Forget the succulents and look to this Pleomele for a low-impact plant for your home. You’ll recognize the Dracaena Reflexa Pleomele for its yellow and green daggers of leaves lunging in a spiral off its stem. Commonly known as Song of India, this hardy plant is perfectly content as an 8-inch cutting resting on a tabletop or a bushy 20-foot-tall privacy barrier in a yard. A native of most humid islands in the Indian Ocean, Song of India is a slow-growing species and can thrive both indoors and out—with the right mix of light and water. 

“It is a very low maintenance, hardy tropical plant,” says Gary Shinn, president of Hokuahi Lawns and Garden Shop. “Song of India will do well planted in the landscape or in a courtyard rather than as an interior plant. It can be grown as a large or small accent plant, or as a colorful bush.”

Song of India doesn’t need much water or care. It tends to prune itself, dropping leaves from the bottom and making room for new growth. “A watering just twice a week if used indoors and three times a week if outdoors will do,” says Shinn. “It does best in a semi-shaded environment and does not like the hot afternoon sun. Keep it healthy with monthly fertilization using a water soluble all-purpose type fertilizer.”

Use cuttings or a potted Song of India indoors to freshen your space. As with most other Dracaena plants, the Song of India is included on the NASA list of top air-purifying plants—removing undesirables like formaldehyde, toluene and xylene from the air.

Where we love it

Cuttings of the plant will root beautifully in water and will stay healthy for two to three months. We love keeping the cuttings indoors as decorative focal plants or tabletop centerpieces. Its
Dr. Seuss-book looks add interest and a burst of lime-green freshness to any area of your home. Change out water every two weeks, and add a drop of dish soap to prevent any larvae growth.

Wear It!

Use the slender leaves from this plant to add a striking feature to a haku lei.

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