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How to Save Overwatered Dracaena (Step by Step)

Your dracaena appears drained and wilted even after doing you’ve everything you can to keep it healthy.

Does it droop and sag instead of soaring upwards? Are the leaves limp and soft, and you can not figure out what’s going on?

When it comes to planting care, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overwatering is a common problem among new dracaena owners.

If the soil is too wet, the roots of your dracaena will be unable to absorb oxygen, nutrients, and other essential minerals.

Overwatered dracaena will show soft brown leaves and a soft trunk. To save your overwatered dracaena, remove the plant and inspect the root rot. If root rot is present, remove the affected roots, apply a fungicide, and replant in fresh potting soil. It’s necessary to propagate the plant in extreme cases to save it.

What Happens If You Overwater A Dracaena?

Root Rot

If you overwater your dracaena, you will pay the ultimate price as a gardener in the form of root rot. During the winter, these plants prefer drier soil.

If you overwater your plant, the extra moisture will sit around the roots and drown the roots by forcing air pockets from the soil.

As soon as the root system is starved of oxygen, pathogens such as bacteria and fungal spores can thrive.

Consequently, overwatering reduces the plant’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, minerals, and oxygen.

If the root system decomposes, the disease can spread quickly; dire consequences can be. To keep healthy roots, you must act promptly to remedy the situation.

Above the soil line, there are no visible signs of root rot. However, keep an eye out for yellowed leaves and rotting stems at the base of a wilting plant despite regular watering. Here are some signs of root rot:

  • Are you getting an unpleasant odor from the soil?
  • Are the roots soft, spongy, or frayed?
  • What about the roots’ color – are they dark brown or black?

You would have dracaena root rot if you answered yes to the following questions.

Drooping Leaves

Overwatering most dracaena cultivars and species will cause them to become limp and floppy.

This is because their stems are long, narrow, and trunk-like in appearance.

It would help if you were on the lookout for drooping leaves as a warning sign that you need to adjust your watering schedule.

If your dracaena is still drooping after a good soak, it’s clear that something terrible is going on beneath the soil of your container.

Your plant isn’t getting the water and nutrients it needs to get back to its best.

You should now unpot your dracaena and inspect the root ball for signs of root rot.

Leaf Yellowing and Discoloration

Another possible sign of root rot is yellowing leaves, which are typical of too much moisture in the soil.

Dracaena plants typically have long, shiny foliage in vibrant lime, burgundy, and green hues.

But if you notice significant yellowing on the leaves, you may be over-watering your dracaena.

This indicates that your plant isn’t getting enough nutrients from its roots, so it’s turning yellow.

However, the leaves of an underwatered dracaena can turn yellow with brown tips.

It would help if you were on the lookout for yellowing in your dracaena, as it could be an early symptom.

It’s possible to avoid root rot and plant death by reducing watering frequency as soon as you notice yellowed leaves.

Brown Spots on Foliage

You will see brown spots on the leaves of your dracaena if you overwater it. In most cases, they begin as small, watery lesions.

These lesions will continue to grow and merge into larger brown blotches as they spread outward. Yellow concentric halos typically surround the water-soaked areas.

Brown spots, like leaf yellowing, are an indication of rot disease. Don’t expect the brown spots on the leaves to disappear completely.

Instead, it would help if, youInstead, you pruned away any heavily affected foliage with a pair of sharp, disinfected scissors or pruning snips.

Take note that brown spots can also be caused by the burning of fertilizers or chemicals and bacterial or fungal leaf spot diseases. Root and overwatering are frequently associated with the final two.

Slow or Stunted Growth

With its slow growth rate, your dracaena may be challenging to detect if its growth has only slowed down in several days.

This could signify that your plant lacks the necessary growth materials and that overwatering is to blame.

This is especially true if your plant’s growing conditions haven’t changed significantly or if your care regimen hasn’t been changed in a long time.

In this situation, a slower growth rate could indicate that you’re being too generous with the water.

Soft Brown Rot

The stems of your dracaena will show signs of damage from overwatering if they are mushy and swollen, with soft brown spots on them.

You may also notice brown, weak spots on foliage and other parts.

As the disease spreads upwards from the soil, you can expect to see it infect the stems, leaves, and other above-ground parts of your plant.

Overly Wet Growing Medium

Your plant’s soil should be light and slightly dried out a few days after irrigation.

However, if the soil is still wet and dark several days after watering, you may have overwatered your dracaena.

You can tell if the soil is waterlogged by pressing your index finger into it; it’s waterlogged if it is wet to the bottom.

Mold Growth on Soil Surface

Over-watering is the growing medium evident in this symptom as well. A woolly growth will appear on the soil surface if you have overwatered your dracaena for an extended period.

The stems and leaves closest to the ground may also have mildew and fuzzy mold growing on them.

Wet or moist environments are ideal for mold growth. Fungus gnats, diseases, and more can thrive in these conditions.

In addition, a dracaena’s nutrients can be sucked away by mold if it grows out of control.

