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Dracaena Marginata

How to Care for the Dracaena Marginata Plant

The Madagascar Dragon Tree is among the easiest houseplants to grow. It is attractive, very inexpensive to buy, and rates highly on NASA’s list of houseplants that absorb toxins from indoor air. The plant ensures the air in your residence is of better quality.

Dracaena Marginata can grow up to 20 feet in warm outdoor climates. However, most people prune it to less than 6 feet and grow it as a potted houseplant. Similar to several indoor trees, the plant withstands a wide range of temperatures. For that reason, it is a popular potted plant in offices and homes.

Dracaena Marginata

How To Grow a Dragon Tree

It is vital to plant the Dragon tree in well-draining soil with peat moss. You should water it regularly and place it in a location where there is indirect light.

Water

Overwatering this plant can lead to several problems. Only water the dracaena marginata tree when the top half of the soil is dry. You can dip your index finger into the soil to test the moisture level. When you water your plant, give it thorough watering and avoid overwatering since it can lead to root rot. If there is any water collecting in the drip tray, tip it out. The Dracaena marginata and other plants in its genus are sensitive to fluoride. It can cause them to get discolored. Water your dragon tree with non-fluoridated or distilled water to avoid fluoride.

Light

Moderate indirect light is best for the Dragon tree. The plant can survive in dim light, but the growth rate can be slow, and the leaves can be small with less color intensity. Placing the dracaena marginata under the full sun can burn its leaves.

Temperature and Humidity

The dracaena marginata plant thrives at similar temperatures to humans. If you are comfortable with the temperatures in your property, the plant will be too.

Dracaena Marginata

Temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit are the ideal temperatures for the dragon plant. Also, the humidity in your house should be adequate, and if dry, light misting using a spray bottle can help improve humidity levels in your property. 

Feeding

The Dracaena Marginata plant does very well without any feeding. During a transplant, the soil has plenty of nutrients that can keep it going for a few weeks. However, you can feed the plant lightly twice a year or at the beginning of spring with a slow-release fertilizer. The occasional fertilizer can encourage bushy new growth. Alternatively, you can annually change the topsoil to introduce fresh nutrients.

Potting and Re-Potting

Re-potting is best done when the roots are congested or when the plant’s growth rate is slow. Re-potting is vital for the plant’s health. Young dracaena marginata require re-potting every two years. After the plant gets to your desired height, do not re-pot any more. Change the soil to freshen up nutrients in the pot and prevent the soil from getting too compacted.

Propagation

There are various ways one can propagate dracaena marginata. Propagation is best done on older plants since, with time the canes can become longer as the leaf area grows higher. One can propagate using stem cutting rooted in water. Most nurseries and retailers use this propagation technique, which takes around three weeks for roots to sprout. Experts do not recommend the use of the rooting hormone.

Dracaena Marginata Varieties

Dracaena Marginata Tarzan

This dragon tree is unique and has longer and broader leaves with glossy green and purple edges. Its foliage sticks out in all directions making a ball shape that is different from that of the ordinary Dragon Tree.

Dracaena Marginata Tricolor

It has a yellow stripe at the center of each green leaf and red lines at the external edges. At a distance, the yellow stripes give the plant a golden appearance.

Dracaena Marginata Colorama

The plant features colors similar to the tricolor. The difference is the thick and more pronounced reddish-pink stripe on the leaves edges that provides the plant with a pink appearance overall.

Dracaena Marginata Toxicity

As beautiful as the plant may look, it is poisonous to dogs and cats but not to humans. Cats chew the Dragon Tree leaves, which contain toxic alkyds. Poisoning symptoms include excessive salivation and vomiting. A veterinarian may induce vomiting and provide fluids to hydrate the animal as Dracaena poisoning treatment. 

Common Problems

The Dracaena Marginata plant is disease resistant. However, it is vulnerable to thrips, scale, and mealybugs. You can identify the mealybugs quickly since they leave small cottony deposits that are sticky. The plant is also susceptible to common plant pests such as spider mites. They occur during warm temperatures. However, it is difficult to see the mites until they damage your plant.

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