This was a friends plant, a Dracaena Marginata and it basically died, I took it to see if I could regrow it but I’m not that savvy in gardening. Luckily some green has sprouted from the bottom but I don’t know if I should keep the old branches or get rid of them to make some space. Any tips on getting this back to beautiful?

My plant in bad shape


If there's no signs of life in any of the canes anywhere at all, cut them out at the base - if they're completely dead (which they certainly look to be), they're serving no useful purpose at all. If you're not sure there's no life anywhere, scrape back a bit of the surface on the canes with a fingernail - if they're brown and dry inside, they're dead. The plant should continue to grow upwards off the roots, which are obviously healthy, hence the new growth,so it will gradually get taller and start to form canes.

Water when the surface of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch, but not so dry its shrunk from the sides of the pot. Water well, and empty that tray out after 30 minutes, don't leave it sitting in water. Bright daylight is good, but not sunlight - temperature between 65 and 75 deg.F.


This is not a Dracaena marginata. Identification is by the stem. Marginata's have a series of rings on the stem whereas Yucca's have a russeted bark. Also D. marginata usually has a red margin on the outside edge of the leaves which are thin unlike the leaves of the Yucca which are thicker. This plant is Yucca elephantipes, a native of Central America. Outside it is quite happy to grow up to 30 M tall ( ~90' feet), inside it is considerably smaller. Most interior specimens get to 2 M ( ~6') or so although I have seen a few at ten or twenty feet if the ceiling allows.

The usual suspect in cases of poor health is over watering and insufficient light which seems to be the case here. The usual soil less mix based on peat keeps the roots too wet and root rot is common. These plants need high light, a free draining soil and a light hand on the water. Another typical maintenance problem with soil less mixes is that they cannot provide support for a tall heavy plant so they lean or tip in the pot.

The plant in the picture has been over watered and the large stems are dead. It is regrowing from the roots but it will take a long time to become anything attractive. You can cut the stems down to the base with a saw as they are unlikely to regrow.

A better resolution would be to move to a higher light area, go easy on the water and avoid the use of soil less peat based mixes which are too moist in low light conditions.

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