Dracaena Marginata is a popular houseplant for those looking for a beautiful and easy to care for indoor plant. It is well known for its dark green foliage, and is commonly called the dragon tree.
Here, we’re going to talk about the Dracaena water requirements so you can ensure your Dracaena Marginata lives its best life. We’ll also look at how to identify under-watering, over-watering, and signs of proper watering so that you can provide optimum moisture levels for your plant.
When To Water Dracaena Marginata
Dracaena marginata, or the Madagascar dragon tree, is a popular houseplant known for its vibrant colors and easy care. While dracaena are tolerant of some neglect, they do have specific water requirements that should be followed to keep them healthy and thriving.
Wait For Top 1-2 Inches Of Soil To Dry
One of the most important things to remember is to wait for the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out before watering again. This will ensure that your plant gets the moisture it needs without being overwatered.
If you are unsure whether or not the soil is dry, stick your finger in the soil up to the second knuckle. If the soil feels dry at this depth, it is time to water. Be sure to water slowly and evenly, until water begins to drip out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Once you have watered your Dracaena Marginata, allow the plant to drain thoroughly before putting it back in its saucer or placing it on furniture. Water that is left sitting in the bottom of the pot can lead to root rot, so be sure that your plant has a chance to drain completely before setting it back down.
You can also take the guesswork out of when to water your plant by using a moisture meter. You simply probe the meter into the soil, and it gives you a reading of how much water your soil has. From there, you will know whether your plant needs more, or needs to dry out some before watering again.
Reduce Watering Frequency In Winter
In the cooler months, dracaena marginata will need less water. Reduce your watering frequency to every other week or even once a month. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering Dracaena Marginata again. In winter, you can also stop fertilizing your plant altogether.
Most plants need a set amount of time to rest, and winter is the natural time for most plants to do this. They won’t be using as much water or nutrients as they do in the spring and summer, so cutting back in these areas will prevent your plant from developing root rot or getting fertilizer burn.
Overwatering is the number one cause of death for Dracaena marginata. If you think your plant is overdue for a drink, check the soil first. Stick your finger in the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil is dry, it’s time to water.
If you water your Dracaena marginata and the leaves start to yellow and fall off, that’s a sign of too much water. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry out before watering Dracaena Marginata again. Water less in winter when growth slows down.
Overwatering too often will lead to root rot, which can kill a plant quickly. If you think your plant may be developing root rot, you will want to remedy the problem quickly. You can remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots.
If you see any brown or mushy roots, you’ll need to remove them and repot the plant in a drier potting mix. Use a moisture meter to prevent overwatering, and keep a close eye on your plant for a couple months after treating for root rot. You may also need to give your plant a root supplement to help it recover.
Symptoms Of Underwatering
Underwatering is as harmful to your dracaena as overwatering, but your plant should recover faster if the problem is caught in time. Some symptoms of underwatering are:
- The leaves will begin to turn brown and crispy at the tips
- The leaves will also start to droop and wilt
- The plant will become overall less healthy looking
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to increase the amount of water you are giving your plant. Be sure to check the soil before watering to make sure it is actually dry. If the soil is not dry, but your plant is still exhibiting the symptoms above, it is likely suffering from a different issue.
Quick Tip: If you feel like you’re watering your plant enough, but it is still showing signs of underwatering, dig into the soil a little bit to ensure the water is actually going through to the center of the soil. Sometimes, soil becomes hydrophobic and does not want to absorb water, so the water just drains down the sides of the pot. If this does happen, give your plant a good soak in the sink or a tub for a few minutes, and then allow it to drain. You may need to add some organic matter to the soil to help with water retention.
How To Water Dracaena Marginata
Not all watering is created equal! Some methods of watering your plant will be great, and others can actually cause more harm than good. Follow the tips below, and your plant will thrive.
Use Filtered, Distilled or Rainwater At Room Temperature
Sometimes, city-provided water or even well water is not the best to give your houseplants, Dracaena varieties especially. Additives like chlorine or fluoride can actually kill your plants, so it’s best to use filtered or distilled water when watering all of your houseplants. Rainwater is great for your houseplants, too, so the next time it rains, pop them outside and let them soak up all the rain water (as long as the temperature is not too cold).
This piggybacks off of the tip shared earlier. Make sure that when you water, it is getting through the center of the root ball. If it doesn’t, your plant isn’t getting the right amount of water.
One way to ensure you are watering your plant deeply enough is by saturating it in water for a short time. Fill a sink or tub with enough water to cascade over the edge of the plant’s pot, and let it sit in the water for several minutes before removing it and letting the excess water drain. This should only be done about once a month. Every other time you water your plant should just be a “maintenance” watering.
If your plant’s container is too big to do this, you can use a container that is slightly larger than your plant’s pot, or you can wheel the plant outside and soak it with a garden hose, as long as the water isn’t too cold.
Allow For Good Drainage
One of the most important things to remember when watering Dracaena Marginata plants is to allow for good drainage. Water that doesn’t drain properly can lead to root rot, which can be fatal to your plant.
To ensure good drainage, you’ll need to take a good look at your plant’s container. Make sure there are plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to allow the excess water to drain out. Be sure to empty any standing water from the saucer beneath the pot after each watering.
Over-watering and under-watering are the main reasons Dracaena marginata plants die. The best way to avoid under- or over-watering is to follow the guidelines outlined above, and to keep a close eye on your plant. If you see any symptoms of overwatering or underwatering, take measures to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Symptoms Of Overwatering
There are a few telltale signs of overwatering to look out for to keep your Dracaena healthy.
The first is wilting leaves. If you notice that your plant’s leaves are beginning to droop and sag, this is a sign that it’s not getting enough water.
Another symptom of overwatering is yellowing or browning leaves. If you see these colors starting to appear on your plant, it’s a sign that the roots are drowning and not getting enough oxygen.
Finally, another symptom of overwatering is fungal growth. If you see mushrooms or mildew growing on your plant or the top of the soil, this is a surefire sign that it’s being overwatered.
Symptoms Of Underwatering
The main symptom of underwatering is leaves that are dry and/or crispy to the touch. You may also notice leaf tips that are brown and/or brittle.
Another symptom to look out for is general wilting or drooping of the plant, and a plant that is not producing any new growth.
Yellowing of leaves is another common symptom, followed by the dropping of leaves.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to take action right away. Adjust your watering schedule accordingly and make sure to water according to what your plant is telling you it needs.
FAQ Watering Dracaena Marginata
Should I mist dracaena marginata?
No, you should not mist dracaena marginata. Watering requirements for this plant are specific, and misting can actually lead to problems. Too much moisture in the air can actually lead to fungal problems, and can rot the leaves. If you think your dracaena marginata needs more humidity, try placing it on a pebble tray filled with water instead.
Can I water Dracaena from the bottom up?
Absolutely! This is one of the best ways to water most houseplants, as it allows the plant time to soak up as much water as it needs without saturating the soil or flushing any nutrients in the soil out of the pot.
Why does my Dracaena have brown tips?
If you notice brown tips on watering Dracaena marginata plants, it could be caused by several reasons: too much water, insufficient water, too much sun, or fluoride in the water. Take a look above to determine if the problem is too much or too little water. If you have your plant in a particularly sunny spot, that may be the culprit, and if neither of those are the issue, it may be because of something like fluoride in your water. Consider only watering your Dracaena with filtered or distilled water.
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