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Dracaena Surculosa – Tips for Growing Dracaena Gold Dust Plant

Dracaena surculosa is a gorgeous plant. It has glossy green leaves and white and yellow splotches over the leaf surface. 

One can easily see from this photo why it has the common name Dracaena Gold Dust.Dracaena Surculosa "Gold Dust"

Botanical facts about Dracaena Surculosa

Dracaena surculosa is native to the western tropical Africa rain forest region.

Family: Asparagaceae – which includes asparagus, agave, ponytail palm, hosta, and a number of other succulents.
Genus: Dracaena
Species: surculosa 
Common Names: Dracaena Gold dust, Japanese Bamboo, Gold Dust Plant, Spotted Leaf Dracaena.

Dracaena Gold Dust Makes a Great Indoor Plant

Dracaena plants are commonly used as indoor plants, especially for those that have limited light in their homes. Japanese bamboo plant There are about 40 dracaena plant types (mainly shrubs and small trees) in the family and they are known as rugged, low maintenance house plants.

Dracaena Surculosa Plant Care.

This care tips graphic shows how easy this house plant is to grow.
Dracaema Surculosa Care cardThis sturdy houseplant easy to care for. It is a slow-growing evergreen plant that is normally grown for its beautiful variegated foliage. Keep these tips in mind for its care.

Sunlight Needs for dracaena

This house plant likes bright, filtered light, which makes it a great indoor plant. But it can also tolerate lower light conditions.  The more light the plant receives, the better the variegation of the foliage there will be.

However, keep out of direct sunlight. Too little or too much light will result in leaf drop.
Dracena gold dust plant

Outdoors, the plant can tolerate a bit more shade and loves to spend the summer outside in a shady sheltered spot.

When to water gold dust house plant

Water dracaena gold dust 1-2 times a week, or when the soil is dry down to about the first knuckle. Don’t over water. A well draining potting soil is essential for the plant.

Dracaena does not like wet feet.  Water less in the winter months when the plant is in a dormant period and does not grow much.Growing Gold Dust Plant

Fertilization needs for Japanese bamboo

Use an all purpose plant food once a month during the growing season.  Stop fertilizing during the winter months.

Flowers and Leaves of Spotted Leaf Dracaena

The foliage of this variety of dracaena is glossy green with pointed leaf tips on bamboo like stems. 

If your light conditions are good, the leaves of the plant will be covered in yellow spots, giving it the common name “gold dust.”Leaves of spotted dracaena plant

It is very hard to get dracaena surculosa to flower indoors.  If you are in the warmer zones, where it will over winter outdoors, you may be rewarded with fragrant white flowers and red berries.Dracaena surculosa flowers

Temperature needs for gold dust dracaena

Dracaena can tolerate temperatures that range from 55-90 degrees F.  Ideal house temperatures are 65-70 degrees F.  It can take a low temperature down to 50 degrees F.

When to re-pot Japanese bamboo

In the spring, check to see if your plant is pot bound. Gently tip the root ball out of its container and see if it is a mass of roots. If so, it is time to re-pot into a larger pot.

Outdoors, roots will continue to grow into the surrounding soil, but plants grown in pots only have the soil that is in the container.  Once it starts to form a circle of roots on the bottom of the soil, it’s getting pot bound.

Pot bound root ball

Gently pry the roots out and pot in a new container about 1/3 larger. Add fresh potting soil and water lightly. This will allow for new growth in spring which is the beginning of the growing season.

Is it necessary to prune my Japanese Bamboo?

Generally it is not necessary to prune the plant. If you have it in a lower light situation, the plant may get tall and spindly as it reaches for light.

If this is the case, you can prune off about 1/3 of of the main stem. This will make it sprout new growth at the area of the cut and will make the plant more bushy.

Remove any discolored leaves to keep the plant healthy and pest free. Be on the lookout for spider mites, aphids and scale.

For more general information on pruning plants, see my pruning tips here.

You can use tender stem cuttings from the plant to propagate to get new plants for free. The plant can also be propagated by division of there is more than one crown.

Is dracaena surculosa toxic to pets?

Many household plants can be toxic to pets and humans.

Like most dracaena varieties, surculosa is mildly toxic to pets. The ASPCA lists in their list of plants poisonous to cats and dogs.

The problems with toxicity come from ingestion and reports indicate that it takes moderate to large amount of ingestion for symptoms to occur.

