Ask a Question forum→Dracaena Marginata Soil Drying Quicker

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ImLimitlessDude
May 8, 2020 11:27 PM CST
I'm relatively new to Dracaena plants, but so far so good! I made a mix of worm castings, coir, pumice, and bark for it, but after researching Dracaena, I learned they can be susceptible to root rot, so I provided a clay pot for a extra layer of protection. Some people agree and disagree with clay pots, but I have my reasons.

I live in California and it's starting to get hot where I live (zone 9b), which is causing fast evaporation. I'm thinking about moving up to watering twice a week because the soil is drying faster than it originally was and I'm afraid of leaving it too dry in between waterings. Would other Dracaena owners agree with this move?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 9, 2020 7:51 AM CST
Are your Dracaenas outside in the heat or inside where it is cooler? How much light are they getting? Can you post a photo?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Contact me directly at [email protected]
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[Last edited by WillC - May 9, 2020 1:02 PM (+)]
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ImLimitlessDude
May 9, 2020 12:58 PM CST
Thumb of 2020-05-09/ImLimitlessDude/3b88e2

They're on a south wall (edit I said north by accident). They get artificial light from a 16w led too, so they're receiving light 16 hours a day. From the photo you'll see they're indoors, but lately it's been hotter inside than out.

Edit: they're still a little banged up from when they were shipped to me. The leaves wilted when they arrived but have acclimated since.
[Last edited by ImLimitlessDude - May 10, 2020 2:15 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 9, 2020 1:07 PM CST
The sharp upward angle of the leaves reveals that your plant was grown in very strong light, much stronger than you are providing. That means you can expect some of the older lower leaves to continue to die back as new leaves are added up top and will be better adapted to the reduced light you are providing.

Temps should be no more than 85 degrees F. Water it very thoroughly as soon as the top inch of soil is dry, however often that may be.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
CA
ImLimitlessDude
May 9, 2020 1:21 PM CST
Thank you. One pattern I've noticed is dracaenas seem to look better in sun grown light. The problem for me is there's too many bugs in the flowers surrounding the building I've lost plants putting them outside.

The led is only 16w, but it puts off a powerful full spectrum light at about 800 lumens from the distance they're at. Do you think more light would be beneficial? Out of all the research I've done, nobody seems to use artificial light for Dracaenas. I can't find any examples. Low light seems to make them very depressing looking, which is what I'm trying to avoid.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 9, 2020 1:25 PM CST
No artificial light can duplicate the intensity of good natural light. If possible, move yours close to an uncovered sunny window. Otherwise it will be in low light and it will grow in a way that apparently doesn't make you happy.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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ImLimitlessDude
May 9, 2020 1:50 PM CST
Well I'll go ahead and water them more frequently based off the circumstance. Yeah the pale looking leaves on low light Dracaenas give off a depressing vibe. There are quite a few plants that thrive in artificial light. For example my snake plants, they produce pups like crazy more so in artificial because of longer light days. I'll post my research in the future and give you my results if you'd like. I just want to say thank you for the advice and your time!
[Last edited by ImLimitlessDude - May 9, 2020 1:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
May 10, 2020 7:42 AM CST
Dracaena Lisa, Corn Plant, Peace Lily, ZZ Plant and Pothos are all good low light options that do well with just artificial light..
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
May 10, 2020 8:05 AM CST
Dracaena marginata does best in bright, indirect light, too much direct sun will scorch the foliage. I have one planted in the ground here in my Florida garden and a few others in containers that stay outdoors year round, some in the screened pool area where they get bright light but we have lots of huge oak and maple trees that keep them from getting any strong, direct sun. I have a couple of others that are in a partially screened atrium area at the front of the house, where they receive much lower light than the ones out back. The leaves on my plants do get a bit ratty looking at times on windy days.

I'm not certain but from your first photo, it appears you have two different D. marginata plants. The main one in the center of your photo looks like Dragon Tree (Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia) whereas, I think I see one peeking out on the right in that photo that looks more like Dragon Tree (Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia 'Colorama')
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 10, 2020 8:22 AM CST
Marginatas can adapt to both direct indoor sun or bright indirect sun. In direct sun they develop thicker more upright leaves. In reduced light, they have thinner softer, more gently arching leaves. It is the light intensity that a leaf receives when it first emerges that determines what its foliage will look like.

The one in the photo was definitely grown in strong light in a greenhouse. It can adapt to lower light, but the existing leaves will gradually dieback due to the reduced light as new softer foliage emerges on top.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
CA
ImLimitlessDude
May 10, 2020 7:25 PM CST
Yes, you are correct ladylin the one poking out on the corner is a colorama. Coloramas reflect red light off the leaves so more light is required for coloramas to be happy. They also grow slower because of this.

The coloramas are much less developed than the bicolors, so I filled the pot shallower to later bury the trunks by plucking old growth and filling the pot with more of my medium once they've developed further.

The grow lights I have give a full spectrum of colors the sun gives off (mainly red and blue), but keep a white color because of a full spectrum balance. The prediction I have is the newer growth will be brighter and pointer, but not as thick as sun grown Dracaenas, since there's no direct sun heat.
[Last edited by ImLimitlessDude - May 10, 2020 7:27 PM (+)]
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ImLimitlessDude
May 10, 2020 7:31 PM CST
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There's 3 in each pot. It's kind of a bad photo, the coloramas are about halfway down in the the pot. I moved the lights closer to the plants. The south wall gets a majority of light throughout the day, I'd say these plants are getting good amount of light. Up high away from my cat, so they can't poison her as well.
[Last edited by ImLimitlessDude - May 10, 2020 7:38 PM (+)]
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