One of the most popular dracaena houseplants is the lemon lime plant. As an easy-care succulent this plant requires much less effort to grow than many other popular houseplants but a common complaint I hear about it is, that when grown as a houseplant lemon lime dracaena seems to have thin foliage.
So in this article I will outline some simple ways to make a lemon lime dracaena bushier with fuller foliage.
Table of Contents
- How to make lemon lime dracaena bushier the normal way
- The 6 basic care requirements needed to encourage thicker growth of dracaena
- Dracaena will grow thicker when it is in the correct soil
- For thick foliage a dracaena needs enough of the correct type of light
- Creating the ideal temperature range around a dracaena will encourage thicker growth
- High humidity can help encourage new foliage growth to make the plant look thicker
- For thick foliage you absolutely must get your dracaena watering routine right
- Fertilizing a dracaena can help encourage thicker foliage growth
- The 6 basic care requirements needed to encourage thicker growth of dracaena
- The one simple secret to bushier, thicker dracaena
- Conclusion: How to I make your dracaena thicker
How to make lemon lime dracaena bushier the normal way
There are key steps (as outlined below) that you must follow to encourage healthy growth on a dracaena.
If you want to make your lemon lime dracaena bushier just follow the simple advise given below.
To make lemon lime dracaena bushier you must ensure the plant is receiving the correct succulent care for its species.
Pruning the foliage also helps to encourage new growth and over time makes the plant look bushier.
Dracaena plants are very popular across the US, and many different varieties are grown in American homes.
If you have a lemon lime dracaena plant in your home but are frustrated that the plant seems to be a little thin in the foliage department then you will be pleased to know that there are a few simple steps you can take to encourage fuller foliage growth.
Obviously the first steps to encouraging growth is to ensure you are giving your dracaena lemon lime plant the correct care it needs.
Dracaena plants, which includes your lemon lime plant, are succulents, that grow natively in tropical areas.
They therefore need the correct type of tropical succulent care.
The 6 basic care requirements needed to encourage thicker growth of dracaena
There is a secret to getting dracaena to grow much bushier which I will divulge later in the article.
But to start there are five basic requirements needed for every dracaena plant and you must observe them properly if you want your lemon lime dracaena to grow thicker.
If the basic needs of the plant are not met it will not matter what other steps you take to make your plant bushier as it will not grow new leaves.
The 5 basic care requirements:
- Well draining rich succulent soil.
- The correct type of light.
- The correct temperature range and humidity levels.
- High humidity.
- The correct watering routine.
- Specific fertilizing methods.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
Dracaena will grow thicker when it is in the correct soil
Although dracaena are succulents I have found that they thrive much better, and grow much thicker, in a richer soil than the standard succulent likes to grow in.
At a pinch you could grow dracaena in succulent soil.
However, if you really want to encourage your lemon lime dracaena plant to become bushier then you should opt for a soil that has the following constituents:
This mixture will produce a slightly chunky-like soil that is rich in nutrients but a lot better draining than regular compost or potting mixes.
For thick foliage a dracaena needs enough of the correct type of light
Dracaena should not be placed in the path of direct sunlight.
This plant is the type of succulent that prefers indirect light and that can even tolerate fairly low light conditions.
Do not avoid light altogether though. In sufficient light can lead to a dracaena dropping.
Your dracaena lemon lime plant may well grow in low light but it will only thrive if given access to fairly good indirect light.
Do not worry if you have to position your dracaena away from light sources, having to place it in darker areas of your home, as the plant will still grow well as long as it gets some light.
For fuller growth though I would try to avoid very gloomy locations.
I try to give at least 6 hours of good indirect light per day for all dracaena species. If you ensure your lemon lime dracaena gets this amount of good indirect light that will greatly help it to grow thicker and more bushy.
Many people wonder, can you use a grow light on dracaena?
If you need to, you can use a grow light to help dracaena grow bigger and faster.
I covered much more on this topic in the article about dracaena light requirements.
Creating the ideal temperature range around a dracaena will encourage thicker growth
Dracaena is a tropical succulent so this means lemon lime dracaena has evolved to thrive in warm weather conditions.
Temperatures between 65° – 75°F are ideal for this succulent.
The average home in the US is kept at a consistent temperature range of between 70° – 75° fahrenheit throughout the year, thanks to HVAC and climate control.
This means the modern American homes are perfect environments for growing these plants as far as temperature goes.
High humidity can help encourage new foliage growth to make the plant look thicker
As a tropical plant dracaena also prefers high humidity levels though and normally these would fall into the of 40-80%.
The average American home will experience humidity of 30% making most homes fine for the plant but not ideal.
You may want to take some simple steps to help increase the humidity levels directly around your plant, to encourage more growth.
You can do this by misting it once a week and by adding a saucer with pebbles and a little water directly underneath the plant’s pot.
As I have outlined on many occasions on this site, I like to use terracotta pots for succulents that prefer high humidity.
Terracotta is a material that naturally wicks away moisture from the soil to the outer part of the pot where the water then evaporates causing a rise in humidity levels directly around the plant.
This not only helps increase localized humidity around the plant but also helps restrict moisture build-up in the soil.
Taking these steps are usually enough to maintain the health of dracaena but when you want a thicker and bushier plant you want may to take additional action.
