How to Grow and Care for Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree)

Last Updated on November 3, 2022 by Stephanie

Dracaena Marginatas are stunning house plants which add an edgy vibe to the home. Additionally, they are easy to care for.

But, as with all plants, there are some techniques and tips that can help make the care of these plants simpler.

The most important thing to take away from these plants is the need to make sure that the Dracaena is able to get dry between irrigations and to protect it from direct sunlight.

Dracaena Tree Types

The plant is native to Madagascar Around 120 species of succulent plants and trees are part of the Genus Dracaena and are part of the Asparagaceae family (the same family that includes vegetables).

There are wide varieties of Madagascar Dragon Tree Plant, the most popular ones are:

  • Classic Dragon Tree: Traditional Madagascar Dragon Plant trees have dark-green leaves and red in the center.
  • Dracaena Marginata Tricolor: The tricolor Dracaena species has dark red edges and green leaves and an off-white stripe running down the middle part of the leaf.
  • Dracaena Marginata Bicolor: It is a particular kind of Dracaena. Its leaves have a deep green hue and are lined with red, forming bands of emerald-green and off-white.
  • Dracaena Marginata Colorama: Dracaena Marginata Colorama Dracaena Colorama is the color of a reddish or pinkish-colored leaf and variegated green and white stripes with a hint of red.
  • Dracaena Marginata Tarzan: This kind of Dragon Tree has a similar hue to the original dragon tree, but the leaves are more robust, wider, and denser.

Is Dracaena Marginata Good as an Indoor Plant?

Dragon Trees are a popular indoor plant with stunning, tall, slim leaves that have red edges. They are ideal for novice gardeners because theyre not concerned about lighting conditions and can withstand drought they are the perfect blend of hardiness and beauty, making them the perfect houseplant.

Furthermore, they can reach 20 feet in height outdoors but will never grow much higher than 6 feet inside (especially when you trim the tree back).

How to Propogate Dracaena Marginata 

Propagation of Dracaenas is best suited to older plants, as their canes begin to become leggy as the leaf area increases in the plant. This provides lots of materials to use.

Similar to pruning, dragon plants are best propagated in the summer and springtime. Dracaena are simple plants to grow by cuttings of stems. They can be extremely slow to grow however they are simple to grow.

Dracaena Marginata

To propagate follow these steps:

  1. Cut Stem: All the leaves develop from the stems ends (called canes), So all you have to do is choose the branch or stalk you want to grow. With sharp, clean scissors, cut the stem approximately 3 inches below the leaves at an angle of 45 degrees.
  2. Put in Water: Put the plant in the water. Make sure the stem is submerged and the leaves are not floating in the water.
  3. Put in Sunlight: Put the new plant in bright, indirect sunlight. Wait!

 After a couple of weeks in the water, and when you begin to notice the roots appear the plant should be transferred into the potting soil. Select the right size pot based on the size of your cane as well as its roots.

In order to accelerate the process of propagation, you can soak the root of your cuttings into a growth hormone prior to placing it.

After the stem is removed, it is possible to cut the parent stem back. The cane of the stem that is now exposed that is on the plants parent will sprout new shoots as well.

Related: How to Propagate Dracaena Marginata

How to Care For Dracaena 

In this article, well examine the Dracaena Marginatas maintenance, its needs for light, its preferences for humidity, and other tips to help it look and feel its best.

How Often To Water Dracaena Marginata

If youre looking for Dracaena Marginata irrigation it is possible to consider it to be one of the most easy plants to care for. When compared to other plants, youll see it to be similar to a succulent that requires regular watering for 5 to seven days.

Dragon Trees require only a little water, and excessive amounts can cause harm to the trees. To make sure youre not drowning the tree (or flooding it) make sure to wait until the top 2 inches of soil is dry prior to giving it another watering.

If you are watering your Dracaena make sure you do it in a thorough manner. Make sure there is no water left over in the container. The plants will benefit from containers with drainage holes.

