Sudden Dracaena issue

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)December 29, 2012

Just below the crown, the leaves of this Drac are turning black at the edges, in kind of a ring. The leaves above and below seem fine. Is this something that needs attention, or a past event that is now over? I have no idea what caused this. There are 2 other different kinds of Dracs in the pot and none of their leaves look abnormal.

This plant has always been kind of weird, and still has this weird hole thing on the stem, which hasn't changed that I can tell from a while back.

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I have had this problem with every single Dracaena Deremensis I ever had. I could never conclusively determine what the problem was.

I actually have more problems with D. Deremensis than I have with some supposedly more difficult plants like Red Aglaonemas.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 7:51PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Does your water have fluoride? If so, that's possible culprit.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 7:57PM
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I have been searching the net looking for people with similar issues. And I found something:

See the source of these images below.

It would appear that this is caused by overwatering and then compensating by underwatering. When you water the plant it drowns but then as the water dries up left over salts burn the plant. Something that the (Warneckii, Lemon Lime and Janet Craig) cultivar line is apparently very sensitive to.

what kind of soil are you using?

I don't mean to sound like an Ad spokes person for Tapla's 'Gritty Mix' but it should solve both problems. I use pure turface in my Red Aglaonemas but i think his blend is much better. If you can get it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dying Dracaena

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:36PM
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I would say that most of the problems related to spoiled foliage start with the soil choice, watering habits, and the level of dissolved solids (salts) in the soil.

Do you have all three in check? I hope so. These react quite poorly if they are not kept in check, including those brown spots.

I am not sure if it's fungal, but I am leaning towards any of the three mentioned above first.

Good luck friend:-)


    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I saw one on Lowe's clearance rack which looks almost exactly like yours the other day. It looks like overwatered to me (the one in Lowe's not yours). I did not get it though as I already have an limelight from HD couple months ago. My limelight I got from HD also comes with some brown edge leaves too (I posted here before), but it stabilized - it still in its original soil, I always flush the soil when I watering. Hope it will do well until I repot it into gritty mix in spring.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:19AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the replies!

This plant was repotted about 4 months ago and the other plants added. If it is a soil issue, this particular plant must be much more sensitive than the other Dracs (D. marginata and D. marginata 'tricolor.) It's the same mix all of my plants are in, including a ton of Dracs, but no others of this same type.

What is so weird is that the tips are fine, it's just along the sides of a few leaves at a certain point along the trunk. The leaves below and above are fine. My pic shows all of the damage.

I appreciate your investigation Harris, a LOT! But don't think the plant you pictured looks like it has the same malady because that plant is affected at the tips, and looks like it then encompasses the whole leaf.

About a month ago, before the plants all came in, there was some rain and I put all of the pots out in it. Wondering if that soggy-ness coupled with the low temps for a few nights before coming in might have had something to do with it.

This plant was kind of ratty when I got it, probably in Feb., but has been doing great since this suddenly happened, within a week.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 9:54AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Tiffany - this exact puzzle shows up from time to time. There are a couple of possibilities described in the info linked to below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Commercial production guide w/info ....

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks! Reading the (now bookmarked) link... It was cold when I bought it (looking ratty) and has apparently had recent stress (being out in some pretty cold weather.)

Quotes are from the link...

"Suggested air temperatures for best growth range between 65 and 90ðF. For maximum production, root zone temperature should be between 75 and 80ðF. If air temperatures exceed 90ðF chlorosis of `Janet Craig' and notching of `Warneckii' will occur. The chlorosis appears to be iron deficiency, but additions of iron will not prevent the chlorosis. At soil or air temperatures less than 65ðF, very little growth will occur. Plants will be damaged at 35ðF air temperature if exposed for short periods, 1-2 days, or if exposed to 55ðF for 1 week. To simply protect the plants from cold damage, a minimum of 50ðF should be held and plants should be sheltered from wind. Temperatures below 50ðF, but above freezing, have been observed to cause chilling damage when plants are exposed to wind." Oops.

Buttressed by this, "These symptoms are not evident for 2 or more weeks because damage occurs inside the terminal sheath of leaves and foliage must elongate first." I think this is a result of the cold for a few weeks at night before coming in. This is what I get for thinking that might make it want to bloom, as I've read for D. fragrans. I know better than to mix'n'match advice like that, and did it anyway.

I'm not sure how the spot it's in while now inside compares to the light it was getting outside... it's got to be a lot less even with a short period of direct sun in the afternoon, although that's mostly blocked by hanging plants above it.

"Plants grown above 4000 ft-c probably will not survive well when placed indoors as plants grown at lower light levels." Sounds like it will let me know if it continues to be unhappy with its' placement, temperature, or my mood or whatever! Ha!

...this reminds of that old commercial "You've got ring around the collar!" I've got ring around my Dracaena.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 1:12PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)
    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Jean, that's a great link, I bookmarked it too. Thanks!

I didn't mean to ignore your suggestion above, and that's a concern of mine too (along with chlorine/chloramine, lime, our tap water probably has it all.) Outside plants get rain (when it rains) and I try to save rain water, but admit I'm pretty lazy for the months they're inside. This plant hasn't needed a drink since coming inside though. It's quite cool (60-65 usually) and humid in here.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 3:02PM
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