The Q&A Archives: dracaena dying?

Question: I have a dracaena that is not doing so well. It has four shoots in the pot, but one has drooped over and died. The other three have brown tips with black specks. One of these shoots has lost the very top where the new growth comes in. Please help. I love this plant and don't want to lose it. Kari

Answer: I would suspect overly wet conditions are causing the problems you describe. Root rot can cause the stem to droop over and die; fungal spores (from the affected stem) can be transported to the leaves, resulting in brown spots or streaks with black specks (fungal spores). You can avoid these problems by watering the plant thoroughly when the top half-inch of soil is dry (and it begins to pull slightly away from the pot) and by applying water to the soil rather than the foliage to avoid splashing fungal spores onto the foliage. Your dracaena needs better air circulation all around to help it avoid the conditions necessary for fungus attacks. If you haven't already, remove the rotted stem and prune away the affected foliage. This will help prevent the spread of the disease. While your plant may look a little sad for a while, removing the source of the infection will allow the new foliage to remain healthy. Eventually, all the foliage will be healthy and your plant will look attractive once again. Once you've removed the affected foliage, be careful with your watering practices and your plant should regain its health.

Best wishes with your dracaena!

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