How To Get Corn Plants (Dracaena fragrans) To Bloom

Corn plants (Dracaena fragrans), also known as False palms and Happy plants, are popular indoor plants with attractive striped leaves.

They’re normally grown for their foliage but with the right care and lots of patience they may reward you with a spectacular display of fragrant white flowers.

In this article I’ll share my tips for getting indoor dracaena plants to bloom.

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striped indoor plants

Dracaena fragrans are popular indoor plants that are easy to care for.

They can easily reach 6 feet (1.8 metres) tall when grown indoors and they help to remove toxins from the air according to NASA’s clean air study. [1]

Dracaena flowers

Corn plant flowers emerge from pink colored buds into masses of white flowers that open in the evening. 

They have a highly fragrant, sweet scent that will fill your home.

The fragrance can become overwhelming after a few days so you may have to move the plant outdoors, especially if anyone in your household suffers from allergies or has a sensitive nose.

The flower stalks can range in size from a few inches in length for an indoor plant up to 3 feet (90 cm) long for a large outdoor tree.

There may be one flower spike or a few blooming at the same time.

The flowers produce their fragrance for 3 to 7 days before the flowers wither away.

dracaena flowers

When do dracaena plants bloom?

Dracaena flowering is unpredictable, especially for plants grown indoors.

Mature Dracaenas may bloom unexpectedly after 5 to 10 years of not flowering.

The most common bloom times are late fall to early winter and late spring to early summer.

Why isn’t my dracaena blooming?

Dracaenas are native to humid, tropical regions so they bloom best in conditions that mimic their natural environment.

Some common reasons your dracaena may not be flowering include:

Not enough light

Corn plants grow best in partial shade with indirect sunlight.

Finding the right spot for your indoor dracaena is essential because the leaves will burn if the sunlight is too hot but the stripes on the leaves will fade if there isn’t enough light.

Not enough water

Dracaena plants like evenly moist but not overly wet soil.

If the soil becomes waterlogged the plants are susceptible to root rot.

It’s a good idea to use rain water or filtered water when watering corn plants because they’re sensitive to fluoride and chlorine.

Give the plants a deep watering at least once a week and more often during the summer months.

You can also mist the leaves with a spray bottle on hot summer days.

Optimal temperature

Dracaenas prefer warm, humid conditions for optimal growth and flowering so they’ll do best when temperatures are between 60°F to 86°F (16°C to 30°C).

The temperature should not fall below 50°F (10°C) and the plants are not frost tolerant at all.

Indoor dracaena plants should be situated away from drafts, heaters and air conditioners.

corn plant flowers

Cutting the flowers

Dracaena flowers are attractive and highly fragrant but some people choose to cut off the flowers because the pollen and nectar from the flowers falls on the leaves making the plant look a bit messy.

Others find that the fragrance is just too strong.

When the plant is blooming it directs energy into the flowers instead of the stems and leaves so removing the flower can help the foliage to grow faster and healthier.

If you choose to let your dracaena plant bloom you’ll need to remove the spent flower when it starts to wilt.

Use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the flower stalk at the base.

Don’t try to pull the flower stalk off because it will damage the plant.

Are corn plant flowers toxic?

Dracaenas are mildly toxic to humans and pets if they’re ingested and they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and increased salivation. [2]

Will repotting help corn plants to flower?

Dracaenas don’t mind being slightly root bound and some people believe that they’re more likely to bloom when the roots are confined.

If you notice roots growing out the bottom of the pot then it’s time to move the plant to a bigger pot.

Dracaena varieties

As well as the common Dracaena fragrans which has yellow striped leaves, there are some other dracaena varieties that also produce beautiful white flowers.

Dracaena fragrans ‘Warneckii’ is a popular variegated variety with green and white striped leaves.

It can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and makes an ideal spiky indoor tree. 

Dracaena fragrans ‘Lindenii’ has shiny sword-like leaves with yellow margins.

Dracaena surculosa ‘Gold Dust’ pictured below has beautiful green leaves with yellow splotches and it produces delicate white flower stalks.


So there are my tips for getting dracaena plants to bloom.

With the right care your corn plant may reward you with a beautiful fragrant flower stalk.

Has your dracaena ever bloomed? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Valerie

    I never knew my dracaena would bloom! I put it out to play in summer as always but during all the rain I haven’t been outside. I walked out to my Zen garden and to my surprise I saw this long stalk with balls of white star flowers! The smell was like honeysuckle! What a beautiful smell! I had to look this up and to my surprise it was a flower from the plant! I never knew about this. I’ve had this plant since 2003! So excited! I know its some kind of sign! I named this plant LOVE the day I got her!

    1. Kelly Martin

      That’s great Valerie! I’m pleased that your dracaena is blooming. They certainly are beautiful flowers.

