Yellow Spots on Dracaena (Causes And Solutions)


Although the Dracaena (Corn plant) is one of the simplest looking and easiest to grow houseplants, it’s also very fragile. Because one minute your Dracaena beauty is shooting high towards the ceiling with its vibrant green hue brightening up the appeal of your indoor space. Weeks or months later, you find it all yellow, wobbly, and the foliar are succumbing to gravity.

What went wrong?… 

Well, it could be a lot of things. But the most common causes for yellow Spots on your Dracaena plant leaves are Overwatering, underwatering, fertilization burn, insect infestation, and various forms of fungi infection. The weather or room conditions can cause the presence of yellow Spots as well. Conditions like excessive sunlight, low humidity, and frost damage.

In this article, all these causes will be discussed individually and solved in that respect. So that by the end of this article you can protect your beautiful Dracaena plant from further damage.

Causes of Yellow Spots on Dracaena 

Indoor dracaena or corn plant showing yellow spots on leaves

Below are the Possible Causes of yellow Spots on Dracaena leaves. As you can see, there are quite a lot of them. So you can mistake one cause for another if you just assume how the yellow spot appeared. This could lead to further damage to your plant. 

That’s why in this article you’re provided with information on how all these possible causes occur. Along with a specific solution for each of them:

Overwatering 

Watering your dracaena plant every day is a bad choice, as it would weaken your plant’s rooting system. In such a way the roots won’t be able to supply ample nutrients for your plant’s well-being and growth. As it’s clearly indicated by the yellow spots on the Dracaena plant leaves. 

In turn, such conditions will leave your Dracaena plant vulnerable to pests and diseases. Another problem with overwatering is that the roots get fatter.

This could lead to the clogging up of the pot-hole, thus preventing the excess water in the pot from draining. Also, the saucer or potholder could get filled up with excess water. 

Solution 

  • Given the Dracaena thrives better with less water, the best practice would be to water the plant once after a few days (between 5 – 7 days should suffice). And the watering should be done more conservatively. With the help of a calendar or watering planner and this method of watering:
  • Fill up half of the pail or gardening sink (or any sink) with distilled water or harvested rainwater (not tap water). 
  • Then put the potted Dracaena in the sink or pail and let it sit for about 10 minutes. At this point, the water should cover the soil bottom to the top. 
  • Take the potted Dracaena out of the sink, and then place it on a grill or any porous equipment that’ll enable quick draining. 
  • Once it’s drained out completely, return the potted Dracaena to its normal location. 
Here’s How to Revive your Dracaena Plant:
  • Remove mushy (rotting) roots: mushy translucent roots are the result of overwatering. It’s best to uproot them all so that it doesn’t clog up the plant pot-hole.
  • Empty the plant holder or Sauser: an overwatered Dracaena plant means the holder will be filled with water. Empty it to ensure enough draining room for the potted plant. 
  • Insert gravel: to revive your Dracaena plant it’s advised that you insert gravel/clay pebbles into the previously water-logged soil. This will speed up the drying process of the soil.

Note: please avoid watering the dracaena if you still feel any form of moisture after penetrating about 3 inches(8cm) into the soil.

Underwatering

The Dracaena plant’s superpower may be its ability to use less water, however its roots can’t take up nutrients from the soil if the soil isn’t soluble.

As you can see from the yellow spots that appear on the Dracaena foliar it’s a clear indication that the roots aren’t taking up nutrients from the soil properly.

Solution

The obvious solution that should come to mind is to water the plant conservatively in terms of quantity and timing. And to do so with the seasons in mind.

For Instance, watering your Dracaena during the summer and spring should be practised once every 5 to 7 days. But during the winter, it should be practised between 15 to 30 days or. Until the soil is tested to be dry. Nothing more.

Scorch

The development of yellow Spots on your Dracaena foliar could be due to excessive direct sunlight falling onto the plant.

