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Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 7:27 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
I got two pairs of dracaena marginatas 3-4 weeks back, and one of them already died over a week ago after the same symptoms. Now, the second young plant's leaves are yellowing, developing brown spots and falling off at an alarming rate, maybe 10-12 leaves each day! I'm afraid my plant will be bald Ina day or two. Another change I noticed is that the area of the stem at the base of the foliage has thinned and turned from its original colour to a pale white. The plant's pot does not have drainage holes (that's unfortunately how they came from the shop) but I have been watering (with filtered drinking water) only about 300 ml once a week (the soil dries out by then). What condition is my plant suffering from and how do I save it? The pictures attached are from yesterday, today only about half the leaves are remaining...
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Aug 28, 2021 7:57 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
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If the soil is getting too dry, the leaves will fall off quickly. If this was my plant, I would move it to a pot with drain holes as soon as I have the opportunity.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
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Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 8:28 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
Thanks so much for the response; I will look towards transplanting it into a pot with drainage holes as soon as possible. So a lack of water is likely to be the problem? I thought there was an infection of some sort since the leaves started developing those spots, any thoughts on that? The top of the stem where the leaves were attached in the previous plant I lost had actually eventually turned black, so it looked like some sort of rot to me, but I don't suspect it was overwatering since the typical symptoms of that were missing. Please shed a little light on this situation. Also, the tips of many of the leaves on all my dracaenas are turning brown, so any advice for that?
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Aug 28, 2021 9:10 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
I don't know what the likely problem is, but I do know that a lot of leaves will drop if these trees get too dry. I mentioned that because you said the soil had dried before you watered. And the roots will rot if there is too much water in a pot without a drain hole. Various occasional spots and blemishes are common on Dracaena leaves, but I do not know what caused yours. Too much fertilizer can make plants ill, but I do not know what kind of fertilizer this plant has been given.

It could have had a time before you bought it when there was too much water. I wish I could answer each of your questions but there are too many possible variables to know what led to the current situation. A few weeks is such a short time for a tough plant like D. marginata to develop a serious problem, so I suspect there could have been something going wrong before you got it.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
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Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 9:31 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
Thank you for the advice, I am not sure what fertiliser was administered before I bought the plant but I haven't fertilized it at all. The only reason I allow the soil to dry out mostly before watering is because that's the way I have been advised to water the plant both by the person I bought the plant from and the internet. I don't water it too much because there are no drainage holes at the bottom, scared of water standing at the bottom. Do you have any advice besides switching the pot to save this plant? I apologise for repeatedly bothering you but I really don't want to lose this one too within a month...
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Aug 28, 2021 9:49 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
I can totally understand wanting it to be healthy and beautiful! : ) Hopefully moving it to a pot that drains will help. This will allow you to add enough water so the soil is moist throughout without any dry spots, and the excess will drip out, and fertilizer or water substances like minerals or chlorine can't buildup in the soil.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
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Aug 28, 2021 10:01 AM CST
Name: cheapskate gardener
South Florida (Zone 10a)
Adeniums Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Procrastinator Plumerias Houseplants Growing under artificial light
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What sort of light is it getting? Giving it more light could help with any potential overwatering, especially in a pot without drainage holes.
I have found that coffee, tea, and rose can all agree on one thing... water everyday.
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 10:21 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
purpleinopp said:I can totally understand wanting it to be healthy and beautiful! : ) Hopefully moving it to a pot that drains will help. This will allow you to add enough water so the soil is moist throughout without any dry spots, and the excess will drip out, and fertilizer or water substances like minerals or chlorine can't buildup in the soil.


Thanks you for all the suggestions, I will keep them in mind.
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 10:28 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
hlutzow said:What sort of light is it getting? Giving it more light could help with any potential overwatering, especially in a pot without drainage holes.


It is placed near but not directly in front of an east-facing balcony with slightly tinted glass doors (we don't draw the curtains for prolonged periods), and we have the lights turned on for a considerable portion of the evening too, so I hope it has been receiving enough light. Does the plant appear overwatered?
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Aug 28, 2021 10:50 AM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Give PEACE a chance!
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If it were mine, I would repot to a container with drain holes, while there is still a chance to salvage it.

Drain holes is not just for excess water, it also is a way to flush out excess salt accumulation in
the soil. Filtered water quality varies depends what process was involved, so it may still have inorganic salts.

