Dracaena marginata
Common Name: Madagascar dragon tree
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Madagascar
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 15.00 to 20.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown as an indoor plant in St. Louis. Tolerates a wide range of indoor temperatures. For best results, place in bright indirect light locations protected from direct sun and drafts. Tolerates low light, but foliage loses best color in too much shade. Pot may be placed on a bed of wet pebbles to increase humidity. Use a loamy, peaty, well-drained potting soil. Keep soils uniformly moist during the growing season, but reduce watering from fall to late winter. Plants of different heights may be placed in the same container. Tall plants may be trimmed by removing the crown and rooting it.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This species of dracaena is a very popular houseplant that typically grows to 6’ tall or more over time unless pruned shorter. It features perhaps the narrowest leaves of the various species of dracaena sold in commerce. Slender gray upright stems are topped by tufts of arching, glossy, sword-shaped leaves (to 2’ long and 1/2” wide). Leaves are deep green with narrow reddish edges. Lower leaves fall off with age leaving distinctive diamond-shaped leaf scars on the stems. In its native habitat of Madagascar, this species grows as a shrub or small tree to 20’ tall. Fragrant tiny white flowers in spring are followed by spherical yellow-orange beries. Flowers and berries rarely appear on indoor plants. This plant is also sometimes called Spanish dagger or red-stemmed dracaena or Madagascar dragon tree. ‘Tricolor’ is a popular cultivar which adds a thin yellow stripe to each leaf.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for spider mites and scale. Leaves may brown if soils are too moist or too dry.

Garden Uses

Containers for bright indoor locations.