Houseplant Identification: Dracaena Marginata Tricolor

What houseplant is this? It’s green with white and red edges. It’s currently getting pale, turning brown, and dying.


Hi Aaron,

Your plant is called a dracaena marginata tricolor. This is a stalk plant so it is normal for the bottom leaves to drop off as new leaves appear at the top.  The leaf tips can turn brown for a couple of reasons. Usually, it is the quality of the water you are using. Never use water that has passed though a water softener, it is too salty. If your household water contains a great deal of fluorine or chlorine, allow it to sit out over night before using it or use water from an outdoor hose.

Too much plant food also causes brown leaf tips. Dracaenas are slow-growing plants that do not require a large amount of fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.. Feed monthly in the spring and summer with a water-soluble, well-balanced plant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Do not feed a dracaena in the fall or winter.

Here is a picture of healthy dracaena marginata tri-Color.

How to Identify and care for a dracaena marginata tricolor

You can read all my care tips for a dracaena marginata in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.