So I would suggest, repot in a container with drain holes, keep media well draining and porous, position the plant in a warm area away from direct sun, no fertilizers for now since plant is in distress.

Dracaena marginata hates having its roots stay wet much longer than needed. Using a glazed container witn no drain holes retains water way too long than needed by your plant.

It may still recover once promptly repotted in a container with drain holes. That will also give you a chance to examine the condition of the roots at soil level. Good luck!
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 10:58 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
tarev said:If it were mine, I would repot to a container with drain holes, while there is still a chance to salvage it.

Drain holes is not just for excess water, it also is a way to flush out excess salt accumulation in
the soil. Filtered water quality varies depends what process was involved, so it may still have inorganic salts.

So I would suggest, repot in a container with drain holes, keep media well draining and porous, position the plant in a warm area away from direct sun, no fertilizers for now since plant is in distress.

Dracaena marginata hates having its roots stay wet much longer than needed. Using a glazed container witn no drain holes retains water way too long than needed by your plant.

It may still recover once promptly repotted in a container with drain holes. That will also give you a chance to examine the condition of the roots at soil level. Good luck!


Thanks a ton for the valuable advice!
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Aug 28, 2021 11:34 AM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Give PEACE a chance!
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Just to give you an idea how my D. marginata grows in our home.

We found the plant truly enjoyed that corner in my hubby's work from home office. It seems the sustained warmth generated by the computers helped. This room is also the warmest room on our 2nd floor being a southwest room, so with AC running and ceiling fans always running too. My home location is very dry and hot area too so our humidity levels is bad here. There are two windows, the one on the photo is the south facing one...there is another one not on photo which is a west facing one.
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The media and container. This container is a self watering container, but i hardly put water on the catch portion below, since the plant has to be kept drier. It still drops leaves but it does so at a normal phase, older.lower leaves naturally die out first. We just water from the top and allow it to dry.

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To be honest, my plant is in more danger from our cat, she likes the ribbon-like thin leaves of this plant and for some reason at times she likes sleeping at the base of this plant, that is also why we have the plant in a farside corner of the room to deter our cat a bit.
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 28, 2021 11:46 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
tarev said:Just to give you an idea how my D. marginata grows in our home.

We found the plant truly enjoyed that corner in my hubby's work from home office. It seems the sustained warmth generated by the computers helped. This room is also the warmest room on our 2nd floor being a southwest room, so with AC running and ceiling fans always running too. My home location is very dry and hot area too so our humidity levels is bad here. There are two windows, the one on the photo is the south facing one...there is another one not on photo which is a west facing one.
Thumb of 2021-08-28/tarev/495538
Thumb of 2021-08-28/tarev/cc4c37

The media and container. This container is a self watering container, but i hardly put water on the catch portion below, since the plant has to be kept drier. It still drops leaves but it does so at a normal phase, older.lower leaves naturally die out first. We just water from the top and allow it to dry.

Thumb of 2021-08-28/tarev/a4c1cf

To be honest, my plant is in more danger from our cat, she likes the ribbon-like thin leaves of this plant and for some reason at times she likes sleeping at the base of this plant, that is also why we have the plant in a farside corner of the room to deter our cat a bit.


Haha, I hope your cat is alright though, since I've heard Dracaena plants are toxic to pets? I really appreciate all the information and help, I'm looking for all I can get since I'm yet a beginner, although a passionate one, at gardening. Have a great day and cheers to all us gardeners out there!
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 29, 2021 3:35 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
Hi all, I discovered the telltale signs (the sour smell,the mushy stem and roots, everything) of root rot in the plant when attempting to report it to a pot with drainage holes today... It really must've been the pot then, but I don't think it was overwatered since the soil underneath was barely wet today despite only watering yesterday... All the shoots were practically falling off the stem today and a section of the stem fell off too as soon as I removed the plant from the soil today (all in the picture), I don't think there's any hope now.

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However, the upper part of the stem was quite rigid so I cut it and have suspended it in water with hope of propagation (as in the picture). I know that since the plant has gone through quite a bit, it is unlikely for it to root and grow into a new plant, but I hope it's still possible. Do you have any advice for me at this stage?

