House Plants/marginata


Hi Will:

I just bought a beauty of dracena 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.  


Hi Rick,

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.

I have written a detailed article on Marginata care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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