Dracaena Leaves Falling Off (7 Causes and Solutions)


Most of the indoor gardeners have dracaena because of its beautiful appearance and pleasant smell. However, your dracaena may lose its ornamental beauty due to care mistakes. 

Dracaena plant indoors with leaves.

If you are worried about why your dracaena leaves falling off?  No worries! In this article, I’ll be sharing the cause of the problem and how you can revive your beautiful plant.

Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Falling off?

Falling off the lowest leaves is a natural process that accompanies the growth of the plant. On average, the maximum age of each leaf is 2 years. After this, it dies, and young leaves grow to replace it. 

The reasons may be the following: 

  • Insufficient or excessive watering
  • Improper Misting plant Leaves
  • Incorrect Fertilizer Application
  • Damage to the roots during transplantation
  • Inappropriate microclimate
  • Disease and insect infestation
  • The plant is going through a period of adaptation after purchase

Let’s get diving into the details. 

Leaves Falling off Dracaena

You may know that dracaena is hardy and resistant to various environmental conditions. In spite of that, maybe due to care mistakes your dracaena leaves falling off.

Note!

The life cycle of dracaena leaves is two years. Therefore, it is common for dracaena leaves falling off naturally. However, the massive loss will lead to the death of the plant.

The Causes of Dracaena Leaves falling Off

Indoor Dracaena leaves in a pot. All the Leaves fall off.
  • Insufficient or excessive watering: Inadequate watering will lead to drying out of the soil. From this, the leaves will begin to dry out, and you can not resist their shedding. Excessive moisture in the substrate also negatively affects the plant. Since the trunk becomes soft due to the abundance of water. Then the leaves begin to fade and fall off. 
  • Improper Misting plant Leaves: If you do not do it right then it may harm your dracaena leaves. Make sure you mist your plant in the morning. If the water does not dry before night it will cause leaves to decay. Dracaena will begin to dump part of the foliage.
  • Fertilizer Application: If the leaves die in the dracaena, this means that you didn’t carry it out correctly.  You have to comply with all conditions for the preparation of fertilizers and application procedures.
  • Damage to the roots during transplantation: You have to transplant Dracaena into a new pot as it grows bigger. During this procedure, the root system can be damaged. Therefore, in response to a stressful situation, the dracaena leaves may fall off. 
  • Inappropriate microclimatic conditions: Microclimatic condition refers to the indoor growing condition for your dracaena. There are many of them: lack or excess of light, drafts, inappropriate temperature, and humidity.  
  • Disease and insect infestation: Improper care makes the plant vulnerable to disease and pest.
  • Adaptation to new conditions after purchase: Young dracaenas are very sensitive to the surrounding environment. Sometimes it takes time to adapt to your indoor conditions. Due to this stress, you may see your dracaena leaves falling off.

Note!  

Dracaena does not tolerate draft and direct sunlight. These two factors cause the leaf blade to dry at the edges, yellow and fall.

Source: University of Vermont Extension

How to Save Your Dracaena

If you can ensure the proper growth conditions, then you can avoid the development of diseases and falling leaves. The plant will have strong immunity, and it can overcome the disease. 

In addition,  you should apply fertilizers that contain phosphorus and potassium from time to time. However, it will not be possible for you to protect the plant from infection. 

You will see the symptoms of the disease on the leaves. First of all, the color of the leaf blade changes, rigidity is lost, spots appear, the tips dry out, and then they fall off.

Diseases and Treatments

  • Heterosporous: Both sides of the leaves begin to turn yellow. After that, it is covered with spots and dries. Without treatment, the plant may die. To help the plant, you need to react in time. In this case, copper-containing fungicides can help.
  • Phyllosticta leaf spot: Brown spots of irregular shape appear on a green or yellow border on the leaves of the lower tier. The spots can be quite large in size. As a result, leaves may fall off.
  • Bacteriosis: The leaves at the tips rot. So sheds the leaves massively. You can see lesions developing on stems. High humidity and high temperature in the room are the main factors in the development of the disease. There is no treatment for this, so you should destroy it to save the rest of the plants in the house. 
  • Alternariosis: Fungal disease, signs of which are brown spots. Over time, without treatment, they begin to blacken. Spraying fungicide three times a month. This will help overcome and prevent the disease. 

Now you may ask, Why does dracaena drop its leaves when it gets sick? This is a natural response to the pathogen attack. So, the plant is trying to protect the rest of the organs.

Insects Attack and Solutions

When you dracaena leaves fall off and you want to stop it. But before you determine what to do it is necessary to find out the exact cause. 

Often such situations occur as a result of negative effects on the plant because of insect infestation. 

Lesions, spider webs, and spots on leaves are the primary symptoms of invasion. If the plant starts to dry out, what can you do about it and how can you fight the pests? Let’s find out.

Scale Insect: This insect is about 3-4 mm in size, almost motionless and protected by a grayish wax shell. They suck the juices from leaves and stems. As a result, the leaves of your dracaena dry and fall off.

Solution: Neem oil is very effective to get rid of scale insects. Use an old toothbrush or cotton swab dipping in Isopropyl alcohol to remove the insects from dracaena. 

