Dracaena Marginata - Dracaena marginata

Dracaena Marginata

The name Dracena derives from the Greek drakaina, and it means dragon. It is a plant native to Africa and South America. It has very rich foliage that never fades, as it turns out to be an evergreen. The Dracena Marginata can measure up to a couple of meters in height. The leaves are spear-shaped and have a growth in tufts, which make this plant look like the more famous palm.

Environment and exposure

It goes without saying that since the Dracena Marginata is a plant native to Africa, it must never be exposed in places where the temperature is always above seven to eight degrees. If you plant it in areas that have a milder climate, you can also do it in the garden, but at the same time you will have to be careful to keep it away from the cold and winds. However, this does not mean that the plant prefers to be exposed to the sun's rays all day long; in fact the preferred position of the Dracena Marginata is to be planted in semi-shaded areas. In the summer season, you will have to take the plant outside, and water it periodically to keep it moist, in a place that is not too sunny.


The soil must appear as loam and must assume the characteristics of being very peaty. Finally, if you want to make the most of the plant's potential, add a pumice stone to the bottom of the pot to help drain the water.

Planting and repotting

The repotting operation is not very developed for the Dracena Marginata plant, in fact the planting must be done every two or three years. Furthermore, in doing this operation you must be careful not to increase the size of the vessel; all this so that the due proportions that must exist between the aerial and the radical apparatus are not altered.


Also for this plant like all the other species for apartments, watering must be done differently depending on the period. In fact, during the period from spring to summer, they must be watered in great abundance. Also very important is the nebulization technique of the leaves, which must be done with a lot of dedication, especially in this period. Instead, in winter watering must be drastically reduced because otherwise the Dracena Marginata plant could get sick. A final recommendation is not to leave stagnant water at the bottom of the pot, because this kind of plants cannot withstand water stagnation.


In order for the foliage to have a bright color and the plant to have a good nourishment, the Dracena Marginata must undergo a balanced fertilization, every fifteen - twenty days. The fertilizer to be administered must be in the form of a liquid and which barks inside a high percentage of nitrogen, as well as potassium, which are essential elements for the development and growth of the plant. In addition, there must also be microelements such as iron, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, molybdenum, which are also useful for the continuous growth of the Dracena Marginata plant.


The Dracena Marginata is a plant that during its life period does not receive any pruning, but only a cut of leaves that dry up over time. During this last operation, be very careful to use clean and sterilized tools so that the plant does not get sick.


The Dracena Marginata is reproduced with the technique of “apical cuttings of the stem”; it consists in cutting a branch of the mother plant of about ten centimeters. After doing this, cut off the old leaves from the branch and plant it in the shade near the mother plant. Once it starts to grow, place it individually in another pot and close it with a plastic bag. All this will favor the growth of the plant.


The Dracena Marginata does not have flowers, especially if grown in the apartment it is very difficult to see very small flowers, which sometimes occupy the top of the plant, but only when the plant grows freely in the wild.

Diseases and parasites

Like all plants, ours too dracaena marginata she can develop parasites or be affected by diseases. One of these is the one that wilts the leaves of the plant. The cause lies in a wrong cultivation technique but a useful remedy is to water the soil whenever it is very dry by feeling it with your hand. On the other hand, if we see that it is too humid, we should suspend watering for a short time. If, on the other hand, you notice that your plant has brown spots on the leaves, also in this case it all depends on watering and exposure. A remedy could be to remove them with a cotton swab totally soaked in alcohol. This way you will get rid of the specks. We beg you not to use nails or special objects, as they will only make things worse.

Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree): How To Effectively Grow And Care

Dracaena marginata also referred to as Madagascar Dragon, red-edge dracaena or rainbow plant is a member of the Dracaena family, Asparagaceae native to Madagascar and one of the most popular houseplants in North America and Europe. This plant is great for beginners because it is drought tolerant and not at all fussy about their light conditions. It is tall with an open braid weave consisting of 4 canes or stems. Dracaena marginata becomes interesting over time. The plant drops its slender, sharply tapering leaves as it grows, until what remains are grayish-green stems crowned with topknots of the red-margined, deep-green foliage. As it grows, it maintains its upright appearance making it perfect for blank walls, spots behind furniture or narrow corners.

