Are you thinking of acquiring plants as a new hobby this season? The Dragon Tree, or the Dracaena marginata, is one of the essential plants grown throughout the US. The plants are grown indoors. The fronds are thin and long as if swords stuck on the stem, with one side red and the other green.
The dragon plant is native to Madagascar, located in the east of Africa; however, the plant often blooms in the spring season, and there are specific hardiness zones from 10 to 12 where the plants can be grown.
The hardiness zones for plants are the areas in the US where specific plants can thrive according to the minimum temperatures, such as for zone 10, the minimum temperature is 30 F.
The temperature for a dragon plant to survive in the winters is relatively mild, so if you live in southern California or Florida, they can also stay in the backyard.
Although these plants are drought resistant and easy to maintain, that doesn’t necessarily mean they would survive independently, and you can forget about it. The tips of the Dracaena Marginata start to turn yellow and droop when the plants are ignored or not nurtured in the right way.
What Is Causing Dracaena Marginata Drooping Yellow Leaves?
Your dragon plant’s leaves could turn yellow and limp for many reasons, such as moisture content in the air, watering, turgor pressure rising and reducing, making leaves elastic, pest infestations, water quality, fertilizers, and salt build-up. These are all the factors that make your Dracaena Marginata leaves drooping and yellow.
The good thing about leaves turning yellow is that it indicates any issue in the initial phase of a plant. If you overlook this indication, the yellow color turns brown, indicating that the plant may die now, and it is hard to reverse the changes.
Another factor that we can weigh in is the age of the plant, a typical dragon houseplant has a life expectancy of about ten years if properly cared for, so if you are experiencing yellow leaves with an 11-year-old plant, it may just be its old age factor.
Except if the plant is not too old, the following issues can cause yellowing and drooping. Read below the causes and the solutions to those causes to understand how to care for a Dracaena Marginata.
Most of the time, the issue due to which the leaves turn yellow and limp is because enough water is not given to the plant. Although, as mentioned earlier, the Dracaena plants are drought-resistant, that doesn’t mean they don’t need water to survive.
Dracaena can live in small amounts of water, although it dislikes being underwater. It would help to hydrate your Dragon plant when the top two inches of soil feel dry to your fingertips.
Make sure to check the moisture level in the soil every few days. If the topsoil feels dry, wet it with water but avoid making the ground sloppy.
You must be wondering why does your soil keep getting dry? Well, there are several reasons why the ground could dry out, such as the warm temperatures could cause evaporation, the pots in which the plant is planted could be porous, or the plant becomes root bound when it grows, and there is no space for the roots to grow inside the soil.
Another issue that could lead to underwatering is the seasonal transition from winter to spring. When the temperature rises, it is only natural that the amount of water given to the plant must increase too.
Understanding underwatering is simple. Other signs include wilting foliage, droopiness, and a pot that feels empty due to a lack of water.
A timely supply of hydration will cause the plant’s leaves to rehydrate if they have become limp and then yellow due to underwatering. In a few hours, see if they have improved by giving them water. Attempt to set a recurring reminder on your phone for watering. Even a tiny improvement should be noticeable.
The opposite issue to underwatering is the overwatering of the plant. Now, how does that affect the health of the plant? Well, you should know that plant cells can reserve much more water than humans and animals; this builds up their turgor pressure. When the plants lose this pressure, the leaves become limp after releasing the tension.
As previously mentioned, the soil ought to be damp but not soggy. Ensure to hydrate your plant sufficiently enough that water begins to leak out of the pot’s bottom hole. Once you’ve done that, stop watering when the top two inches of soil are completely dry.
Never let water build up inside the saucer. After watering the plant, empty the drainage saucer underneath the pot. The plant’s leaves will become yellow and droopy if you overwater it.
Overwatering may be to blame if you see yellowing on the tips of your Dragon plant. Rotting roots is the worst result of overwatering. It suffocates roots by reducing the oxygen flow to them. As a result, they begin to wither.
Quality of Water
It is known that water running in the taps contains some percentage of chlorine and fluorides. These chemicals can be toxic for the dragon plants, so even if the water content in the plant is sufficient, it will still turn yellow and droop due to the action of the toxins that affect the leaves.