Thrips: This insect settles on the bottom of the leaf. They remain in the cluster. Your dracaena leaves will turn silvery and dry. You will find spots and scratches both on stems and leaves.

Solution: Pruning is the best solution for eliminating the thrips. You should prune the affected leaves and stem to control them at an early stage. Also, as this insect has soft skin you can control it with insecticidal soap or neem oil. 

Spider mite: A tiny insect that is difficult to spot. It settles on the bottom of the leaf blade. You can confirm their presence by the appearance of cobwebs and white plaque. They appear due to insufficient watering and dry air. As a result, the leaves first turn yellow and then dry.

Solution: You may be surprised to know that spider mites rapidly develop resistance to normal insecticides. So you need to opt for biological control methods. I have seen neem oil to work great. You can also try miticides available in markets.

Mealybugs:  They suck the juice from the plant, this stops the development and growth of your plant. When attacked you will find white waxy coating on leaves and stem.

Solution: Spray your dracaena plant with detergent or soap water. Again, Neem mixed with detergent water will bring the best results. Detergent water ruptures the skin of the insect and kills them. 

Note!

Often it is very difficult to notice insects, as they hide in the axils of the leaves.  So if even slight signs appear, you should carefully examine your dracaena.

Proper Soil Moisture

Dracaena loves moderately moist soil. But don’t overwater it. Excess moisture will make the stem and root rot. As a result, your dracaena leaves will fall off.

In summer,  you should water the plant once every 2-3 days. You should always inspect the soil of the container. 

If the potting soil has dried up, then it indicates that you need to water it now. It will be sufficient to pour 170-200 ml of settled water at room temperature.

Note!  

In the summer, you should check the soil every day so that it does not dry out.

Additionally, spray the leaves and stems with a sprayer. In winter, water the plant once every four days. 

And if dracaena begins to fade, what to do during this period? Again, you need to inspect the soil carefully. This is the only way to understand whether a plant needs water or not.

Important! 

If the dracaena pot is standing on a window sill above the radiator, you have to moisten the soil more frequently.

Air Temperature 

If you can not ensure basic microclimatic conditions for dracaena, then the leaves begin to fall off the plant. What to do in such cases? 

At home, the temperature range is very important for the plant. In the summer, in order to ensure good growth and development, you need to adhere to the mark on the thermometer within 24-32 °C/ 75.2-89.6°F. 

In the cold season, you should not allow room temperatures below 17 °C/ 60.8°F. Below this temperature, your dracaena will lose its beauty. 

Below 12 °C/53.6°F is a death mark for dracaena. At this temperature, the plant will throw off all the leaves, and after that, it will begin to die slowly.

Root decay 

The reasons that the leaves of dracaena fall are many. One of them often becomes rotting of the roots. Excessive watering, especially during the dormant period (in winter), can be fatal for your dracaena. 

Important!

If the soil has not dried out to a depth of 2 cm, watering is not necessary.

The decay of the root system leads to disruption in the transport of water and nutrients to other organs. So, in this scenario, dracaena gets rid of old leaves.  And after that, young ones fall off.

Other Possible Problems of Dracaena

In addition to all of the above, there are other reasons why dracaena leaves fall off and die soon (if measures are not taken in time).

Among them: 

Transplanting shock: When the root system is actively growing, at same time the plant also grows in size.  Then it needs a larger pot. You need to transplant carefully, otherwise, you can damage the root or stem. The stress that a flower receives when adapting to a new place can lead to dropping leaves.

Direct sunlight: You need to choose a place in the house where the pot with dracaena will stand. This plant does not tolerate direct sunlight. 

Because of direct sunlight, it begins to dry, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. It even happens that the stem may dry out. The leaves fall off and ultimately the plant dies.

Cold draft: Dracaena does not like cold drafts. So the windowsill is not the best place for a  dracaena plant. 

Firstly, in such places temperature fluctuates due to the radiator. Secondly, frequent airflow with an open window is not a favorable condition for a delicate plant. 

Fertilizers: Excess or lack of fertilizing leads to the fact that green leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off. It is important to use mixed fertilizers. 

During the period of active growth (June-August) you should apply 2 times a month. If you do not apply fertilizer,  the leaves will show the symptoms of lack of nutrients. 

Warning! 

Excess fertilizer can also have negative consequences. In this case, the roots begin to rot and leaves begin to fall off.

It is important to understand what to do when the dracaena leaves fall. It is necessary to try to take certain actions as early as possible aimed at identifying the causes and treatment of the flower.

Otherwise, the palm tree will take off the leaves one by one and from stress can die. If the plant is affected by pests, then an insecticidal solution prepared according to the instructions on the package is used to combat them.

Among other things, experts recommend changing the conditions for the pot after processing, since often they cause problems.

Source: University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Helpful Video

In this video, you will learn about all the details of care to keep it healthy and beautiful.

Conclusion

Dracaena is very easy to plant within your home. If you take minimum care, it will do fine. If you do not take action when it is affected by disease, insects, or any other care mistakes then it will be difficult to revive. 

In such situations, the main thing is to find out the reason that led to the problem and then immediately try to solve it. Only timely and proper actions will save your plant and prolong its life.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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