Ask a Question forum→dracaena marginata yellowing & dropping leaves

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san francisco, ca
kxhsing
May 6, 2020 3:39 PM CST
My dracaena marginata's leaves have been yellowing and dropping continuously for the last few weeks (around 2 leaves every few days). It started happening around 1.5 months ago, and I noticed it was very rootbound so I repotted it to a bigger pot (used a equal parts mix of indoor potting soil + perlite + orchid bark), but it hasn't stopped dropping leaves.

I also had to move it from my bathroom (lower light) to the kitchen (brighter) as it was overgrowing the space available in there.
I water it ~1x/week (or when dry) and it's currently receiving medium indirect light. Not sure what's up but any advice would be helpful!

Thanks!
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[Last edited by kxhsing - May 6, 2020 4:19 PM (+)]
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oneeyeluke
May 7, 2020 1:13 AM CST
Give it more light and let the soil dry more before you water again. She doesn't like the new transplant because it raised the amount of water it gets. Add 3 or 4 days to the wait time before watering again.
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Rori
May 7, 2020 5:48 AM CST
It's definitely overwatered. And with these spots it looks like some type of fungi has developed. I suggest you treat it with a systemic fungicide and water it only when you see leaves drooping + checking the soil to be very dry. More light would also be beneficial!
san francisco, ca
kxhsing
May 7, 2020 8:59 AM CST
Rori said:It's definitely overwatered. And with these spots it looks like some type of fungi has developed. I suggest you treat it with a systemic fungicide and water it only when you see leaves drooping + checking the soil to be very dry. More light would also be beneficial!


Thank you for the diagnosis! Is there a brand of fungicide you would recommend (or home remedy)?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
May 7, 2020 9:24 AM CST
Your Marginata does not have a fungus problem and does not need a fungicide.

The original leaf yellowing was not because it was rootbound and needed repotting. It probably was not getting adequate light in the bathroom and it may not have been watered properly. Repotting would not solve either of those issues.

Unfortunately, the repotting may have caused some additional issues, depending on how you did the repotting.

Please post a photo that shows how it is now potted. When you repotted how much of the original soil did you remove?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
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san francisco, ca
kxhsing
May 7, 2020 11:13 AM CST
WillC said:Your Marginata does not have a fungus problem and does not need a fungicide.

The original leaf yellowing was not because it was rootbound and needed repotting. It probably was not getting adequate light in the bathroom and it may not have been watered properly. Repotting would not solve either of those issues.

Unfortunately, the repotting may have caused some additional issues, depending on how you did the repotting.

Please post a photo that shows how it is now potted. When you repotted how much of the original soil did you remove?


Hi, thank you for the clarification (and good to know I don't need fungicide). Attached a photo of how it's potted now.
When I originally bought the plant it was potted in orchid bark + sphagnum moss (no soil). It grew a lot in the last 7 months I've had it with no issues (being in the bathroom).

Since the roots were very rootbound and coiled around the moss pretty tightly I didn't want to disturb the roots and didn't really remove any of the moss when I repotted. I just placed it in the soil mixture (rootball level to surface of soil). The kitchen where it's located now is much brighter than the bathroom (~10ft from west facing window), and I only water when the soil feels dry.

Could it be the soil medium? Although it started dropping leaves while in the bathroom before I even repotted so I'm very confused.

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 7, 2020 12:17 PM CST
Plants react slowly to changes in their environment. If your plant was getting just a bit less than ideal light in the bathroom, then it would take a while before symptoms started to show. Likewise, adjustments to improve it will take a while to show up.

It is good that you left the roots intact when you repotted. The new pot looks to be about the right size.

Water it when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Then, give it enough so that it reaches that same level of dryness again in no more than a week. The improved light will also help.

Be patient because it will take several weeks or more for your Marginata to settle in, stabilize, and resume healthy new growth. It will probably lose some more leaves in the interim.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
san francisco, ca
kxhsing
May 7, 2020 1:30 PM CST
Thank you, Will! Really appreciate the thorough diagnosis and response. I can rest easier now knowing it just needs time to adjust and see. Crossing Fingers!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 8, 2020 7:59 AM CST
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Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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Rori
May 9, 2020 12:38 AM CST
kxhsing said:

Thank you for the diagnosis! Is there a brand of fungicide you would recommend (or home remedy)?


Home remedies in my experience are better for preventing the fungus.
So I would treat it with a chemical solution (Alliete or Ridomil gold)
And I also suggest spraying the leaves first and then after maybe two weeks water with the same solution.
Spraying acts fast but lasts less
Watering is slow but protects the plant for longer.
Hope this helps Big Grin

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