Houseplants forum: Help Watering Dracaena Marginata "Rainbow"

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Name: Sebastian
Los Angeles,CA
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sebastiamrodrigue661
Mar 30, 2016 7:11 PM CST
Bought Dracaena marginata rainbow at a local nursery one month ago. It's planted in a lava rock , and potting soil mix, in a 2 gallon pot. It's hard fore to tell when it needs watering, as when I stick my finger in the soil , I can't tell if it's moist or not.Btw, I live in Los Angeles california. Thank you.

Questions:

1. Symptoms of overwatering?

2. Symptoms of underwatering?

3.How often do you water it?

Thank you guys.
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Mar 31, 2016 2:17 PM CST
Boy, watering depends on so many variables. No one right answer. I can tell when my finger is wet. I'll bet you can to if you put your mind to it. Water it, watch to see how fast the water sinks in (a measure of how porous your soil mix is.) Should not drain out immediately, should not pool for a while. Use that finger and do not water it again until the soil is dry 2" down. Once every 2-3 months, water it from the bottom - sit the pot in a tub of water until the top gets moist. Biggest problems with that plant might be too little light ( they leaves get further and further apart,) or Spider Mites. Otherwise a nice plant. Will take a lot of abuse. Just for fun, Google Dracaena Draco in the Canary Islands - pix. Maybe your will get that big in another 800+ years. Gene
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 31, 2016 3:40 PM CST
My Dracaena marginata is watered once a week when temps starts to go warmer, usually as Spring arrives. I do the watering always early part of the day so it does not stay soggy wet by nightfall. Typically the signs of over and underwatering will manifest similarly on the leaves, as it dries out and drops those leaves. Sometimes when it is too overwaterd, the stem will get too soft and mushy.. For the most part, it seems happiest being kept on the dry side. It becomes nicely drought tolerant as it continues to acclimate and grow indoors. During winter when most indoor plants slowdown, it can go once every two weeks.

Lava rock is good, it has little holes all over, so roots can breathe below soil level. The plant will also naturally drop the lowest/older leaves first as it continues to get tall, so do not be worried it is doing that especially as the seasons change. It is part of its growing cycle. When it gets too lanky, you can cut off the tall stem at the level you want, but I usually do that in mid Spring if I have to.
[Last edited by tarev - Mar 31, 2016 3:41 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 31, 2016 4:22 PM CST
Picking it up should be a good gauge. When it feels lighter than when you watered, it's significantly more dry.
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Name: Sebastian
Los Angeles,CA
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sebastiamrodrigue661
Mar 31, 2016 4:37 PM CST
Thank you everyone for the comments you are all very knowledgeable.

Gasrocks I have a question for you. I have a 2 - 48" t5highoutput full spectrum light bulbs above it. What is you opinion on that. I can turn on the other two bulbs I'm only running 2 but it is a quad fixture. Thank you. Do you still believe it's too little light?

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 1, 2016 7:49 AM CST
That looks bright enough to me. If the light is too low, the newest leaves at the top won't be upright as they are now.
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