In the growing seasons in spring and summer, ensure that you water your Dragon Tree Dracaena once every 2 to 4 weeks, based on the soils moisture levels. In the winter seasons, you need to be sure to water them at least every 4 weeks.

Related: How to Water Dracaena Marginata

How to Tell if Dracaena Marginata is Overwatered or Underwatered

Over and underwatering can cause the leaves of your plant to alter color or become droopy. Dragon plants arent happy being in wet, muddy soil, and this could cause root decay. Another issue that is common is when the leaves of the plant begin to curl or become brown.

The most frequent error made by many plant owners is to over-water. In general, for Dracaena, you should only water the plant after the soil is dry.

Symptoms of Overwatering

As with many drought-tolerant plants, its not difficult to drown the Dragon Tree. If you notice that the plants leaves are turning yellow or brown tips in its leaf.

In this situation, its typically an indication that the water is getting excessive amounts of water or the water is contaminated with fluoride or salt.

If you suspect that your plant is being overwatered, you can try getting rid of the extra water by draining the excess away from the soil. Or stop irrigation until you see that the upper layer of the soil is dry.

Symptoms of Underwatering

In contrast to excessive watering, if your plant is receiving inadequate water, youll see the leaves start to turn yellow. The leaves will begin to appear wrinkled on their canes, and the tips on the leaf will start to dry and eventually turn crisp and brown.

If this occurs, it is recommended to provide your plant with water as soon as you can.

Light Requirements for Dracaena Marginata 

The dragon trees are thriving in direct and bright light however, they also thrive in partial shade. They are popular in both residential as well as commercial structures, mainly because they have a contemporary and sleek design and dont require much in terms of lighting.

Be aware that plants placed in low lighting conditions tend to develop slower and produce fewer leaves. Additionally, it is important to ensure that the plant is not in direct sunlight since the leaves can easily be burned.

Does a Dracaena Marginata Need Much Light?

Dragon plants like medium and indirect sunlight. They are also able to thrive in areas with low light levels, but they might not appear at their best under these conditions.

Bleached leaves that have brown or dry yellow spots usually indicate that the plant is receiving too excessive sunlight. The slow growth rate, the thin leaves, and pale new leaves can also be signs of a lack of light.

How Much Light Does Dracaena Marginata Need?

Dracaena Marginata plants prefer moderate light, but they can be able to thrive in low light. Be aware that, although they are tolerant of lower light conditions, they wont produce foliage with the same brightness as they do with indirect sunlight.

Signs That Dracaena Marginata Needs More Light

The pale, bleached leaves slow growth and tiny new leaves are typically a sign that the plant isnt getting enough sunlight or is low humidity.

If you are experiencing low humidity as the issue, you can periodically mist the leaves of your plant or put them in a small tray filled with pebbles and water.

Can a Dracaena Marginata Take Full Sun?

The Dracaena Marginata thrives best in subtropical and tropical climates. They do well even in winters with cold temperatures. It is like indirect sunlight in soil that is well-drained.

Dracaena is able to thrive in light to moderately low levels. However, the leaves appear best when they are exposed to indirect sunlight. Too much sun or not enough humidity may cause browning of the leaves.

The suns rays can cause burns to the leaves and frequently cause the leaves of your plant to turn brown.

Soil Requirements of Dracaena Marginata

Dragon trees require little maintenance and are able to thrive in almost any well-drained soil. If you are growing Dracaena Marginata in a pot, make sure its in a well-drained, loose pot mix.

Loam or perlite soils with an acidity of 6-7 and a little peat moss are often the best choice. It is possible to check your Dracaena Marginata pH levels using the help of a test kit at home.

Also, ensure that the dragon plants container or pot is large enough to provide space for its vast root system. It should be at least a couple of inches bigger than the ball of root to ensure it can ensure that your root can have room to expand.

