HELP! Leaves Drooping (Madagascar Dragon Tree) Dracaena marginata

harooniqbalJuly 18, 2009

I noticed something weird on my beautiful Madagascar Dragon Tree. I heard it is normal for older foliage to dry and drop. I am just confused about the drooping behaviour of new leaves. They are not as erect as the older ones. What could be wrong. It is water when the soil is dry an inch or 2 and is kept in the living room where it gets indirect filtered sunlight. Temperature is 28-30 Celsius.

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Is your Dragon Tree kept in the corner?
DT's need some humidity. They are also Spider Mite magnets, moreso if air is too dry.
Check for webs or white patches.
Although they don't require 8 hours of direct sun, DT's prefer bright light/medium sun.

If it was my plant, I'd first check for insects. Then take it to the shower or sink and spray all parts of leaves/stems. Test soil. If it feels dry water thoroughly.
What size is its pot? What type of soil is it in?

Sometimes, older growth droops, but new growth should stand erect. It's very pale, which tells me 1. insects, 2. lack of light, 3. lack of nutricion.

How old is the soil? Does it get fertilized? Toni

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 4:46PM
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hopefulauthor, my dragon tree is in a far corner of the living room. Light comes from kitchen window. I did not place it near the window since there is too much sun and temperature exceeding 105F in this region. I checked for insects, none so far. The soil is a week old and I was given NPK vitamins/food to be used every month. I do mist it daily, although its been in this place for one month almost since its a new plant. Should I change the position to someplace brighter?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 5:29PM
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If you're sure there's no insects, yes, I'd place in brighter light.
What size is its pot? If the soil is old, you should consider repotting..If roots aren't filling its previous pot, remove the plant, add new soil, and plant back in the same container.

105F IS you have another window? Too hot and the plant will die.
Can you summer your DT outdoors in a shady spot?
Also, do you have a picture of entire plant and pot?

Your DT needs trimming.
Using sharp scissors, remove brown edges. Leave about 1/8th of the brown on. For the few leaves that have brown tips, you can either cut off entirely or shape nearest the ends.

Here's its needs:
Well-draining or succulent soil
Bright light..
Soil should dry between waterings
Fertilize once a month, with an All-Purpose plant food, throughout growing seasons.
Daily mistings and/or weekly or monthly shower
Pot size..1-2" larger than rootball

Where do you live? Toni

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 6:07PM
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Thanks for your response Toni. I live in Bahrain which is in middle-east. I cannot put it outdoor, as I live in an apartment and there is no shade, it is very hot here in summer, it will fry. I have attached full size pictures and you can see how happy the Dumb cane is. When it was potted, the pot was 2 inches larger than the walls. Is it alright to take the plant besides a window for a few hours and then have it back anywhere in the house. Can I use fluorescent (energy saving) light during the day for the plant?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 6:25PM
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Definitely not enough light! Dumbcanes and DT's are worlds apart in their culture requirements, so if ones happy in a particular environment, the other one probably won't be. You'd be better off taking you're chances at the window, frankly. You can train a small fan on it to help cool it down.

Or, you can always give the DT away and find another plant thats more suited to the environment you can provide it. Any number of succulents would really appreciate that window!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:00PM
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Okay. What if I put it 1-2 feet besides east window in bedroom that also has air conditioner with temperature indoor around 18-20C. i.e. 64-68F. Moreover, should the window be open for sunlight or filter sunlight through glass would be enough. Plus will this plant (recover) get better that I have?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:08PM
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You should be able to put it relatively close to the east window, if not directly in front of it. It is a pretty adaptable plant and I've found that as long as it's close to a window it should be ok. The light through the glass is just fine. No sense in wasting electricity by having the A/C running while a window's open!

This plant will indeed recover. It will take some time, and what is brown now won't be green again. But it will eventually be ok given enough light. As Toni said, fertilize it once a month, especially if you plant to give it strong light. And do keep an eye out especially for spider mites in that dry heat! Though they can also get nasty mealy infestations. I personally disagree with the misting suggestion since theres no benefit to be had. It will cool the plant for only a few minutes in that high heat, and the water that does evaporate will not stay by the plant to humidify it. If you plan to spray it once every 10 minutes, THEN you might see a benefit, otherwise its a wasted time. However, it won't hurt anything to spray once or twice a day, so if it makes you feel better, spray away!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:46PM
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I placed it near the window and gets sunlight on the eastern side through the window glass. however, i must understand what kind of fertilizer is used. I was only given something called NPK which is in solid form to be used once a month. I dont know if that is what is required or something more.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 7:22AM
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What are the 3 numbers on the front of your bottle? They should look something like 10-10-10 or 9-3-4, displayed in that fashion.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 10:54AM
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I was given loose, not in a pack. i was told npk 10-10-10.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 10:57AM
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