This problem occurs as a result of placing the potted Dracaena in an unsuitable location. Most likely one where highly concentrated sun rays can attack your Dracaena plant for a long period of time. 

A good example is a space close to an unblinded window or space where sunlight is reflected upon by a mirror (or any reflective object/body).

Solution 

Although Dracaena is a tropical plant, it thrives better with indirect sunlight. Or sunlight filtered by a translucent material like see-through thin clothed window blinds.

Or a partially tinted glass window. So the best solution to avoid the scorch is to relocate your potted Dracaena. To a more suitable environment with less access to direct sunlight.

Low Humidity 

An important fact about the Dracaena plant is that it thrives better in a humid environment. Which should have room temperature that should linger ls between 60 – 70°F (15-21°C). Any reading lower than that will result in slow deterioration with yellow Spots being the mild symptom. 

Yellow spots on corn plant leaves

Due to these requirements, there are certain places where the Dracaena plant can’t survive. For instance, the office or room with heavy air conditioning. Especially during the winter. Such places tend to have low humidity.

Solution

  • Relocate to a more humid environment: once you measure the room temperature and you realize it’s lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) then it’s best to find a more humid environment to place the potted plant. 
  • Make use of humidifiers: if you don’t have a place with the right conditions for your Dracaena plant, then create one. You can do this easily with an air humidifier or vaporizer. As it will release more moisture into the atmosphere of the room. It’s best to keep this device close to the plant for better results.
  • Misting: spraying the plant from time to time helps to build a humid environment. The appropriate time to do this is every morning and afternoon. Above and at the bottom of the leaves. But do refrain from spraying the plant at night as it would harbor diseases. 
  • Have more Dracaenas: when you have a group of plants surrounding each other their immediate environment begins to moist or more humid. How does it work? As one plant releases moisture, another one absorbs it. This symbiotic cycle continues forever. At least until they die one after the other.

Note: they shouldn’t be placed too close to each other as it would cause diseases or pests to spread easily. Also, with them spaced out there will be ample air circulation in the equation. Which completes the formula for a natural generated humid environment.

Frost Damage 

Given that Dracaena is a tropical plant, it’s definitely going to have a problem coping with lower temperatures. Given that the Dracaena’s cell sap would freeze up thus leading to permanent damage. 

Dracaena stem turning yellow

In such conditions (less than 50°F), the leaves would start to form yellow Spots, till it develops browner hue overtime. The end result would probably be the loss of leaves, rotting roots, and even stems. 

Solution 

  • One of the best options would be to relocate the plant into a more humid and warm environment.
  • Prune out the damaged leaves and stems from the plant with a piece of sterilized pruning equipment. So as to prevent further spread of frost damage. 
  • Position the plant where it can enjoy indirect sunlight instead of direct.

Insect Infestation 

Apart from weather conditions, another cause of yellow spots on Dracaena leaves is insects. The most common insects you can find on the Dracaena plant include:

  • Scales: they spear waxy in nature and you can find them on the truck of fur leaves below, and even at the base of the plant. They affect the growth of Dracaena after sucking out its juices over time. 
  • Spider mites: this is a microscopic pest that isn’t seen easily with the human naked eye alone. But you can sight them if they’re are gather-up on the leaves. They can be yellow in color and could be seen as yellow spots on the Dracaena’s leaves.
  • Aphids: they’re an easily observable swarm of tiny insects. 
  • Mealybugs: they’re cottony-like insects that feed on the Dracaena’s leaves

Solution 

  • Most of these pests like aphids or scale which can be wiped with a simple spray of soap and water. There are also other types of Dracaena pest control chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide and the popular isopropyl alcohol. 
  • Or in case the infestation is quite large, the best insecticide for the job should contain Bifenthrin.

Fertilizer Burn 

Another symptom of yellow Spots on your Dracaena’s foliar is fertilizer Burn. Which occurs as a result of over-fertilization (inappropriate application of fertilizer). How does it really work?

