Dracaena Marginata

Dracaena Marginata is native to Madagascar. It is a small, slow-glowing shrub, with long, ribbon-like leaves that taper to a point. It is one of the old popular houseplants, not to be confused with Dracaena, and has a distinctive appearance.

Dracaena Marginata has been shown in study to help remove formaldehyde. It was among several plants listed in a NASA Clean Air Study, along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America. The plants were shown to remove toxic agents from the air: formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Formaldehyde is found in virtually all indoor environments. Its major sources include foam insulation, particle board or pressed-wood products. Consumer paper products, grocery bags, waxed paper, facial tissue and paper towels, are treated with urea formaldehyde resins. Many household cleaning agents contain formaldehyde.

Dracaena Marginata was on the NASA Clean Air Study list, along with English ivy, spider plant, peace lily, bamboo palm, Cornstalk dracaena, Janet Craig dracaena, Warneck dracaena and the pot mum, among others.

Dracaena Marginata is pronounced “druh-SEE-nuh, mar-jin-NAY-tuh.” Its common names are the Red-Edged Dracaena or the Madagascar Dragon Tree. It is not native to North America and can be grown in a container or indoors. It can grow up 8 to 15 feet tall, with a spread of 3 to 8 feet wide. Its leaves are arranged in a spiral spread and simply, thrusting out from a gray stem. The leaves are typically green, red or purple in color.

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Dracaena Marginata stems’ are woody and erect. Its long, sword-like leaves clasp the stem in a stacked fashion. Leaves on large plants may grow larger than 18 inches long, and old plants may be 10 feet high from soil level. Dracaena Marginata from Florida nurseries range in size from 3-inch square pots up to specimens 52 inches across in containers. The dark green cultivar accounts for most plants sold. However, there are two cultivars worth mentioning: Tricolor has longitudinal ivory stripes through the main green area and red margins; Colorama is similar to Tricolor, except there are red and white bands in the main portion of the leaf.

Because the variegated cultivars have less chlorophyll than the species, they are less vigorous during production. They are also less likely to succeed indoors, except in bright locations. Dracaena Marginata is used as a medium to large size shrub in southern Florida, which does not experience freezing temperatures.

Dracaena Marginata grows in sun or shade, is tolerant of drought and a variety of soil types. Its ideal temperature ranges is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Indoor growth is usually slow. Two or more branches can form after pruning. This type of gardening can be used to increase the plant density.

Tip cuttings are used to propagate the Dracaena Marginata.

Mites, thrips and other insects are a problem. Dracaena Marginata can fall susceptible to leaf spot diseases.

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