How Big Do Dracaena Marginata Get: Size and Growth Guide

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Dracaena marginata, commonly known as the dragon tree, is an attractive and easy-to-care-for indoor plant. Known for its stunning appearance, this plant that resembles a tree features slim, arching green leaves with red edges. As a popular houseplant, many people wonder how big dragon trees can get when cultivated as an indoor plant or outdoors.

When cultivated as an indoor plant, dracaena marginata can reach impressive heights of around six feet, although it may take about 10 years to achieve this size due to its slow growth rate. In comparison, this plant can grow up to 20 feet when cultivated outdoors, displaying its distinctive curved stalks and uniquely shaped foliage to full effect. Despite its sizable stature, caring for this beautiful plant is relatively simple, making it an ideal choice for novice and experienced gardeners alike.

Dracaena Marginata Basics

Origin and Species

Dracaena Marginata, also known as Dragon Tree, originates from the islands located within the western region of the Indian Ocean, which encompasses Madagascar. This small tree has become a popular houseplant due to its attractive appearance and easy-care nature. The plant can be shaped into various forms which makes it ideal for indoor decoration. Dracaena Marginata is an ideal choice for novice gardeners, as it is low-maintenance and able to thrive in different lighting conditions.

There are several varieties of Dracaena Marginata, each with unique appearances. Some popular varieties include Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’ and D. marginata ‘Colorama’. The former features green leaves that are bordered by dark red edges and contain a central ivory stripe. The latter has a more intriguing appearance with pink, features distinct colors of green, white, and cream stripes, and necessitates bright luminosity to preserve its unique appearance.

Common Names

Aside from its scientific name, Dracaena Marginata goes by several common names including Dragon Tree, Madagascar Dragon Tree, and Red-edged Dracaena. These names often relate to the plant’s appearance, particularly the reddish edges of its leaves. The name “Dragon Tree” likely originates from its native habitat and its unique appearance, which resembles that of a mythical dragon with its bold colors and spiky leaves.

When it comes to growth, this plant can reach about 1.5 feet per year under ideal conditions. In around seven years or so, it can potentially reach up to 10 feet in height. The growth pattern of Dracaena Marginata is both upward and outward, giving it a bushy appearance as a young plant which becomes more pronounced as it matures.

Growth and Size

Height and Spread

Dracaena marginata, also known as the Dragon Tree, is known to reach heights between 5 to 15 feet when cultivated as an indoor plant as a houseplant. Its foliage spreads between 3 to 10 feet wide, creating an attractive and lush display. The long, vibrant green tropical leaves can measure from 12 to 24 inches long, and 1 to 2 inches wide, or even more, depending on the growing conditions and care provided to the plant 1.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Dracaena marginata is generally considered slow, allowing for a gradual development of its striking appearance. The plant’s growth may be impacted by several factors, such as light exposure, soil quality, and watering habits. It is important to provide your Dragon Tree with luminous and indirect illumination in order to achieve a decent growth rate. Direct sunlight exposure during the summer months, however, may lead to leaf burn and should be avoided2.

To ensure a healthy growth rate, it’s necessary to choose a loamy, well-draining soil mix with a pH of 6-7 when cultivating Dracaena marginata3. Additionally, placing the plant in a suitable environment, such as a sunny indoor location, is key for supporting its growth4. Keep in mind that while the Dragon Tree is shade-tolerant, it will not thrive in overly dark conditions.

By paying attention to factors such as light exposure, soil quality, and proper watering, your Dracaena marginata will grow steadily over time. Its striking appearance and moderate size make it a superb inclusion to your indoor plant collection.

Caring for Dracaena Marginata

When it comes to caring for your Dracaena Marginata, there are a few key factors to consider. By providing your plant with the right light, water, humidity, and temperature conditions, you can ensure its healthy growth. This section will go over the essential care tips for this amazing plant.

Light Requirements

Dracaena Marginata thrives in luminous and indirect illumination. This means keeping your plant near a window that provides plenty of sunlight without direct sun exposure. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn or the colors to fade. If you have limited natural light, using artificial light sources such as fluorescent or LED grow lights at appropriate intensities can also be a viable option.