When you eat a meal with too much salt, then it’s only natural to get really thirsty. This is the same for over-fertilization as it increases the salt quantity in the plant. Thus causing the plant to get “thirsty” and lose much-needed water for its growth.

Solution

The best action would be the proper application of the fertilizer. And if the plant is already over-fertilized, here are some steps to fix the problem:

  • Distribute the fertilizers evenly or If possible rake the excess out. 
  • Water the soil heavily, so that the salt will dissolve down past the plant’s rooting system. 
  • If the fertilizer happens to be too much, then it’s best to repot another soil mix for your Dracaena. 

Edema 

Edema is simply the reaction of a plant to a certain condition such as over-watering or over-fertilization. Which makes it a disease that does not come from insects, viruses, or bacteria.

And it is simply the plant absorbing more water than it transpires. This disease causes the Dracaena to get bloated. This in turn leads to the fattening of the leaf veins and the appearance of yellow spots on the leaves as well.

Solution 

  • To cure edema you need to review the way you take care of your plant. As the problem could start from something as simple as watering. And in most cases, edema is a result of over-watering. The best solution would be to water your Dracaena more conservatively.
  • Expose it to more sunlight and an environment with a proper balance between humidity and airflow. So that you can stimulate the transpiration process quicker.

Nutrient Deficiency 

Yellow Spots or fully yellow leaves are indicators of nutrient Deficiency. And the nutrient such a plant would lack is nitrogen, just like every other house plant. This problem stems from the soil.

Solution

The appropriate solution would be the proper application of fertilizers, to help even out the nutrient combination of the soil.

Downy Mildew

Downy Mildew is a type of fungus that thrives in a humid environment in the form of water mold. They can cause discoloration of Dracaena plants on the edge and trunk of the leaves.

This is why you can see yellow spots. This fungus can travel between plants via humans, splashing water, and air current. 

How do you identify them? You can identify them easily as the leaf veins bound the pale green or yellowish spots angularly. And you should notice a purplish-Grey-like smudge or fuzz directly below the leaf.

Solution

It’s best to notice it on time and apply fungicides immediately. 

Powdery Mildew 

This disease is the result of poor air circulation around the Dracaena plant. It looks like white dust on the leaves, which over time will cause yellow Spots to come up. Once this happens it means the plant is weakening.

Solution

There are various ways to kill this disease:

  • Using water 
  • Baking soda 
  • Organic fungicides 
  • Mouthwash

Septoria Leaf Spot 

Septoria Leaf Spot is a disease caused by a fungus known as Septoria lycopersici. You can notice the diseases as yellow Spots that appear on the undersides of the lower leaves. And they spread fast from the base of the plant to the top leaves. 

Solution 

  • It would be best to apply any form of fungicides (organic or chemical). 
  • Cut the leaves with a sterilized blade.

Bacterial Spot 

It is a disease caused by bacteria such as Pseudomonas and various Xanthomonas. You can identify its presence visually as it causes yellow, black, or brown spots on the leaves.

Solution 

  • Cut off the infect leaves or stems with a sterile blade 
  • Dry the leaves up – you can do this by watering the plant very early in the morning, to ensure there’s ample time for evaporation. Given they thrive better in juicy leaves. 

Alternaria 

This is a fungus disease that causes leaf blight. And it infects the Dracaena via the older leaves. It thrives better in wet rainy conditions. You can identify Alternaria from the crown of the leaves as you would see brownish spots with yellow halos surrounding it.

Solution 

  • Make use of fungicides 
  • Cut out the infected leaves and stems

Anthracnose

Here’s another fungal disease that causes the development of yellow spots on the leaves, which darkens over time. It affects the growth of both leaves and shoots. Also, Anthracnose thrives under highly humid conditions. This means it can spread from plant to plant easily.

Solution 

  • Cut and destroy infect portions of the plant 
  • Spray copper-based fungicides

I have discussed all the possible reasons and solutions for yellow spots on your dracaena plant leaves. Hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have further queries.

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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