Dracaena marginata ‘Kiwi’, a bright, luminous dragon plant

Dracaena marginata kiwi in a pot near a pool

Dracaena marginata ‘Kiwi’ is a very elegant dragon plant cultivar. Its striped green and ivory-colored leaves bring lushness and light to any house.

NameDracaena marginata ‘Kiwi’ or
Dracaena reflexa var. angustifolia ‘Kiwi’
FamilyAgavoideae (previously Agavaceae)

Type – houseplant
Height – 3 to 6.5 feet (90 to 200 cm)
Exposure – lots of light, even full sun

Soil – soil mix, with drainage
Foliage – evergreen

This elegant two-colored grower will brighten up your home… and your day!

How to grow Dracena marginata ‘Kiwi’

The Kiwi dracena is a tropical plant: it can’t survive cold temperatures. If ever it gets any colder than 60°F in your area (about 15-16°C), you’ll have to grow it in a pot indoors.

Growing your kiwi dragon plant in pots

When mature, your kiwi dracaena will need a pot that’s nearly 1 foot across (10-12 inches, or 25-30 cm). If you bought it in a nursery pot, you can upsize the pot by one size (1 inch wider) at every repotting. This should take place every 2-3 years.

Essential is that the soil mix you use drains well. To sum it up:

  • have a layer of drainage
  • use rich, loose soil mix with either sand, clay pebbles, or perlite mixed in
  • top it off with houseplant potting mulch to keep water from evaporating too fast

Watering a Kiwi Dracaena marginata

The kiwi dracaena needs water, but not daily. Once a week is enough, even during the growing season.

  • Watering every week is what’s needed to make sure leaves don’t fall off.
  • More specific information on watering dracaena marginata.

However, if you forget to water, it doesn’t mean your plant will die off immediately. Dracaena resists drought very well. But it will lose some leaves and growth slows down dramatically.

Don’t overwater!

Overwatering is the first cause of dying kiwi dracaenas. Before watering, check whether the soil is dry yet or not. Stick your finger in the soil, about 2 knuckles deep. If your finger feels moist and if the soil is smudgy and sticky, then don’t water yet. Wait until it feels dry underneath the soil surface first.

  • Also, never let excess water collect and stay under the plant. Empty it whenever excess water pools down under the pot into the saucer.

Propagating Dracaena marginata ‘Kiwi’

In temperate climates, your ‘Kiwi’ dracaena will almost never bloom. Even in the wild, blooming is very rare. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t multiply your beloved green-and-ivory dragon tree!

  • Prepare stem cuttings from a portion of the trunk.
  • For this, you’ll have to cut the top off your dracaena plant.
  • From a single stem, you can likely make several new plants.

They’ll all have exactly the same characteristics as the mother plant. Since cuttings is a form of cloning the plant, no cross-pollination is involved.

Dracaena ‘Kiwi’ problems and pests

A lush stem full of leaves from top to bottom is the sign of a perfectly healthy plant. This is quite rare, though: the plant loses its bottom-most leaves first whenever it’s stressed in any manner. Possible causes of stress that lead to leaf drop include:

  • not enough light
  • not enough watering
  • cold temperatures
  • too many drafts of wind
  • overwatering (though usually the whole plant shows symptoms, not just the bottom ones).

Any of the above will lead to leaf loss on your kiwi dragon plant. If you correct it, they won’t grow back, but at least any new leaves will stay on the trunk for longer.

Yellow leaves on dracena

In the case of overwatering, soil is soggy or wet for a long time, more than a week. When this happens, the root system chokes up and drowns. Root rot sets in and the root system can’t push water up to the leaves anymore. Without sap and nutrients, they turn yellow, droop down, and turn soft. In extreme cases, even the trunk starts turning soft.

When the trunk is so soft that the plant bends over, it’s too late: your kiwi dracaena is dead. If you’re diligent, you can try to salvage a portion of the stem to start a new cutting.

Learn more about the Dracaena marginata ‘Kiwi’

Kiwi dracaena marginata planted in the groundThis houseplant is among the easier ones to care for: the main danger to it is simply overwatering.

Its emerald-green and ivory-cream tones set the stage for an elegant home or office. Unlike varieties that are all green, this particular variety seems lighter and brighter. It’s perfect to brighten up darker spaces, provided that you rotate it with other plants to give it lots of sun from time to time.

The pale yellow stripe along the center of each leaf fades into green and dark green, with just a flare of deep red lining the rims. It’s the same colors as a slice of the kiwifruit! This color range is actually inverted from the natural relative of the species, the ‘Song of India’ Dracaena reflexa, which has a green center and cream-colored edges.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
In a pot, In a corner bed by Lin Vosbury,
Nature & Garden contributor