Most houseplant owners do not take any special action to increase the humidity levels in their home for their dracaena houseplants.
So you may wonder if dracaena really needs high humidity or can it grow fine with normal household levels.
Although dracaena will grow fine in normal household humidity levels if you want to encourage fuller growth you should really consider using a cheap humidifier.
Household humidity levels are normally around 30% while dracaena grow best in humidity levels between 40% – 80%.
Dracaena is a hardy plant and so it can adapt well to normal household humidity levels of about 30%.
But to get the best from your plant and to encourage thicker growth I recommend you create a localized humidity levels over 60%.
The best way to do this is to use a humidifier as it will create high humidity around the plant but not affect the humidity in the room.
For thick foliage you absolutely must get your dracaena watering routine right
Your lemon lime plant, like all dracaena, will require less watering than your other non-succulent houseplants.
However, unlike many other succulents, it is perfectly fine to water a dracaena from the top.
But, like other succulents you should allow the soil to dry out before watering the plant.
Get a dracaena’s watering routine wrong and it could end in the dracaena dying.
When the top layer of soil, about 1 and a half inches deep, is dry the dracaena requires watering.
You can use a simple moisture meter to measure this or simply stick your first finger into the soil up to the first knuckle to check for moisture.
If your finger comes up clean the soil is dry. If your finger comes out with some dirt on it then there is still enough moisture in the pot.
Fertilizing a dracaena can help encourage thicker foliage growth
As I have already outlined, although dracaena lemon lime is a succulent it does grow better in a richer soil than the average succulent does.
So it should come as no surprise that they also benefit from getting more fertilizer than the average succulent.
During growing season it is perfectly fine to add fertilizer to the soil every 3 weeks to encourage more foliage growth.
You can use a regular houseplant fertilizer as long as you water it down to half strength.
I simply prefer to use a succulent fertilizer as you can add this to the soil per the bottle instructions without having to overdilute it.
Many gardeners and houseplant enthusiasts will tell you to only fertilize a dracaena twice per year.
This is appropriate for healthy plants but if you are trying to encourage your plant to grow thicker, for a bushier look, adding fertilizer every three weeks during growing season will really help the plant expand its foliage.
Just watch out for leaf burn which you will see develop first at the tips leaves.
If you see signs of browning and a drying of the leaf tips, or brown spots developing on the leaves, stop fertilizing the plant.
The one simple secret to bushier, thicker dracaena
So what is this secret to making a lemon lime dracaena bushier and thicker (and all other dracaena too for that matter)?
Well you will have already encountered the secret if you read earlier parts of this article but to reiterate:
The secret to making a lemon lime dracaena bushier is … pruning!
Pruning of the foliage on a lemon lime dracaena (and all other dracaena species) encourages new foliage growth and, when done correctly, over time the plant will look thicker.
So how do you do it?
Now let’s look at exactly how you should prune your dracaena lemon lime plant to encourage that extra bushier growth.
How do you prune a Dracaena lemon Lime?
The first step to successfully pruning a dracaena lemon lime is to cut the tips off the leaves.
Dracaena tend to develop brown tips largely due to lower than desired humidity and the use of tap water (which contains salt and chlorine and fluoride) for hydrating the plant.
Not only does cutting the leaf tips help the plant to look better by removing the brown tips but it also encourages new growth.
This is just the first step though in the pruning process.
The best way to encourage new foliage growth on a dracaena lemon lime is to cut the foliage away from the top of the plant, at the stem level.
Dracaena tend to become somewhat “leggy” as they grow taller and this can greatly diminish the overall pleasing look of the plant.
But, by cutting away the top layer of the plant you will not only make the plant look healthier, you will encourage outward growth thus making the dracaena become thicker and bushier.
Watch the video below for insight into this.
A quick note on how to prune dracaena Limelight
Dracaena limelight is another species of dracaena that I am often asked about in regards to pruning.
Just as with all other dracaena you should approach pruning a dracaena limelight by first trimming back the leaf tips that have become brown or brittle.
All brown tips should be removed and any leaves with brown spots should also be removed.
The best way to encourage new foliage growth in a dracaena limelight plant is to cut the foliage away, at the stems, at the top part of the plant.
Dracaena limelight, like other dracaena, can become very “leggy” and messy at the top as the plant continues to grow tall.
This can make the plant look bad but by cutting the top of the dracaena limelight you will encourage more foliage growth in an outward direction thus making the dracaena look bushier.
Watch the video above for more information on this.
When dracaena is not growing, or not growing as you think it should be, follow the advice in this article.
You may also want to read our article about dracaena root rot as that can stop a plant growing also.
Be aware when cultivating any dracaena plant that all dracaena are very toxic and poisonous to certain animals as are the two dracaena dragon tree species.
Conclusion: How to I make your dracaena thicker
Lemon lime is not the only popular dracaena houseplant.
There are other varieties, many of which are not as thick as the owners would like when grown as houseplants.
So, how do you make an average dracaena thicker?
To make a dracaena thicker you must encourage new growth.
First be sure your care routine is correct for this succulent so it can easily develop new growths.
Then, through selective pruning the dracaena can also be encouraged to grow new foliage and over time this will make the plant look thicker.
If you want a quick recap of the care requirements for a dracaena read the section above which outlines the ideal soil, light, temperature and watering needs for this type of succulent.