I have a potted dracaena fragrans that I got from a garden store. How tall will potted ones like this grow? Related, how long should I expect it to live with proper care?

I should note that it has a dark brown waxy ring around the top of the stalk almost like it was painted - maybe it was cut and this was put ? I don't know what that means.

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1 Answer 1


This looks to be Dracaena fragrans 'Massangea' or the mass cane. It is a very popular tropical plant from Africa. In the wild this plant reaches 15 m (49 ft) but specimens grown indoors can be easily kept at ceiling height (about 2 m or 6 to 8 ft).

Your plant has a red waxy substance on the end of the cane due to how it is grown. A typical production cycle for this plant is for it to be grown outside in Central America, Costa Rica is a common origin. The plant is allowed to grow to twenty or thirty feet and then chain sawed into various lengths. The trunks are then shipped to Florida in containers and potted up. Growers will pack three or four trunks of varying lengths into one pot and a sealant is put on the end of each trunk to prevent rot.

The mass cane has the ability to start new growth from the woody trunks so a grower can start from a trunk with no roots or leaves and have a saleable product in less than a year.

So....what does this have to do with caring for your plant?

  • each trunk is competing with the others for limited growing area in the pot. It is common for the smallest trunk to die after being outgrown by the others. Good diffuse light, turning the pot regularly and even watering practices help.
  • if it is new your plant is likely to have a poorly developed root system in comparison to the amount of foliage. Again, good watering practices help. Water thoroughly and let the top third of the soil dry out, do not let it sit in standing water.
  • your plant can be rejuvenated or kept to a certain height by cutting back the foliage at the stem. New buds will erupt from the stem when it is in good light.

The most successful Mass Canes I maintained were over twenty years old in pots about 20 inches in diameter. They flowered, were firmly rooted and generally unkillable. The secret seemed to be that they had been re potted in a clay based soil which provided greater support and a more durable medium than the soil less potting mixes that are commonly used.

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