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If you’ve stumbled here while trying to find out what you should do with brown leaf tips and black spots on your Corn plant, well, you’ve come to the right place.
As a seasoned plant mom, I’ll give my best to explain to you what it is that your Dracaena plant is going through.
More importantly, I will share my best tips for dealing with Dracaena leaves turning black and developing brown tips.
Here’s what we’ll go through:
- Why Are Dracaena Leaves Turning Black
- How To Deal With Black Leaves On Dracaena
Now, without further ado, let’s see what’s behind those affected leaves and what solutions most people find helpful.
Why Are Dracaena Leaves Turning Black
As with any other houseplant, many different things can affect your Corn plant and cause it to develop black spots or even entirely black leaves.
Firstly, we’ll look into some of the most common problems that Dracaena plants tend to face, and then we’ll go through some of the less likely causes, to be sure.
Related: Dracaena Deremensis Care Guide
Your Dracaena Plant Is Aging
When we have a plant for a long time, and we’re used to it being in that one spot of our room, we can forget just how long we’ve had it for.
So, before we assume that there might be a bigger problem, try to think about when it was that you brought your beloved pot there.
Natural deterioration is, well, natural and expected as plant ages.
If you’ve noticed black spots or brown spots only on the bottom and the lower leaves, there’s a pretty high chance that what you’re seeing is aging.
Even though it’s mostly considered a low-maintenance plant, Dracaena can be pretty sensitive when it comes to watering, and there are a few things that can go wrong in this department.
Firstly, you might be overwatering it.
It’s pretty common to provide way too much moisture to Dracaena plants mistakenly.
The truth is, it needs minimal amounts to be healthy and thrive.
To check if this is the issue, take the poz, carefully unpot the Dracaena, and check its roots.
If the roots are healthy and not overwatered, they should be pale and firm and have an earthy aroma.
However, if you find roots that are black or brown and also have a strong, foul smell, it’s most likely that you’ve overdone it with watering and that root rot has developed.
If this isn’t the case, consider whether you have an inconsistent watering schedule or if your tap water might contain too much fluoride and chlorine.
While these are not likely to cause leaves and roots to turn black, it’s not wrong to give it some thought so that you prevent some other issues from occurring.
When there are problems with the water content, most plants tend to turn yellow or a bit brown.
Fungal infections are highly uncomfortable when we human beings have to deal with them, and it’s not much different for plants.
Different kinds of fungus could’ve attacked your Dracaena, but they are all grouped under the name Leaf Spot.
If your Dracaena plant is having its leaves turn black quite dramatically, or if the black spots are rapidly spreading onto the whole plant, then you’re probably dealing with the Leaf Spot disease.
Plants develop Leaf Spot disease when they stay wet for long periods or have too much watering.
Even though this seems quite scary and dramatic, the good news is that the solutions are simple and can be quickly done by anyone.
Also, no matter what type of fungus caused this.
Bacterial And Viral Infections
Besides fungal infections, plants too can be victims of harmful viruses and bacteria.
Black spots can be a warning sign that this is the case.
What makes plants vulnerable is being weakened or in a stressed state.
Unfortunately, the prognosis here is worse than with the fungus.
The problem is that there aren’t effective treatments for infected houseplants.
It would be best to focus on making sure that the new growth doesn’t get affected by whatever is going on with the parent plant and keep it healthy.
Various kinds of parasites can attack your Dracaena plant.
Most commonly, Dracaena plants, like most other plants, tend to be attacked by aphids, spider mites, scale, and mealybugs.
However, there are very easy to differentiate, so once you see which kind of bug is the offender, you’ll know what it is that you should do.
Aphids usually show up out of nowhere, and from the start, they are in big clusters.
They occupy around tender leaves, shoots, and stems, and they make the leaves of your plant yellow and leave lots of discolored and dry spots.
Another thing specific to Aphids is that they produce nectar that fosters black sooty mold, so look out for that sign, too.
Spider mites are extremely tiny, and they barely reach .016 inches.
So, if you notice damage that is in the form of silver, yellow or black mottling on the leaves, take a magnifying glass and check for Spider mites.
They also produce tiny webs, similar to spider webs but way smaller, usually under the leaves or in the joints.
Scales are a parasite similar to Aphids but work a bit differently.
They create damage in the form of silver, yellow or white spots and also coat lower leaves with honeydew, causing them to turn black from the mold.
Scales look like a bump on the plant, so it will be easy to identify them.
Mealybugs coming from the same family as Scales, Mealybugs attack your plants by leaving a fuzzy wrap around their colonies.
Suppose you notice that the joints of your Dracaena plant have cotton-like masses around them and also underneath the foliage. In that case, it’s Mealybugs that you’re dealing with.
Even though pests can seem scary, the solutions for fighting them are straightforward, and even though you might need some devotion, you’re probably going to get around with this just fine.
Not So Common Causes For Black Spots On Dracaena
If nothing mentioned above quite fits the issue that your plant is dealing with, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go through some of the less likely causes.
The ones mentioned below are more likely to cause your leaves to turn yellow or develop brown spots here and there.
But if you overlooked that and the plant was left unattended for a while, then it wouldn’t be such a surprise that the brown spots have turned black.
Lack of nutrients can be a cause of plant issues.
If your potting mix is old, or if you’ve never used any fertilizer on your Dracaena, this might be the issue in your garden.
Sunburn can occur when a Dracaena is left in direct sun exposure.
Even though Dracaena plants prefer warm and bright environments, they are not fans of direct sun, so make sure you keep yours out of it.
Low Humidity is an issue for plants from tropical places, and Dracaena is one of them.
