Dracaena Marginata

ReklessJanuary 24, 2012

I have a Dracaena Marginata (I think lol) Im a beginner gardener and I dont no much about these plants except what I have read online. If anyone knows anything at all that would help me grow this plant for a long time and keep it healthy I would appreciate it. My dracaena is about a foot and a half from soil and has 6 branches off the top. Today I noticed a few leaves fell off I think I may have over watered it and my soil doesnt seem to be draining well any ideas?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless, D. marginatas are always going to be losing a few leaves from the bottom, as new leaves emerge from the top. Generally, they like things a little on the drier side, and a fair amount of light.

There is probably room for soil improvement, but I will let others address that issue; suffice it to say that my D. marginatas are dang happy in a very fast & coarse potting mix.

If your plant is in a tiny pot & root-bound, it may be a good idea to pot up (put into a bigger pot without disturbing the soil/rootball drastically) temporarily, until a more favorable time for repotting rolls around.


Here is a link that might be useful: an informative page about D. marginata

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The keys to growing your plant well are pretty much what GB mentioned. Good soil is undoubtedly a key issue, and the best light you can manage will go a long way toward helping you maintain the plant at its peak of vitality. For the long term, the ability to flush the soil and still not be concerned about root rot is important. I think you would probably get a lot of useful information at the thread I'll link you to below. It talks about soils, watering, fertilizing, and many of the things you'll need to understand to become proficient.

Take care.


Here is a link that might be useful: An overview for you

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 10:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thank you both both of these links were helpful... If any one has any links with detailed info about propagation of this plant would be great. I have 6 branches off the top of just one stalk so I want to make this into more then one stalk and make like 3 stalks in one potalso Im uploading pictures to a website Im making for my houseplants ill post more info when the site has more images on it thanks again

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless, too bad you don't have a picture for a positive ID.

Over-watering is a sure way to kill D. marginata. In the future, make sure soil is dry before giving a drink.

D. marginata is a care-free plant, 'as long as it's not over-watered.' Does best with some neglect.

Marginatas come in different colors... green, green/cream/pink, green/pink and green/red edge leaves.

I bought this baby at our local grocery store for 1.00 in 2007.

In 2005 I also purchased green/red egde, same store, same price, 1.00. As an experiment, I potted both marginatas together.

Here's the outcome.

D. Marginata's do well in bright light. If light/sun is too low, leaves grow thin and lose color.
Although they don't like wet feet, they need humidity.
Well-draining soil is imperative, as are drainage holes..

When you get your marginata? Leaf drop is common in mature plants, but rare with youngin's.

When a marginata is over-watered, leaves first yellow then fall..Toni

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zzackey(8b GA)

I worked in a plant nursery years ago and my boss said they don't like perlite in the soil. It is bad for them. Sorry no real data to back that up. I have just cut them off and stuck them in the soil and they root easily. I would wait until the summertime to try and root them. Take all but 2 or 3 leaves off and stick your cuttings in regular potting soil. Keep the foliage misted daily because they have no roots to take up water with.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Zack. I once read, (unknown blog) Perlite contains either Flouride/Flourine or Chlorine..Really can't recall.
However, I thought Perlite was simply glass?? Don't know enough about its components, only that it works, lol.

The author of this blog said, Perlite can be rinsed before use.

People have their reasons why 'X' medium should or shouldn't be used.
I add Perlite in soil for all plants: Tropicals, Sub-Tropicals and Succulents.

Wish you could remember the reason the nursery you worked for said it's bad for D. marginatas. Toni

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless, I have a pot of 2, with 3 trunks each. I fattened them up over the summer (like the Witch did to Hansel), then cut all of the tops off in mid-Sept or so. I had 100% success rate rooting the cuttings in the gritty mix & lots of sun!

It took a while (like 2 or 3 months!), but each of the 6 total stalks has 3 new tops emerging. I was a little worried, because the back-budding took WAAAY longer than rooting the pruned tops, but I kept watering them a little bit & waiting... I even scratched the skin to make sure they were still alive!

If you want your plant to rebound well from the pruning & for the starts to have the best chance to root, I would wait a while & let your plant get very fat & sassy before you lop the tops off.

I will post some before & after pics, once I take one of the new shoots coming on.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree 100% with the concept expressed by GB - of allowing your plants to get to the point where they are bursting with energy for the best results when taking cuttings (and other major undertakings like full repots & heavy pruning), but I would suggest you do it earlier in the summer - unless you have excellent light indoors. This allows you to operate outdoors (if you live in more northerly climes), gives you the advantage of longer and more intense light, and allows a longer period of more active growth before the plant's own natural rhythms move it toward the winter slowdown.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

GB I look forward to seeing pictures, and to the perlite issue everything I have read about Dracaenas so far said to use a good potting soil with peat moss and perlite I recently bought Premium Nature Mix its a professional tropical plant mix that contains peat moss, humus, compost, and perlite it says it is made with organic materials as well. I was told this would work excellent any one have any opinions? Also I live in ontario, Canada and the winter hear hasnt been as bad as the years before but the sun still is not as bright these days any ideas on what would be best for indoor artificail lighting ? I was thinking of making a stand for my 2 trees ( Dracaena Marginata and a chinise Money Tree) and attaching a light above them to help the lighting situation would this be a good idea or is natural light best?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Zackey (and others), it USED to be a commonly accepted theory that the fluoride contained in perlite caused problems for sensitive plants.

