Recognized for its exuding glossy green foliage and overall tropical feel, dracaena plants, especially the dracaena marginata, are famous among plant enthusiasts in the United States for various reasons.
Due to their long, slender growth and ornamental value, dracaenas are the ideal plant to use when filling an empty place in the front yard or brightening up a nook inside the residential space.
However, to maintain the beauty, vitality, and health of the dracaena plants over time, plant owners, just like yourself, need to provide them with the attention and care they need (or, say, they deserve).
Before jumping to any conclusion, it’s essential to understand that dracaena plants come in various types; however, for today’s article, our topic of discussion is the ever-popular—dracaena marginata.
What is Dracaena Marginata?
Native to Mauritius and Madagascar, along the Indian Ocean, dracaena marginata, also known as the “Madagascar Dragon Tree” or “Red-Edged Dragon Tree,” is just one of the many exquisite ornamental houseplants belonging to the Dracaena Group (a genus of 120+ species of succulent shrubs and trees).
Marginata is a perfect combination of beauty and hardiness and has the potential to reach a height of 20 feet when grown outside, but it won’t exceed 6 feet while grown indoors, particularly if pruned.
Although the subtropical dracaenas might be fussy at times, they are not as particular as roses or other similar plants—and the most challenging aspect associated with them is proper watering.
So, How Often to Water Dracaena Marginata?
Although marginata does not need a lot of water to be healthy, it should be watered once a week. Since they can retain water in the trunks, ¼ of water every five to seven days is recommended.
This not only ensures that your plant gets the right amount of water, but you also make sure that you’re not overwatering, which will lead to problems like root rot.
This condition is enough to choke your plant and kill it. So if you’re in the USA and you’re trying to safeguard your dracaena marginata, you need to know how much to water it and at what frequency.
When watering dracaena marginata, it is essential to use distilled water because fluoride and chloride in the tap water may cause the tips of the dracaena leaves to become brown and crispy.
Additionally, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of watering requirements, including how much water it needs, how often it should be watered, and how to spot drought symptoms.
After all, dracaena marginatas are hardy plants that can easily survive in complex environments; if you want them to thrive, you must pay attention to the following watering requirements.
Exposure and Season – The Two Key Factors
Marginata have a sluggish growth rate when exposed to poor light and temperature, which is why they need less water. However, when exposed to full sunlight and warmth, the water needs fluctuate.
This is especially true if you own a potted marginata since the only water they get is what you provide. The table below shows how often and how much you should water your marginata.
|Hot Summer (Full Light)||Daily / 5-7 Days a Week|
|Hot Weather (Low Light)||1 Glass Every Week|
|Cool Weather (Full Light)||1 Glass Every Week|
|Wintertime (Low Light)||1/2 Glass (Fortnight)|
Initially, marginatas are not very big; however, after some time, when it has grown to be twice as big, you may increase the quantity you feed it by a factor of two (but not how often: that stays the same).
Also, note that the amount of moisture in the air cannot be measured. Therefore, just remember that the higher the moisture content in the air, the longer the plant can preserve its lower leaves.
Lastly, give dracaena marginata leaves a good dusting if the surrounding air is dusty. Believe it or not, it’s just as crucial as providing necessary nutrients and keeping the plant hydrated. For instance, you can place the plant in the bathtub and spray it down with a garden hose whenever needed.
Watering Dracaena Marginata (Spring and Summer)
This is often the time of year when marginata grows in abundance. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a consistent watering schedule, waiting until the top few centimeters of soil have dried up.
In order to avoid suffocating the dracaena marginata’s roots, watering should be done consistently but in only small amounts. In most cases, once every three to seven days a week is recommended.
In addition, you must provide it with liquid fertilizer about once every two weeks during the growing season (spring/summer/early autumn), ensuring to hydrate the soil before each application.
Watering Dracaena Marginata (Fall and Winter)
Due to the dry weather in the fall and winter seasons, especially in Alaska and North Dakota, dracaena marginata’s water requirements change; therefore, you should begin to water it less often.