When your dracaena is infested by mold, I strongly recommend that you replant it in new soil.

Differences Between Under and Overwatering

The signs and symptoms of both overwatering and underwatering are strikingly similar. In fact, to the untrained eye, these watering issues appear to be nearly indistinguishable.

As a result, both underwatering and overwatering effect in similar symptoms because of an insufficient supply of nutrients and water.

However, as you can see in the table below, there are minor differences between an overwatered and an underwatered dracaena.

An Underwatered DracaenaAn Overwatered Dracaena
Dry, brown spots, especially at leaf tipsBrown water-soaked spots between leaf veins
Drooping leaves are dry, crunchy, and brownedDrooping leaves are soft, and the stems may appear swollen
Wilting leaves are shriveled up & curling. Plant perks up when irrigatedWilting despite being watered. Wilted leaves are soft & limp.
Soil is crumbly, dry, and light gray in colorSoil is wet, soggy, and dark in color
Attracts spider mitesOften attract fungus, gnats, and whiteflies
The base of the stem is dusty and dryThe base of the stem is weak, browned, and rotting

How to Save Overwatered Dracaena

Step 1: Remove Your Dracaena from its Pot and Inspect Root System

Dracaenas are hardy plants, but they eventually succumb to root rot, making them vulnerable to disease.

Un-potting your plant to check for root rot is the best course of action if you notice any symptoms I’ve described. Your dracaena’s chances of survival increase the earlier you catch it.

Remove your plant from the pot by tilting it to one side and gently wriggling it.

Next, you can gently pull on the plant’s base to get it out. So don’t worry; it can withstand most of the stress and shock that comes with unpotting.

Try using a garden trowel or butter knife to scrape around the container’s walls if that doesn’t work.

That should help a little with the soil loosening. Then, to get a clearer view of the root ball, use a gentle brush to remove as much soil as possible.

Is there root rot? Healthy dracaena roots are full, springy, and bright yellowish-orange or orange in color.

If the root rot has already taken hold, there will be black or brown, mushy roots. Gently pulling on the roots can cause the outer layers to peel off. There’s a chance you’ll smell something terrible.

Step 2: Rinse Out the Roots

Checking for root rot, you may have already washed away any soil from the roots that may have been there. If they aren’t, run a warm water bath over them now.

You need to be able to access the entire root system to identify all of the affected roots. This is critical, as rotten roots can spread the disease to healthy ones if they are not treated or removed.

Step 3: Get Rid of Affected Roots

The goal of this step is to remove all of the affected roots. Dead, diseased, or rotten roots fall into this category. This means that all soft, mushy, brown roots must be removed.

Make sure the cutting tool you use is sharp and sterilized. After each cut, soak it in a bleach solution of one part bleach and nine parts distilled water.

Don’t forget to remove any roots that have become discolored or spongy.

Step 4: Clean Up Your Dracaena

The root rot may have spread to the topsoil. You should remove any infected leaves, stems, or budges.

Trim as close to the stem as possible, then apply isopropyl alcohol and shellac to the cuts.

Ideally, it would be best if you cut back the same percentage of foliage as the number of roots that have been removed.

For example, if you removed 25% of the roots, you should reduce the vegetation by 25% due to your pruning.

Once you’re done, treat the roots with hydrogen peroxide or a fungicide (Check the latest price on Amazon here).

Step 4: Prepare New Pot

If your dracaena has any stems, leaves, or roots that may have been harboring rot, now is the time to repot your plant. To begin with, you’ll need to clean and sanitize the new soil and pots.

The old pot may still contain bacteria or fungi that can restart root rot infection, so it’s best to use a new one as a rule of thumb. Terracotta pots that have ample drainage holes are ideal for me.

Step 5: Replant your Dracaena

A new batch of growing medium would be beneficial when you replant your plant’s dracaena.

For example, you can use a well-drained and sterilized bagged commercial potting mix. Also, use cinnamon or activated charcoal as an all-natural antifungal alternative.

You can also mix in some perlite, pumice, or vermiculite for added drainage properties.

Step 6: Dracaena Aftercare

Ensure your newly repotted dracaena is not disturbed as much as possible to acclimate faster. Aftercare involves:

  • Providing an adequate amount of bright, indirect light
  • Protect from cold or hot drafts
  • Provide staple temperatures of around 60-70°F (15-21°C).
  • Ensure the first 2″ of soil is dry before you water again

How to Water Dracaena Properly

Common Watering MistakesHow to Avoid
Irrigating using softened tap water, causes an accumulation of chlorine and fluorideAvoid city water; instead, use filtered, distilled, or bottled water.
Watering lightly, causing uneven soil moistureIrrigate your dracaena until the liquid comes out of the bottom drainage holes
Allowing soil to dry out completelyCheck soil moisture regularly using the finger test. Wait until the first 2 inches of soil dry out before watering again.
Splashing water on the foliage, causes rot diseaseAvoid overhead irrigation and splashing water on the leaves
Watering during the middle of the dayYou should water your dracaena early in the morning, giving leaves ample time to dry out.