Dragon Tree Dracaena – Dracaena marginata

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Dragon Tree Dracaena – Dracaena marginata

Common Name: Dragon Tree Dracaena

Botanical Name: Dracaena marginata, dra-SEE-na mar-gi-NAH-ta

Decorative Life: Generally years.


Harvest Instructions:

Compared to other light levels, Florida grown plants under 40% shade result in ones with the best postharvest performance after being transferred to interior conditions. Various fertilizer regimes do not seemingly alter postharvest performance.

Family Roots:
  • Member of the Agavaceae (agave family).
  • Native to Madagascar.
  • Common relatives include yucca, agave, ti-plant, New Zealand flax, pony tail and tuberose.
  • Leaves mostly narrow and long.
  • Plant is classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
  • Stems will often lose lower leaves as they grow, creating a tufted appearance. This tufted growth is referred to in the trade as heads.
Storage Specifics:

Chill sensitive, store above 55 degrees F. Does well if transported in 7 days or less at 50-60F. Storing in sleeves and/or boxes at 50 or 60F for one week did not reduce quality.

  • The specific epithet name “marginata” means of the margins, possibly in reference to the off-green and/or colored stripes along the leaf margins. Note that a recent review of this species stated that this species is probably not in cultivation but the plants with this name are likely either D. cincta or D. concinna.
  • Dracaena: Greek for female dragon; the plant juice, when thickened, is supposed to resemble dragon’s blood.
  • A cultivar named ‘Tricolor’ with multicolored leaves was introduced to the floral trade in the 1970’s. Because it contains less chlorophyll than the more common green-leafed type, ‘Tricolor’ does not perform as well under most interior conditions.
  • Branches with tufts of foliage are referred to as heads in the floral trade. Will grow well in light levels bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort.
  • The agave family is important for fiber. This species is often one of the most neglected house plants yet often survives this neglect.
Recent Research Findings:

Poole and Conover (1993) stored this species at 36-46F from 1-4 days and subsequently noted yellow lengthwise bands on recent growth within a few days. As summarized by Brown (1988) of the work by Wolverton et al. (numerous years), this is one of many foliage and flowering plant species that can remove air pollutants such as formaldehyde and/or benzene often found in cigarette smoke from interior environments.