Watering and Humidity

The key to watering your Dracaena Marginata is to maintain a balance; avoid both overwatering and underwatering. Follow a proper watering schedule, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. A general guideline is to water your plant every 7-10 days, but you may need to adjust this based on factors such as the size of the pot, the temperature, and the humidity. Speaking of humidity, moderate levels of humidity are preferred by Dracaena Marginata. You can maintain this by positioning a water-filled tray beneath the plant or utilizing a humidifier within the surrounding area.

Temperature and Climate

Dracaena Marginata can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, making it a versatile choice for indoor gardening. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Ensure that your plant is not exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations or drafts from air conditioners or open windows, as this can cause stress on the plant. Though it is a tropical plant, it can withstand slightly cooler temperatures, but avoid letting the temperature drop below 50°F (10°C) for extended periods.

By following these essential care tips for Dracaena Marginata—providing the appropriate light, water, humidity, and temperature conditions—you can ensure that your plant will grow strong and healthy. Remember to adapt your care routine as needed based on your specific location and environment, and your Dracaena Marginata will undoubtedly thrive.

Propagating and Pruning

Propagation Methods

There are different techniques to propagate your Dracaena Marginata, but let’s focus on two primary methods: stem cutting and beheading. Stem cutting involves using a sharp, clean knife or shears to cut a snippet from an existing, healthy plant, which will then become a new plant source. After making the cut, dip the bottom centimeter of the stem into a rooting hormone to increase the chances of successful growth source. You can propagate the cutting in air, water, or soil, depending on your preference.

Beheading, another popular technique, involves removing the top part of a tall, leggy Dracaena Marginata and allowing it to grow new roots. The process yields multiple new Madagascar dragon plants from one plant source.

Pruning Techniques

Pruning is essential to maintain the desired size and appearance of your Dracaena Marginata. These plants can reach heights of up to 6 feet (1.9 m) if not pruned back source. Regular pruning helps promote bushier growth and prevents the plant from becoming too tall and spindly.

When pruning, use sharp, clean pruning shears or a knife to remove the desired sections carefully. Focus on cutting back overly long stems while keeping the overall structure of the plant. Remember, the pruned parts can also be used for propagation, giving you new baby plants to grow.

Remember to always keep the area clean, both for the health of your plant and to prevent accidents. Following these guidelines will help your Dracaena Marginata thrive and maintain a beautiful appearance in your indoor garden.

Potential Issues

Common Pests

Dracaena Marginatas are generally low-maintenance plants, but they can occasionally be affected by pests. The most common pests that you might encounter are mealybugs and scale insects. Mealybugs can cause damage by sucking liquid extracted from the leaves, while scale insects may cause a plant’s growth to slow down or even stop. To tackle these pests, it’s essential to check your plant regularly and take action as soon as you spot any signs of infestation.

One effective method to deal with mealybugs is to use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe them away. For scale insects, you can try scraping them off gently with a blunt object like a butter knife or using a soft toothbrush.

Disease and Health Issues

Dracaena Marginata plants can also encounter some disease and health issues that may affect their growth and overall health. One common issue is root rot, which typically occurs when the plant is overwatered or the soil doesn’t drain properly. To prevent root rot, it’s essential to use well-draining soil with a pH of 6-7 and ensure that your plant isn’t sitting in damp soil for extended periods. You can also create your own loamy mixture by combining coco coir, sand, and perlite.

Another potential health problem for Dracaena Marginatas is leaf spot disease, often caused by fungi or bacteria. To minimize the risk of leaf spot, maintain proper hygiene around your plant and make sure it has adequate air circulation. If you notice any yellow or brown spots on the leaves, quickly remove the affected areas to prevent the disease from spreading. Additionally, avoid misting your plant too frequently, as overly moist conditions can exacerbate leaf spot issues.

In summary, preventing pests and diseases is crucial for maintaining the health and well-being of your Dracaena Marginata plant. Regularly checking and treating for pests, using well-draining soil, and ensuring proper air circulation will help your plant grow and thrive while minimizing the risk of encountering these issues.


  1. Dracaena marginata plant care & growing guide – Home for the Harvest
  2. The Art of Growing Dracaena Marginata: Bend, Shape, and Grow – Garden for Indoor
  3. The Ultimate Guide to Dracaena Marginata – Houseplant Resource Center
  4. Dragon Tree: Indoor Plant Care & Growing Guide – The Spruce

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