Dracaena marginata is a popular indoor plant that is perfect for beginners. It is strong and can survive with minimal care.
However, sometimes, the leaves on this plant start turning white. White leaves of a Dracaena Marginata are a sign of pest infestation.
Some people confuse the white fuzzy patches on the leaves with mold. Remember, these patches aren’t molded but dead skin flakes and egg sacs of the pests.
In the following paragraphs, we will discuss ways to eliminate pests.
- The Dracaena Marginata plants hail from the Asparagus family.
- It is also known as the “female dragon.”
- It secretes a red gum, also called the dragon’s blood.
- The Dracaena Marginata can live for thousands of years in their natural habitat.
Mealybugs are the most common pest found on the Dracaena Marginata plant. The plant becomes more prone to pest infestation when it is overwatered, over-fertilized, or has a high amount of nitrogen.
Here are some simple but effective tips on preventing pest infestation in the Dracaena Marginata plant.
Neem oil is one of the best pest repellants in the case of houseplants. It is readily available, and it is also easy to apply.
One of the most popular neem oil products is Natria. Plant owners widely use this product to keep pests at bay.
You can purchase it on various online platforms like Amazon. It kills the bugs and their eggs, thus keeping them from multiplying and harming your Dracaena Marginata.
It is essential to understand that Dracaena Marginata is a vigorous plant that doesn’t need too much watering. This plant can thrive with very little water. Overwatering is terrible for several reasons.
First of all, it paves the way for pests. Secondly, it makes the soil soggy, which is unhealthy for your plant. Moist soil is necessary for the survival of the Dracaena Marginata plant. On the flip side, soggy soil suffocates your plant’s root. It results in root rot. In extreme cases, root rot is incurable.
Unfortunately, this is a paradoxical situation. Dracaena Marginata does exceptionally well with nitrogen fertilizers.
However, this makes them more vulnerable to pests. The problem is that pests like mealybugs are attracted to high volumes of nitrogen.
If you must use nitrogen fertilizer, follow the neem oil technique mentioned above. Doing so will keep the plant healthy without worrying about pest infestation.
Speaking of fertilizing, the Dracaena Marginata doesn’t need frequent feeding. Using fertilizer once in two months is more than enough. Furthermore, you don’t need to fertilize this plant during the cool winter.
Most newbies use too much fertilizer on their Dracaena Marginata, which makes them prone to pest attacks, so take heed.
When you bring a new plant, it could already be under a pest attack. Keeping it near other plants can be dangerous to those plants. Therefore, it is better to quarantine your plant.
A new plant should be kept in a separate room for two weeks. During this time, inspect it thoroughly. If you notice white marks, spray it with water, and apply some neem oil to the stem. You can also use alcohol, for oil too is a good pest repellant.
Avoid placing it outside, whether it is the Dracaena Marginata or any other houseplant. While there is no apparent harm in placing it out in the open, it can certainly make it vulnerable to pests.
Keep it inside, and give it the care it needs.
Sometimes, pest infestation can also happen due to unsanitary gardening equipment. Garden equipment that is used on multiple plants can accumulate ample bacteria on it.
Therefore, it is essential to keep it clean and sanitized.
By sanitizing your gardening tools, not only will you keep them free of bacteria, but you will also keep mealybug eggs at bay.
Mealybug eggs and egg sacs can cling to your gardening tools, which can easily infect the plant.
It would be best if you cleaned both new and old pots between usage. Like the tools, keeping the pots clean will prevent the buildup of bacteria and pests to the point where they can harm the plant.
When cleaning the pots, always use clean water and mild soap. Before you add fresh soil to the plant, make sure to remove all kinds of debris.
If you have used a set of tools on an infested Dracaena Marginata, it is better to throw away the tools.
By discarding the used set of tools, you can prevent a re-infestation. Using a new set of tools on your plants, you can protect the plant from residual bacteria and pests.
Also, after handling an infected plant, wash your hands thoroughly.
Most people place the pot containing the Dracaena Marginata on the ground, which is fine. The only problem is that it is more prone to pest attacks—the intelligent thing would hang the pot.
Hanging the plant makes it look pretty while keeping the plant safe. However, this is only possible when the plant is young.
Hanging a fully grown plant isn’t practical; you must place it on the ground once it starts growing.
The sad part is that mealybugs have a skin coating that protects them against insecticides. As a result, it becomes difficult to kill them using chemicals. On the bright side, there are some natural alternatives to chemicals.
Ladybugs are a viable solution to the problem of mealybugs. Ladybugs feed on mealybugs. Just leave some ladybugs in the soil, and they won’t allow the mealybugs to feed on your plant.
You can also resort to a neem oil drench to disinfect the plant, thus keeping the pests at bay. We will discuss the neem oil drench in detail in the following paragraphs.
Lastly, we can also use alcohol as a disinfectant. Dip a cloth in an alcohol solution and cleanse the infected parts of the plant.
Once the cleaning is done, mix alcohol, water, and dishwashing soap in a spray bottle. Spray the entire plant with the alcohol solution.
For a neem oil drench, you will need the right recipe. This recipe is easy and won’t take too much of your time. Here is what you need to do.
- Mix a teaspoon of dishwashing soap in a quart of room-temperature water. Always opt for a high-quality dishwashing soap to break down grease and stains.
- Then, add a teaspoon of neem oil to the concoction, and mix well. Your neem oil mixture is ready.
Once the neem oil mixture is ready, apply two cups of it to the soil. This mixture is used to disinfect the soil and the plant. You should apply one cup to the plant and pour the rest into the soil.
If you have a bigger pot, you will need three cups of this mixture. You must repeat this process every two weeks. If the infestation is severe, you can directly apply a small amount of neem oil to the plant.
While mealybugs are the most common pests for the Dracaena Marginata, some other pests are just as dangerous.
Scales are tiny, soft-bodied pests that feed on the sap of your plants. Adult scales are covered in a waxy coating that protects them against pesticides. It isn’t easy to spot them since they are mostly hidden under the leaves.
Plants infested with scales usually turn yellow and limp. They also form mold on the leaves, which is dangerous for plant and human health.
These pests are incredibly tricky to deal with. They are so small that one cannot see them with the naked eye. However, they may appear in the form of dark spots on the leaves of your Dracaena Marginata.
They form little webs along the veins or the axils. Like scales, Spider Mites also suck the sap of your plant. It results in discoloration of the leaves.
Besides the Dracaena Marginata, other popular hosts for Spider Mites are figs and ivies.
Whiteflies are tiny winged insects with a white powdery appearance. When they are young, they don’t move much, but adults can flutter around when disturbed.
Both newborns and adults suck plant sap, but it is the young ones that cause the most amount of damage. Other than Dracaena Marginata, these pests are also found in hibiscus and poinsettias.
If you notice your Dracaena Marginata turning white, you are not alone. Pest infestation is perfectly natural, and with the proper techniques, you can keep these pests at bay. As a responsible plant owner, you must take care of a few things.
First of all, make sure your plant is hydrated and it receives adequate moisture. Secondly, spray your plant with water, and once in a while, clean the plant with neem oil or alcohol. By following these simple tips, you will keep your Dracaena Marginata healthy.
You may also like:
- Dracaena Marginata Drooping Yellow Leaves
- Can Dracaena Marginata Grow in Shade
- Why Is My Dracaena Marginata Drooping?
- Why Is My Dracaena Marginata Leaves Drooping
- Can You Save An Overwatered Dracaena?
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.