The lemon lime plant is one of the most popular species of dracaena grown as a houseplant. As an easy-care succulent lemon lime dracaena requires much less attention than most other popular indoor plants. But, because it is a succulent, a lemon lime dracaena’s watering routine must be correct if you want a healthy plant. But more than that, getting the watering routine wrong could be fatal for your plant. So, in this article I outline everything you need to know about watering your lemon lime dracaena.
Lemon lime dracaena watering
Lemon lime dracaena, also known as Dracaena Deremensis (as it is a member of the Deremensis Group) and Dracaena Fragrans, is a member of the dracaena genus of tropical succulents that consists of 120 species which are native to Africa, Asia and northern Australia.
The lemon lime dracaena is a succulent shrub that grows natively in the tropical areas of the African continent. As a succulent this plant has very specific watering needs.
This watering guide is intended for indoor lemon lime dracaena, if you want to know about outdoor plants read our article can dracaena grow outside.
Although the lemon lime plant is an easy-care succulent, like all dracaena plants, its watering routine must be correct for the plant to flourish – or even just to survive for that matter.
When it comes to watering any species of dracaena it is the watering schedule that is the important part of its watering care routine.
Problems that can arise from an incorrect watering routine
Before I outline the exact watering schedule and method for watering a dracaena lemon lime I want to touch on the potential problems that can arise from getting this plant’s watering routine wrong.
I do this to emphasize the importance of having a correct watering routine as the consequences of incorrect watering can be severe and even fatal for your plant.
Obviously the two potential problems with a watering routine are:
Underwatering a lemon lime dracaena will lead to, not just dehydration but also, a lack of nutrients reaching the outer areas of the plant. Water is responsible for carrying those nutrients from the roots to the stem and outer foliage.
The first signs of dehydration will seen in a drooping of the plant. Eventually the plant will become so dehydrated that the leaves will turn yellow, become brittle and fall off. The plant will have stopped growing long before it gets to this stage.
Most lemon lime dracaena that have been underwatered, even for prolonged periods, can recover once the watering routine has been corrected. Though it can take a long time to regrow dracaena leaves that have fallen off because the plant is a naturally slow grower.
Overwatering has a similar effect of a lemon lime dracaena, as far as visible symptoms are concerned, that underwatering has but, overwatering the plant is a much more serious matter and can be fatal to this succulent.
Overwatering any type of dracaena will result in very similar symptoms to those observed when you underwater the plant. However, the long-term effects are much more serious as there are problems below the soil that are not always visible above the soil.
You see when you overwater a lemon lime dracaena the plant will develop root rot. Root rot is exactly what it sounds like – a rooting away of the roots.
Overwatering a dracaena lemon lime, or any other dracaena, will lead to a build-up of excess moisture in the soil. As the roots sit in this water they begin to root.
When the roots rot they are unable to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil for distribution to the rest of the plant. The plant then suffers from dehydration just as it would if it were underwatered.
However, unlike underwatering where you can simply rehydrate the plant, once the roots have rotted due to overwatering it becomes impossible to rehydrate the plant without administering drastic and immediate treatment.
Unfortunately, in most cases root rot from overwatering will lead to a lemon lime dracaena dying. In fact this is the case for all dracaena plants as I pointed out in the article how often should I water my dracaena palm.
Although overwatering symptoms are similar to underwatering symptoms they are usually accompanied by several others symptoms. A browning of the leaves can occur and the lower part of the stem can become mushy and weak.
So, to avoid these potential problems it is essential you get your lemon lime dracaena’s watering routine correct from the outset.
Correct watering and correct care will also help you make a lemon lime dracaena bushier.
How to water lemon lime dracaena
Although most succulents prefer to be watered from the bottom, as their foliage needs to be protected, it is perfectly fine to water a lemon lime dracaena from the top.
It is also perfectly acceptable to water a lemon lime dracaena from the bottom.
Watering from the top
Dracaena plants like to grow in high humidity where there is plenty of moisture in the air (the main reason why I use a cheap plant humidifier as the average home has much less humidity than this plant likes). So getting a little water on the leaves of a lemon lime dracaena is fine.
This means you can water the plant from the top.
When watering the plant you should add enough water so that the soil is moist throughout but not drenched. This means you must stop watering the plant when the top layer is wet.
To water a lemon lime dracaena from the bottom begin by placing the plant, pot and all, into a sink that is filled with just enough water to reach midway up the sides of the pot. Do not fill the sink with so much water that it spills over the sides of the pot into the soil.
Leave the plant sitting in the water for approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Then remove the plant from the water. Allow all excess water to drain out of the pot before replacing the plant back in its permanent location.
If you choose to use a self-watering pot, which is perfectly fine, then this will mean you are watering the dracaena from the bottom.
Now you know how to water a lemon lime dracaena you need to know how often you should be doing it.
How often do you water lemon lime dracaena?
As I’m sure you can now tell, it is the frequency of watering that is most the important consideration (rather than the amount of water you give the plant at any one time) when it comes to hydrating a lemon lime dracaena. So how often should you water lemon lime dracaena?
You should only water lemon lime dracaena when the top layer of soil dries out. For the average houseplant this will be every 2 – 3 weeks. However, as overwatering can lead to serious problems it is better to use a moisture meter to gauge when the plant requires water. Only watering it when the meter reads “dry”.
Although most householders will find that their lemon lime dracaena requires watering every 2 – 3 weeks you should not immediately follow this schedule.
Environmental factors can have a big impact on the plant’s watering needs as temperature and humidity can affect a plant’s watering needs – as can the size of the pot and type of soil used also. The size of the plant and even the type of light it gets can also contribute to the timing of watering.
I therefore urge lemon lime dracaena owners to use a moisture meter to determine when the soil has become sufficiently dry to warrant watering the plant. Do this at least until you come to understand the watering needs of your individual plant.
Using a moisture meter is simple. You merely push the pin of the meter down to a depth of approximately 1 ½ inches. When the meter reads “dry” its time to water the plant. Simple!
You can also use the finger test that I have outlined many times on this website, though a moisture meter is much more accurate and it’s cheap enough to make the small investment worth it.
How often should I water my dracaena limelight?
The dracaena limelight is also a member of the Dracaena Deremensis group and therefore requires the same watering care as a lemon lime dracaena.
Dracaena limelight should be watered when the top 1 ½ inches of soil has dried out. This is usually every 2 – 3 weeks for the average houseplant though environmental factors can affect this schedule significantly. It is advisable to use a moisture meter until you know the ideal watering schedule for your plant.
As I mentioned above using a moisture meter is by far the best way to tell when your plant requires watering and the best way to avoid the nasty, and often fatal, effects of overwatering.
For more information on how to care for a lemon lime dracaena, and all other dracaena species, and for details on how to propagate these succulents read our article on how to root dracaena.