However, the jury has gone back into the deliberation room on this one! The most recent studies that I've seen suggest that perlite might not be a problem, after all. Fluoride is pretty easily leached from perlite, and not likely to build up to damaging levels, especially when used as just one component in a potting medium.

Perlite is a very popular rooting medium, as well as a potting medium amendment. I've used it quite often in that manner with great success.

Toni, you would be correct in calling perlite a type of 'glass'. It is, in its natural state, a siliceous volcanic rock (silica is what glass is made from) that when expanded by temperatures of greater than around 1700 degrees F, bursts open like popcorn. That comparison is a natural one, since it is the small amount of moisture contained in a kernel of popcorn AND rock perlite that causes them both to burst.

Rekless, a couple of the ingredients in your Premium Nature Mix can cause problems when used in the confines of a container. The humus and compost are typically too fine-textured to be able to provide the large percentage of large pore spaces that help create a fast draining, coarse textured potting medium. Both of those ingredients can quickly turn muddy and mucky in a container, which is the last thing you want. Or, should I say, the last thing your PLANTS want.

Please know that I have never seen (nor touched) this particular product, but am speaking on general terms. My opinion is that this product would work very well as a soil amendment in my vegetable garden but not as a medium in any of my containers.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if I mixed some small rocks in with my potting soil would this help the drainage. I have noticed this morning that the top layer of my soil looks to be getting a thin layer of what looks like mold I need to get rid of this problem assap because my girlfriend is pregnant and I dont want mold spores floating in the air. So i want to repot to get rid of the moldy soil and want to make sure the water drains well so I dont get this problem again.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless..is the company that sells this soil, Hortibec?


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Rekless - It's not likely mold on the soil - probably minerals that were dissolved in the water in the soil that were left behind as water evaporated from the soil surface.

Small rocks & perlite do little to promote drainage. They can reduce water retention, but have little effect on how quickly water moves through the soil or the ht of the perched water table. The amount of perched water the soil retains, which is the water that occupies the lower layer of water retentive soils and refuses to drain, is what has the greatest negative effect on root health. Soils that retain little or no perched water are easier to grow in and offer much greater opportunity for plants to grow to their potential.

Soils made primarily of particles larger than peat/compost/coir/sand/ and other fine particulates drain better, offer better aeration, and provide the grower with a much wider margin for error.

If you want a short course on some basic soil science, you can follow the link below, or ask if you have questions.


Here is a link that might be useful: More info

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Al, you agree 100% because I'm passing along information that originally came from you :D


From Dracaena marginata

From Dracaena marginata From Dracaena marginata

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toni ... yes the company that makes the soil is hortibec. is this no good? and I have pictures uploaded on http://d-marginata.webnode.com please check them out and let me no what everyone thinks. I have a picture where I show the window that my tree is located in this is not a sunny day it was raining, I will post a picture of how much sun comes in on a good day.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Check out the pictures I posted please comment ! and Great pictures GB Cant wait for mine to grow niice and big... Check out my images at the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: House Plants

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Reckless. I've never used Hortibec's soil; it's not sold here, but very few brands are.

However, I did a search to make sure the soil is for indoor potting. It is.

I would use it for my marginata. Even though it contains Perlite, I'd add more plus Pea Gravel and bark. Additional mediums help with drainage.
To make myself clear, when I say bark, it could be Orchid Bark or other barks on the market. Orchid bark is a little more costly but other barks are sold in 20+ pound bags.

Rekless. What direction does your window face?
During winter, place before a south or west window. During summer, on the brghtest days, an east is sufficient, or a few feet from south or west.

You need to learn how to water properly.
What size is the pot your marginata is in? Do you know how to measure pot size?

The pot shouldn't be too much larger than the root ball. As your plant grows, repot in a bigger containers.

Watering. Marginatas do not like constantly wet soil. Roots will rot.

Before watering, insert your finger or a stick deep within soil beside roots. If your finger/stick comes out wet, do not water. Wait a few days and recheck.
The larger the pot, the longer soil will take to dry.
When soil looks crumbly on top, and your finger/stick comes out clean/dry, then water. Not before.
It's better soil stays on the dry side than moist.

Rekless, after time goes by, you'll figure it out. It'll come naturally.

Fertilizing now isn't necessary, especially after it's newly repotted.

Keep your marginata away from a heating source. Vents, etc. Place in an airy room.
I mist my marginata's leaves..spraying is a good way to keep dust off. Or placing in the sink/shower and hosing. Try not to hit soil if it's wet, not ready for a drink of water.

