Janet Craig Compacta Dracaena Plant Care Guide

The Dracaena Janet Craig are popular indoor plants because of their low-maintenance and ability to grow in low-light conditions. They’re also popular as office plants because of their durability.

The taller Dracaenas help balance the interior as a decorative plant. Sometimes designers place them in vaulted lobbies or near the stairwells to balance the dimensions. Or they place the smaller versions on side tables near reception chairs.

While more growers are familiar with the large variety, the Dracaena Janet Craig compacta are smaller but growing more popular. As the name implies, the Dracaena compacta moniker comes from the apparent fact it’s smaller and more compact than other houseplants of the Dracaena family.

Their sword-like leaves and attractive dark green color have a noticeable shine. Thanks to the fact that their leaves grow in different directions, they create a full, lush appearance, even with little care or attention.

Another valuable aspect is that NASA listed the entire Dracaena family as air-purifying plants, helping to rid indoor impurities from the air.

janet craig compacta dracaena plant


Botanical NameDracaena deremensis ; Dracaena fragrans
Common NameJanet Craig, Dracaena Janet Craig, Janet Craig Compacta
Size3-6 feet
Pet FriendlyToxic
Air CleanerYes

Janet Craig Compacta Origin

These Janet Craigs began in the 1930s when Robert Craig, a nurseryman in Philadelphia, created the variant of Dracaena Warneckii. He then named the new version after his daughter Janet. 

Also known as Dracaena fragrans, the cornstalk plant or plainly corn plant, the compacta plant is a fantastic woody evergreen. Their earthy colors bring life to any indoor environment with their lush, long green leaves. Some say these compact plants are the best way to get great outdoors to the inside environment. 

These dwarf plants are native to southeast Africa and Asia, growing in tropical, humid forests. Other common names are pineapple Dracaena and dwarf Dracaena with its scientific name — Dracaena deremensis Janet Craig compacta. More than 100 varieties exist, with compacta the more diverse thanks to its size. 

How to Care for Janet Craig Compacta

This bundle of joy requires very little maintenance, though some peculiarities exist in caring for the Janet Craig compacta. For the most part, they thrive even when neglected, which makes them popular with beginners. It also explains the common sightings of these plants in hotel lobbies, shopping malls and office buildings. 

These dwarf plants grow slowly, about 4 inches annually, so follow these plant care tips to ensure these indoor plants continue to thrive. 

Light and Temperature

These cornstalk plants do well in dark corners. They are one of the few indoor plants that can survive in low-light settings. However, if these houseplants are in the light, make sure it’s filtered. These Janet Craig compacta plants will wilt if placed in indirect sunlight. They do well in the corners away from the windows and can handle artificial light with no problem.

However, these plants dislike the heat, which causes them to discolor, especially during summer. The maximum temperature allows for these compacta plants is 90° degrees Fahrenheit. Any higher and growers will see discoloration of the leaves and causing them to notch.

Nurseries keep these beauties in the shade because of the heat because, in low-light conditions, it’s easier to control the temperature. Janet Craig plants have little growth below 70° Fahrenheit, and cold damage will happen around 35° Fahrenheit or if these plants have exposure of 55° Fahrenheit or lower for a week. 

Humidity around these Dracaenas is an excellent idea, since they are native to the tropical rainforests of Asia and Africa. Some growers use a humidifier, while others mist their plants. Others place a bowl of water near the plants, which helps keep moisture in the air.


Permit the potting soil to dry out between one-third and one-half before watering. Try to avoid having the Janet Craig compacta plants sit in water. They need thorough watering with the excess drained from the planter. The plant tolerates dryness better than wetness. In fact, let these houseplants stay on the dry side. 

Some growers water the plants from the roots, called sub-irrigation. Pour water into the saucer of the container and let the roots soak up the water, feeding the water to the rest of the plant. Some growers water their plants about every ten to 14 days. 

Also, Dracaenas have two root systems: the principal root and the secondary roots. Keeping the secondary roots healthy is vital to help maintain overall healthy plants. The health of the plant will deteriorate if the secondary root system has problems. 


Fertilize during the growing seasons, spring and summer. Dilute a balanced liquid fertilizer (10.10.10). These houseplants feel loved when they receive food so that the Janet Craig plants can have extra energy. During the winter, the plants have little growth, so there is no reason to feed them. 

The dwarf plants love nutritious soil that’s rich and loamy. Loamy soil contains sand, clay and humus, a decomposed organic medium. Proper drainage allows the soil to remain moist to feed on the food but not waterlogged, causing the dreadful disease — root rot. 


Some growers can get their Janet Craig compacta to sprout flowers and love to brag because it’s a rarity. With that, the plants grow thick, stiff, shiny dark green leaves that spread out and develop rosettes at the canes. 

Yet rarely, these rosettes have pink or white flowers growing from their middle, giving out a strong but pleasant honey scent. 


As a corn plant, these dracaenas rarely need pruning. Their leaves will collect dust, which a feather duster can easily handle now and then. 

Trim the leaves if they have brown edges and tips, keeping their natural shape, and use sterilized pruning shears or sharp scissors. 


Their containers should not be oversized. If the pot is too big, the dwarf plants become overwatered, drowning the roots and keeping them moist too long.

Since these plants grow slowly, the maximum size to transfer them is one size than their last planter. Spring is the best time to repot, thanks to the Dracaenas coming out of dormancy.

Roots poking out of their drain holes or coming up and out of the top layer of the potting mix is an excellent time to repot.