  2. Sandi

    I woke up this morning and noticed my dracaena has a long stalk of flowers on it. Tonight I will be blessed with its heavenly fragrance! This plant is well over 20 years old. I too got mine in 2003 and it was a mature plant at that time.
    It has bloomed about 6 times since I have had it. The first bloom was about 8-10 years ago.
    Amazing smell!

    1. Kelly Martin

      That’s great Sandi, the flowers are definitely worth the wait!

  3. Scheryl

    I am just discovering this plant and I was wondering if you can answer a few questions? With the different varieties available, what is a dark pink(red?) Edged one(that is the one I have) called; do they have different growing needs?

  4. Steven

    Thanks for the very informative article. I’ve had my dracaena plant for over 20 years, it is 6 feet tall and it had never bloomed up until last month! The scent was overpowering and filled the entire house.. too bad it only lasted a week or so. I have it offspring in a separate room and its already almost 4 feet tall..hope i can get to bloom as well.

    1. Kelly Taylor

      That’s great Steven! Yes it’s a shame that the flowers only last for such a short time. I hope your other dracaena will bloom as well.

  5. Susana Tapia

    I had my dracaena for only 2 years. It was only 12” tall when I bought it at Costco. After short 2 years, it bloomed. I discovered the flowers when I walked into my store one morning. The beautiful sweet fragrance filled my store and it was amazing. I am learning more about this plant and I feel very lucky to have this experience. I wish I can post a picture of it. It is beautiful!

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Susana, yes the flowers are so beautiful and fragrant. I hope you’ll get another flower soon.

  6. Terry

    I’ve had my corn plant for about 8 years and it just bloomed white flowers for the first time! The plant is about 3 1/2 feet tall and has been moved to a bigger pot 2 years ago. I’m so excited!

  7. Tina

    My plant is 25 years old…it has survived moving 4 times, has lived outdoors in a coastal environment to an indoor life in a mountain town. For the first time ever, it has bloomed…a chain on top of 10 flower pods. I check nightly to see if the blooms have opened. But no! Just more pods appearing! Last night, I noticed sap dropping down the flower stalk. Is this usual? How log after pods appear, do they bloom?

  8. Rose Moehring

    We received our plant 2 years ago and after repotting it in a large pot it quickly grey to 8 feet tall. I noticed flowers about 3 weeks ago and 2 days ago after going out for dinner when we returned the house was filled with a strong sweet aroma. It went away overnight and back again tonight. It is almost overpowering but can live with it for a week if that’s what it’s cycle is.

  9. Paul Gardner

    I’ve had mine for about 16 years. It blooms often, multiple times per year. It didn’t bloom the first 7-8 years though. One time it produced round orange fruits with seeds inside. Didn’t even know it could do that. Here’s the bloom I cut today. It was so pungent it smelled up my whole house.

  10. Furqan

    I noticed some brown spots on leaves of my corn plant with burned ends of each leaf, how to manage?

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Furqan, brown leaf tips are usually caused by underwatering dracaenas.

  11. Lori Conrad

    I’ve had my plant for 13 years and it’s almost 8’ tall! It bloomed for the first time this month, which I did not know they did. My house smells heavenly every evening but I know it’s temporary.

    1. Kelly Taylor

      That’s great Lori, wow 13 years and this is the first flower!

  12. Gina

    I planted my corn plant out back in my yard. It’s taken off in height and is spreading with new stalks and leaves sprouting from them. For the past 7 years I’ve noticed the most incredibly beautiful scent at night and I never realized until this article that the fragrance was coming from the corn plant. I thought it was from my neighbors somewhere. I’m thrilled to know it’s from my own yard. I can’t wait to go out back tonight so experience that fragrance again. Thank you for this information!

  13. Jude Heimel

    Hi! My corn plant has 4 blooms on it today!
    I have had the plant for 45 years. It has bloomed before but not for some time.

  14. Robert

    Mine bloomed for the first time last week. It has two flower stems that are each about 15 inches long. I can smell it across the room. Has sort of a jasmine fragrance.

  15. Agape Kim

    I got a very young dracaena plant about a year ago. I figured it would take 5-10 years to see a flower bloom. But one has already grown!!! It is still in the very early stage…but it is definitely a white flower! I am so excited!!!

  16. Boghos L. Artinian

    I suspect Dracaenas bloom in response to the stress levels of individuals living with it in a house. The extremely pleasant fragrance probably reduces human stress.

  17. Alexis

    I received my corn plant from a friend and it was already 5 years old – now it is 10 years old and about four feet tall. I walked up the stairs and I was met with an incredible fragrance! I told my husband that it smells like lilacs here. Then to my amazement, I saw four stems of arching flowers! It is so gorgeous!

