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Dracaena marginata Care Guide

The Dracaena marginata is a houseplant very appreciated for its easy care and its beautiful appearance, but it also stands out for being part of the group of plants that can purify and clean the air of the rooms in which they are located, such as the pothos.

If you want to enjoy this beautiful tropical-looking plant in your home, and thus also enjoy healthier air, keep reading this article where you will find a guide on the care of Dracaena marginata.

Characteristics of Dracaena marginata

Dracaena marginata, commonly called Dracena, has the following characteristics:

  • It is a species that comes from the tropical zone of Africa, specifically the island of Madagascar.
  • In its natural environment, it grows exposed to light, but in most parts of the world, it is best grown as an indoor plant, since, outside the tropical zone, it is very difficult to have a tropical-like climate outdoors and even less so for a long time.
  • It is a slow-growing plant, very decorative, and easy to care for.
  • It has a woody trunk of vertical growth, which gives rise to the leaves at its upper end, long and lanceolate, bright green and reddish margins. Occasionally, the trunk of the Dracaena forks at the end, or gives rise to a second trunk halfway up the first, making each plant distinct from the others.
  • It should not be confused with its relative Dracaena draco, of which the thousand-year-old dragon tree of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, is a part.
characteristics dracaena marginata
Dracaena marginata.

Location and Climate for Dracaena marginata

It is generally considered an indoor plant, as it needs tropical conditions that, in most cases, are not easy to replicate outdoors. Its temperature needs will be perfectly fulfilled around the approximate 70 °F (21 ºC) that most homes maintain, being its ideal temperature between 73 °F and 77 °F (23 ºC and 25 ºC). It is very important not to expose the Dracaena to cold even occasionally, which is why it can only be grown outdoors in tropical climates.

Regarding its light requirements, it needs very luminous environments, but always without direct sun exposure, which could burn its leaves and dry them out. Ideally, look for well-lit rooms but do not place them next to windows, as the plant tolerates shady environments quite well. Outdoors, place it in a semi-shaded area, sheltered from the hours of strongest sunlight.

Watering Dracaena marginata

One of the main strengths of the Dracaena marginata is its resistance to drought, and it is a plant that is not at all demanding with watering. In winter, the Dracaena can withstand without problems about 20 days without watering and in summer, normally, it is enough to water it once a week. However, less frequent watering does not mean that water from multiple waterings should be given in one watering: it is vital not to flood the plant’s substrate when watering or you will cause serious damage to its roots.

Generally, the most reliable indicator of when to water is to wait until the substrate has dried out. Stick a finger or a thin stick into the substrate and if it comes out without soil sticking to it, it’s time to water.

watering dracaena

Humidity for Dracaena marginata

Although the plant does not need a lot of watering, it does require high humidity. In coastal areas, this will not be too difficult, but if the climate is very dry in your area, you will need to increase the humidity around your Dracaena in some way.

The simplest method is to place the pot on top of a dish with stones and water, where the stones and pebbles are kept above the water level. This way, the plant is free from waterlogging, while the naturally evaporated water rises and prevents the Dracaena from drying out. You can also sprinkle water around the room or the plant, wetting the leaves a little.

Soil for Dracaena marginata

The most important thing in terms of the soil is that it offers the best possible drainage to avoid the aforementioned danger of waterlogging. The universal mix with equal parts peat, worm humus, and coconut fiber, along with a handful of vermiculite and perlite, will work well, although you can make the soil slightly acidic to further improve the environment.

Dracaena marginata grows quite slowly, so when you get it you don’t need to find it in a much larger location or pot. The plant prefers rather tight pots, having more problems in pots that are too large. You won’t need to repot it before every 3 years and, even then, it won’t need a much larger container.

soil for marginata

Other Dracaena marginata Care

Dracaena’s beautiful leaves tend to collect dust easily, which hinders the plant’s light absorption and detracts from its decorative potential. With a soft, slightly damp cloth, wipe its leaves when you notice that they are dirty.

You should fertilize a couple of times a year, at the beginning of spring and in summer. The ideal is to use organic fertilizer, such as worm castings or compost, adding a few centimeters to the potting soil.

We hope you found this article about Dracaena marginata helpful. We recommend our article about Lucky Bamboo Plant Care (Dracaena braunii).

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About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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