Dracaena marginata, also known as the dragon tree plant, is an attractive plant with narrow green leaves and yellow stripes outlined by deep red edges. Indigenous to Madagascar, the Dracaena marginata plant’s name comes from the Greek word drakaina meaning female dragon.
Often confused with a palm tree with its luscious, green spikes, the dragon plant is a popular houseplant, not only because it is a stunning, easy-to-care-for decoration, but because it also removes harsh chemicals from the air.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Growing Dracaena Marginata outdoors
- 2 Growing Dracaena Marginata indoors
- 3 Best Dracaena Marginata on Amazon
- 4 Dracaena Marginata care tips
- 5 Dracaena marginata Cane Plant Size
- 6 Light
- 7 Soil
- 8 Water
- 9 Temperature
- 10 Fertilizer
- 11 pH
- 12 Propagating
- 13 Potting and repotting
- 14 Pruning And Cleaning
- 15 Protecting from pests and diseases
- 16 Are Dracaena Marginata poisonous?
- 17 Similar Plants
- 18 Conclusion
Growing Dracaena Marginata outdoors
Before you start growing a Dracaena marginata plant outdoors, you have to take time to think about what your weather is like year-round. Dragon tree plants can only be grown in warm climates, so it’s crucial that your environment will support and sustain this plant for the entirety of its life, not just during growing season.
Because Dracaena marginatas are intolerant to cold climates, it’s safe to say that this plant will only thrive in temperatures that never drop below 63 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (17 to 18 degrees Celsius), even in winter.
If you do live in a warm, sunny climate, then you’re in luck! The dragon tree plant flourishes beautifully outside, producing white flowers in the spring and growing up to 20 ft outdoors.
To ensure your Dracaena marginata reaches new heights and beams into the sky, follow our easy gardening tips. We recommend that you place a bed of gravel or pebbles down on the ground to help with water drainage. Then, on top of this layer, add a mix of garden soil, soil mix and sand.
The Dracaena marginata is a slow-growing plant which may take a long time to reach its true potential. But soon enough, you will have a spiky, green tower of life peering over you!
Now, what if you don’t have the luxury of growing a Dracaena marginata outdoors?
Growing Dracaena Marginata indoors
If you’re unable to grow a Dracaena marginata outdoors, no worries. It’s much more common for the dragon plant to be grown inside, making them a very popular indoor plant.
Dracaena marginata make great houseplants because they are known for being drought-tolerant, comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, and almost indestructible. Typically, a potted dragon plant grown indoors is kept pruned to 6 ft or less, depending on the home gardener’s preference.
There are a number of ways to use your dragon plant as decor in your home. Depending on your desired height for the Dracaena marginata, you can use your greenery as a floor plant or a table top plant. This will add a beautiful accent to your living room, office or any other space in your house.
Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or you’ve been living in yours for years, a Dracaena marginata will add life and color to your living space, making you feel more relaxed and open-minded. Let’s talk about the best ways to care for and maintain your dragon plant!
— S🌱 (@shejisms) February 19, 2021
Best Dracaena Marginata on Amazon
Here are our best pick for best dracaena plant available on Amazon.
Dracaena Marginata care tips
To ensure the best results for your Dracaena marginata, it’s important that you’re prepared. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced gardener, we’ll let you in on the secrets for how to make your dragon plant thrive. Here are the best practices for taking care of your Dracaena marginata plant.
|Care Type||Care Specifics|
|Botanical Name||Dracaena marginata cane|
|Common Name||Dracaena marginata, Red edged dracaena, Madagascar Dragon Tree|
|Plant Family||Dracaena (Asparagaceae)|
|Origin||southern Asia and Northern Australia, as well as parts of Africa|
|Plant Type||annual outdoors but is regularly enjoyed indoors as a perennial|
|Leaf Color||green with red edges|
|Recommended Home Placement||in any low-light room|
|Light||low light or indirect light|
|Soil||well-draining potting mix|
|When To Water||Water once every week or two - during which time you can also mist the leaves.|
|When To Fertilize||once in the spring and once in the early fall during growing season|
|Toxic To Pets?||Yes - symptoms include vomiting, weakness, drooling, depression, loss of appetite and dilated pupils (in cats) - all caused by the chemical saponin|
|Common Pests & Diseases||Spider mites, fungus gnats, white flies, scale insects, aphids, mealybugs, brown leaf tips, powdery mildew, downy mildew, yellow leaves, root rot, dropping leaves|
Dracaena marginata Cane Plant Size
The houseplant Dracaena marginata cane can grow up to 6-10 ft indoors tall and spread up to 3-6 feet wide. When placed in any low-light room, it’s a slow that you can expect to enjoy for years to come.