Plant Profile / Facts

  • Botanical Name: Dracaena Marginata
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Other Names: Dragon tree, dragon plant, rainbow plant, ribbon plant, Madagascar dragon tree
  • PlantType: Perennial, usually grown as houseplant
  • Leaves: Long narrow evergreen leaves
  • Mature Size: 5 to 15 feet
  • Sunlight Requirement: Bright indirect light
  • Soil PH: 6-6.5
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soil such sand, loamy etc
  • Bloom Time: Spring (Rarely flowers indoors)
  • Flower Color: White
  • Hardiness Zones : 10 to 12
  • Native: Madagascar and Mauritius
  • Uses: House plant and perennial borders


As you might guess from its nickname, the Madagascar Dragon Tree, Dracaena marginata is native to Madagascar. It has long, thin, shiny leaves with red edges, which grow at the end of a trunk out from the center. This woody trunk is called a cane.

These are very versatile plants. You’ll see some of these plants growing in the form of a tall tree, which can reach up to 25 feet. However, when grown inside they’re typically kept at a more manageable six feet or less.

You might also see them kept as a tabletop plant. In this case, either none of the cane or very little of the cane will be there and the plant will be more full and bushy with leaves.

The Dracaena marginata in my photos was cut in the past year. While it used to be about a four-foot-tall tree, you’ll see it’s now a nice little tabletop plant.

Dracaena marginata

Delivery options

  • Position: prefers light shade, but close to a window
  • Soil: good potting compost
  • Rate of growth: average to fast
  • Hardiness: tender (indoors only)
  • Current height: approximately 120cm (+ or - 10% including the pot)
  • Pot cover: choose a 22cm pot cover to give a good fit over the pot

Possibly one of the most popular dracaenas, it has slender, predominantly green leaves, many of which have a fine red edge running down their length. These form at the tops of the upright stems, giving the plant an attractive shaggy-headed appearance.

Please note that the pot in the photograph is not supplied with the plant (which is sent out in a simple nursery pot). They do however make excellent potted plants, and if you wish to pot yours up, we do have a wide range of pots on our website to choose from.

  • Home care: Water well in the growing season, but less so in winter. Misting the leaves with water will help keep the humidity levels high, as well as keeping the leaves dust-free. Repot in spring every couple of years and keep temperatures above 10 ° C in winter.

  • How to Propagate Dracaena Marginata

    I think this is one of the most fun parts of owning this plant, especially for beginners, because propagating it requires being a little bolder than just snipping a small cutting off of a vine. Despite it being a little scary, these plants propagate really easily!

    To propagate your Dracaena, take a pair of strong and clean pruning shears and cut the stem. You should cut below the leaves and include several nodes in your cut.

    New growth will appear on the mother plant where you made the cut, so be mindful of where you want to have the new growth.

    You can place your cuttings directly into your potting mix or you can root them in water first and then transfer them.

    Place your cuttings in bright, indirect light. If they’re in water, replace the water when it becomes grimy and top it off when you notice it evaporating.

    You’ll be able to see the new roots forming, which will sprout from the nodes on the cutting. When your roots are a few inches long, you should be able to transfer the cuttings into your potting mix.

    Dracaena marginata facing changes in natural habitat

    Madagascar and Mauritius are witnessing changes in weather patterns, more specifically as regards rain and precipitation.

    Some areas receive less water than ever before, leading to a first signs of desertification. The land is more arid and dry. Precipitations are fewer and farther between, even as mean temperatures rise. For example, in southern Madagascar, temperatures have risen by 1.6 ° C in the cooler season, and by 2.6 ° C in the warmest season (3 ° F and 5 ° F respectively).

