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Dracaena Marginata Care Made Easy

Draceana Marginata Care

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Dracaena Marginata care begins with a little understanding of the background and features of this very popular indoor plant.

Dracaena or Madagascar dragon tree, scientifically known as Dracaena marginata is a genus of around 120 species from the Asparagaceae family.

Most of the species are African, but also grow naturally in southern Asia to northern Australia and there are 2 species in Central America too.

It’s a cherished and popular houseplant because of its toughness and the elegant stiff leaves that are shaped like swords and have red edges.

It’s a great choice for offices and homes because of its tolerance to drought and its ‘forgiving nature’.

The stems are hard, narrow, and gray and topped with shiny foliage.

In springtime, outdoor varieties bloom tiny white flowers and round yellow-orange berries. Berries are however rarer in the indoor plants.

It’s a great choice if you’re a beginner or inexperienced in gardening since it’s simple to grow. The dragon tree can reach up to 20 feet outdoor; but when potted, somewhere around 6 feet is the maximum.

You can grow one single plant or several grouped together in one pot.

One variety known as the red-edged dracaena is one of the best plants for removal of formaldehyde from indoor air, according to NASA.

On the other hand, one of the most unusual varieties called Tarzan stands out for its tougher and wider leaves.

Its new leaves grow upwards and as they become replaced by newer ones, they begin to point sideways and then finish downwards.

It’s also a plant that can tolerate lower light- a great option for those offices or rooms with dimmer light.

Without doubt, it will be great refreshment to any type decor thanks to its impressive deep green foliage.

Interesting Fact:

Did you know that the common Madagascar Dragon Tree name is a combination of its native place of origin Madagascar and its cousin Dracaena Draco, i.e. Dragon?

Important to note:

You don’t want this plant near pets as it’s toxic to them in the case of ingestion!

How to Care for Draceana Marginata


This plant will do best in bright light, but it’s also tolerant to dimmer areas. The ones in lower light conditions will grow slower and their color will be less intense and their leaves smaller.

Avoid placing it in direct sun-this will burn its foliage.


Dragon trees love growing in a temperature range between 70 to 80 degrees F.

Avoid keeping it where the temperature tends to drop below 65 degrees F. Any temperature that goes below this will damage it!

Water & Humidity

A common problem with this plant is overwatering because it’s so easy to do this. To prevent this, wait until the top half of the soil is entirely dry.

In lower light, this may take around 3 weeks. If you see brown tips on its leaves, it’s mostly a sign of overwatering or using water rich in fluoride (it’s sensitive to it and may lose its color).

This is why it’s best to water it with fluoride-free water, rainwater or distilled one.

The plant will adapt well to a regular home humidity; however, if you have a quite dry air in your home, a light misting may be beneficial.


Since it’s a potted plant, it likes loose and well-drained potting mixture- a loamy soil with peat moss will be perfect.

Choose a pot that offers enough room for their extensive roots.


This plant needs relatively low feeding. Do it lightly at the start of spring or twice per year. Use a fertilizer with controlled release.

In winter, pause the fertilizing.


As it’s generally a slow-growing plant, it will need repotting only every second or third year. Use bigger pots and new potting soil when it’s time for it.


You can easily share this plant with your family and friends by rooting stem cuts in water. In a period of 3 weeks, the cut will grow roots. You needn’t use rooting hormone.

Gifting someone with a stem cutting from your plant has a unique and special touch to it.

Best Dracaena Marginata Species

  1. marginata or bicolour

This variety has green and red stripe foliage. It really looks elegant and it does great indoors. Also, it can survive outdoors where the temperature doesn’t go below 60 degrees F.

  1. marginata or tricolor

This variety has margins with dark red color, green leaves, and an ivory stripe that goes down the leaf centre.

  1. marginata

This is the basic well-known type with deep green leaves and very thin red color margins.

Other Care Tips

Take out old leaves from the bottom if they seem like they’re going to fall.

You can cut back the stems to ensure the plant stays the size you prefer.

A final dracaena marginata care tip, to bring back the natural glow of the foliage, wipe the leaves gently using a clean cloth and a bit of dish soap and water.

Trouble Shooting- Common Issues

Problem: dry tips and edges

Cause: Under-watering or insufficient humidity.

Solution: Water the soil on a more regular schedule/boost its humidity by using a humidifier or put a tray with pebbles and water underneath it.

Problem: sudden loss of leaves/root rot

Cause: Overwatering or improper drainage system.

Solution: Reduce the watering and make sure you have a pot that drains well and a well-draining soil.

Problem: yellowing of the leaves

Cause: Pests like mites and scale insects.

Solution: Rinse the foliage using an insecticidal soapy water or ask for your local garden store for the best treatment.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this article about Dracaena Marginata care.

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Dracaena Marginata

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

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