  18. Paul R

    Hi!! I just got my first corn plant today!! I’m in love with it already. It’s about 5’ tall. I have it in a corner which is mostly shaded, but the room does get light during the day. Would you recommend ordering a grow light for it? Or just wait and see how it does?

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Paul, Corn plants can tolerate low light but they’ll grow much better in bright, indirect light. It might be a good idea to get a grow light or move the plant closer to the window.

  19. Randall

    Living in Florida, many people have Dracaena in their landscape. I can tell you from experience that they bloom in sync citywide. So it may be something with lunar phase, temperatures, or atmospheric conditions. Same with Lakeview Jasmine. Indoor plants might be on a different schedule but even outdoor potted Dracaena bloom along with the in ground ones here. Maybe like bamboo that bloom in sync for pollination purposes.

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Randall, that’s really interesting that the outdoor dracaenas all bloom at the same time. I’d love to see them all in flower.

  20. Jean Castello

    I moved to Palm Harbor in 2013 and didn’t even know I had this Dracaena plant until a few years after I had moved in. Evidently the previous owner had cut it down but there must have been enough life left in the roots to sprout a new plant. Unfortunately, it was extremely close to the foundation of my house so, as it grew taller and taller, to over 6′, I decided I should cut it down. This was in the fall about about 4 years ago. I went out with my loppers and noticed that the plant was covered with flower buds on multiple stalks. Of course I had to let it bloom and was rewarded with beautifully fragrant blossoms that evening. They lasted for several weeks and it has bloomed each year since then. Before that, I didn’t even realize that “Corn plants” bloomed — I thought they were only grown for foliage.

    This is Veteran’s Day and my plant has several 2′ downward pointing stalks completely covered with overwhelmingly sweet, white flowers. This is an outdoor plant growing in the nw corner of my screened lanai, right next to the wall of my house. It gets shady, filtered light and very little care. I cut the top off earlier this year to control it’s height and encourage side shoots. Winters here occasionally dip down to the mid thirties but my plant is always fine, surrounded by plenty of thermal mass to keep it warm.

  21. Shirley

    WOW, I had no idea that my Dracaena blooms. I’ve had my plant for 25 years and it’s six feet tall. I was gone for 4 days came home to the beautiful flowers and the sweet smell. So I googled corn plants that bloom and found your article. Now I would love for it to bloom again!!! So hopefully it will bloom again in spring.

  22. Christine.Hartsell

    I’ve had my corn plant for 14 years, and it’s bloomed every year for a few years now. We were so surprised the first time because we didn’t know it would get blooms and smelled what we thought were lilacs in the house. I like to let it bloom but the blooms do drip sticky sap. This last time it dripped on my couch (looked/felt like someone dripped syrup on the couch) so watch placement of the plant.

  23. Betty

    Hi I’m Betty, I have had my corn plant for over 20 years and recently saw a stalk with flowers coming out of the top. Never has happened. My plant was over 6′ tall almost to my ceiling. Unfortunately, today I went up into my living room and saw that the plant broke from the weight of the flower stalk. I had to cut it down. I’m hoping that planting the broken stalk with the flowers will regrow in another pot of fresh soil. The tall base that it was growing from had another branch that just broke last year but new shoots are growing. Hoping that new shoots will grow where this branch broke. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks

  24. Carolina

    I’m so happy my Dracaena has bloomed after approximately 25 years. I noticed this stalk with tiny flowers and after 5 days there’s this fragrance at night, awesome.

  25. Karen

    My Dracaena has bloomed. It’s absolutely beautiful. I was wondering what if it would bloom after 15 years and it did. Such a gift. Love it.

  26. Siam

    I have bought like 4 Dracaenas almost 20 years ago and all have grown up to 6 feet hight, only one has bloomed Gorgeous flowers for 4 times within the last 10 years but never the others … any reason ?

  27. Luci

    I love my Dracaenas (Corn Plant). I used to keep it indoors. It never bloomed indoors. I live in Tropical Florida and decided to put it outdoors. I cut the stalks and replanted several in a garden next to my porch. I never knew they flowered. Then the past 5 years we have blooms every fall when the weather cools. My husband and I just noticed they open after sundown and close in the morning, The scent is so strong I could smell it inside the garage. It’s a sweet smell like honeysuckle which is one of my favorite scents. We love to sit on the porch just to smell it during the short lived week we have to enjoy it. They are approx. 10 feet tall now.

  28. Laurie

    Our plant has been transplanted once and been kept indoors for 40 years. We discovered it had bloomed for the first time this past week. We just celebrated our 38th anniversary and were blown away by both the aroma and amazing surprise! Best gift ever!

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