E-Mail to Emily


Search EmilyCompost

Emily's Mailbox

Plant Index



Gardening with Kids

Selected Links


Dracaena marginata
Dragon Tree

dracaena marginataThis plant is the older and wiser relative of our friends in the corn plant family: the ribbon plant (dracaena sanderiana; aka Lucky Bamboo) and the corn plant (dracaena warneckei). Dracaena is a genus of 40 species of evergreen shrubs and trees from the Canary Islands and throughout tropical Africa.

Dracaena marginata, from Madagascar, is a slow growing small tree with a few branches until it gets older and seeks a new direction in life. It has leaves that grow up to 24 inches long growing from a cane-like stem. It is a perfect plant for offices and those of you who forget about taking care of plants.

There are a number of varieties: with green leaves, white variegated, and the 'tricolor' with creamy white, green, and pink.

Soil, Water, and Light

This is a good plant for offices or studios. It shows best in regular potting soil with three plants of different stages in one large tub. Indirect bright light is best with no direct sunlight. It can deal with less light. It likes watering every week or so during the growing season, but can deal with neglect. It should be well drained. Don't let it dry out in the winter dormant period.


You can plant a piece of the stem with a bud or the top cutting of an older plant.


Scale insects (treat with insecticidal soap) or fungal leaf spotting (treat with fungicide).