Skip to Content

How Fast Do Dracaena Marginata Grow? Answered

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Dracaena marginata grow extremely slowly as houseplants, with people reporting rates of around 12 inches in three years. They grow faster outdoors, in suitably tropical conditions with filtered light, reaching about 20 feet. Indoors, they will take at least a decade to reach 10 feet.

One day, I was walking home from the shop around the corner when I came upon some pieces of Dracaena marginata (Madagascar dragon tree) lying on the sidewalk outside someone’s house.

Dracaena Marginata Plants

They had pruned their plant and left the pieces on the sidewalk. I picked them up and headed home. We treated the cut ends with rooting hormone and placed them in damp sand, and soon the pieces had grown healthy roots.

We potted them into a small pot with well-drained soil. That was three years ago. Since then, the pieces have added around a foot (12 inches) of growth. They are two healthy plants with lovely glossy leaves and no burnt tips.

Yet they have only added a foot of growth in three years. They grow slowly anyways, and we also made some mistakes that slowed their growth below its optimal rate. Find out how to maximize the growth of your Dracaena marginata.

How Long Does A Dracaena Marginata Take To Grow?

Dracaena marginata grows very slowly as a houseplant, and someone in the UK had a similar experience to ours, with her plant only adding 30 cm (12 inches) in three years.

The main thing that limits the growth rate of Dracaena species indoors is the light levels. Although it is essential to keep your Dracaena marginata out of overly bright, direct light, their growth rate slows if you keep them in dim light.

How Tall Do Dracaena Marginata Plants Grow?

In optimal conditions in their native home of Madagascar, Dracaena marginata plants grow to be shrubs or small trees around 20 feet tall.

It will grow to 6 feet taller or more (as much as 10 feet tall) as a houseplant unless pruned shorter. However, they will take a long time to reach such heights due to their slow growth rate.

Is Dracaena Marginata Slow-Growing?

Dracaena marginata is very slow growing, although its exact growth rate depends on how you treat it. It can take ten years to reach a few feet high, so we recommend starting with a reasonably mature specimen if you want to make a quick statement with this plant.

Various factors affect how long this plant takes to grow, and we’ll give you info on how to maximize the growth rate of your Dracaena marginata.

Factors That Affect Your Dracaena Marginata’s Size

The most important of all the factors that affect your Dracaena marginata plant’s growth rate is light.

Dracaena Marginata Propagation Guide

Although you should take care not to place your plant in direct sunlight that would cause the leaves to scorch, you should be aware that low light levels will stunt your Dracaena marginata plant’s growth rate.

Other factors that affect how fast your Dracaena marginata grows, and therefore how big it gets, are the size of the pot, the amount and quality of food it gets, and the amount of water it gets.

If you keep a Dracaena marginata plant in a pot that is too small, its growth rate will slow down.

However, take care not to place it in too big a pot, as this tends to encourage over-watering, which will lead to root rot and is the leading cause of death for Dracaena plants.

Dracaena marginata need to get enough food, which means a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer with trace elements. I would strongly recommend using organic fertilizer to avoid problems with fluoride (Dracaena marginata are very sensitive to this chemical).

Having too little food will result in stunted growth of the leaves and the plant. However, you should not overfeed these plants, as they do not need a lot of food, especially not in winter.

Take care not to over-water your Dracaena marginata plants, as they are susceptible to root rot from too much water, which will cause your plant’s health to suffer, its growth rate to slow, and may even result in it dying.

Dracaena marginata plants also appreciate being in environments with sufficient humidity. If your Dracaena marginata does not have enough humidity, its growth rate will slow down.

Why Is My Dracaena Marginata Not Growing?

Examining the factors listed above, I would advise you to evaluate the following parameters of your Dracaena marginata plant’s care regimen:

  • It should receive plenty of bright light but not direct sunlight. Low light levels will stunt its growth.
  • It needs a big enough pot – it is root-bound if growth slows or stops for several months.
  • It needs some feeding but not much – it needs feeding once a month in the growing season (spring and summer).
  • It should not be over-watered – the top 75 percent of soil should dry out between waterings.
  • It will benefit from high humidity – if the humidity in your home is below 30 or 40 percent, mist it occasionally or use a humidifier around your houseplants.
Dracaena Marginata

How To Make Dracaena Marginata Grow Faster

To make your Dracaena marginata grow faster, I recommend tweaking the above parameters.

One of the primary factors that affect how fast a Dracaena marginata grows and how bright its colors are is the amount of light it receives.

To avoid burning the leaves, avoid placing it in a spot that receives direct sunlight, but ensure that it gets plenty of bright filtered light. An ideal location is in a window behind a net curtain. Avoid south-facing windows.

If you keep your Dracaena marginata in too small a pot, its growth rate will slow to a crawl.

