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Dracaena are excellent houseplants that are not only attractive but are also excellent air purifiers. They are hearty and drought-resistant, and they are easy to care for. The life cycle of dracaena leaves is a maximum of two years and therefore, it is common for Dracaena leaves to fall off naturally. However, the massive loss will lead to the death of the plant.
However, the biggest challenge of the Dracaena plant is that the leaves droop when the plant is in distress. There are some common reasons for that, although some leaves dropping from the bottom are normal. However, if the plant starts drooping or dropping leaves from the upper leaves, it usually means something is wrong.
Reasons why Dracaena leaves will fall off
1. Underwatering or Overwatering
Underwatering will lead to drying out of the soil. From this, the leaves will begin to dry out, and you cannot resist their shedding. Overwatering causes excessive moisture in the substrate, which negatively affects the plant. Since the trunk becomes soft due to the abundance of water. Then the leaves begin to fade and fall off.
2. Improper misting of the Dracaena plant leaves
Your Dracaena leaves may get harmed on an incorrect misting of the leaves. It is essential to ensure that you mist your plant in the morning. If the water does not dry before night, it will cause leaves to decay. Dracaena will begin to dump part of the foliage.
3. Fertilizer application
On application of your Dracaena fertilizer, the leaves fall off after some time, and this means that you carried it out wrongly. Therefore, ensure that you comply with all conditions for the preparation of fertilizers and application procedures. It is essential to always use the recommended fertilizer amounts.
4. Damaged roots during transplantation
You have to transplant Dracaena into a new pot as it grows bigger. During this procedure, the root system can be damaged. The damaged roots cause stress to the Dracaena plant; hence its leaves start to fall off.
5. Inappropriate microclimatic conditions
Microclimatic condition refers to the indoor growing condition for your Dracaena. There are many of them, including; lack or excess of light, drafts, inappropriate temperature, and humidity.
6. Disease and insect infestation
Improper care makes the plant vulnerable to disease and pests.
7. Adaptation to new conditions after purchase
Young dracaenas are very sensitive to the surrounding environment. Therefore, sometimes it takes time to adapt to your indoor conditions. Due to this stress, you may see your dracaena leaves falling off.
Ways in which the Dracaena plant can be saved
1. Diseases and treatments
- Heterosporous: Both sides of the leaves begin to turn yellow. After that, spots cover the leaves, and they finally dry off. Without treatment, the plant may die, and thus you need to react in time to save the plant. Ensure you use copper-containing fungicides once you experience this problem.
- Bacteriosis: The leaves at the tips rot and lesions developing on stems are also noticeable. It is recommended that you shed the leaves massively. High humidity and high temperature in the room are the main factors in the development of the disease. There is no treatment for this, so you should destroy it to save the rest of the plants in the house.
- Alternariosis: This is a fungal disease, signs of which are brown spots. Over time, without treatment, they begin to blacken. The disease can be treated by spraying fungicide three times a month.
2. Attack by insects and the corresponding solutions
a) Scale Insect
This insect is about 3-4 mm in size, almost motionless, and protected by a grayish wax shell. They suck the juices from leaves and stems. As a result, the leaves of your Dracaena dry and fall off.
Neem oil is very effective in getting rid of scale insects. Use an old toothbrush or cotton swab dipping in Isopropyl alcohol to remove the insects from Dracaena.
These insects settle on the bottom of the leaf and remain in a cluster. As a result, your dracaena leaves will turn silvery and dry. In addition, you will find spots and scratches both on stems and leaves.
Pruning is the best solution for eliminating the thrips. You should prune the affected leaves and stem to control them at an early stage. Also, as this insect has soft skin, you can control it with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
c) Spider mite
A tiny insect that is difficult to spot. It settles on the bottom of the leaf blade. You can confirm their presence by the appearance of cobwebs and white plaque. They appear due to insufficient watering and dry air. As a result, the leaves first turn yellow and then dry.
You may be surprised to know that spider mites rapidly develop resistance to normal insecticides. So you need to opt for biological control methods. I have seen neem oil work great. You can also try miticides available in markets.
They suck the juice from the plant, and this stops the development and growth of your plant. When attacked, you will find a white waxy coating on leaves and stems.
Spray your dracaena plant with detergent or soap water. Again, Neem mixed with detergent water will bring the best results. Detergent water ruptures the skin of the insect and kills them.
3. Proper soil moisture
Dracaena loves moderately moist soil, though one should not overwater the plant. Excess moisture will make the stem and root rot, and as a result, your dracaena leaves will fall off. In summer, you should water the plant once every 2-3 days. You should always inspect the soil of the container.
If your Dracaena potting soil has dried up, it indicates that you need to water it now. It will be sufficient to pour 170-200 ml of settled water at room temperature. Additionally, spray the leaves and stems with a sprayer.
In winter, water the plant once every four days. If the Dracaena begins to fade, you need to inspect the soil carefully. This is the only way to understand whether a plant needs water or not.
4. Favorable Temperature
Failure to ensure basic microclimatic conditions for your Dracaena makes the leaves fall off the plant. At home, the temperature range is very critical for the plant. To ensure good growth and development in the summer, you need to adhere to the mark on the thermometer within 24-32 °C.
In the cold season, you should not allow room temperatures below 17 °C. Below this temperature, your Dracaena plant will lose its beauty while temperatures below 12 °C make the Dracaena to die. At this temperature, the plant will throw off all the leaves and begin to die slowly.
5. Dracaena root decay
The rotting of the Dracaena roots makes its leaves fall off the plant. Therefore, excessive watering, especially during the dormant period (in winter), can be fatal for your Dracaena. In addition, the decay of the root system leads to disruption in the transport of water and nutrients to other organs. So, in this scenario, Dracaena gets rid of old leaves. And after that, young ones fall off.
It would best help if you maintained a controlled watering of your Dracaena plant to avoid this problem.
Dracaena is very easy to plant within your home. If you take minimum care, it will do fine. However, if you do not take action when it is affected by a disease, insects, or any other care mistakes, it will be difficult to revive.
In such situations, the main thing is to find out the reason that led to the problem and then immediately try to solve it. Only timely and proper actions will save your plant and prolong its life.