Dracaena marginata is a broadleaf evergreen originating from Madagascar and Mauritius. It’s commonly referred to as Dragon Tree, Madagascar Dragon Tree, or Red-stemmed Dracaena. Today, this plant is grown primarily as an indoor decorative houseplant due to its ability to tolerate low light levels indoors while growing well outdoors in warm climates with bright indirect light during the summer months. They can grow up to 20 feet tall in their natural habitat, but they’re usually trimmed down to 6 feet when kept as an indoor plant.
Dragon Trees are known for their dramatic, long, curving leaves reminiscent of a dragon’s tail. The leaves are a deep green with a white stripe running down the center. If you’d like to spruce up your home with some greenery without having to worry about temperature or sunlight requirements, then consider planting one of these!
- Dracaena marginata Main Characteristics
- Dracaena Marginata Care
- Cultivars of Dracaena marginata
- Dracaena Marginata Propagation
- Dracaena Marginata Repotting
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- Everything You Need To Know About Dragon Trees – Indoor Care Tips, Tricks, and more! (Video)
Dracaena marginata Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Dragon Tree, Madagascar Dragon Tree, Red edge Dracaena|
|Botanical Name||Dracaena marginata|
|Native Range||Madagascar, Mauritius|
|Common Cultivars||Bicolor, Tricolor, Colorama|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10-12|
|Mature Size||Height: 6 ft. – 20 ft.Width: 3 ft. – 10 ft.|
|Bloom Time||Seasonal bloomer|
|Propagation methods||by seed, by cuttings|
|Sun||Part shade, Part Sun|
|Toxicity||Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats|
Dracaena Marginata Care
What makes these plants so attractive to many people is that few plants are as tolerant of neglect as the Dragon Trees. They require minimal care and need little water or fertilizer, making them great for those who live in dry climates or have brown thumb syndrome.
Light and Location
It’s not very picky about the environment and will thrive in many conditions. So they’re highly suited to be used as an indoor plant. Place it near a window that gets bright-indirect light for the best results. While it can survive in low-light situations, the growth will be slower, and the leaves will lose a bit of color.
As an indoor decorative houseplant, Dracaena marginata likes moist soil and should be watered regularly during the warmer months. As a mature plant, it is quite drought-tolerant but will require moderate amounts of water for peak health. If planted indoors and cared for correctly with evenly moist soil, then watering once or twice per week should suffice.
The Dracaena marginata is a plant that thrives in a tropical environment. It prefers a temperature range of 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit and will do best near a bright light source such as a windowsill. Although it can survive the occasional cold snap, it’s safer not to let temperatures fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best humidity range for the Red edge Dracaena is 50-60%. High humidity is where it thrives. Increase the humidity by placing it over a bed of wet pebbles or using a humidifier.
While this is a hardy plant that doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer, it will still benefit from a regular feeding schedule. You can use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer every other month during the spring and summer months.
Cultivars of Dracaena marginata
Some of the more recognized varieties:
- Dracaena marginata Tricolor – Slower growing, with a thin yellow line across the midrib
- D. marginata Bicolor – Deep green leaves with red edges
- D. marginata Colorama – Leaves are dark green with pink or reddish borders
Dracaena Marginata Propagation
Propagating the Dragon Tree is a relatively straightforward process by taking stem cuttings. To take a stem cutting, do the following:
- Cut off a 4-6 inch piece of stem from the tip of a healthy branch using sharp pruning shears.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom part of the cutting and dip the stem in rooting hormone powder (though it isn’t essential).
- Place the cutting in a moist soil mix and keep the humidity high.
- Keep the soil mixture moist until new roots form.
Using seeds can be difficult and takes patience. Therefore, most gardeners prefer to propagate by cuttings.
Dracaena Marginata Repotting
When potting a Dragon Tree, make sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom so water can escape. And the roots don’t sit in water and potentially rot. Next, fill the pot with well-draining potting soil and make sure to press down on it, so it’s firm around the roots.
When repotting, use a pot that is slightly bigger than the current pot. A larger than needed pot will cause the roots to grow too large and become root-bound. When this happens, the plant will not take up nutrients efficiently and will start to show signs of distress.
While the Dragon Tree is a great indoor plant, it’s essential to be aware of its toxicity. All plant parts are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting, drooling, and general weakness in dogs and cats. So if you are a pet owner, keep this plant out of their reach!
The most common pests for this plant include spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips. To treat an infestation:
- Remove all infected leaves from around the plant.
- Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to dab over any areas with visible mealybugs.
- Dip infected areas in warm water before dabbing on alcohol solution. Isopropyl alcohol is usually the most effective.
Did you know? According to NASA Clean Air Study, Dragon Tree is one of the best natural “air filters” for removing formaldehyde, xylene and trichloroethylene pollutants
Leaves can become brown or discolored if they are under or overwatered. Check the watering routine and water appropriately. If you’re unsure, less water is the safer choice, as overwatering is far more common a cause than underwatering.
Spots on the Leaves?
A common disease is leaf spots. Leaves will have a brown ring tinged with a yellow outline. To treat it, use any standard fungicide. While it may take a while, the leaves will return to normal with the proper care.
Leaves falling off?
If the leaves falling off are old, this is perfectly natural; they’re making way for new growth. On the other hand, if young leaves are falling, this is a sign of overwatering. Water less and let the soil dry out.
Everything You Need To Know About Dragon Trees – Indoor Care Tips, Tricks, and more! (Video)
How to propagate a Dracaena marginata ?
The best method to propagate the Dracaena marginata is by taking stem cuttings. First, cut 10 to 12-inch stems from healthy branches. Then plant them in moist and well-drained potting soil. Keep them in bright indirect light and wait for the roots to sprout.
How to revive a Dracaena marginata plant?
Remove the plant from its old container and scrape off the soil from the roots. Allow it to rest like this for a day or two before planting it again in a fresh pot, which should be large enough to fit the roots snugly but no larger. Make sure there are drainage holes drilled into the pot and water thoroughly. If any roots are still alive, your plant will revive.
How often to water Dracaena marginata?
When it comes to Dragon Trees, overwatering is the silent killer. In some cases, the plant’s roots may rot and eventually die. The best way to avoid overwatering is to water the plant only when the top few inches of soil are dry. You can do this by sticking your finger in the soil and checking if it’s dry before watering.
Why is my Dracaena marginata drooping?
Drooping leaves may indicate that the plant is not getting enough water. While not as serious a problem as overwatering, you must fix it regardless. Increase your watering frequency, but not by too much, as that could lead to root rot.