Pleomele reflexa, or Malaysian Dracaena, is native to India, Madagascar and Mauritius. In nature, they often reach about 30 feet tall (~9 m), but in containers they only reach 7 to 8 feet tall (2 to 2½ m). They have dark green leathery leaves about 6 inches long (15 cm). They are often grouped with the Dracaenas, but differ in that they have no midrib.
Blooming Time: In winter in the greenhouse, the ¾ inch long (2 cm) flowers appear at the tips of branches. They are white and not very showy.
Culture: Pleomele reflexa need partial shade or bright indirect light. We grow ours under 50% shade at all times. We use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist, but are allowed to dry slightly between waterings. They should never be allowed to dry completely. They are fertilized on a monthly basis with a balanced fertilizer. As the plants get older, they tend to look scraggly and should be trimmed to keep a neat appearance. This is usually done in the spring after flowering.
Propagation: Pleomele reflexa are propagated by cuttings and by root layers. Cuttings are made from ripened stems cut into 2-4 inch lengths (5-10 cm) with the leaves removed. The stems are then laid in sand with bottom heat of 65 to 70° F (18 to 21°C).
Pleomele reflexa was featured as Plant of the Week January 24-30, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.