Does anyone out there know Janet Craig? She is undoubtedly a woman of distinction. Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig,’ named in her honor, was introduced to the nursery trade scarcely more than a decade ago. It is already well on its way to becoming the most popular floor plant in the world.
A floor plant is a tree or treelike species for indoor use that is set on the floor – as opposed to a table plant, which is lower-growing and generally has a clumping, trailing or vining growth habit. The three most commonly seen groups of floor plants are the palms and the ficus, both of which demand excellent light, and the Dracaenas, which can grow in either indirect bright light or low light conditions.
Janet Craig Unspoiled, Needs Little to Make Her Happy
If Janet Craig is at all representative of the plant that bears her name, she is surely a woman of elegance and simplicity. She does not adorn herself with frills or fancy baubles, yet her understated beauty is clear for all to see. She is unspoiled, needing very little to make her happy.
Like many other dracaenas, ‘Janet Craig’ has arching leaves that are calming as fountains or gentle waterfalls. Yet, it is the unparalleled sheen of its deep green foliage that puts ‘Janet Craig’ in a class of its own among indoor plants. Janet Craig’s glowing, glossy green is otherwise found only in the foliage of a few plants that are used outdoors as landscape ornamentals, including natal plum (Cariss), bear’s breech (Acanthus), Victorian box (Pittosporum undulatu) and gardenia.
It is the brilliant luster of its foliage that gives ‘Janet Craig’ such appeal. ‘Janet Craig’ can be used as background for any arrangement of medium- to low-light indoor plants.
Never Water Janet Craig More than Once a Week
At no time of the year should ‘Janet Craig’ be watered more than once a week, and she will not need more than one watering every other week during the winter. She will respond well to a slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, applied two to four times a year, or to a water-soluble fertilizer, diluted to one-quarter the recommended dose, and applied with each watering.
Although dracaenas are advertised as indoor plants, they can be grown outdoors, in the ground, when sufficiently protected from winder cold and direct summer sun. Five years ago, I planted ‘Janet Craig,’ ‘Warneckii’ and Dracaena marginata under trees in fairly deep shade. This past summer was their most successful season, probably because of the virtually tropical heat we experienced for nearly three months. The winter season dulls their color somewhat, but the protection of the trees overhead prevents them from dying back from the cold. The warmest spot in any garden is under trees. The canopy of a tree traps the warm air that accumulates beneath it during the day, not allowing it to escape at night.
Although of tropical origin themselves, dracaenas belong to the Agavaceae family, many of whose species come from the deserts of the Southwest. Foremost among them are the sculptural agaves, from Texas and Mexico, which do well indoors if provided with bright light. The straplike mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), a related species for southern Africa, requires a bare minimum of light and water to grow.