If your room is dry, or the air had gotten dry when you started to use heating, you have to stay on top of your humidity levels if you wish for your plants to thrive.
Cold temperatures are obviously a problem for tropical species like the Dracaena.
Make sure that you take your plants in once the temperatures drop and that you keep them in a room without air conditioning, as Dracaenas aren’t fans of drafts, either.
How To Deal With Black Leaves On Dracaena
Now that we’ve ruled out everything that could be causing problems to your Dracaena let’s see what solutions have been the most useful, from my own experience and audience insights.
Solutions For Dracaena Age Decline
If you conclude that your plant is old, all you can do is clean the foliage and remove the parts that have become dry and black.
After cleaning out the old build-up, your plant will have more room for new growth.
It will have an overall healthier environment to continue thriving.
Solutions For Dracaena Watering Problems
The main thing related to watering that causes brown spots and black areas on Dracaena plants is overwatering.
If you notice that the soil in your Dracaena pot is just starting to dry, don’t pour water immediately.
As stated below, overwatering can cause problems like root rot, so you should create a consistent watering schedule.
When it comes to Dracaena plants, the best thing to do is have the plant’s soil dry completely and then water it.
After you’ve done that, wait again until the soil becomes completely dry, and then water it again.
After a few cycles like this, you’ll be able to work out how many days your plant needs to get its soil dry and make a schedule according to that.
Some other precautions that you can take are ensuring that your pot has drainage holes and that the roots don’t stay moist for too long.
Also, the potting soil can be the reason why your Dracaena stem has too much moisture, so repotting the plant to a more well-draining soil could be a great thing to do.
If you find out that your Dracaena suffers from this disease, the first thing you should do is cut away the damaged roots and repot the remaining body to a new and dry mix.
Or another spot in your garden.
Water it just a tad more sparingly until you see new leaves coming through.
Once you see that growth, it means that the disease is gone, and you should go back to your schedule.
Hopefully, the tips and leaves of your new plant won’t go through this.
Solutions For Dracaena Fungal Infection
If the brown spots on your Dracaena are due to a fungal infection, there are a few things that you should do.
First and foremost, you should keep the plant dry and avoid overwatering at all costs.
When you water it, do so from the bottom and avoid doing it from the top.
Also, it would be best to try watering it early in the day, so it will have time to dry and not keep the water for too long.
Besides those simple tips, there are some more serious treatments that you should consider:
- Fungicides – there are many fungicides on the market, and commercial ones are an easy and effective way to deal with this problem.
- Neem Oil – if you prefer all-natural treatments, you should look into using Neem oil to deal with fungal infections. Make sure to coat the foliage entirely in order for this to work the way you want it to.
- Home remedies – if you’re one for DIY-ing remedies in your kitchen, there are some options for you as well. All you need to do is make a simple solution made out of a tablespoon of baking soda and a gallon of water, and to be sure that the solution will stick to the plant, add in a tablespoon of insecticidal soap. All left to do is to pour this into a spray bottle and spray the leaves.
Solutions For Viral And Bacterial Infections On Dracaena
While there is no specific solution that can heal your plants from this, there are some steps that you can take in order to help your Dracaena get through this.
- Make sure that you provide your plant with extra care, as that will help it outgrow the infection.
- Whenever you use tools on your plants, make sure that they are sterilized so you don’t transfer any disease to the rest of your green family.
- While this lasts, make some distance between your pots, which is another precaution for avoiding spreading.
Solutions For Pests On Dracaena
If you’ve noticed any kind of pests on your Dracaena, whether it’s on the leaf tips or the stems, the first thing you should do is trim the severely damaged ones, sterilizing your tools between each leaf.
Some specific treatments that you could use are insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or Neem oil.
Besides that, you can try diatomaceous earth.
What you need to know here is that you won’t heal the plant after just one round of treatment, you have to repeat the process until the pests are gone from every single leaf.
What To Do If Common Solutions Don’t Work On Dracaena
If your Dracaena has developed problems because of some of the less likely issues, you need to take care of them, as most of them are environmental.
If your tap water content isn’t good and has excess salts in it, then you should opt for distilled water or filtered water to take care of your plant.
If sun exposure is the problem, then place the pot in a place where there is indirect sunlight, and the brown spots will probably be gone.
If the temperature is an issue, then try putting your Dracaena in a water space, especially in winter.
Also, if you keep your plants outside, winter is the time when you should search for an indoor place to keep them in.
What Does an Overwatered Dracaena Look Like?
An overwatered Dracaena can have yellowing or brown leaves, but if this goes on for too long, you might start noticing black spots on it.
Another thing that can happen is black stems.
If your soil is too wet, a lot of problems can appear.
Besides the overall bad look, you can cause your plant to develop a disease called root rot, which can then lead to molding and fungal infections.
Inconsistent watering, where you either water your plant too much or not enough, can also be the cause of this.
How Do I Know If My Dracaena Has Root Rot?
To know this, you will have to take the plant out of its soil and take a look at its roots.
If the roots are dry, light, and have a typical earthy smell to them, then everything is okay in this front.
However, if you find a gooey black mess, that also gives out a very foul smell, then your Dracaena definitely has root rot.
A black stem can also be a sign to search for.
Why Do Leaves Turn Black On Houseplants?
There are many reasons why a leaf on a plant can turn brown or black.
If you have more than one leaf go brown and black, the most likely causes of that are probably aging, overwatering, fungus, viral or bacterial infection, or pests.
There’s a variety of remedies for each of these issues, so you shouldn’t worry too much, just react accordingly when you notice the changes.
Some of the less common causes for leaves to go brown and black are low temperature, sunburn, wrong fertilizer, dry air, wrong kind of soil, contents of tap water, etc.