The best way to improve water quality is to boil it and then spray it on the plant. If you live near a state park with natural water springs or a waterfall, fill up some bottles for a week or two; these would be ample since the Dracaena Marginata does not require too much water anyway.
The plants and their roots need space to grow and expand their root network. When the pots become too small for the roots, the plant faces a root-bound situation. Since the outcome for the watering and the root bound issue are the same, it is difficult to figure out which could be the real reason.
However, the roots start to rot and overlap with each other, and just like a disease, this affects all the roots. The water is not absorbed in the most fundamental part of the plant turning the leaves yellow and limp.
Observing roots coming out of the drainage holes in the container is a warning indication of root rot. The problem has advanced considerably if roots can be seen sticking out of the pot’s top. A root-bound plant can only be freed by one method: transportation.
Every two years, the Dracaena Marginata plant should have a new pot. It grows slowly. Suppose it is currently in a pot that is too small. Upgrade to a pot that is narrower but deeper. Since deeper pots are less likely to result in root rot than shallow, it is best if you get wide pots.
Shake your plant out of its original pot gently to prepare for repotting so it doesn’t get the transplantation shock. Dry when touching it so as not to harm any of the root tissues.
Even though you plan to cut some roots, you should use caution. It could promote rot if the roots are harmed during handling instead of being chopped with a sharp knife.
Then, remove the exterior and more tangled roots with a sharp blade or pair of gardening shears until it’s all clean, and put it into the new pot with well-drained soil. Water the plant and feed it some fertilizers.
Talking about feeding the plant, while it is beneficial for the growth of the Dracaena plant to receive fertilizers, it could damage the plant if it gets more than a sufficient amount. If your dragon plant is heavy on toxins, the signs will be pretty obvious; its leaves will seem lifeless, yellow, and floppy.
The Dracaena Marginatas don’t consume a lot of food. Most novice gardeners make the mistake of fertilizing their Dragon plant too heavily, which frequently has negative results.
As a result, the soil begins to accumulate unneeded chemicals. With time, these substances reveal to be harmful. The yellow tips on the Dragon tree’s leaves are among the most typical signs of chemical poisoning.
So, the answer to this issue is not to fertilize Dracaena Marginatas more than once a month if you’re a beginner. It just needs one feeding per month.
As for the winter season, dragon plants maintain their health throughout the chilly winter; fertilizers are unnecessary.
One of the severe problems resulting from the watering, overfertilization, and root bound is pest infestation, especially the fungal attack of the Fungi gnats. The gnats thrive in the overly damp soil and feast on the roots that have started to rot.
The DIY solution to this issue is to keep the soil dry approximately two-inch layer of the surface and spray a diluted hydrogen peroxide mixture on the plant to squish the pesky gnats.
The other common pests are spider mites; these mites are pests that feed on your plant’s sap and dry it out.
Take your plant outside and give it a watering to fix the issue. By doing this, you will get rid of the pests that eat the sap’s liquids. Next, spray the plant with alcohol or neem oil.
Alcohol and neem oil are both pest deterrents. Prune any damaged leaves as well so that fresh ones can grow.
When you use superphosphate fertilizers, salt builds up in the soil. These fertilizers include higher levels of salts, which are harmful to plants.
A balanced liquid fertilizer is preferable; always read the labels’ directions before using these fertilizers. Furthermore, use pots with a drainage system so the salt doesn’t accumulate.
Moisture In The Air
The Dracaena Marginata is typical of indoor plants that prefer high humidity levels. Maintaining a healthy humidity level with changing heating and cooling is challenging.
Water is lost in large quantities due to low moisture, which is bad for plant growth. Lack of humidity can cause the leaves to get dehydrated more quickly than the roots, which supplies them with fresh water. Your Madagascar Dragon tree leaves’ tips will therefore become yellow.
Try grouping several indoor plants, including the Dragon plant, if humidity is a problem. You can also invest in a humidifier to control the humidity levels of the houseplants.
Wrapping It Up
The leaves turning yellow and drooping down can be a warning sign that there is some underlying issue with the treatment of the Dragon plant. As a beginner, you must identify using the above list of symptoms and then act on the solutions to stop the plant from wilting and discoloring when it’s in the initial phases of destruction; hence redeemable too.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.