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6 Reasons Why Your Dracaena Marginata Leaves Are Drooping

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The Dracaena Marginata Plant is an attractive and hearty house plant that helps purify the air, while also being drought-resistant and easy to care for. However, when the Dracaena Marginata is in distress, its leaves will droop.

If you notice this happening, it might be time for you to gather more information and get to the root of the problem before it becomes too late for your plant to survive.

Dracaena Marginata Propagation Guide

Here are the reasons why your Dracaena Marginata leaves are drooping:

  1. The Dracaena Marginata does not have proper hydration.
  2. The plant has root rot or is rootbound.
  3. A harmful fungus is infecting the plant.
  4. The plant does not have the proper lighting.
  5. The temperature is not suitable for your plant.
  6. There’s been a pest invasion.

It is normal for some leaves to droop from your plant from the bottom since this will happen as the plant ages; however, if they are also drooping or falling from the top, something is wrong.

Dracaena Marginata Leaves Drooping Reasons

By paying attention to my plant’s health, I’ve been able to enjoy my Dracaena Marginata for a long time.

Therefore, in this article, I’ll explain in more detail why your Dracaena Marginata leaves might be drooping and how to efficiently help your plant.

1. The Dracaena Marginata Does Not Have Proper Hydration

The Dracaena Marginata, also known as the Madagascar Dragon tree, is an evergreen plant that does well in tropical and subtropical areas and thrives as an indoor plant. Its leaves are spiky and sword-like and grow on a slender stalk up to 8 feet (2.4m) indoors and 20 feet (6.1m) outside.

Dracaena Marginata plants are drought-resistant and should dry out between waterings. Generally, this plant is watered every seven to ten days, factoring in humidity levels of the area you live in.

If your plant accumulates too much moisture, its leaves will start to droop. To help your plant feel better, do not keep watering it. Let it completely dry out before taking any additional steps.

Once dry throughout, water it once until you see water coming out of the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.

On the other hand, it could be possible that you are not giving it enough water. Sometimes using only your sight to determine whether the soil is dried out or not is not enough.

You might also have to touch it to check how it feels. If it feels too dry, I usually water it until I see water draining out from the holes found on the bottom of the pot.

Dracaena Marginata Leaves

Water Source

You’ll also want to consider your water source. Dracaena Marginata plants do not tolerate salts or chlorine. Many municipal water management plants sanitize drinking water with chlorine.

So, if you don’t use filtered water at home that removes chlorine, you may need to consider a pitcher with a filter such as this Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher from Amazon.com.

This filter can clean 120 gallons (454.24 liters) of water over time, removing contaminants such as lead, pesticides, chlorine, and microplastics. This particular filter allows healthy trace minerals such as calcium and magnesium to remain in your water, which plants like.

Another option for chlorine removal is to simply let your tap water sit out for at least 48 hours, and the chlorine will evaporate.

2. The Plant Has Root Rot or Is Rootbound

Root rot can happen when too much moisture is consistently held within the soil. Ensure your pot has drainage holes and soil that helps hold just enough water to allow it to drain properly. 

Rootbound occurs when the roots are too large for the pot they are in, and they cannot absorb enough nutrients and water to sustain the plant’s growth.

You can check whether you’re dealing with this issue by looking at the drainage holes. If roots are coming out, that shows they need more space.

Creating a Healthy and Supportive Soil for Your Plant’s Roots

Having a healthy soil environment is essential for your Dracaena Marginata plant. I recommend using soil that is equal parts of perlite, soil, and peat moss to keep your plant healthy.

You can easily mix your own soil using products from Amazon.com. Check out this handy chart of information for further suggestions:

1-part of each:PerliteSoilPeat moss
Information:Perlite is a naturally occurring type of volcanic glass with high water content.Soil is a mixture of organic material, nutrients, and minerals to support life. It is essential for plant life.Peat Moss, a nickname for Sphagnum, is a dead and fibrous material that forms due to the decomposition of moss and living material. Peat moss is often used in potting soil for acid-loving plants.
On Amazon.com:Organic Perlite by Perfect Plants is great for container plants. The perlite helps to prevent compacted soil, improves drainage, creates space for roots to expand, and does not weigh down roots or decompose.FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil in a 12-quart bag has beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi to support root development.Espoma Organic Peat Moss is an 8-quart bag for improving heavy soils to prevent compaction. It will improve aeration and drainage for potting soil mixes and retain moisture to promote root growth.