Dracaena surculosa contains saponins. These can cause drooling, vomiting, weakness and a lack of coordination in pets when ingested.  

Be on the look out for indications of abdominal pain, increased heart rate and weakness. With cats, look for dilated pupils and drooling.  All parts of the plant, including the flowers and berries, are mildly poisonous.

Two other plants that are highly poisonous to pets are brugmansia and dieffenbachia.  . 


Pin these dracaena gold dust plant care tips for later

Would you like a reminder of these tips for growing spotted leaf dracaena? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest.How to grow Dracaena surculosa

Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in August of 2013. I have updated the post to add more information and new photos as well as a printable growing tips card and a video for you to enjoy.

Find out more about other dracaena plants:

Yield: 1 happy houseplant

How to Grow Dracaena Surculosa

Leaves of gold dust dracaena

Dracaena surculosa is a slow growing houseplant with glossy green leaves on bamboo-like stems.The leaves are lightly splotched with yellow markings.

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $15


  • 1 Dracaena surculosa plant
  • Well draining potting soil
  • Indoor plant food


  • watering can
  • pruners


  1. Plant dracaena in a pot with well draining potting soil
  2. Place it in a location where it will receive bright light. It can tolerate partial shade but the coloring will not be as pretty on the leaves.
  3. Water once or twice a week during the growing season. Water less in the winter when it is dormant.
  4. Fertilize once a month in the growing season with an all purpose indoor plant food.
  5. Repot in the spring if the plant is pot bound.
  6. Place outside in the summer months but bring it indoors if the temperatures will be below 55 degrees F. It is only cold hardy in zones 10a and above.
  7. Take stem cuttings to produce more plants.
  8. Prune if the plant gets leggy.
  9. Watch out for spider mites, scale and aphids.
  10. Print out the care card below and add it to your gardening journal.Dracaema Surculosa Care card


Dracaena surculosa is considered mildly toxic to pets.

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Yusri Hussin

Wednesday 26th of April 2023

Thank you for the information contained in this article of dracaena surculosa. I have it grown in my house for decoration and now it was flowering and bearing fruits.

Nancy Kowalski

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

I have had this Gold Dust plant in my office for a number of years. Recently I noticed that is has ONE green round bud on one stem. When I walked into work on Monday this one round bud is completely orange, bright orange! It appears waxy on the outside. What is this?? Thank You so much, Nancy K.

Carol Speake

Wednesday 5th of October 2022

It sounds like your plant has a fruit. The round orange-red berries about 1/2" diameter are rare when grown as a house plant.


Monday 18th of April 2022

I would like to know where I can purchase this Gold Dust plant from. I live in Tweed Heeds in Northern NSW Australia

Carol Speake

Friday 29th of April 2022

There are many places that sell it online but many are USA based, but if you live in Australia, you should look for Australian suppliers.

Barbara de Weever

Saturday 6th of March 2021

About watering. The top of my plant looks dry. But when I place my water probe down into the soil, it shows the soil is still wet. So, how far down do you place the probe to determine correctly if the plant needs water. I think this may have been the problem with me under watering my dracaena. My water probe made me think the Plant didn’t need any water yet.

Barbara de Weever

Friday 12th of March 2021

@Carol Speake, Thank you Carol for your answer. ok, then how do you determine a plant needs water especially if it is in a large pot as my Dracaena is. The top of the soil seemS dry but When I press my finger into the soil it seems damp. I can never figure out how dry I should let the soil get further down in the pot.

Carol Speake

Monday 8th of March 2021

I don't have experience with water probes so I can't give advice on them. The vendor where you purchased the probe should be able to help.

Therese Stanfield

Tuesday 26th of January 2021

Hi Carol I have an old 10+ yr old Draceana surculosa which I've recently moved. The soil was moister in the new position due to adding richer composted soil we make ourselves so naturally the leaves are unhappy as roots were subjected to more watered soil than they were getting for past decade. My question is will leaves reshoot along the length of the slender 1 metre tall trunks? I do hope so or do they just dry off and new trunks come from the base or do i cut like my marginatas and hope they reshoot from the cut area. The plant has flowered lovely colours - red/yellow green different to white i see in photos however exact same flower in shape.

Carol Speake

Thursday 28th of January 2021

Once the bottom of the trunk is bare, it will not send out new shoots until the tip of the stem is cut off.

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