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Aug 29, 2021 10:47 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
If this was mine, I would take the stump with roots (assuming it doesn't feel mushy and dead) and put it in a new pot with a drain hole, new soil, and stick the pieces of cut stem in there too. Poke them into the soil until the lowest leaf is resting on the soil surface. Then feel how heavy the pot is when dry. Then water gently so the soil doesn't compact, but thoroughly so that all of the soil is moist. Feel how heavy the pot is now. When the soil has dried enough so that the pot feels as light as before you watered, water again.

I think your chunk of trunk could take root in soil also, but would be more likely to rot in water. Others might have different results, but I have very little luck when I've put woody stems of anything in water, including a few Dracaena stems over the years.
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 29, 2021 10:54 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
purpleinopp said:If this was mine, I would take the stump with roots (assuming it doesn't feel mushy and dead) and put it in a new pot with a drain hole, new soil, and stick the pieces of cut stem in there too. Poke them into the soil until the lowest leaf is resting on the soil surface. Then feel how heavy the pot is when dry. Then water gently so the soil doesn't compact, but thoroughly so that all of the soil is moist. Feel how heavy the pot is now. When the soil has dried enough so that the pot feels as light as before you watered, water again.

I think your chunk of trunk could take root in soil also, but would be more likely to rot in water. Others might have different results, but I have very little luck when I've put woody stems of anything in water, including a few Dracaena stems over the years.


I would love to plant the stem with roots in fresh soil but unfortunately it does feel quite mushy and smells pretty rotten, so I'd rather not waste some new soil on a gone case. The leafy shoots have actually fallen from where they were attached to the stem, so any stem still with them is actually really thin and fragile, so I'm not too sure about planting them. Actually, two pieces of stem I tried propagating with water a while ago did end up rotting, so maybe I should put it in soil again. Thanks again!
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Aug 29, 2021 11:56 AM CST
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ☼🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Butterflies
Garden Sages Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Level 1 Hummingbirder Foliage Fan
Happy to suggest. I hope you end up with a lovely, healthy plant in some way or another as soon as possible. You do have a beautiful pot (that I hope you can use for covering a less attractive pot with holes that can be removed when it is time to water, so you can be sure there is not excess water trapped in the bottom.) Used that way, the outer pot also protects your floor or furniture from water damage.
That's a decent start. Best luck! : )
The golden rule: Do to others only that which you would have done to you.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is now. (-Unknown)
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try! Try to be more valuable than a bad example.
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 29, 2021 12:05 PM CST
Dubai, UAE
purpleinopp said:Happy to suggest. I hope you end up with a lovely, healthy plant in some way or another as soon as possible. You do have a beautiful pot (that I hope you can use for covering a less attractive pot with holes that can be removed when it is time to water, so you can be sure there is not excess water trapped in the bottom.) Used that way, the outer pot also protects your floor or furniture from water damage.
That's a decent start. Best luck! : )


Thank you, I really hope so too! Actually, we ended up drilling holes into the original pot itself and that turned out quite well, so hopefully the other plants will do better hereafter and this one will grow into a new, healthy plant too.
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Aug 29, 2021 1:18 PM CST
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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At this point it will be a nice experiment to see if the leaf cuttings will form roots. Ideally there should be a part of the branch still attached.to the leaf cutting
But who knows..maybe it will behave like schefflera.cuttings. I have tried rooting in water for those and it worked, just have to be patient and be attentive to replace water often.

Maybe experiment both ways..rooting in water and rooting in soil. And see if either works on leaf cuttings alone.

If it fails do not feel bad...we all do remedial measures at times,..take it as an ongoing learning curve. Smiling
Last edited by tarev Aug 29, 2021 1:20 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for ma_yuraa
Aug 30, 2021 4:36 AM CST
Dubai, UAE
tarev said:At this point it will be a nice experiment to see if the leaf cuttings will form roots. Ideally there should be a part of the branch still attached.to the leaf cutting
But who knows..maybe it will behave like schefflera.cuttings. I have tried rooting in water for those and it worked, just have to be patient and be attentive to replace water often.

Maybe experiment both ways..rooting in water and rooting in soil. And see if either works on leaf cuttings alone.

If it fails do not feel bad...we all do remedial measures at times,..take it as an ongoing learning curve. Smiling


Unfortunately, I have not kept the leafy portions, so I cannot really do that, but I will try my best to get something out of the stem I have. While I hope something beautiful will come of it, I'm mentally prepared for the worst case scenario too. I just hope that I can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

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