The Q&A Archives: Plant care

Question: I purchased a tropical plant called a Marginata from your store yesterday and I have no idea of how to care for it. I put it in a large window and I'm worried how it will be affected from the cold drafts as it gets quite cold in these mountains in Colorado. How drafts might affect it. Does it need a lot of water or little water. Alot of sunshine or little - indirect or full? Special soil?

Answer: Your plant is Dracaena marginata. They are easy houseplants, tolerating low light, low humidity and infrequent watering. While Dracaenas will tolerate adverse conditions, they will be much happier and healthier with just a little care. But it is nice to have a plant that can take conditions that are less than ideal. Dracaena marginata has narrow leaves that can be as much as 2 feet long. As it matures, it develops an attractive gray trunk and loses its lower leaves. Plain Dracaena marginata has green leaves with a red edge and there are variations with pink, yellow and white in the leaves. Tricolor is one of the best. Another form, Dracaena deremensis, offers some great compact plants such as D. 'Warneckii' and 'Janet Craig' with bold leaves. There is even a version called D. 'Lemon' because of its amazing yellow foliage.

They are tolerant of low light but will do their best with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sun in the afternoon. Plants grown in low light grow very slowly.

Dracaenas do well with a weekly soaking. Do not allow them to stand with water in the saucer for more than an hour or two. They may need a little more water in the warmer months. Avoid allowing dracaenas to dry out completely.

They tolerate a wide range of temperatures and do well in almost any indoor environment. If it is especially warm, be sure to provide extra water.

Dracaenas are very adaptable. While most of them would like moderate humidity, they can all tolerate dry or very humid air. Ideally, they would like to be misted every few days.

During the spring and summer, feed them once or twice a month with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Gro?. They don't require any fertilizer in late fall or winter.

Hope this information is helpful!

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