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In this article, I’ll go over why you should fertilize Dracaena marginata, the right time to fertilize it, the proper way of fertilization, and different types of fertilizers for the plant. I’ve also gone over several frequently asked questions (FAQs) to ensure you have no doubts in your mind.
Dracaena marginata need fertilizer, especially if you grow it indoors inside a pot. As the plant grows, it’ll quickly deplete the available nutrients in the potting soil. By fertilizing your Dracaena marginata, you provide it with the necessary nourishment for growing and staying healthy.
There was a time when one of my Dracaena marginatas showed signs of yellowing, and I got worried that it might be dying.
But after properly fertilizing it for a few weeks, the yellowing faded, and the plant got back its healthy green glow. So yes, Dracaena marginata does need fertilizers, and in this article, I’ll cover all you need to know about fertilizing it.
You should fertilize Dracaena marginata to make sure it grows properly. The plant needs a certain amount of nutrition like magnesium and iron to thrive and produce the optimum number of leaves. Without using fertilizers, the growth rate will slow down, and the leaves won’t be as attractive.
Dracaena marginata will start to show signs of nutritional deficiency if they are not fertilized regularly. The first signs of insufficient nutrition are usually yellowing leaves and poor growth.
You can correct the condition by applying fertilizer according to the directions on the package. Fertilizing can be done once every month during spring and summer when the plant grows fast.
If you want your Dracaena marginata to grow fast, you can use a liquid fertilizer with high nitrogen content during spring and summer.
For the rest of the year, use a slow-release fertilizer that doesn’t contain nitrogen or phosphorus because this type of product stimulates root growth rather than foliage.
You should fertilize a Dracaena marginata when you notice that it’s actively growing and putting out new leaves. Plants need more nutrients as they grow and adding fertilizer will help keep them well-nourished. You should also fertilize it if you see signs of malnourishment, like yellow leaves.
The basic idea is that you should provide your plant with more nutrients when it needs them, whether to aid its growth or when it shows signs of malnourishment.
As such, if your plant looks healthy and it isn’t putting out new leaves, you don’t need to fertilize it.
Also, keep in mind that plants’ growth rate slows down during the cold seasons. As such, you can hold off fertilizing your Dracaena marginata during the Autumn and Winter months.
Dracaena marginata should ideally be fertilized every two weeks during the spring and summer.
Fertilizing your Dracaena marginata will keep it healthy, but you need to properly apply the fertilizer for the best result.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly fertilize a Dracaena marginata:
- Water the plant before applying the fertilizer so the roots won’t burn.
- Pick a water-soluble or liquid fertilizer that contains all major nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Use 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer to 1 gallon of water and mix it in your watering can.
- Applying the fertilizer to the plant’s soil.
- Remember to flush away any salt buildup from the soil after fertilizing.
If you are using a soil-based potting mix, the best method is to feed your plant with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing seasons.
Alternatively, you can also use a slow-release fertilizer when you water your plant, in which case, you can fertilize it less frequently.
Fertilizers are used to add nutrients to the soil of Dracaena marginata. This plant needs little fertilizer, but you can use a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
While the plant is not known for having specific nutrient requirements, it benefits from occasional fertilization.
Here’s a quick look at the different types of fertilizers for Dracaena marginata:
- Organic fertilizers
- Pellet/granular fertilizers
- Chemical fertilizers
Let’s quickly go over these different types of fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers are made from natural elements such as manure, animal bones, urine, fish emulsion, earthworm castings, or seaweed.
They are suitable for all plants because they release slowly into the soil so that nutrients do not get lost by runoff or leaching.
However, some organic fertilizers may have pests, diseases, or weed seeds that can harm your plants. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using an organic fertilizer.
The Dracaena marginata plant requires fertilization only once a month during spring and summer using granular fertilizer. Push the pellets into the soil near the plant’s stem or sprinkle them over the soil and gently work them in with your hands.
Do not allow granules to touch the plant’s stem because they can burn it. Avoid placing pellets directly on top of leaves, or they will leave burn marks on the leaves.
The significant advantage of using chemical fertilizers is speed and efficiency as they produce faster results and can be used for various plants at once. When the nitrogen supply runs out, the soil can become infertile for some time until it is replenished with additional fertilizer use.
The best fertilizers for Dracaena marginata are liquid or water-soluble options such as the Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food. Because it’s a slow-growing plant, you can apply the fertilizer every couple of weeks at half strength.
You can also try fish emulsion or compost tea if you want an organic fertilizing option. These aren’t as concentrated as chemical fertilizers and will need more frequent applications.
When looking for a good fertilizer, the first thing to look at is the numbers listed on the fertilizer.
These numbers indicate how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are in the fertilizer. Nitrogen helps with leaf growth, phosphorus is good for root production, and potassium takes care of the overall health of the plant.
If you want to grow a healthy Dracaena marginata, you need to feed it regularly. A balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 is recommended.
The 3, 1, and 2, in a 3:1:2 fertilizer ratio refers to the proportion of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) in the product. The numbers are the ratio by weight. The higher the number, the more that nutrient is present.
As such, if you have 100g (3.52 oz) of fertilizer, there are 65.67g (2.31oz) of nitrogen, 17g (0.59oz) of phosphorus, and 34.33g (1.21oz) of potassium.
Overfertilizing causes the salts in the fertilizer to build up in the soil. When this happens, it causes the leaf tips to die.
To save Dracaena marginata from over-fertilization, stop adding more fertilizer and flush the salts in the soil with water. To do this, place your Dracaena in a sink or tub and run water through it at a rate of one-half gallon per square foot. Repeat weekly for up to three weeks.
Flushing the soil from fertilizer salts allows you to leach out the salt buildup in the soil and restore soil fertility.
To ensure you never accidentally over-fertilize your plants, dilute your fertilizer by 50%. Also, don’t feed Dracaena during the winter months when it goes into a state of dormancy.
Here are some examples of homemade fertilizers you can use on Dracaena marginata:
- Epsom salt fertilizer
- Eggshell liquid fertilizer
Here’s a quick look at how to prepare these fertilizers:
- Measure out 1 cup of Epsom salts into a gallon container.
- Add 3 cups of water to the container and close the lid.
- Shake vigorously until all of the salts dissolve into a solution.
- Pour as much solution as your plant will absorb near its roots (be sure not to get any on its leaves).
- Collect 4 to 5 eggshells.
- Wash them well and put them in a container.
- Add 500ml water to the container and cover it.
- Leave the mixture for 4 to 5 days inside a cool and dry place.
Before fertilizing your plant, there are many important things to know, such as recognizing when your plant needs fertilizer, choosing the right fertilizer, and how to fertilize to avoid root burn.
During warm weather, one application every two weeks should suffice for most Dracaena marginatas. Whereas during the winter, you should avoid fertilizing the plant unless you see signs of malnourishment.