Once the top few centimeters of the soil have lost their moisture, you should use only water to re-wet the whole soil mix clump of the dracaena marginata. Ideally, this should take about an inch.
Again, one may argue that watering the plants once or twice a month is sufficient. However, this also relies on where you plant your dracaena marginata. For example, if your marginata is in a location where it receives direct, natural sunlight, the requirements will undoubtedly be greater.
Dracaena Marginata – Overwatered and Underwatered
Dracaena marginata is not a high-maintenance plant that requires much attention; however, you must water it properly to avoid potential issues such as overwatered or underwatered marginata.
Both overwatering and underwatering present signs and symptoms that are eerily similar to one another. In point of fact, to the untrained eye, these issues seem almost impossible to differentiate.
However, just so you know, if you look carefully, some fine distinctions (as mentioned in the table below) may be made between an overwatered and an underwatered dracaena marginata.
|Discoloration||Brown Spots (Leaf Tips)||Brown Spots (Leaf Veins)|
|Drooping Leaves||Crunchy, Dry, Browned||Soft, Swollen, Browned|
|Wilting Leaves||Shriveled and Curled||Soft and Limp|
|Soil Texture||Crumbly, Dry, Grayish||Soggy, Wet, Darkish|
|Insects and Pests||Mites and Spidermites||Fungus, Gnats, Whiteflies|
|Stem Base||Dry and Dusty||Weak, Rotted, Brown|
How to Save Overwatered Dracaena Marginata
If you notice the signs of overwatered dracaena marginata, immediately let the plant dry out in the open air. Once done, follow the steps below to save your overwatered dracaena marginata.
- First, remove your dracaena marginata from the current pot or planter.
- Now, inspect the root system by slightly shaking your marginal pot.
- Then run a warm water bath over your marginate and rinse them out.
- Remove any affected roots (diseased, dead, soft, mushy, or rotten).
- Clean it up and treat the roots with fungicide or hydrogen peroxide.
- Prepare a new well-draining pot to repot your dracaena marginata.
- Finally, follow proper aftercare measures to keep this issue at bay.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you’re planning to spruce up your marginata collection by understanding proper watering requirements or just feeding your brain with general information, we hope this article helped. As a bonus, we’ve taken the time to answer some burning questions about watering dracaena marginata.
How to Know if Dracaena Marginata Needs Water?
Press the finger into the dracaena marginata (a depth of two inches). If the soil is damp enough, the plant doesn’t need any water. However, if the soil seems too dry, you should water it immediately.
What Are the Signs Dracaena Marginata Need Watering?
How Long Can a Dracaena Marginata Go Without Water?
A dracaena marginata may survive for up to one month without any water at all. However, this is ultimately determined by the humidity level (low or high) in the surrounding environment.
Can You Use Tap Water to Water Dracaena Marginata?
Yes, you can use tap water; however, the components of fluoride and chloride in tap water might cause the marginata leaves’ color to change; thus, it is best to use filtered or distilled water.
What If Mistakenly Overwatered Dracaena Marginata?
If the soil does not dry out quickly enough, even after missing a few watering cycles, consider repotting your dracaena marginata using a potting mix in a well-draining pot with drainage holes.
The Final Cut
Houseplants of the species dracaena marginata, sometimes known as dragon trees, are a sight to see—thanks to their wispy, lance-shaped leaves and vivid coloration, especially on the edges.
Although dracaena marginata are easy-to-care, ornamental houseplants, you should water them in just a moderate amount every week so that they thrive as fast and healthily as possible.
It’s easy to overwater or underwater dracaena marginata, but the dragon tree should continue to thrive as long as you keep the soil wet and let it dry out in between watering schedules. Just make sure to follow the tips mentioned in this article, especially if you’re living in the USA.
- Why are My Dracaena Marginata Plant Leaves Falling Off
- What Kind of Potting Soil for Dracaena Marginata
- Why My Dracaena Marginata Leaves Tip Burn
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.