Ask a Question forum: Dragon Tree has no leaves - can it survive?

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CluelessaboutPlants
Mar 12, 2017 1:37 PM CST
Unfortunately I have been neglecting my small dragon tree plant. The leaves at the bottom were brown and dead, and while trying to remove them I accidentally ripped off all the leaves at once, including the healthy ones (to be fair, there weren't very many). Does my plant have any chance of survival without any leaves?? I suppose it won't be able to do photosynthesis so I don't really see how it could survive, but is there anything at all that can be done to give it a second chance at life???
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 12, 2017 1:49 PM CST
Welcome!

Are you referring to Dracaena marginata? If so, it shouldn't have leaves at the bottom of the stem.

The plant will grow new leaves - it will be living off stored energy in the roots and stem until it does. Any green part of a plant is capable of photosynthesizing. Does your plant have a green stem?
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Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Mar 12, 2017 2:32 PM CST
You say you "neglected" your Dracaena marginata, so I assume that means the soil got very dried out and that is the cause of the leaf drop. If the leaf loss is due to over-watering, then the prognosis is not good because Marginatas rarely recover from root rot.

As long as there are some healthy roots remaining, then your plant should recover if given proper light and water. However, because yours has lost so many lower leaves, I recommend that you prune back the bare stem(s) to a height of 6-12 inches. That will eliminate most of the bare lower stem and new growth will emerge starting just below the pruning cut and grow upward from there.

Marginatas need to be very close and in front of a moderately sunny window. Allow the top quarter of the soil to dry before watering.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 14, 2017 11:35 AM CST
Hello CluelessaboutPlants! If it is Dracaena marginata, as long as the stems are not too brittle looking dead and still feels firm to your touch, then there is still a chance for new growth at the tips. Typically the growing part is at a few inches at the tip, so at times, with my plant, if it is getting too tall, I chop off some of the stem and new leaf growth will emerge at a node below cut-off point.

Thumb of 2017-03-14/tarev/75df8c

So you can try chopping off a portion, and see how it reacts. No need for fertilizer at this point, just let the plant recover. Don't overwater either, it is a drought tolerant plant.

It would be nice to see actual photos of your plant first though, before you do any chopping, just to be sure it is indeed what we are talking about.
[Last edited by tarev - Mar 14, 2017 11:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)

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plantladylin
Mar 14, 2017 12:30 PM CST
Chances are there is still life in your Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata) as long as the roots haven't died. I'd slowly cut back the remaining stem/branch to see if there is viable wood. Given proper care ... and time, the bare stem will begin to grow new branches and leaves.

Photos from our database showing new "shoots" coming off the cut stem:
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