Dracaena Marginata


A  Dracaena marginata is a member of the Dracaena family (Asparagaceae), and is often referred to by its common name, Madagascar Dragon Tree. The plant got its nickname because it is native to Madagascar and is related to the Dracaena Draco which means dragon dracaena. When small it can be used as a table plant, but it is especially impressive as a tall, specimen tree and can often be seem decorating large office buildings. A Dracaena marginata is often called a “False Palm” because its long, bare trunk and tufts of leaves at the very top give it a palm-like appearance.

Dracaena Marginata Description and Varieties

A Dracaena marginata is a  stately plant with multiple, snake-like canes, and hundreds of long, thin, leaves. The canes are often thick, twisted, and woody, making them desirable very three very unique appearance. The original variety has narrow, arching, dark green leaves trimmed in deep red. The newer varieties have much more colorful leaves.

Dracaena Marginata Tri-Color has three colors in its long, slender leaves. A yellow stripe separates the green and red stripes.

Dracaena Marginata Colorama again has three colors in the leaves, but the red leaf edges are more prominent which gives the plant a red or deep pink appearance.

Dracaena Marginata Tri-Color Silver has long, thin silver colored leaves

Dracacaena Marginata Tarzan was found growing in Florida only ten years ago. The green leaves are thicker and wider than the usual marginata leaves.

                     Dracaena marginata "tarzan" has long, thick, upright, narrow green leaves.

D.  Tri-Color                 D. Tri- Color Silver      D. Colorama                           D. tarzan


All types of dracaena plants, the D. janet cragii, the D. massangeanna (corn plant dracaena), the dracaena lemon lime, the D. reflexa, and the D. compacta are easy-care, durable, indoor plants well suited for offices and homes. They are extremely tolerant of low light and little water. Dracaenas are stalk plants which means it is normal for them to lose their bottom leaves if they are getting new leaves at the top of the plant. NASA lists a Dracaena marginata as a plant that cleans the air of harmful chemicals. These plants really do thrive on neglect! Check out the tips below to see exactly how to care for a Dracaena Marginata.



Why Do the Tips of My Dracaena Marginata Turn Brown?

Dracaena marginatas develop brown leaf tips when there are chemicals like fluoride, chlorine, and salt in the soil. Using water containing chemicals, over-fertilizing, and using water that has passed through a softener puts these chemicals into the soil and causes leaf burn. Brown tips also indicate that a Dracaena marginata may be over-watered.

Why Do the Bottom Leaves of My Dracaena Marginata Turn Yellow and Fall Off?

Dracaena marginata are cane or stalk plants and it’s normal for them to get a few yellow leaves at the bottom as long as they are getting new leaves at the top. If the soil gets too dry, the plant will get numerous yellow leaves and you should give it more water.

Why Are the Leaves of My Dracaena Marginata Pale and Blotchy Looking?

Spider mites are usually the cause of pale, blotchy leaves on a Dracaena marginata plant. These plant pests are difficult to see but do leave a very fine reddish webbing on the plant and a gritty feel to the surface of the leaves. Spider mites suck the juices from the leaves of plants and cause leaf discoloration. Spray your plant with my ” green solution” every 10 days for a month to get rid of spider mites. (Recipe for making the green solution is in the Glossary of the website)

Why Are the Canes of My Dracaena Getting Soft and Mushy?

Mushy stems and canes on a Dracaena marginata are caused by over-watering which results in root-rot. Root-rot is the number one reason these plants die. Stop watering until the soil is almost dry. Remove all soft and mushy parts of the stems, and move your plant into bright indirect light.