuller look, you can cut back the tallest “heads,” which will promote sprouting from the sides. Don’t toss out what you cut, as most cuttings will easily root and grow if you want to start a new plant or give one to someone else.

Bring the plant indoors before temperatures reach freezing or before frost is expected. This plant can adjust to life as a houseplant for the winter and is an attractive addition near a brightly lit window indoors. Red Star Dracaena care is limited throughout winter months. Water sparingly, as the plant will likely be dormant.

One thing to consider is providing humidity while your heat is drying the air. A pebble tray is a simple and inexpensive way to provide humidity. The tray doesn’t have to hold the plant, but it can. Fill a shallow container with pebbles and then add water. If you use medium sized pebbles, the plant should not be able to get water through the drain hole. Avoid bottom watering when using a pebble tray, as it may cause roots to stay too wet and rot.

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