Repot it when the roots become congested. However, this may mean repotting as often as twice a year, so I recommend repotting only every two years (and accepting slightly slower growth).

I recommend feeding your Dracaena marginata with an organic fertilizer about once a month in spring and summer. Do not feed it in the winter.

Take care not to over-water your Dracaena marginata plant. Let the top inch of soil dry out before giving the plant water.

I recommend acquiring a soil moisture gauge to assess how wet your soil is; it is a worthwhile investment.

Keeping your Dracaena marginata in conditions of sufficient humidity will help keep it happy and growing optimally. Group your plants to increase humidity levels in the local environment.

Stand your Dracaena marginata on a pebble tray with some water in it (but not so high that the plant will absorb moisture through the bottom of the pot). Run a humidifier or mist your plants occasionally. Doing so not only keeps humidity levels up but helps to prevent over-watering.

Keep your Dracaena marginata out of drafts from windows, doors, A/C, and heating ducts to help keep humidity levels optimal.

What Is The Dracaena Marginata Growing Season?

The growing season for Dracaena marginata is spring and summer, and growth slows or stops in winter. Although it is rare in cultivation, Dracaena marginata plants may also flower in spring, producing small white flowers tinged with magenta on branching stalks.

These flowers are highly fragrant. In fact, from the one time our Dracaena marginata flowered, I would go so far as to say that the perfume is intoxicating, and you may need to move the plant outdoors to prevent your family members from getting a headache!

The flowers are followed by small orange or red berries that produce viable seeds.

Because spring and summer are the growing season for Dracaena marginata, this is when you should be feeding your plant. Stop feeding it in winter when growth stops.

Dracaena Marginata Plant

How Do I Get My Dracaena Marginata To Grow More Leaves?

To get your Dracaena marginata to grow more leaves, simply give it the optimal levels of care it requires, as explained above. A happy plant will automatically produce more leaves as the lower ones gradually turn yellow and drop off (or you remove them).

Remove the leaves as they turn yellow by pulling downward on them so that they peel off, leaving a diamond-shaped scar on the stem.

If your plant has become too leggy and spindly, follow the pruning instructions given below.

How To Make Dracaena Marginata Bushy/Fuller

Your Dracaena marginata may grow too tall or spindly, especially if it has been growing in low light conditions. To make your Dracaena marginata plant grow more bushy or fuller, you must control its height by pruning it.

You can make new plants by rooting the cuttings, the way we did. They make great gifts for friends.

I recommend pruning your plant in spring, as this is when its growth is most robust. You can also prune in summer but avoid pruning in fall or winter when it is dormant.

Use a sharp pruning tool to ensure sharp, even cuts. Ragged cuts are unsightly and also provide an entry point for disease. Sterilize your pruning tool in water with bleach added to remove pathogens.

Cut through the stem of your Dracaena marginata plant at an angle. Cutting at an angle ensures that any water that lands on the cut surface runs off, reducing the chance of infection.

The stem you cut will respond to being pruned by producing at least two new branches from the stump within a few weeks.

These will grow upward toward the light, and each will make its own rosette of leaves, leading to a fuller and bushy appearance.

Fertilizing Dracaena Marginata For Growth

Dracaena marginata plants have relatively low feeding requirements, and it isn’t essential to feed them. However, if you want to optimize your plant’s growth rate and improve its colors, I recommend fertilizing with controlled-release liquid fertilizer or top-dressing with granules.

Ensure that fertilizer is balanced in the ratio 3:1:2 (nitrogen: phosphorus: potassium) and has trace amounts of copper, manganese, iron, zinc, and sodium.

I recommend using natural, organic products such as those derived from seaweed.

Apply the fertilizer once every four weeks (once a month) during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid feeding when the plant is dormant (fall and winter).

Because Dracaena marginata is highly sensitive to fluoride, keep the soil pH slightly acidic, between 6.0 and 6.5.

Avoid potting soils with a high percentage of perlite (instead, use a bit of vermiculite for water retention), and avoid superphosphate fertilizers as these often have high fluorine levels.

You can lower the soil pH by applying aluminum sulfate and watering it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do Dracaena marginata get?

Dracaena marginata grow as tall as 20 feet high in the wild but will probably only reach half of that when kept as houseplants.

How fast do Dracaena marginata grow?

Dracaena marginata grow very slowly and will only grow about 12 inches in three years.

Does Dracaena marginata need much light?

Dracaena marginata can grow in dim light but will tend to become spindly. To optimize growth, grow it in bright, filtered light.

Does Dracaena marginata clean air?

Dracaena marginata plants are extremely good at purifying air, being particularly effective at removing xylene and trichloroethylene.

Are Dracaena marginata toxic?

Dracaena marginata are toxic to cats and dogs, causing vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and drooling. Keep your plant away from your pet if it tends to chew on plants.