Dracaena Marginata (The Red-stemmed Dracaena)

A Dracaena Marginata is a species of tree within the Asparagaceae plant family. These trees typically originate from Australia, Asia, Africa, and the other (nearly) 120 varieties from this family. The Dracaena Marginata, better known as a dragon tree, has a unique appearance, with long stems and leaves resembling a palm tree. It makes a beautiful greenery addition regardless of where you choose to place it indoors or outdoors, and the best part – it’s super easy to take care of!

If you’ve ever owned a Dracaena Marginata plant, you’ve most likely experienced how relaxing these plants are, with how low-maintenance they tend to be. Of course, those low-maintenance tasks only stick around as long as the plants are adequately cared for. But what happens when the plant starts drooping or is overwatered occasionally? How often do you water such an independent plant? The remainder of this article will provide insight on how a Dracaena Marginata should be taken care of, how to propagate it, and much more.

Dracaena Marginata Types

Dracaena Marginata succulents are available in a range of four popular subspecies – Dracaena Marginata, Dracaena Marginata Tricolor, Dracaena Marginata Colorama, and Dracaena Marginata Tarzan. While each of these cultivars is very similar in shape and style, they each have minor distinctive traits to them as well. Here is a little bit about each variety:

Dracaena Marginata – This is the original succulent that’s been talked about in today’s article. It is also known as the Dragon Tree. This succulent has a blended hue of purple and red along the sides of its beautiful green leaves.

Dracaena Marginata Tricolor – This variety, as the name suggests, consists of three colors – red, yellow, and green. The three shades work together to create an appealing golden, green tint to the succulent leaves.

Dracaena Marginata Colorama – Taking a bit of a step back from the trend of green in these succulent leaves, the Dracaena Marginata Colorama takes a more vivid, red-pink approach. This variety shares the three-color trait that we see with the Marginata Tricolor; however, its red hues appear much more vibrant along the leaf’s edges.

Dracaena Marginata Tarzan – This final variety is much more distinctive than the other cultivars mentioned above. Dracaena Marginata Tarzan is hardier, with more substantial and thicker leaves than the others have. In addition, this succulent possesses unique leaves as the tops spin off into a ball-like shape with spiky leaves coming off of it.

potted dracaena marginata
Photo by @kwplantpopup via Instagram

How To Take Care of Dracaena Marginata

When kept in a healthy state, these plants can flourish to up to ten inches tall, and they can remain living for years to come. However, Dracaena Marginata is a relatively simple plant to raise, some highly recommended tips to keep in mind while establishing a health care routine. If you’re new to owning a Dracaena Marginata, these following few sections will help a vast amount to keep your trees healthy.

Finding The Best Gardening Pot

We should plant these dragon trees within a pot with drain holes placed in the bottom. The pot should be wide enough for the Dracaenas roots to expand throughout the growing period, as they are known to grow quite a bit. You can choose to use a smaller pot to begin. However, you will need to transfer the Dracaena Marginata to a larger one soon after.

Best Soil For Dracaena Marginata

This species of trees are not so selective regarding the suitable soil to use. However, specialists recommend that dracaena owners use quick-draining garden soil when planting these unique trees. More specifically, Dracaena Marginatas should be provided a ground involving loam. Loam is essential to these plants as it provides them with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and a higher chance of well-drainage than other alternatives. When planting the dracaena, the pot should be filled about a third of the way – you may end up having to overlay some extra soil to cover the root ball after planting.

Establishing A Water Routine

Overwatering and under-watering are two of the most commonly heard issues with Dracaena Marginatas. Dracaenas don’t need much water to thrive they are more likely to bloom with a bit of occasional neglect! Hence why establishing a healthy watering routine is essential. When watering these plants, the water should be poured into the soil until some begin leaking out of the draining holes – that’s your indicator to stop running. Once watered, your Dracaena Marginata will be fine without more for a few weeks.

Direct Or Indirect Sunlight?

A healthy growing Dracaena Marginata needs a good amount of bright sunlight to help it grow. However, direct sunlight for extended periods is harmful to these plants’ leaves. Instead, your Dracaena Marginata should be in a bright area with full sunlight indirectly. If you’re planting these outdoors, it may be beneficial to plant them in a shaded area or near an enormous tree for protection from harmful sun rays. If you’re growing these indoors, it’s recommended to place them right in front of a well-lit window with a sheer curtain for protection

Temperature & Humidity

Dracaena Marginata’s should only be exposed to temperatures between 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is usually the range that any household would be in. Otherwise, if the plant is outdoors, it may need to be brought inside if the temperatures exceed the recommended temperatures.

This succulent tends to like moderate to high levels of humidity as well. This is because the succulent experiences higher levels of humidity where it originated from. More specifically, they like the levels to be between 60 and 80 percent.


Like any other variety of the Dracaena succulent species, Dracaena Marginata is toxic if ingested. Due to containing a chemical referred to as saponins, in ingested, this succulent can potentially cause symptoms such as vomiting, pupil dilation, and even weakness. Therefore, this plant should always be handled with gloves for safety and kept out of the reach of any children or pets.


Fun fact about Dracaena Marginata’s that many may not know: they don’t like fluoride. But why?

To plants, fluoride works as a toxin, which means once it’s soaked into the Dracaena Marginata, it cannot be removed. If this happens, the fluoride can potentially hurt the succulent due to the toxins, which can eventually lead to the succulent dying entirely.

