The JC Compacta will survive in low light, but thrives in moderate- and high-light spaces. It’s a really light drinker and requires little care beyond some water and an occasional dusting. Here are some tips to keep it growing:
Watering – Like other members of the Dracaena family, it prefers its rootzone on the dry side; so make sure the soil dries out between waterings. Seriously, under most interior settings, the JC Compacta can go 30 days between waterings. See our watering guide for more information.
Light – It’s a Dracaena, but the JC Compacta was cultivated with smaller leaves than most of its Janet Craig cousins leaving it with a somewhat diminished light-capturing capacity and, as a result, less chlorophyll for photosynthesis. So, it can withstand long periods of low light but it needs moderate light to keep it “growing”. Like other shade-grown foliage plants, do not expose this plant to direct sunlight or it will burn the leaves very quickly.
Nutrition – The JC Compacta will not need to be fed during the first 6 months after it has shipped. During this time, it will use the residual nutrients from nursery production. After 6 months, it can be fed quarterly with a complete fertilizer formulated for interior plants. Please refer to our nutrient guide for details.
Cleaning – Well, admittedly, this guy is little more time-consuming when it comes to cleaning – unless, of course, you’re willing to be creative with your cleaning regimen. Part of its allure is the many, many deep-green leaves that give the JC Compacta its shape and character – but cleaning by wiping each leaf with rag and mild soapy solution requires patience. It’s mainly dust that will accumulate on the leaves so a few creative measures include 1) using a blow drier at air temperature (no heat) and simply blowing the dust off, or 2) when it’s time for a watering and a cleaning, jump in the shower with this guy and rinse him off – voila, it’s watered for a month and clean!
Pruning – Don’t. Unless your plant is not meeting the dimensions of its intended space, you will not need to prune this plant. Older leaves, though, may yellow, and they can be snapped off with a tug against them. See our pruning guide for details.
Bugs – The biggest threat for the Janet Craig is Mealybugs and they can be pesky – so, keep it clean. Look for the little white cottony bugs at the base of the leaves. If you see them, break out the spray bottle with a light soap solution and spray them daily ’til they’re gone.
Trouble – Aside from the mealybug threat, minor leaf spots and old age will be your biggest worry with the JC Compacta.
- Leaf spots – Spots on the leaves may be a natural imperfection from production. If your new JC has a few spots, don’t sweat it – it’s Mother Nature’s way of letting you know it’s a real, live plant. Over time, leaf spots, especially on the margins, can develop from a build-up of fluoride in the leaves from water sources treated with fluoride – like almost everywhere that water comes from a treatment plant. If you can water with rain water from your garden, have at it; otherwise, be on the lookout for discolored margins over a very long period of time. When older leaves become unsightly, just remove them by pulling them off the stem.
- Yellow and brown leaves – Old leaves may turn yellow and begin to brown. These should be removed.