Repotting also gives the grower a chance to change the potting soil. That way, the potting mix stays healthy and fresh. If the Janet Craig plants seem to thrive in their pots, bring some of their old soil to the new home.

Once they are in their new home, let them acclimate before giving them water or fertilizer.


Janet Craig compacta hold up well against pests but must receive treatment immediately when the buggers first appear. Mealybugs, scales and thrips return once they visit the houseplants, so growers must be vigilant, treating the plants as necessary. 

Since these dwarf plants are robust, spraying down the infected plants in the shade with a hose helps. Then, apply the treatment to make sure the critters stay away. 

Mealybugs cause many problems for corn plants, becoming unsightly when they suck the sap and deposit their secretion of honeydew. Honeydew is stuff that makes a sooty mold that’s black and unattractive.

The sooty mold attracts flies, making it hard to keep clean and trouble-free. With that, treatment is crucial right away. After hosing down the plants, spray them with insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of mealybugs. Repeat treatment weekly until there are no more symptoms of the pests.

Scales on these houseplants materialize as bumpy growths on the corn stems. Sticky dew and on the foliage are a further sign. After spraying the Janet Craig compacta with a hose, apply the rubbing alcohol, then use neem oil. This helps get rid of the critters. Continue the treatment until there are no more traces of the buggers.

Seeing black spots on the leaves, the indoor plant has thrips. To get rid of sap-sucking pests, use alcohol wipes or cotton balls dipped in alcohol around the infected area. Diluted Castile soap with a bit of alcohol, then carefully remove the pests from the leaves with a clean cloth works thoroughly. Continue the treatment every week until there are no traces of the insects. 

Make a DIY neem pesticide spray with a spray bottle to treat the infected plants. Blend in a quart of water, one teaspoon of Castile soap and two teaspoons of neem oil. Spray the solution liberally on the stems and foliage. Repeat as necessary every week until there are no more traces of the critters.


Overwatering leads to root rot and fungal disease, which is the most common problem growers have with the Janet Craig compacta. The wet potting mix, watering too often, and inadequate drainage cause the roots to decay overtime. 

Once the disease is noticeable, with yellow and wilting leaves and stunted growth, saving the houseplant is too late. However, growers often try to salvage the plant before giving up. 

If the dwarf plant has root rot, gently pull it out of its container and let the roots dry. And remove any rotting or dead roots. Get a new container and fresh potting mix. Place the potting soil on the bottom of the pot, add the houseplant, then sprinkle and gentle pushing potting mix around the root system until the plant is stable but not stuffed. It has room to breathe. 

Water the cornstalk plant only when the soil is arid to help revive the houseplant. 

How to Propagate Janet Craig Compacta

Growers propagate these Dracaenas in two ways. The first way is more practical, using tip cuttings. The second requires an extra stem from the plant, which is rare for a dwarf plant. 

Tip Cuttings Method

  1. Use sharp, sterilized pruning shears and cut a 4-inch to 6-inch tip cutting
  2. Using a sharp, sterilized knife or blade, strip the bottom leaves, exposing the stem
  3. Dip the stripped end in rooting hormone
  4. Place the cutting in a 3-inch container with fresh potting mix
  5. Set the baby Janet Craig compacta in a shade location
  6. Roots appear within four to six weeks
  7. Let the baby plant grow in its home until it’s well rooted and the root system is strong
  8. Transfer the plant to a larger container, such as four inches and place the plant in more light
  9. Watch the plant, making sure it grows well and thrives

Stem Method

  1. Using sharp, sterilized pruning shears, cut a stem three inches long from the plant
  2. Strip the bottom leaves to expose the stem. Use a sterilized, sharp blade
  3. Dip the bottom piece in root hormone
  4. Lay the stem on potting soil 
  5. Keeping the area above 50 percent humidity
  6. Roots should grow within four to six weeks
  7. Once the roots system is sound, move the baby plant to a container with fresh potting mix
  8. Place the plant in indirect sunlight
  9. The plant will grow and thrive when receiving proper care

Frequently Asked Questions

How big does a Janet Craig Compacta get? 

Being a dwarf plant, it doesn’t get big. The leaves reach two to five inches, with the plant growing up to three to six feet tall. These houseplants grow slowly at four inches a year. 

Why are the tips of my Janet Craig Compacta brown? 

Having brown tips could be caused by three things. One is watering issues, so check the soil before watering. If it’s completely dry, then water. Second, over-fertilizing can harm the plant, so ensure you fertilize during the growing seasons and with diluted, balanced plant food. Third, the temperature may also cause brown tips. These corn plants grow well in temperatures ranging from 65° to 85° Fahrenheit, leaning more to the higher ranges. 

Why are my Janet Craig Compacta Leaves turning yellow?

Besides overwatering or too much fertilizer, the other cause may be too much fluoride in the water. Use filter water or let the tap water stand for about 48 hours. Avoid stirring up the sentiments at the bottom of the container. Overwatering and too much fertilizer will cause discoloration in the leaves. 

Is Janet Craig Compacta toxic to pets?

As a member of the Dracaena family, these indoor plants are toxic to pets and humans. If eaten, side effects include hypersalivation, vomiting and weakness and incoordination. Cats will have dilated pupils. 

Final Thoughts

Taking care of a Janet Craig compacta is a gorgeous addition to any interior design, from offices to hotel lobbies and homes. The stunning plant requires low maintenance when following these plant care tips. 

The dwarf Dracaenas can tolerate low-light conditions yet thrive with indirect sunlight. The leaves are vibrant and glossy. If growers are lucky, on rare occasions, a flower appears, brightening up the indoors even more.

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