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Dracaena Problem?

Posted by davemichigan zone 6a SE (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 8, 11 at 11:03

Here is my dracaena. On the left you can see it in its environment.

The right picture shows brown spots on the leave. I always water from the bottom, so these are not water spots. What do you think the problem is and what I can do about it?

I water it every week and fertilize about once a month.

Thanks in advance for any suggestion!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Kinda looks like sunburn to me. What direction does the window face?

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Yes, eliminate water spots. Looks like a fungal or possibly fertilizer burn.
You fertilize much fertilizer do you use? Do you reduce dosage in winter? During winter, 'I halt fertilizing,' but for those who feel it's needed, 1/4-1/2-strength is best.
Your Dracaena looks a good distance from the window. Is that where it's normally kept? Toni

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Bunnygurl, the window is facing SE, so it gets a few hours of sun in the morning, but we don't get that much sun in Michigan though.

Toni, I fertilize with Miracle Grow all-purpose fertilizer, 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water, once a month. I don't reduce dosage in winter because I think it is a pretty low dosage already, but I might be wrong.

And yes, that is the distance/place where I normally keep that dracaena.

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Dave, my eyesight is getting worse, I swear..I thought you had two Dracaenas, one in the window, one several feet away. LOL. Sorry

I agree, a SE window, in MI, this time of year, won't cause leaf burn.

How many leaves have these spots? I would remove'll never revert to its original color/health.

There are different reasons plants gets Brown Spot. Fungus, insects, lack of humidity.

How do you care for your Dracaena other than fertilizing? Dave, fertiling is debatable. First, when a plant has problems/sick, it's said to withhold fertilizer. Second, during winter months, when days are gray, a fertilized plant is likely to grow spindly. Third, some Dracaenas are slower growing than others, especially in winter. Many go dormant. 'Like people. When we sleep, we don't eat. Same concept.' Slow growing plants are better off getting less fertilizer than fast-growing plants.
One way to tell is by growth. Has new foliage grown since last summer?
If we lived in a warm, humid, sunny climate, it'd be different.
How long have you had this guy? Toni

PS: Your window view is beautiful.

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Hi Dave,

Pls. go back & read the recommendations on the fertilizer package. I believe your amounts are incorrect & too high. It's important to follow the suggested formulations.

I'm in my office now, not home, so this is from memory, but I seem to recall Miracle Grow powder (aqua blue right), suggesting the appropriate dosage something like 1/4 tsp per gallon, so from my memory, your dosage is definately too high.

IMO, you should stop fertilizing since the plant is ailing & can't use it; I'd see what else is wrong & you can always go back to fertilizing come Spring.

Toni, hi there, I believe it's TWO pix separated by a sliver of a thin line which apparently is too thin for you to see, but it IS there.

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Hi's life?
Actually you're right about the fert dossage. Well, half box had instructions for weekly or bi-weekly and monthly fertilizing.
Wkly is 1//4, monthly 1/2 teas. MG comes w/a measuring spoon for both methods.

Yeah, I had to re-look at the picture...gotta get to the eye doc..ASAP. And I'm NOT joking.

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Toni, there are about 10 leaves with spots. I have this plant for about 3 years now. It got repotted to this pot about a year ago. Since the container is small, I thought it might have used up all the nutrients in the soil, so I subconsciously tried to fertilize it a little more.

Pirate_girl, I just went and checked. My fertilizer is actually not Miracle Gro as I said but Vigoro. The recommended dosage for house plant is 1 tspn / gallon if you fertize every 14 to 28 days. If you fertilize once a month, it says to double the strength. So the strength that I used seems ok.

But since you all think it might be too much fertilizer, and since it is winter now, I will stop using it until spring.

RE: Dracaena Problem?

Possible fluoride toxicity?


1) Fluoride toxicity

Symptoms -
Elongated tan to dark brown areas form first in the white tissue of `Warneckii', then progress to marginal necrosis. `Janet Craig' tips and margins have chlorotic and necrotic areas. ..."

Here is a link that might be useful: fluoride tox in dracena

RE: Dracaena Problem?

  • Posted by tapla zone 5b-6a Mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 11, 11 at 23:16

There is a lot of conjecture about what it might be, but the common issues with dracaena like under/over-watering, a high level of salts in the soil(which includes excessive fertilizing), fluoride or boron toxicity ..... all manifest themselves in leaf extremities, on tips and margins. Your symptoms have the characteristic appearance of a fungal or possibly bacterial leaf disease. There are several that commonly infect dracaena species, and I think one of them are what you are dealing with. The white center with the necrotic brown ring and yellow halo are classic symptoms of leaf spot diseases. If you are misting, stop - it will only spread the disease.

I'll leave you to how you wish to handle the plant. A greenhouseman would probably tell you to remove and destroy all infected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide - probably Daconil. There are better fungicide choices, like those containing the systemic tebuconazole (Bayer makes a few - read labels carefully and follow instructions carefully), which is approved for houseplants as long as you do the spraying outdoors.

Your call, but I'm pretty sure it's a leaf-spot disease and not related to light, watering, fertilizing ....


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