    Total amounts of water decrease, and tend to concentrate on fewer days. This means flash floods are more likely than they were in the past, and most of the water is lost to runoff instead of seeping into the soil.

    From an agricultural point of view, weather patterns are more erratic and unpredictable. This means crops and cultures are lost to flooding or drought. As a result, foraging increases to compensate lost crops and new fields put pressure on previously pristine habitats.

    All this seems to hint that in their own native environment, some plants like Dracaena marginata might have to be surveyed and protected against habitat loss. Precautions must taken to keep them from being wiped out. Even massive wild Dracaena marginata are at risk of disappearing. Indeed, although evolution has gifted them with the strong coping mechanisms described above, they might not suffice given the magnitude of these changes.

    Quick Growing and Care Guide

    • Scientific Name:Dracaena marginata
    • Common Name (s): Madagascar Dragon Tree, Dragon Tree, Dragontree, Spanish dagger, Rainbow tree, Red-stemmed dracaena.
    • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): 10 to 12 / H1b (outside in the summer). Often grown indoors as a Houseplant.

    Plant Details

    • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Evergreen. Tree.
    • Plant Height: 12 to 20 feet (4 to 6 m). Bushy habit.
    • Plant Spread: 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 m)
    • Blooms: Spring
    • Flower Details: Green-white. Tiny. Fragrant.
    • Leaf Foliages: Sword-shaped. Long. Dark green with red edges. Colorful cultivars available.
    • Fruit: Berry. Orange or red.

    Growing Conditions

    • Best Light Conditions: Partial shade, Indirect sunlight
    • Suitable Soil Types: Well drained. Loam
    • Suitable Soil pH: 6 to 7
    • Soil Soil Moisture: Fairly moist whilst in the growing season. Dryer in the autumn and winter.
    • Sowing, planting, and Propagation: Sow seeds on the surface in spring. Initially soak seeds for four or five days in tepid water. Sow in pots containing slightly moist potting compost. Use plastic lid or cling film to maintain moisture until germination occurs. Germination temperature: 70 to 80 ° F (21 to 27 ° C). Once seedling emerge relocate pots to an area with indirect light.
      Propagate from semi-ripe or hardwood cuttings in the summer.
    • Care: Requires year round temperatures of above 41 ° F (5 ° C) just to survive (may need to grow under glass) ideally the majority of the year temperature should remain above 65 ° F (18 ° C). Leaves will drop off if exposed to cold temperatures. If growing in containers it is fine to share with other Dragon trees whatever their size.
    • Houseplant Care: Grow in indirect sunlight. Ideal temperatures 65 to 80 ° F (18 ° to 27 ° C). Well drained lose soil or potting mix. Water about every two weeks with fluoride free water (to prevent leaf discolouration) when top 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of soil are completely dry. Prune tops to control height (new shoots appear after about two to three weeks). Use weak fertilizer twice a year (once in spring, and again in autumn). Spray leaves occasionally with water. Remove spider mites with soapy water. Spots on leaves are a sign that a plant is receiving too much light leaves lack vibrant colors if too much shade. Re-pot plants into bigger pots about every two years.

    Further Information

    • Best used for: Containers, House Plant, Conservatory, Removing chemicals from the air.
    • Miscellaneous: Drought tolerant. Gets its name from the Ancient Greek word for Female Dragon. Aggressive roots.
    • Family: Asparagaceae
    • The plant's family Asparagaceae contains closely related species and generate to Dracaena such as: Yucca plantHow to grow Asparagus and Galtonia
    • Further Reading and References used for this Dracaena marginata growing guide:How To Care For Dracaena Marginata and NC State Extension

    I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Dracaena marginata. You may also enjoy the following Asparagus family growing guides: How to grow Aspidistra elatior and Puschkinia plants.

    Video: How to Propagate Dracaena Colorama. Marginata Cuttings by Water and Soil

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