Dracaena marginata ‘bicolor’ is a special variety of dragon plant. Deep green leaves are lined with a thin, elegant strand of bordeaux red, encasing bands of emerald green and ivory yellow.
Dracaena marginata bicolor facts
Name – Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia ‘bicolor’
Horticultural name – Dracaena marginata
Family – Agavoidaea
Height – 3 to 6 feet (100 to 200 cm)
Type – indoor plant, houseplant
Exposure – full sun, well-lit
Soil – potting soil mix, well-draining
Foliage – evergreen
How to grow Dracaena marginata ‘bicolor’
Just like other varieties of Dracaena marginata, the ‘bicolor’ variety can be grown indoors in containers all year round.
- It can survive outdoors and in the ground only in places where temperatures never drop below 60° Fahrenheit (17° C).
Growing Dracaena marginata bicolor in pots
In a pot or container, your Dracaena marginata bicolor simply requires:
- a pot at least 10 inches across (25 cm)
- well-draining soil mix (the usual for indoor plants)
Growing Dracaena marginata bicolor outdoors
Soil quality isn’t so important because nutrients will always seep in from further off. What is important is to ensure your Dracaena marginata bicolor doesn’t stay steeped in clay, waterlogged soil.
- It’s important to ensure proper drainage.
- Read our page on how to make clay soil more root-friendly
Dracaena marginata bicolor watering
- For this, it needs to be watered according to its ideal cycle: once a week, every 5 to 7 days to be accurate.
Water your marginata bicolor weekly and ensure excess water drains out fully. That way it will keep its leaves for longer.
The slightest water stress will trigger the usual Dracaena marginata coping: stop of growth and leaf loss.
Watering is a prime concern. Although this plant is quite resistant to drought and lack of water, forgetting about the plant for weeks on end won’t help.
Dracaena marginata bicolor does not respond well to overwatering. You’ll be experiencing Dracaena yellow leaves before you know it.
Propagating Dracaena marginata bicolor
Cuttings is by far the simplest manner of reproducing your favorite Dracaena marginata bicolor.
Propagate Dracaena marginata bicolor through stem cuttings
- select the “branch” you’re going to “sacrifice” for this. Usually, a cutting is about one foot (30 cm) long. However, you can shorten it to as little as 3 inches (7.5 cm) or make it as long as you wish.
- The mother Dracaena marginata bicolor will grow new leaves from nodes near the tip of the cut. It’ll branch out nicely.
- Place the cutting in a glass of water, leafy head upwards. Ensure the stem is immersed by about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm).
- If you’ve cut more than one cutting from the stem, mark the “top” of each leafless stem with a piece of yarn or a ribbon.
- Roots will sprout from nodes in the immersed area, while leaves will start sprouting from nodes near the tip.
- When roots reach an inch (2.5 cm) in length, the cutting can be transferred to a pot with fresh, clean soil mix.
Making cuttings is the surest way to replicate your Dracaena marginata bicolor with the exact same properties as the mother plant. In effect, it is a form of cloning.
Common diseases on Dracaena marginata bicolor
Leaves are falling off of your Dracaena marginata bicolor
Four causes may be at play here:
- Lack of light – D. marginata bicolor needs full sun. Place it where it can have more light, like a window facing towards the midday sun.
- Underwatering – leaves will fall off from bottom to top in case of underwatering. Set a reminder in your calendar for a weekly watering session, or work it into your weekly routine.
- Cold – temperatures around your Dracaena marginata bicolor should always hover above 65°F or 18°C. Place it in a warmer place that isn’t near drafty corridors and hallways.
- Overwatering – leaves will die off more or less along the entire plant. Usually this is a sign of root rot. Emergency care for these yellowing dracaena leaves is to stop watering for ten to fifteen consecutive days. Replace the soil mix in the pot with something that drains really well.
- Brown leaf tips – air moisture around the plant is insufficient. Try one of these solutions to increase air humidity.
If you’re prone to visiting your plants with water daily, here’s a simple trick. It deals with overwatering and insufficient air moisture.
- Switch the water saucer of your Dracaena marginata ‘bicolor’ pot out for a tray with clay pebbles. Rest the pot atop it.
- Water the pot itself only once a week. Satisfy the urge to water on other days by dousing water on the clay pebbles.
- The water will evaporate, creating air moisture that is perfect for your Dracaena marginata, without drowning it.
- More on creating air moisture around plants
Dracaena marginata bicolor leaves turn yellow
This might be a case of red spider mites, if you’ve already ascertained that the plant isn’t overwatered.
- Find out how to get rid of red spider mites
Learn more about Dracaena marginata ‘bicolor’
The ‘bicolor’ Dracaena marginata variety has a distinctive thin red margin to each side of the leaves. In the center, one or more pale yellow bands alternate with green.
It has slightly less green chlorophyll in these portions of the leaves. This means it won’t be as vigorous as other all-green D. marginata cultivars.
However, it will still be more vigorous than the Dracaena marginata ‘Colorama’ and ‘Tricolor’ varieties. These have even less sun-processing chlorophyll cells. They require even more light.
Like most Dracaena plants, Dracaena marginata ‘bicolor’ comes from tropical countries like Costa Rica and other places along the Caribbean. The perfect temperature and moisture settings of those regions make it easier to have large plantations. Scores of cuttings grow there for export.
In tropical countries, Dracaena marginata often grows in the wild, whether in its native habitat or because it was introduced there. In the wild, Dracaena marginata can grow very tall.
Smart tip about Dracaena marginata bicolor
If you’ve got several varieties of Dracaena marginata growing together, check how much “green” their leaves have. Place less green varieties closer to full light. Leave Dracaena marginata bicolor at a slight disadvantage.
Since it’s more vigorous, you’ll be evening growth out between varieties.
Read more about Dracaena marginata cultivars
- Dracaena, a fascinating family
- The perfect indoor leaf plant: how to care for Dracaena marginata
- Heat and drought won’t kill your Dracaena marginata
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Dracaena marginata bicolor diagonal by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work
D. marginata bicolor stripes by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work