How To Propagate A Dracaena Marginata

Do you love your Dracaena Marginata and want a few extras? Has company passing through your home become fans of the beauty of the tall tree? Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift to give to a loved one? Luckily, you can take care of each situation by simply propagating Dracaena Marginata! To new dracaena owners, this may sound like a risky process to take on since the dracaenas leaves are so fragile. However, there are a few different ways you can choose to propagate these plants that are guaranteed never to harm the plants.

Cut The Leaves Tips

Due to how tall Dracaena Marginatas grow, this technique often seems to be the least risky. To propagate using your trees this way, you’ll need to trim off about four inches of the plant’s leaf tips. Removing a few of these is recommended. Place the trimmings into a pot of the well-draining gardening soil and water it. Then, place the pot in front of a window and seal it with plastic wrap.

Air Layering

The process of air layering propagation requires the owner to purchase some moss – specifically sphagnum moss. Using clean gardening shears or a clean knife, you’ll need to make a tiny incision into the stem of the parent dracaena Marginata plant. This incision is necessary to root the newer plant before transferring it. The sphagnum moss wrapped the incision and tightly enclosed it with plastic wrap. Shortly after, you’ll begin noticing smaller roots forming within the plastic wrap – once they are a few inches long, you can remove and transfer them to a new pot with the appropriate soil.

Use Stubs/Stems From The Parent Plant

You will need to carefully trim off anywhere up to six inches of the stems from the parent plant for this technique. Place these portions into a new pot with the well-draining soil and water it thoroughly (the ground must stay moistened) for a couple of weeks. Once you start seeing new stems forming, use a liquid-based fertilizer to encourage the plant to grow. Fertilization should be done at least once every two weeks.

Common Questions About Dracaena Marginatas

Apart from propagation and care for Dracaena Marginata, we’ll also answer some of the frequently asked questions by fellow Dracaena Marginata owners.

Is Dracaena Marginata An Indoor Or Outdoor Plant?

Dracaena Marginatas are planted both indoors and outdoors, depending on the temperatures where you live. Indoors, these plants are best raised in front of a window with some bright, indirect sunlight coming through, while they are best planted in a shaded area or near other trees while outdoors. However, keep in mind that your dracaena Marginata should be transferred into a pot and taken indoors during colder months when temperatures are below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

How often do water Dracaena Marginata?

Considering Dracaenas are easily overwatered, you should only water them once every other week unless they seem to be drying faster than usual. Depending on the temperature, you may be able to wait longer in between watering periods. When deciding when to water again, a good tip is to check the soil about 2 inches deep. If it’s still moist, watering can wait, but if it’s dry, you should re-water or consider spraying the leaves lightly.

Why Is My Dracaena Marginata Drooping?

Drooping leaves on a Dracaena Marginata are relatively common. Fortunately, we can quickly fix that. Drooping leaves typically are an indication that you might skip the care routine, along with many other causes. Some of the reasons are as follows:

  • They’ve been overwatered or underwatered.
  • They are infested with some pests or fungi.
  • The temperatures are harming them – too hot or too cold. A standard temperature is between 65 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It needs to be repotted – the roots are tangled and cannot expand.
  • It’s being exposed to direct sunlight and isn’t receiving the appropriate amount of sun needed.

How To Revive a Dracaena Marginata?

In most cases, Dracaena Marginatas can be saved, although it does depend on how severe the damage is. Before depicting how to revive your dracaena, you must find out the exact problem. If you’re unsure precisely what it is, speaking about it with a garden specialist may be helpful. However, the following solutions are known to help resolve the most common issues in these plants.

Overwatered Or Underwatered?

Resolving this issue can go one of two ways, depending on whether the plant’s root has been damaged. If the source appears damaged, you should consider planting it in some fresh soil. Before repotting, you should trim off the damaged areas with clean shears. However, this may not permanently save your plant. If there isn’t any damage to the roots, you should be able to resolve the issue by providing a light mist of water to the leaves and keeping an eye on the soil to ensure the water drains.

Notice An Infestation Of Pests?

This one is a simple fix, as you can you a soap-based and rubbing alcohol-based spray to eliminate them. You would use a more robust solution such as Neem Oil for the peskier or larger infestations.

Damaged Stems

If your Dracaena Marginata experiences root rot, there are more than likely a few damaged stems around too. This issue can be difficult to revive. However, you can remove the damaged areas and keep up on watering and fertilizing it for a few weeks. If that doesn’t seem to help, it may be best to get a new plant. In most cases, a damaged stem means that there are much more severe problems within the plant.


In conclusion, Dracaena Marginata succulents, or Dragon Trees, are a highly beneficial plant to own. From them having the ability to essentially cleanse the areas around them to how great they look in any garden or in-home setting. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance succulent that mimics a tree, a Dracaena Marginata may be the perfect option.


Richard Miller

Salute everyone. It's Richard, the author of this Succulent & Xeriscaping blog. I am a traveler and a nature lover looking for a connection with the wild green. In my journey, I found a love for succulents and xeriscaping. What attracts me is the long-lasting & unique beauty of every plant I have the chance to see with my own eyes. Welcome to my little blog and let's enjoy a good time together!

Contact me: richard.succulentcity@gmail.com

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