Dracaena marginata: Tropical Houseplant

Madagascar Dragon Tree

Dracaena marginata or Madagascar dragon tree grows into an impressively large house plant in a short time. It looks good in both formal and informal settings. As an added bonus, it is easy to grow.

The 12-15 inch long wispy leaves are usually less than an inch wide. They radiate evenly out from around the plant’s inch thick canes. Each leaf comes to a sharp point at the tip.

6 foot tall Dracaena marginata 'Tricolor' growing in Nassau, Bahamas.

There are two forms. A plain green and another with cream and red stripes at the outer margins of the leaves called Dracaena marginata tricolor.

The striped form, though very adaptable, is not quite as tolerant of neglect as the plain green.

Both forms require a high light environment and must be kept warm at all times.

The green variety will endure more sporadic watering.

It is best to keep the soil of these plants barely moist to the touch. The lower leaves will drop if it gets too dry.

Eventually, the old leaves will fall and expose the attractive canes regardless of the care the plant receives. Although this Dracaena house plant enjoys good light, it does not need direct sun. Grow it near an east window or in front of a south or west facing window that is dressed in sheers.

Tricolor needs brighter light to maintain its variegation.

Dragon Tree Temperature Range

This is what makes this a Dracaena house plant for most people. It will not survive the least bit of frost. I ignorantly planted one I had grown from a 4 inch pot size into a 5 foot specimen out into the open ground the year we built our home.

It was gone with the first frost.

We have seen it growing splendidly out doors in the Bahamas.

Madagascar Dragon Tree Growing Tips

Madagascar Dragon Tree image

When the plant is 3 feet tall, pinch out the growing tips if you want it to branch and become fuller.

As it matures (at around 5 feet tall) your plant may begin to ooze a sticky sap which will cause the top tuft of leaves to stick together. This will prevent it from growing taller and eventually the growing tip will snap off. This will also induce branching lower down the stems.

Keep the plant evenly moist and out of drafts to avoid the leaves browning at the tips. If spider mites attack, the air in the staging area is too dry.

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