Dracaena Marginata

How to care for Dracaena Marginata

Last updated on March 2nd, 2023 at 06:31 pm

How to take care of Dracaena Marginata.  Also called the Madagascar dragon tree.  It is considered an indoor plant because it cannot endure outdoor temperatures below 32 degrees f.

It is a slow grower and drought tolerant.  However, around the American southwest where temperatures can get above 110 degrees f. in mid-summer you should water 2-3 times per week unless you have your refrigerated air on day and night. If so, water only once or twice per week.

There are numerous varieties including wider leaves and thicker trunks, but this post is about the thin long Marginata plants.  These plants are usually on display at most local garden nurseries and many American Southwest-type homes.

The most common is the one with long slender dark green leaves.  They can take low to lots of light.  So, placing them on the south or west-facing window is a good spot.

What kind of Soil and Fertilizer Should you use?

From my experience, the soil likes to be slightly dried before watering.  Typically, about 2-3 times per week works best.  Use good loamy potting soil when repotting or going to a larger pot.   It only needs occasional fertilizer once in spring, summer, and fall will suffice.  Use a good all-purpose fertilizer and an analysis of 20-20-20 will work.

You can grow and use this plant during the winter seasons, but it needs to be placed indoors.  Anything below 32 degrees F. the plant will die on you.  It is also a good idea to keep them away from the door entrance or exits because the cold draft will affect the plant.

Tall Spikey leaves of Green Dracaena Marginata

A beautiful Dracaena Marginata is placed in the corner of this room.  They love to be in containers and should be fertilized about once per month.  A good 20-20-20 all-purpose fertilizer will work great.  The thin blades on this one has a dark forest green color with a touch of dark

How to care for Dracaena Marginata
Dragon Plant in corner of this room

The Variegated Dracaena

How to care for Dracaena Marginata
The smaller Dracaena Marginata is on a patio table.

What does Variegated mean?  It’s simple, it means more than two colors on the leaf or blade.  It is derived from the Latin word “Variegatus”.  This can apply to any plant, tree, shrub, or indoor plant with at least two or numerous colors on its leaves.

You can learn more about this over at Wikipedia. 

The Lime Green Dracaena

Lime Green Dracaena on outdoor Table
Lime Green Dracaena


Can I Plant Outdoors?

If you live in regions where it rarely freezes you can plant the larger one in the ground outdoors. They will add that tropical look to almost any landscape.  Be careful not to over-water it as it will develop root rot quickly.

Large Dracaena Marginata
Beautiful green dracaena (dragon tree) in the garden

As you can see by the image above this Dracaena does well outdoors but is placed in a tropical setting.  The Dragon Tree Plant.

Problems with Dracaena Marginata

They are susceptible to mealybugs, not enough humidity, and over-watering.  At the first sign of mealybugs spray with organic neem oil or insecticidal soaps.

At times organic insecticides will not work especially when your plant is saturated with insects, as a last resort you will have to use synthetic insecticides.

If the plant is saturated with mealybugs, it is best to toss the plant in the trash bin.  Be sure to cover it with a plastic or paper bag to ensure these bugs do not get a chance to infiltrate other plants nearby.

Your leaves will fall quickly when the plant is overwatered.  Let the plant dry out completely before watering again.

USDA Zone 10-12.  

How to care for Dracaena Marginata

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