Dracaena marginata require much light to grow tall and strong. In fact, it is best for the dragon plant to receive medium to bright indirect light for proper growth.
But, be careful! As a member of the dracaena family, the marginata can’t stand direct light, which can burn brown its foliage. If you notice this happening, move your plant away from the bright spot to a new area with indirect sunlight or partial shade.
On the other hand, if your plant isn’t getting enough light, its leaves and foliage may become pale. It is difficult for dragon trees to survive in low light conditions, and if they are exposed to only a little light, they will grow slower and their leaves will be smaller and less vibrant.
So remember, the best way to care for your Dracaena marginata and give it the right amount of light is to expose it to natural light, but only bright indirect sunlight.
The Madagascar dragon tree, like most Dracaena plants, thrives when it’s left alone. Although incredibly easy to care for, most indoor gardeners kill these indoor plants through over-care. Be sure to only water as much as suggested in the section below. Too much watering will result in root rot, which can kill Dracaena plants.
This tabletop plant is a slow grower, but can reach high heights indoors – up to 10 feet if unmanaged. The growing season is typically considered spring through fall.
When preparing the soil for your potted dragon plant, it’s important to use a well-drained potting mix, preferably loamy soil with peat moss. It’s also essential that your plant’s pot or container has extra room for the plant’s roots to breathe.
Because it’s known as a drought-tolerant plant, Dracaena marginata doesn’t require that much water.
A general rule to follow for watering your Dracaena marginata is to water it every time you notice that the top half of the soil is dry. Typically, this adds up to every two weeks, but can be more often in the summer and less often in the winter.
Pay attention to your dragon plant to see how it handles the amount of water you feed it. If your plant’s leaves are yellow, it might be thirsty. If the edges of its leaves are turning brown, it might be overwatered. To prevent this, feed your plant less often and make sure its pot has good drainage. Sometimes excess water can create soggy soil, so to drain it, make sure the bottom of the pot has good drainage holes.
Another reason your dragon plant’s leaves may be turning brown or getting discolored is if the water it’s being fed has too much salt or fluoride in it. If you’re currently using tap water to feed your plant, fill your pitcher or watering can and let it sit for a day or two at room temperature to remove any salt. But, fluoride won’t settle or evaporate, so use distilled water to prevent fluoride if that’s the case.
Photo from twitter: @PlantMomma87
As previously mentioned, the Dracaena marginata plant flourishes in warm weather and is intolerant to anything cold.
Therefore, the ideal temperature for a dragon plant is room temperature, or anything between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This number can go up to 85 degrees F in the summer months and down to 65 degrees F in the winter months, but remember that Dracaena marginata do not like any temperatures under 65 degrees F.
In the winter months, Dracaena marginata are sensitive to cold drafts and cold air, so make sure the thermostat is set to a temperature that will keep them comfortable.
Typically, dracaena marginata like household humidity, but if there is dry air inside the house, they might need a regular misting.
Before you fertilize your dragon plant, it’s important to note that this type of plant does not need much fertilizer at all. In fact, Dracaena marginata do not need fertilizer to be alive and healthy.
But if you’re looking to boost your plant’s growth, you can feed it a small amount of liquid fertilizer once a year at the beginning of spring. Just remember not to overdo it!
Now that we’ve given you the Dracaena plant care basics, it’s time to talk about the plant maintenance tips that will lead to new growth and longer life.
You’ll want your soil to have a pH of roughly 6.0-6.5 for this marginata, which is slightly acidic. A well-draining potting mix is similars, so in most cases, this shouldn’t be a huge concern, assuming you repot and freshen up the soil every two years or so.