That's about it. Everyone has their own way growing plants. The suggestions I've made is how I grow my own Dracaena marginatas.

Good luck, if you have any other questions, please ask.

BTW, what is the pic you wanted me to see on the link you posted? The marginata? Toni

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 7:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless. Ah, that picture opened..Is it your tree??

Although it's D. marginta, I don't know which cultivar it is. But it is D. marginata.

You mentioned mold but I forgot to look, lol. I'll have to go back and check.

Actually, your tree is nice-looking. I love its shape. Toni

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes I like it as well thats why I want to do everything I can to keep it growing and living healthy. And thanks for the info about the hortibec soil it was much appreciated :) The pot my D. Marginata is in is the pot it came from in the store when I repot I will check to make sure pot size is a good size I heard leaving about an inch from root to side of the pot is good to measure is this sound about right? and thanks again Toni for all the helpful info. I will be sure to ask if I need anything else!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jae..Yep, even 2" larger is fine...best to repot in spring. This way roots have room to grow during summer months.

I was looking at your Pachira/Money Tree, Kalanchoe combo. Cute.

Take care, and good luck with your Dracaena, Toni

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Toni. The winter here hasnt been really cold but I am definitly going to wait till spring. I also have recently received a duate Calamondin orange tree I belive its about a foot tall has anyone had experience with these I dont no if this tree will get enough light to produce fruit although it has 2 on there that are turing orange now? I looked them up last night and mostly I was getting to put them outside as soon as its nice enough to let the tree grow a full yeild of fruit?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Recless, congrats on your Citrus. Citrus are fun-growing.

Is your Calamondin a bush or tree-shaped?

Do you have south or west windows? A place outside during summer?

Citrus love being outdoors, in sun, fresh air and humidity.

I took a few pics of my citrus the other day, but didn't get a shot of the entire tree because it was too cold to take outside..

The last is lemon..they're very yellow, but look orange on the pics..don't know the reason.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hey Toni My Citrus Tree is a tree shape and it is only about a foot tall and already has 2 small little oranges on it. Do they grow big? There about the size of yours in the picture... When could I try one lol? Also I will be putting it outside in the summer Im counting down the days untill there is some nice weather for more plants to go out and catch some fresh air and some sun.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rekless, that is a neat-looking Dracaena! I think the shorter leaves are quite striking.

The foliage pic after the soils pics shows a few leaves that incline me to suggest that you take a look for spider mites on that plant - some of the leaves have that "sucked-on" appearance - keep an eye out for fine webbing and red or white "dots".

Dracaena's don't usually have problems with pests, but sometimes, in a big store with lots of other plants, things can happen.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 9:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello Rekless.

Hey, congrats on your new oranges.

Rekless, there are several different varieties. Some have small fruit, some medium, others large.

Taste differs, too..sour or sweet.

Once oranges are deep in color, feel ripe, they're ready to eat.
However, beware..some sour oranges are much to bitter--your lips will pucker, lol.

For instance, Calamondin has golf ball size fruit. These fruit are often used to make jelly/jam/marmalades.

Mandarin orange is medium size. Some people consider the fruit sweet, others say they're bitter.

Navel oranges are large. Most navels I've eaten are sweet or sweet if completely ripe. And very tasty.

Do you have a pic of your orange tree?

I'm glad you have access to a yard. Setting plants outdoors in summer is their vacation. Lots of sun, fresh air, humidity, etc.

I love citrus scent..flowers and fruit. Some leaves emit fragrace, especially lemons.

If you have any questions, or need help, ask away..

Hello Gravy...Toni

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is this a dracaena marginita? I don't know what it is for sure...

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, Josh. & welcome to Gardenweb!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Perlite is supposed to be inert but fluorine? I hate the stuff personally, looks to white, is too lightweight and always comes to the surface, then turns yellow . Try vermiculite instead.

BTW as its a latin name the second name should begin with a lower case letter, hence marginata rather than Marginata.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Money tree problems
Hi, I'm having some trouble with my Money Tree. It...
Can i repot a pothos by sticking it in a larger pot and adding soil?
I have some pothos that are in 4 inch pots. I need...
White bugs in saucer under spider plant
I found a pile of these small white bugs in the saucer...
Caitlin Maraist
Who am I?
I was at WM and this fellow was on clearance and jumped...
Peperomia "Rosso"
I bought this plant recently....does anyone else have...
Sponsored Products
4 ft. Dracaena Silk Plant - 6650
$89.99 | Hayneedle
Corn Stalk Dracaena 62-inch 'Real Touch' Silk Plant
Dracaena Real Touch Silk Plant
Dracaena Leaves Shadowbox - WHITE
$250.00 | Horchow
Fosters Point Planter With Dracaena And Boston Fern
Beyond Stores
48-in. Dracaena Silk Plant - 6585
$69.99 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™