Amazon.com also has premixed options ideal for houseplants, such as a Baby Violets Houseplant Potting Soil Mix with perlite and peat moss.

To use it, you’ll need to mix 1 cup soil with 2 cups water, adding water slowly, 1/2 cup at a time until it is moist. Then you can use the soil for repotting your plant.

Repotting Your Dracaena Marginata

If your plant has root rot or rootbound, it may be necessary to repot it with one of the soil compositions mentioned above.

Repotting can further damage roots, so carefully follow these steps to repot your Dracaena Marginata plant successfully:

1. Choose the Right Container Size With Excellent Drainage

  • If moving your plant to a new pot, consider a larger size that is wider and deeper than what your plant currently has. Your plant will love the new room to grow and develop a robust root system.
  • I recommend that you use a pot not more than 2 inches (5.08 cm) larger than the root ball. If you use a pot that is too big, you run the risk of improper drainage and root rot.
  • Consider a high drainage planter style like the Qaobo Plant Pots Self Watering Planters found on Amazon.com. These planters offer high drainage with a reservoir tray and watering lip.
    • If you cannot find a style that’s large enough, consider using a clay pot. Although heavier to pick up, clay pots will absorb and pull water away from the soil, which may be beneficial to your plant’s needs. Clay pots are also less likely to tip over with plants of greater height like the Dracaena Marginata plant.
    • Consider carefully drilling in a few more drainage holes if your pot is plastic. If you make too many, don’t worry. You’ll see in step number four what you can do to keep water flowing while retaining soil in the pot.

2. Clean Your Pot

Whether you reuse your pot or move your plant to a new one, make sure you follow the steps below to ensure that it is clean and dry before placing your plant into it:

  1. If you reuse your pot, put your plant in a bucket for safekeeping while you clean your pot. (See steps six and seven for removing your plant from the pot).
  2. Soak and disinfect your pot in a water and bleach concentration of 9:1 ratio, respectively, for ten minutes.
  3. Move your pot to a dish detergent and water solution to clean off debris or mineral deposits.
  4. If using a clay pot, you might need to use steel wool to clean off the mineral deposits. Minerals can affect growth by drying roots out too much, causing leaves to wither and droop.
  5. Rinse the pot with clear water.
  6. Soak your pot. This step applies to clay pots only and is done after it has been disinfected, cleansed, and rinsed. This type of pot should soak for five to six hours in water before you repot your plant into it.

3. Cover the Drainage Holes

I know this may sound strange since I told you that you need a lot of holes for drainage, but you will need to cover them with a special material so that only water (not soil) comes out of those holes.

  • You can simply lay a porous material over the holes at the bottom of the pot, such as a paper towel or coffee filter, although these will break down over time.
  • Amazon.com has a set of LE TAUCI Flower Pot Hole Mesh Pads made of flexible and durable polyamide fiberglass material. These thin inserts will help minimize the amount of soil leaving from drainage holes to help prevent root rot.

4. Add a Few Inches of Soil to the Bottom of the Pot

This is the base for your plant’s roots to grow in. It is important to note that you will not want to overfill the pot with your soil mixture at this step.

You will put more soil in later around the plant, so try to be conservative when estimating the amount, you’ll want to use during this step.

5. Prepare the Plant for Removal From the Old Pot

Lightly water the plant to moisten the soil and root system.

Give the plant and soil some time to absorb the water so you can see soil that remains moist on the surface. This step could take a few hours but is essential to reduce further damage to the plant and its root system.

6. Remove the Plant From the Original Pot

Grip the plant’s stem (or “trunk”) with your thumb and index finger as the main force. Turn the plant sideways in your gentle grip. As you do this, you should feel the soil and roots loosening their grip on each other.

If not, you may need more water, or you can try running a knife around the edge of where the soil meets the pot. If you reuse this pot and need to clean it, consider setting your removed plant gently into a clean and empty bucket.

7. Trim the Root Rot or Carefully Untangle the Rootbound

Dracaena Marginata Care
  • It is okay to gently trim off the black, slimy, or foul-smelling root ends with clean and disinfected shears.
  • Gently untangle the bundle of bound roots, trimming smaller ones if necessary. If the bundle of roots is difficult to untangle, consider soaking them overnight in water and then try again.
  • Leave thicker roots at the base of the system. If you notice that a significant portion of the root system is affected by root rot, it may not survive.

