The Dracaena Marginata is a striking plant that serves all the drama with long, spiky slender leaves. They make quite a statement and are a favorite among plant owners and landscapers across the US.
Even though they are resilient, low-maintenance plants, they, too, can be infected by fungus.
Some of the most common infections include Fuzzy White Disease, Sooty Mold, Fusarium Leaf Spot, and Root Rot.
Keep reading to learn more about these problems and how to clean the fungus of Dracaena marginata.
Fuzzy White Disease on Dracaena
If you notice fluffy white areas on or under the leaves of your Dracaena that look like they are covered with powdered sugar, it might have Fuzzy White Disease.
This kind of mildew or mold grows in environments with dry, warm days and cool, humid nights, like down south in states like Florida and Louisiana.
While this powdery mildew is not particularly dangerous for your plant, it is not pleasant to look at and can attract insects.
It is better to treat it as soon as you see it. If you see this mold on just a leaf or two, the best thing to do is to cut the affected leaves. Pruning will stop the fungus from spreading to other parts of the plant.
If you see the mold has covered most of your plant and don’t want to prune the whole thing, you can cut the most affected leaves and then use a fungicide on the rest of the plant.
Natural fungicides are your best choice because this type of growth is relatively easy to treat.
If you are looking for a natural way with the ingredients you already have, research has shown the following mix can do the trick:
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1½ tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon dish soap
- One gallon of water
Fill a spray bottle with this and spray it all over the plant a few times a week until you don’t see the mold anymore and the temperature and humidity stabilize.
If you stop too early, there is a chance that it will grow right back.
Keep you Dracaena is a more controlled environment where the temperature stays between 65 ºF – 75ºF degrees and humidity is around 60%.
Avoid overwatering and spraying too much water on the leaves of the plants as this can increase the humidity.
This type of fungal growth is seen where there is honeydew, a sticky substance certain pests excrete. It is a serious issue because this black-colored growth blocks sunlight, hindering growth, and causing leaves to drop and the branches to die back.
This issue, plus the pests feeding on the Dracaena, can kill the plant in the long run.
Pests like mealy bugs or cottony cushion scales create spots like those seen in Fuzzy White Disease, so you will have to inspect your plant’s leaves closely under a magnifying glass to be sure.
- If you see gray-colored bugs about a fifth of an inch long, it’s mealy bugs. These pests clump together with a white fuzzy substance coating all of them.
- If you see ½-inch-long white sacs that look like tiny cotton balls or orange-colored bugs, then it’s cottony cushion scales.
There are a couple of steps to treat this problem. First, isolate your plant so the pests don’t spread. Second, prune the leaves with fungal growth and finally get rid of the pests.
One natural way to get rid of the pests is to use natural pest enemies that will eliminate the bugs without hurting your plant.
- To kill mealy bugs, use mealybug destroyers, a type of ladybug.
- To get rid of the cottony scale, use Vedalia beetles.
If you don’t want to release these bugs, you can also use rubbing alcohol to kill the pests, as mentioned in the steps below:
- Dip either cotton swabs or balls in 70% rubbing alcohol.
- Wipe these across the leaves and the gaps to clean up all the white areas
- Create a solution of 1 cup of 70% rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dish soap, and 32 ounces of water. Then pour it into a spray bottle
- Spray the entire plant, starting from top to bottom and on both sides of the leaves.
Keep spraying this mix twice a week until the pests stop coming back. This method will also clean up any mold growing on leaves you did not prune.
You can also try horticultural oils, oil insecticides, and soaps to suppress pest growth. However, these may not be effective because the waxy coating on these types of pests protects them from the chemicals.
Make sure there are no ants, as they protect pests that produce honeydew, a substance they feed on. Avoid overwatering as high levels of moisture attract pests.
Fusarium Leaf Spot on Dracaena
If you see the leaves of your Dracaena plants have tan or brown spots surrounded by a yellow halo, this could be a fusarium leaf spot.
This fungal infection is problematic because it is very contagious. It can quickly spread all over your plant and to others.
Research has found that among the different varieties of Dracaena, Dracaena Marginata is the most likely to suffer from this kind of fungal infection.
Be on the lookout for brown spots on the top or bottom of the leaves.
Treatment can be difficult because it is so contagious. If you catch it early, you can stop its spread. The first step is to prune affected leaves from the base.
The best way to do this is to use pruning shears instead of plucking them with your fingers. It is important to disinfect your shears in between cutting leaves.
After cutting diseased leaves, use a fungicide to eliminate any other growths you missed. For a natural fungicide, mix the following and pour into a spray bottle:
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon mineral oil
- 32 ounces of water
Generously spray your plant a couple of times a week until the spots disappear.
You can also try a chemical fungicide but be careful because it can be dangerous not just for your plant but also for you. Always wear protective gloves, safety glasses, and a mask to stop yourself from inhaling the fumes.
This fungus is most prevalent in the summer, especially when it is humid. Try to keep your Dracaena away from the heat in a drier area and avoid watering it too much.
Keep your plants spaced out to make sure there is enough airflow, which can help reduce the humidity.
Also known as root rot, this issue is caused by fungi or bacteria. These microorganisms grow in the roots, and their secretions poison the rest of the plant.
The two biggest signs of root rot are when your Draceana’s leaves drop, and the stem close to the soil changes color and gets soft.
If this is not treated, it can be deadly for your plant, so you must sort it out as soon as you see the signs mentioned above.
Treating root rot in a Dracaena Marginata is an involved process, but if you follow the steps below, you can revive your plant and restore its health.
- Carefully take the Dracaena out of the pot and examine the roots. Slimy, discolored roots are the diseased ones, and they need to be cut off.
- Cut the diseased roots away with a sharp pair of shears. Never pull or snap them off with your fingers. This will do more harm than good.
- Repot the plant in new soil that is more aerated, and avoid using fertilizer until the rot goes away.
The number one reason for root rot is watering your plant too much. The high levels of moisture attract all kinds of fungi that thrive in dark, wet conditions.
Dracaena is very good at holding water, so always check the soil at least two inches down. If it is dry, the soil will break apart like sand.
If it clumps even a little, you don’t need to water, so wait a couple more days.
Also, don’t fertilize the soil when the weather is dry and hot in the USA, as that can actually encourage fungi growth.
No one likes to see fungus growing on their plants. Not only does it look unattractive, but the fungus can also negatively affect your plant’s health.
While the most common issues plants in the USA face have been discussed here, the treatment and prevention methods can also apply to other fungal infections.
To summarize, make it a habit to inspect your plant periodically. Look out for telltale signs of infection. They say prevention is the best medicine, and that applies to plants as well. So try to keep your plants in optimal condition and avoid overwatering.
In the warmer summer months, spray a natural fungicide every few weeks to help manage fungal growth and keep an eye out for ants. Hopefully, this information will help keep your dragon trees fungi-free all the time.
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.