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Dracaena Marginata

Question:

I just bought a beauty of Dracaena marginata (see photo att).  Over 6′ with four solid 1″ stems all twisting into a giant ball of leaves.  My main concern is the only corner I have for it is slightly on the dim side. All my windows are blocked by trees outside, so my apt never really gets alot of sun.  So how can I supplement this – an artificial light? Do they work? I have a spot on the floor. Also, while checking the soil an inch or so down, it seems moist but not wet (plus the soil is covered in moss – should I remove that?) It was perfect when I brought it home, but now getting several brown tips. Your wisdom is appreciated.

Answer:

Thanks for the photo. You have a nice healthy-looking plant, but it needs to be right in front of an uncovered window.

Artificial light from below is useless because the light sensors in plant foliage are on the top of leaf surfaces. The only artificial lighting that will help is a fluorescent tube fixture hung above the Marginata. Incandescent bulbs produce light in the wrong part of the color spectrum for plant growth and are not effective.

If you don’t have adequate light, there is not substitute and the plant will gradually deteriorate.

In any case, do not repot your Marginata (ever). Remove the moss on the surface. It is only there for decoration and it prevents the soil from drying out properly. Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before adding just enough water that it reaches that level of dryness again in about a week.