Ask a Question forum→Black Tips on Dracaena

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California
inotgreenthumb
May 30, 2020 2:49 PM CST
This is my first houseplant and I'm not sure what's happening. The tips are turning black and those leaves will eventually be black. I've been splitting the dead leaves to toss, using drinking water to water it. There was one time I took garden shears to trim the brown tips off and the next day, ALL the leaves I trimmed had black edges. Is this happening from overwatering? or underwatering?

Every week I would mist it 2-3 days out of the week and one day I would do a small 2-sec water pour to each side in the circumference of the soil. The top of the soil never feels moist in fear of overwatering. Then am I underwatering and how should I water it?
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Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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oneeyeluke
May 31, 2020 4:01 AM CST
Over watering. Measure the amount of water the container holds. Water until a little water comes out the bottom and then stop. Don't let the plant set in water ever and allow the soil to dry after watering it. The excess water you are giving the plant is bursting the cells and causing the black spots. Let the soil dry well before watering again. One time a week you should check your plants and see if they need water.
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 31, 2020 9:20 AM CST
Welcome! From your description, your fear of overwatering is causing you to underwater. Your Dracaena Compacta is in a small pot so it will dry out sooner than you might expect. The small pot also makes overwatering unlikely as long as the pot is not allowed to sit in water.

Let the top surface of the soil get barely dry to your touch, then water it thoroughly pouring water over the entire surface until all of the soil is completely saturated.

Overwatering means watering too often so the soil stays wet for too long. It does not mean giving it too much water at one time.

Trim off the discolored leaf edges to make it look nicer. With better watering, new growth should remain healthy.

Misting provides no benefit.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
inotgreenthumb
Jun 1, 2020 3:50 PM CST
WillC said: Welcome! From your description, your fear of overwatering is causing you to underwater. Your Dracaena Compacta is in a small pot so it will dry out sooner than you might expect. The small pot also makes overwatering unlikely as long as the pot is not allowed to sit in water.

Let the top surface of the soil get barely dry to your touch, then water it thoroughly pouring water over the entire surface until all of the soil is completely saturated.

Overwatering means watering too often so the soil stays wet for too long. It does not mean giving it too much water at one time.

Trim off the discolored leaf edges to make it look nicer. With better watering, new growth should remain healthy.

Misting provides no benefit.


Any suggestions on how to trim the leaf edges? I had trouble the first time, where all the trimmed edges ended up turning black and caused this tipping to go faster.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 2, 2020 7:32 AM CST
I use long, sharp scissors to trim off brown tips so that the original contour of the leaf is maintained, avoiding "blunt" cuts. When a healthy leaf is trimmed, a thin brown healing margin in unavoidable. If the brown spreads beyond that it is because the underlying cause of the brown tipping still exists. In your case, it is underwatering.

If you improve your watering, I think you will see a gradual decline in the amount of leaf-tipping, although there will always be some. Trimming is not the cause of leaf browning.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
inotgreenthumb
Jun 20, 2020 7:26 PM CST
WillC said:I use long, sharp scissors to trim off brown tips so that the original contour of the leaf is maintained, avoiding "blunt" cuts. When a healthy leaf is trimmed, a thin brown healing margin in unavoidable. If the brown spreads beyond that it is because the underlying cause of the brown tipping still exists. In your case, it is underwatering.

If you improve your watering, I think you will see a gradual decline in the amount of leaf-tipping, although there will always be some. Trimming is not the cause of leaf browning.


Thanks! So I've watered it more once a week for the past two weeks and saw improvement in the leaves. But now it looks like there's root rot? Quite troubling as now I'm not sure how to prevent this from affecting the newer leaves.

Thumb of 2020-06-21/inotgreenthumb/7dd380

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 21, 2020 9:08 AM CST
What makes you think there is root rot?

Why is the potting soil so clumpy on the surface?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
inotgreenthumb
Jun 21, 2020 10:51 AM CST
WillC said:What makes you think there is root rot?

Why is the potting soil so clumpy on the surface?


Not sure if it's root rot but the bottom of the stems have darkened parts to them which I didn't see before.

The soil has almost always been clumpy since I got the plant. Thinking I broke up the chunks into finer pieces once.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 21, 2020 2:59 PM CST
I don't think that is root rot. It may be that those leaves at the bottom are slowly dying back starting at the base end.

I suggest that you try to crumble up those clumps. That clumping may be a sign that the soil getting too dry.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
inotgreenthumb
Jun 23, 2020 8:20 PM CST
Update: The stem is actually very soft and squishy and has grown limp. From what I gathered online, I can only attempt to propagate but I also don't have enough of a non-squishy stem to do so :/
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 24, 2020 7:53 AM CST
If the short remaining stem is soft, then the roots are probably no longer functioning and your Compacta is no longer viable. The roots could have died from over or under watering or damage during potting. Sorry we were unable to help you save it.

Can you post an updated photo that shows all that remains?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
California
inotgreenthumb
Jun 26, 2020 1:21 PM CST
WillC said:If the short remaining stem is soft, then the roots are probably no longer functioning and your Compacta is no longer viable. The roots could have died from over or under watering or damage during potting. Sorry we were unable to help you save it.

Can you post an updated photo that shows all that remains?


Darn, no problem. It is a learning experience and I couldn't get a handle on the watering.

I already tossed it because the stem was dark and I snipped off what was still green to see if there was any stem at all left for me to salvage but definitely no more left as the leaves are all separated after.

Thank you for all the responses though!

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