Houseplants forum: I think my Dracaena is dying - help!

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Rhian87
Sep 19, 2017 2:54 PM CST
My dracenia has developed brown leaf tips all over. I keep snipping them off but it keeps happening. What is also strange is that new leaves coming through in the middle are growing brown and soft and liable to split and break off. Can anyone offer any advise? I've been misting daily and watering about every 2 weeks.
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Sep 19, 2017 3:21 PM CST
IMO. misting is a waste of time unless, of course it makes you fell better knowing you are doing something. If too much water gets into the growing tip, the leaves will come out deformed. In general, brown tips just mean the humidity is not high enough. If you think they are ugly you can cut them off. Tell us more about where you live and the growing conditions for this plant. Might help. Gene
Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Sep 19, 2017 5:05 PM CST
I agree with Gene about the misting. A photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot, would be very helpful.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Rhian87
Sep 20, 2017 1:09 PM CST
I live in the Uk but the plant is just kept inside. I've attached a picture of the whole plant with the pot - it's just in a normal plastic brown pot inside the wicker planter. I've read maybe chlorinated water might be the problem?
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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Sep 20, 2017 1:23 PM CST
Looks nice to me. Chlorinated water is an easy problem to solve. Get some wide mouth buckets/jugs. Fill them up with tap water and then do not use it for a few days. Chlorine will be gone. Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Sep 20, 2017 5:33 PM CST
It appears that your Marginata is not getting really good light, especially up at the top where the new growth is the weakest. I suggest you move it to within a few feet of a window.

While it is true that Dracaenas and some other species are sensitive to chlorine and fluoride, the very dilute concentrations found in water supplies are not sufficient to do any harm. There is no need to take any corrective action.

Of greater concern is hard water that contains high levels of minerals that can concentrate over time and damage plant roots. If your local tap water is hard, use filtered or distilled instead.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
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Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a)
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EddieV
Sep 20, 2017 10:04 PM CST
I'm having a similar issue with my dracenia not getting enough light. I purchased this Led Grow Light, 10W, but have seen some others that are fluorescent.

Any recommendations? I'm not sure the Led light is making much difference.

Would fluorescent bulbs like this one help?
Compact Fluorescent CFL 45W Perfect Daylight Grow Light Compact Fluorescent Plant Grow Lights 45W

Also, should I remove the brown tipped leaves altogether?



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Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
Herbs Annuals Hummingbirder Butterflies Garden Photography Cactus and Succulents
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gasrocks
Sep 20, 2017 11:52 PM CST
IMO, the only artificial light to get is T5 HO, 6500K. Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Sep 21, 2017 2:38 PM CST
Eddie - Either fluorescent or LED's can help your plant, but not incandescent or halogen. The key elements are intensity (wattage) and spectral color. In general, the higher the intensity, the better. Plants respond to light primarily in the red and blue portion of the spectrum

Standard fluorescent tubes and CFL's produce color in the right color range. LED's can be adjusted by manufacturers to virtually any color. Look for LED's that specify that they are color corrected for plants.

It is also important that the light is placed right above the plant and emits enough light to cover the entire plant. Fluorescent tubes are better in that regard than CFL's or LED's.
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: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Sep 22, 2017 1:48 PM CST
The advice to let water sit so the chlorine can evaporate comes from a time when most municipalities used a form of chlorination that could evaporate. Now, most use a form that can not.

Fluoride and lime are also often in tap water, and neither can evaporate. Dracaena plants are known to be sensitive to fluoride, and lime can raise the PH of water right out of the tap, and consequently, the soil to an even higher concentration, over time, if watering in sips and/or when using a pot without a drain hole in the bottom.

Not all tap water is the same. Your supplier should be able to tell you what is in it. Water softeners can also cause negative issues for potted plants.

I notice a huge difference in my plants when they are given almost exclusively rain water vs. almost exclusively tap water.

Agree that the tips look pale. Low light can cause this.

The pot looks relatively small in relation to the size of the tree. If/when the roots run out of room to grow, the foliage will show various signs of distress.
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Northern CA (Zone 8b)
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lmwb
Sep 23, 2018 2:02 PM CST
Confused
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Very informative about hard water and it's effect on Dracenias. Could this be why my dracenia is always wilted looking? I water it 2x a week in warmer months. It was just watered yesterday. It sits above a humidity tray that I always keep filled with water near an east facing window. Any help would be much appreciated. I really adore this plant.
[Last edited by lmwb - Sep 23, 2018 2:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Sep 23, 2018 2:17 PM CST
@Imwb - Your Dracaena marginata is certainly not wilted in the photo. In reduced light, the foliage has a naturally soft, arching appearance. In stronger light, the leaves are thicker and somewhat more upright. I think your plant looks great!

Twice weekly watering seems a bit too often, but that depends on how much water you add and just how warm the indoor temps get.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Northern CA (Zone 8b)
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lmwb
Sep 23, 2018 2:25 PM CST
Ah, maybe too much watering then. I always water to a bit of runoff. It is in a standard houseplant potting soil. When it's time to repot should I add pumice or something to encourage drainage? Thank you for your help. Smiling
Northern CA (Zone 8b)
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lmwb
Sep 23, 2018 2:42 PM CST
Funny, I just looked up your book 'Don't Repot That Plant!' Whistling
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Sep 23, 2018 5:38 PM CST
The reason for my book's title is because unnecessary repotting is such a common problem. I don't see anything in the photo that suggests that yours is in need of repotting in the foreseeable future, especially if you have been overwatering. It is best to allow the top half inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly.

Good potting mix will always have perlite mixed throughout to create air pockets or porosity.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Northern CA (Zone 8b)
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lmwb
Sep 25, 2018 7:51 PM CST
Yes, I just read all about this plant in your book. Very informative and well written. Thank you for your time responding, I do appreciate it very much and I have a better understanding of this beauty and how to care for it. I tip my hat to you.

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