What Temperature is Best for Dracaena Marginata 

Dracaena Marginata plants like temperatures that range between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is fine for the average household temperature However, in the event that your plants surroundings are very dry, you might consider misting your plant lightly with spray bottles.

It is also important to protect your dragon tree from vents and drafts which could dry out the leaves.

If your house isnt as warm, ensure that your plants are in a warm and comfortable spot to keep warm.

Does Dracaena Marginata Like Humidity?

If youre concerned about the humidity of your area, these dragon plants thrive best in areas with up to 80 percent humidity. If you live in an area that is dry it is possible to increase the humidity around your plant.

To monitor the level of moisture in your plant, you could invest in a digital hydrometer. It is also possible to try other methods to increase the amount of humidity within your plants surroundings:

  • Use a Humidifier: By installing the humidifier for plants in the room.
  • Use a Pebble Tray: Place the Dracaena on the Pebble tray and then add water.
  • Spray Plant: It is possible to mist your plants every couple of days using the help of a spray bottle.

How To Care For Dracaena Marginata During Winter

However, Dracaena Marginata houseplants dont need any special considerations while getting ready for winter.

However, there are certain steps you should take to help your plants in the garden to withstand the colder temperatures.

If the temperature is dropping and the suns not as strong during the colder months of winter, its recommended to place your plant next to a window that is large. In the cold winter months, Dracaenas require only periodic watering as the soil is dry.

As soon as spring arrives and the sun gets more intense, you can move the plant back to a more shaded area in the home.

Leaves Turning Yellow on Dracaena Marginata

It is possible to see the beautiful Dracaena Marginata leaves changing color. Its usually completely normal and not a cause for concern.

If you start to notice an alarming amount of leaves becoming yellow and then shedding off your plant, particularly at the highest point, this could be an indication of either under or excessive watering.

The main cause for yellowing leaves is insufficient soil moisture, which is caused by excessive watering. The dragon tree prefers being kept in moist (but not saturated or wet) soil. The browning and yellowing of leaves are the initial indications that your plant might have root decay or that root decay is likely to develop.

How to Fertilize a Dragon Plant 

Dragon plants are slow-growing during the summer as well as winter time. They dont require fertilizer as often, and its certainly not an essential element of their growth.

You can however make use of it to increase the growth of your dragon plant by feeding them only lightly in the early spring. If youre in search of an effective fertilizer for the dragon plant, it is recommended to use 10-10-10 fertilizers. Add every two weeks throughout the fall and spring seasons. A well-balanced fertilizer that is smart-release can be used in this case.

When To Prune a Dracaena Marginata  

As Ive previously mentioned that Dracaena Marginata plants arent particularly difficult to handle. Its a simple matter of using a pair of sharp garden scissors to trim off the tips that are yellow or brown. The leaves that are at the bottom tend to turn yellow and die, and thats totally normal.

Diseases Common to Dracaena Marginata 

Dragon trees are hardy plants, but that does not mean that theyre immune to diseases, spider mites, and even mealybugs. Check out the most common problems that plants might face and how we can address these issues.

Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata 

As with many plants, Over-watering the Dracaena Marginata plants is a typical error that can lead to root decay.

If the plants are in soil that is wet for longer than they should, the canes could turn mushy, and the roots could rot away.

The best guideline to follow is to make sure the soil of your plant is left to dry out between waterings and make sure the planter has adequate drainage.

Root rot interferes with the plants capacity to function normally. In addition to the mushy roots that are black, youll also observe their leaves begin to change color.

Pest and Insect Invasions

Although pests arent frequent on Dracaenas Scale as well as spider mites and mealybugs may be found within your plants beautiful foliage.

To stop such pests from occurring, it is recommended to regularly check your leaves, particularly the undersides.

Mealybugs resemble tiny cotton balls and frequently use plants as their habitat for breeding, protecting, and releasing a toxin on the leaves of plants when they feed. Spider mites are another aphid that resides on the underside of leaves and literally sucks the life from the plants you love so much.

