Dracaena is a popular ornamental houseplant native to Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, and other nearby islands of the Indian Ocean.
It is also known as Song of India and Pleomele. It has sword-like dark green leaves with yellow and light green variegations. It’s also a very undemanding plant that is extremely easy to take care of.
However, sometimes despite all our efforts, the leaves start to turn brown or yellow and begin shrinking. This article shows the measures you can take to save a dying dracaena plant if you face a similar problem.
How to save a dying dracaena plant?
If you bought the dracaena plant because you have a black thumb and it is low maintenance, it comes as a bit of disappointment that you couldn’t care properly for a plant that thrives on neglect.
That’s right, over-caring for a dracaena plant may do more harm than good. If your plant is starting to show signs of malnutrition, and you feel it is dying, here are the steps you can take:
1. Correct watering technique
If the leaves of your dracaena plant are turning yellowish and loopy, it could mean that you are watering your plant incorrectly.
These plants require less watering than other houseplants. Just slightly misting the leaves and misting the soil with a bit of water is enough.
The soil should not be soggy. Overwatering might result in the decaying of roots and sagging leaves. The roots of this plant should not be allowed to sit in water, or they will rot.
However, if you underwater this plant, it will survive a while, but you can see the leaves become yellow and crispy after some time. Find a balance in the watering routine that worked for your plant and stick to it.
Pro tip: You can use lukewarm water instead of cold water to water these plants as they might be shocked by the low temperature of cold water.
2. Repot when needed
If the plant is dying, check it for any root rot. If the tips of the roots are blackened or decayed, it indicates the roots are rotting.
To get rid of it, you can trim the decayed roots carefully with scissors such that only healthy; white roots are remaining.
After cutting, you can repot the plant into a new pot with loamy, rich soil with peat as it provides proper draining. Ensure the pot has enough drain holes to drain the excess water and prevent the side effects of overwatering.
Too much moisture can lead the roots to rot. Do not water unless the soil is dry. It makes sure that the soil does not become too wet.
3. Protect from sunburn
If the leaves of your dracaena plant are showing brown spots with a yellow ring around them, then it is a sign of sunburn.
It happens due to too much exposure to direct sunlight. Another symptom of overexposure to sunlight is when leaves start to turn inwards. It is the plant’s way of limiting its exposure to the sun.
If you notice these symptoms, move the plant to a spot that receives indirect sunlight. Another option is to provide a curtain or a UV filtering film to block the excessive sunlight from harming the plant.
4. Change the humidity level
The ideal humidity for growing a healthy dracaena plant is 40% to 50%. That is why they do their best work when planted indoors.
The use of heaters in winter reduces the humidity inside, so shift the plant near a window.
Using air conditioners in summers also result in less humidity than is desirable. Make necessary changes for your plant if the humidity levels inside your house change.
You can use a humidifier to maintain the room’s humidity levels in which you keep the plant.
To maintain the moisture, you can frequently mist the leaves to increase humidity around the plant instead of watering it again and again. Because even in less humidity, overwatering is very harmful to the dracaena plant.
5. Use proper soil and pot
The most suitable soil for a dracaena plant is a peat-based potting mix. It is because it has sufficient retention capacity and drains appropriately so that the roots of the plants do not soak in water for long.
This soil does not become soggy. Proper draining soil is essential for the perfect growth of your plant.
For growing a healthy dracaena plant, use a pot that has at least one drainage hole. It is required to drain the excess water so that the roots of the plant are not soggy.
If the roots stay in water for too long, they will likely rot. You can also put a tray beneath the pot to collect the water drained from the drainage holes and avoid a mess.
6. Treat spider mites
Little brown or yellow spots on the plant might also indicate the presence of spider mites. These affect the plant adversely.
Although these are not easily visible to the naked eye, you can see them using this technique.
Wipe the leaf using a paper towel. Now look closely for white or red insects on the towel. If found, removing them will bring your dying plant back to life.
To remove spider mites and prevent them from returning, you have to create an inhospitable environment for them.
They thrive in dry and dusty areas. Mist the bottom of the leaves of your plant once a week. It increases humidity and cleanliness that drives the spider mites away.
Pro-tip: If your dracaena plant has spider mites, keep it away from the other plants if you want to stop it from spreading to your whole garden.
7. Control scale bug infestation
To check for scale insect infestation, look for small armored-looking attachments ranging in size from 1/8 to ½ of an inch across the leaves and stem of the dracaena plant.
The color of these can vary depending on species. If found, the plant is suffering from scale infestation.
To get rid of it, dissolve one tablespoon of mild dishwashing liquid in 1 quart of water and spritz it on the plant once a week. It should remove the infestation in about one month. After that, your plant should rise back up fast.
8. Look for recent changes in the environment
If your plant’s leaves have brown tips, it could mean a lot of things. These might be due to less or more humidity than desired.
Another reason might be overwatering. Any change in the plants’ standard growing conditions might lead to abnormalities. To solve this issue, you have to get rid of the reason causing it.
Look for the changes you have made or the changes in the environment in the past few days. If you changed the watering schedule, stick to the original one that worked or get expert advice.
If the humidity levels differ, use a humidifier or a dehumidifier to adjust them. You can also use an indoor humidity gauge to monitor humidity levels. You can also look for root rot and consider repotting the plant.
Dracaena plants are easy to care for and are ideal if you are new plant enthusiasts. Do not worry if you think your new (or only) plant is dying.
Just look for the cause and solve it as soon as possible.
The great thing about dracaena plants is that they mainly offer you a second chance (which is not common in plants or life!) to revive them. So save your plant and enjoy the fresh and clean air!