Ask a Question forum→Dracaena suddenly has issues

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SF, CA
SJAH
May 28, 2020 8:30 PM CST
I have had this beautiful dracaena for 5 months now. Leaves were spotless until this week when some have yellow spots and the top new growth has developed paper thin brown patches. The only thing that has changed is a few hot (85F) days. Bright room facing East gets morning light. Any ideas what could be going on? I would hate to ruin it!
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Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Hummingbirder Birds Organic Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover
oneeyeluke
May 29, 2020 1:22 AM CST
Looks like a watering issue to me. When you water, make sure you water until you get some discharge out the bottom drain holes. Don't leave it setting in water! Then allow the top 1 &1/2 inches of soil to dry before watering again.
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
SF, CA
SJAH
Jun 14, 2020 1:40 PM CST
I have let my plant dry and am paying attention not to overwater. The yellow spots that started as a result of my over watering have not dissipated. Will they eventually turn green again?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 15, 2020 10:28 AM CST
Your D.Janet Craig is sensitive to the build-up of mineral salts in the soil and prone to leaf spotting and leaf edge damage. That can happen if your tap water is on the hard side; if you are fertilizing it; or if you are letting the soil get too dry. This plant also needs complete protection from the direct sun falling on it at any time during the day.

Use filtered or distilled water if your tap water is hard. You may also want to flush lots of clear water through the soil if you have been using hard water. Don't use any fertilizer at all.

I suspect you may be letting the soil get too dry because of your fear of overwatering. If the soil gets too dry, it concentrates the mineral salts in the soil and that burns the roots. That is a common cause of leaf spotting and brown edges.

The existing discoloration is permanent. All you can do is prevent further leaf discoloration.

Is your plant still in its nursery pot?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
SF, CA
SJAH
Jun 15, 2020 12:46 PM CST
WillC thank you for your message. My plant has not been repotted. When I purchased it, the nursery said it may need to be repotted in 9 months or so. How do I know when to do this - I am afraid of ruining this beautiful plant.

Our area is not known for having hard water. We don't have any hard water spots on dishes or anywhere. I can use filtered water moving forward if you recommend that.

The room it is in is East facing with big windows, so lots of light, but it is not directly on the plant as the plant is about 20 feet from the window.
Thank you
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 16, 2020 7:46 AM CST
That was a guess on the part of the nursery. Your plant may never need to be repotted or might need it tomorrow.

Please post a photo that shows the nursery pot. And also one that shows all of the plant taken from several feet away.

Is there a mass of roots at the bottom of the rootball?

How have you been deciding when to water and how much do you provide?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
SF, CA
SJAH
Jun 19, 2020 11:35 AM CST
Thanks for the help. I was watering based on how the top inch felt, but honestly it is hard to tell because it is mostly lava rock and tight so I can't feel in multiple spots. I have been watering every two weeks now. I am also now checking the pan to make sure there is no water sitting at the bottom.

Here are the photos requested.
Thank you! Thank You!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 19, 2020 3:15 PM CST
If your plant is potted in volcanic cinders, then it is very difficult to probe with your finger. However, that is an excellent potting medium. You can safely water it thoroughly once per week being careful to pour the water very slowly over the entire surface until a bit starts to trickle through the drain holes.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
CPPgardener
Jun 19, 2020 3:56 PM CST
The brown patches at the top are from damage done before you got the plant. I think it may have been bacterial. Since you don't live in a greenhouse with high humidity you probably won't have any problems with it.

Like Will said, great potting mix for aeration just hard to rewet or get your finger into. I had a love/hate relationship with it when I did interiorscaping because of that and the porosity meant that I had to water slowly to not overflow the saucer in the deco pot or basket. Grumbling
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
SF, CA
SJAH
Jun 19, 2020 4:02 PM CST
Thank you for the guidance. How will I know when to repot it?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 20, 2020 6:48 AM CST
Unless you are able to duplicate the greenhouse environment, then it may never need repotting. It will need to be pruned back long before it ever needs a larger pot. I care for a number of Dracaena Lisas that have been in the same pots for ten years and they are doing fine as long as I keep them pruned.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
SF, CA
SJAH
Jul 5, 2020 6:03 PM CST
Thank you for the guidance. How will I know when to repot it?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jul 6, 2020 7:26 AM CST
Your Dracaena is a low light indoor plant so it will grow slowly and the roots even less. It will need pruning long before it needs to be repotted. If it ever reaches the point that it needs water three times per week to keep from being dehydrated, then it might need repotting. I have cared for several hundred 'Lisas" in cinder potting mixes for over a dozen years and never had to repot one. They are all in home and office environments, like yours.
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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