To get rid of an infestation of insects, it is possible to apply rubbing alcohol that has been diluted by half with water. Spray the plants (if its a bigger plant) or make use of a q-tip, and be certain to reach the nodes. It is also possible to eliminate the problem by wiping the leaves with insecticide soap.

Why Leaves are Curling on Dracaena Marginata

Madagascar Dragon Tree leaves curling can be due to high temperatures and low levels of humidity. Other causes are:

  • Incorrect watering
  • Salt accumulation in the soil
  • Intoxication from fertilizer
  • Insufficient nutrition
  • Insect infestation
  • Infections caused by fungi or disease
  • Lights that are too bright

Dropping Leaves on Dracaena Marginata 

If you notice that your Dracaena leaves start falling more often than not, the first thing to be looking at is whether you are overwatering.

The soil must be dry to the touch after irrigation. Another issue is if your plant is not getting enough water.

The leaves of their species can be able to begin dropping because of the weather, cold winds, or even if the temperature is scorching hot. Madagascar dragon trees respond dramatically when they encounter colder weather or drafts.

Why Your Dracaena Marginata is Dying

Most of the time, the root rot is caused by overwatering and is one of the primary causes that cause the delicious Marginata to die. If you suspect that your plant is suffering from root rot, you should take the following steps:

  • Remove Canes: Cut off dead canes
  • Expose Roots: Let the plant sit on its exposed roots for a few days.
  • Remove Wet Soil: Eliminate the soil that is wet.
  • Repot: Pot your Dracaena in a container smaller than the ball of root
  • Check Drainage: Make sure the root is a proper drainage system in the base

Brown Spots or Edges on Dracaena Marginata

There are several reasons for brown spots appearing at the edges and tips of the Dracaena Marginatas leaf.

  • Sensitivity to Water: One of the most common causes is when there is excessive fluoride or chlorine in tap water. The easiest solution for this issue is to fill a glass with water and then leave it for at least 24 hours in order to allow the fluoride and chlorine to evaporate. Another option is to make use of rainwater or distilled water.
  • Inconsistently Watering: One of the most common reasons for the brown marks on your Dracaena Marginata plant is because of inconsistent watering. If the soil is dried out excessively, the tips of the leaves may begin to brown and develop spots. To prevent this from happening, make sure to water your plant every 7 to 10 days or whenever the upper 75% of the soil is dry.
  • Leaf Spot Diseases: If you notice tiny brown spots with yellow trims appearing on the leaves of your plant, your plant could be suffering from the leaf spot disorder. It is imperative to take the affected leaves off and separate your plant from other plants. It is possible to treat the problem with an at-home remedy using spray bottles and adding one or two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of mineral oil.

Spider Mites on Dracaena Marginata

Although they arent often apparent by the naked eye, Spider mites are a frequent issue for Dracaenas. Small streaks of yellow or brown on leaves are an indication that your plant might be suffering from the disease.

To eliminate or get rid of spider mites, make a spray using just a few drops of mild dish soap diluted with water.

It is also possible to use insecticidal soap to treat a severe infestation. Make sure you get the leafs undersides as this is their primary habitat and is the place where they hang out.

Is Dracaena Marginata Safe or Toxic For Cats?

Dragon plants are a source of saponins that are poisonous to cats as well as dogs and horses. The signs of Dracaena Marginata poisoning could be:

  • Vomiting (with occasional blood)
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Lots of salivation
  • Heart rate increases
  • The pupils are dilated (in cats)

Related: Is Dracaena Marginata Toxic to Cats?

Is Dracaena Marginata Poisonous to Humans?

Dracaena can be poisonous to cats and dogs but not to humans. The chemical responsible for being the primary culprit in harming our pets is saponin. In the event that your dog has consumed some of the plants, it is recommended to contact your veterinarian immediately.





Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)