Friday, June 5, 2009

Dracaena Marginata – The Dragon Tree

Resembling a small palm tree, the popular Marginata makes a bold statement in the home with its thin, red-margined leaves that sprout from the top and hang over a slender, woody stem. Although a fairly slow grower, this interesting specimen can eventually grow to a height of 10 – 15 feet.

Like all its relatives, this Dracaena is highly-susceptible to rot from over-watering; this is not a plant for someone who is heavy-handed with the watering can. Use a fast-draining, porous medium and do not water until it is fairly dry; be especially careful during the colder months. Switch to hydroculture to eliminate water woes.


Able to tolerate different light levels – from low light to full sun – you can place a Marginata right up against a north or east window, near a west one or in a bright area of a southern location making sure to protect against the hot midday sun. Although it will survive very low levels of light, it requires better quality for optimum growth and appearance.

Place this lovely specimen - that is sensitive to cold drafts and chilly temperatures - in areas where it is warm; average household temperatures that are comfortable for you will be fine for your plant. Low levels of humidity are bearable but it’s preferable to provide higher levels of humidity for optimal health.


  1. Hello! I just found your blog through Plants are the Strangest People.

    I have a dracaena that gets brown splotches on the leaves. Not a fungus or scale or anything like that, but the actual leaf changes color. Have you ever experienced this? It get moderate light, but certainly not too much and I feel like I don't over water it...but maybe I do?

  2. Well, I’m not entirely sure what it can be because I don’t have a photo of your plant and I don’t know what your plant habits are. But...I will add my two cents worth of ‘guessing’ :)

    If the area is brown and dry, it may be caused under-watering or air that is too dry. (But I don’t think - from what you’ve written - that the brown area is dry, just brown)


    How often and how much do you fertilize? Over-fertilizing can cause damage to leaves. Dracaenas in general, because they are relatively slow-growing, don’t like to be fed too often.


    The next thing I wonder is if you are watering with very cold water, which can also cause damage to the leaves.

    And of course, too much sun can cause damage as well. But it doesn't seem to be the case for your plant.

    That’s pretty much all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have a photo, send it to me. I’ll take a look and see if I can come up with something else.

    Hope the above sheds some light...although it seems rather dim….:)