The main things that kill a marginata plant are overwatering, too much sun, and soil that doesn’t drain well. If you’ve been troubleshooting a sickly marginata plant, start by adjusting those variables first. If that doesn’t work, you may look at the pH. To do this, purchase a simple soil pH test for your home.
If you have plans to propagate your dragon tree plant now or in the future, you’re in luck! Propagating Dracaena marginata is actually really easy.
All you have to do is cut the stems from your plant and place their ends in water. It will take about three weeks for the stem cuttings to sprout roots naturally. Then, be patient as the new shoots lengthen and grow new leaves.
Potting and repotting
As your Dracaena marginata grows and expands, you might consider upgrading from your current pot to a new pot on an as needed basis. Typically, this will occur every second or third year because dragon tree plants grow slowly.
In between potting changes, you can refresh your plant’s old soil with a new soil mixture to freshen up your dragon tree plant each year.
The Dracaena marginata cane rarely produces insignificant white flowers when grown indoors.Most indoor gardeners are growing this tabletop plant for its foliage.
Pruning And Cleaning
As we mentioned earlier, it’s very common for Dracaena marginata plants to develop yellow leaves or brown tips. To solve this common problem with the plant’s leaves, cut off the dead leaves.
But first make sure your scissors are sharp before you begin pruning and cleaning your plant, or else their leaves might tear.
The bottom leaves and undersides of the plant’s leaves will turn yellow and die with age and growth, so feel free to remove those leaves. You can also snip off the brown leaf tips.
While you’re at it, shape your dragon plant, try out some unique looks and spray the leaves to give it a quick bath!
— Hanna (@ultraturquoise) January 29, 2020
Protecting from pests and diseases
We hate to say it, but it’s quite possible your dragon plant will get infected by pests or diseases at least once over the course of its lifetime.
Mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites are the most common types of plant diseases, but beware of fungus gnats too. Here are some sticky traps we recommend:
Mealybugs are easy to spot because they will leave sticky, cotton-like residue on the tree. Humidity is a common cause of mealybugs. Warm temperatures and dry air will attract mealybugs, so be mindful of the climate in your home.
Spider mites are an unfortunate but common problem, especially with Dracaena marginata. At first spider mite damage will appear as tiny brown or yellow spots on the Dracaena’s leaves, and potentially webbing on the lower leaves and the undersides of the leaves.
On the other hand, spider mites are difficult to notice until they have already caused damage to your Dracaena marginata.
If you do have a mealybug or spider mite infestation eating away at your tree plant, spray a mix of water and soap on your plant, especially on the undersides of its leaves. If the infestation is particularly bad, create a mixture of half water, half alcohol and clean your plant with a q-tip. Continue these treatments daily each week for roughly 4 weeks.
Are Dracaena Marginata poisonous?
Believe it or not, Dracaena marginatas are indeed poisonous.
Luckily, the plant causes no harm to humans, but it can be very toxic if chewed on or eaten by cats and dogs.
So if you think your pet would try to take a bite out of your dragon plant, opt for a different plant or put it somewhere out of reach. If you notice your cat or dog acting out of the ordinary or experiencing symptoms of being poisoned, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Love Dracaena marginata as much as we do?? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Dracaena Janet Craig – Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig,” often known as the corn plant or just Dracaena “Janet Craig,” is a perennial plant with long dark-green leaves and a cane-like stem. It’s an eye-catching floor plant that thrives in low light. It, like the marginata, thrives when practically neglected.
Dracaena ‘Janet Craig’ compacta – Compacta is a Dracaena dermensis ‘Janet Craig’ slow-growing sport. The name ‘Compacta’ comes from the fact that it is smaller and more unique than most other plants in the dracaena family.
Dracaena fragrans – Also called the corn plant, frgrans is a tropical African evergreen tree. They grow slowly, from thick canes or stems that generate long, narrow leaves that shoot upward like corn stalks. This growing pattern also gives them the appearance of palm trees, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “fake palms.”
Now that you’re a Dracaena marginata expert, it’s time to bring a dragon plant home so you can put your care and maintenance skills to the test!