Care for dracaena marginata plant

Care for dracaena marginata plant, which grows in damp, shady conditions and is not particularly drought- or salt-tolerant, are suitable for use in glass or plastic pots of about 18" in diameter and 6" high. Plant seeds or seedslings when plants are about a foot tall and require full sun, with light shade underneath. Provide water and care for a few months before you can expect mature fruits or seed production.



Salal leaves are often said to resemble gray-leaved Oregon maple, although there is considerable variability in leaves. There are four overlapping leaflets and the mid-rib of the leaflet is straight, but with a slightly concave appearance. Salal leaves are somewhat coarse-toothed on the margin, with some texturing to the leaves. They grow in a rosette pattern, with single, cylindrical to spiny leaves.

Leaf blade


Leaves are usually 6"-18" long, with a length to width ratio of 2:1. They are broad and fan shaped, ranging from crinkled to almost smooth, depending on the cultivar and environmental conditions. Lighter green leaves are more crinkled and darker green leaves are almost smooth. Leaf blades are often rippled or rosetted. There is typically an inconspicuous mid-vein at the center of the leaf. Salal leaves appear whorled, overlapping in alternate arrangement.



Root character is nodal with internodes ranging from about 2" to 5", depending on cultivar.



Tubers are conical, tapering at the end and from 5" to 7" long and 5" to 8" wide, depending on cultivar. Each has a central stalk that is usually about 2" in diameter. Seeds are released when tubers are tapped and matured.

Seedling leaf


Seeds are expelled at the joint with the leaf, usually near the end of the stem. Leaf stems are usually bare and leaf blades are usually not hairy. Seeds are dispersed by ants, birds or mammals. Leaves do not show any sort of floral display.



Seeds are usually large, creamy yellow in color, shaped like wrinkled crumpled capsules with pointed ends. Seed coat is light brown and the aril is pale orange. Sometimes seeds are coated with a thick sticky black substance. Seedlings are sometimes marbled and less uniform in color, appearing more like pepper plants.

When to Sow &, Plant

Germination starts in mid- to late-summer after rainfall, but is faster with higher temperatures. Wait until soil has warmed to 60°F and fallen to 50°F to plant seeds in the spring. When seedlings emerge in the spring, expose them to morning sun and allow them to harden off before planting. Carefully remove seedlings and plant them the same day. Give them no fertilizer for two weeks before transplanting, and not after the first flower appears. Soil should be friable with a loose top layer and should warm to about 50°F. If it is warm and you need a slower germination, wait to plant until seeds have started to germinate. Prepare seedlings for transplanting by moistening the bottom third with water and applying a slow-release fertilizer. Plant seedlings at least 12" apart in rows 2 to 4" deep. Fill the planting hole to within 2 inches of the top of the row.


Remove broken, dead or weak seedlings as soon as they appear. Bend or tie together any seedlings that seem weak. As plants grow, you may want to experiment with different types of stake support. Make sure stakes are at least 8" apart so that the plants can easily grow around them. If you are not staking your plants, you can tie them to the stake. Tie the tops of plants close to the top of the stake. Tie the tops of seedlings near the end of the stem and let the rest of the stem grow loose. Tie each of the main roots to a stake.


As plants grow, you may want to experiment with different ways of thinning. Try thinning about every 2 weeks or so to encourage continued flowering. Thin plants when they are 4 to 6 inches tall to promote lateral branching.


Grow a few plants on a half-shade area to observe flowers, fruits and seed development. When fruits or seed pods are ready, remove them carefully. If seed is still in pods, don't let the fruit touch the ground. Water well after picking the fruits to keep them from drying out.

Tips &, Warnings

Avoid using fertilizer before seedlings are 1/3 of the way grown. If you do apply fertilizer to established seedlings, do not allow to build up in the soil. It may keep seeds from sprouting.

If the seedlings are mature before fruit is ready, you can increase the number of fruits produced by pruning.

With wild, ruderal species, plant in full sun to catch pollen from neighboring plants and spread their pollen to other species. With some of these species, they do not need much irrigation and are easy to grow.

Dracaena marginata plants are rarely affected by fungal or bacterial diseases, but seedlings of plants exposed to wind will often have reduced growth. Protect wind-exposed plants with a trellis or strong plants around them.

Salal will not tolerate pH extremes and does not tolerate winter water freezes. This species is a salt-tolerant and low-water-use native that is found in the Northwestern United States and western Canada.

Plants tolerate a range of temperatures from -15°F to 115°F. Ideal temperatures for planting and growth range from 60°F to 80°F, with 30°F as the minimum.

Salal leaves are not affected by lawn mower cuts or strong winds.

If you are gardening on windy sites, seedlings should

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