STAFF PICK: Dracaena marginata
Photo by Lauren Kolyn
I truly love nothing more than the staggered canes of the Dracaena marginata. To me, it’s the classic Mom plant of the 90’s and while some trends from that decade do not stand the test of time, I believe the Dracaena marginata remains elegant as ever.
People often mistake them for palms as they look similar in shape to mature palm trees with their crown of greenery atop bare, woody stalks. The marginata prefers bright, indirect light though some species of Dracaena, like the Janet Craig or Green Jewel, will tolerate medium to low light: an exciting prospect for people looking for a tall, compact plant to put in a low light spot.
Dracaena make great beginner plants because they are fairly pest tolerant and are forgiving of infrequent watering. Ideally though, you would water when the soil was dry down to one inch from the soil surface which usually works out to being once every 10-12 days. If it’s in a particularly dry space, watering may be more frequent and the plant will also benefit from being misted. When your Dracaena gets a little less light, you must adjust the watering frequency and take care not to saturate the root ball. Beware overwatering your Dracaena as it could result in dark brown to black leaf tips, root rot and in some cases, death. It’s altogether grim, so let’s avoid that by making sure the plant has adequate drainage and the root ball is never soaked, okay? Okay.
I want Dracaenas to have a moment in the spotlight - so much character!