8. Repot the Plant in a Fresh Soil Mixture

I want to reiterate that using the right soil mixture (like the one mentioned above) can be crucial when it comes to hydrating your plant correctly and keeping root rot at bay.

You will want your root system to be at least a few inches below the pot’s surface to keep it well covered by soil.

9. Center Your Plant in the Pot, With Equal Distances All Around It

Observe it from all angles to ensure it sits upright and straight in the pot. Use soil to prop up and support areas to get it to this position without holding it in place.

It’s important to be as precise as possible throughout this process, as you’ll want to leave all roots enough room to breathe and grow.

10. Fill the Remainder of the Pot With Soil

As promised, now it’s time to top off the few inches of soil you added in the second step of this process.

Use care to ensure that you do not over-pack the pot with too much soil since this will prevent airflow to the root system. You want your root system to have space to settle into the new and clean pot.

11. Water Your Repotted Plant To Ensure the Root System Absorbs Nutrients From the Mixed Fresh Soil

Observe how the soil settles after watering and add more fresh soil to balance everything out.

It may take some time before your Dracaena Marignata takes onto the new soil; therefore, watering it immediately after the transfer can help facilitate and speed up the process. During this time, your plant will need all the nutrients it can get.

12. For the Next Few Days, Keep an Eye on Your Plant To See if It Undergoes Shock From Being Transplanted to a New Environment

Consider using water-soluble plant food designed specifically for your type of plant to help it feel better.

Amazon.com offers Joyful Dirt House Plant Food and Fertilizer in an easy-to-use shaker. This concentrated formula contains Mycorrhizae (beneficial fungus) and other nutrients to help houseplants thrive.

It’s essential plant nutrient formula is 3-1-2, indicating the ratio of Nitrogen (3), Phosphorus (1), and Potassium (2).

If root rot or rootbound cause drooping leaves on the Dracaena Marginata plant, it needs to be addressed right away.

3. A Harmful Fungus Is Infecting the Plant

Dracaena Marginata

Dracaena Marginata drooping leaves can signify a fungal infection that has traveled from the roots up into the stalk and stem.

To check for fungus, reach down the stem into the soil as low as you can go. Squeeze the stem, and if it feels slimy or like it has slippery skin, the likelihood of fungal spread is high.

Unfortunately, by this point, the plant is unlikely to be saved, but you can try repotting it following the method above.

In addition to repotting, you can also try adding some cinnamon. Gardeners have used cinnamon as a rooting agent by applying it to the stems of cuttings or the roots during the repotting process.

Cinnamon can also be utilized as a fungicide. If you wish to spray it on, mix a little bit of cinnamon into warm water and let it sit overnight.

Strain the mixture through a coffee filter and put the filtered water into a clean spray bottle.

You can use this spray to treat fungus-affected stems and leaves, as well as mist the soil for root absorption and health.

4. The Plant Does Not Have the Proper Lighting

The Dracaena Marginata thrives best in indirect bright sunlight.

Direct sunlight is too harsh for this plant resulting in scorched brown-colored, wilting, and drooping leaves.

On the other hand, you may notice stunted growth and pale, small leaves if there isn’t enough light.

You can find the perfect light for your plant by placing it in a location where the sunlight is diffused before it reaches your plant.

You can do this by using sheer curtains over the windows, some cleverly set furniture, or a tree blocking the direct sun outside the window.

Once you position your plant in your home for indirect light, keep a close eye on its leaves for signs of too much sun.

Every week, consider turning your plant a quarter turn to let all sides get the proper lighting and prevent spindly growth.

I can turn my plant and water it every seven days in conjunction, taking care of two needs at once.

5. The Temperature Is Not Suitable for Your Plant

My Dracaena Marginata is not a “fan” of temperature fluctuations. The variety likes consistent temperatures away from air conditioning drafts, open windows, and heating vents.

Too much heat will affect the plant’s ability to absorb water at the correct rate, resulting in wilting and drooping leaves.

Low temperatures can result in stunted growth, discoloration, decay on the leaves and can ultimately kill the plant.

Ideally, the plant prefers a temperature between 60 and 70 °F (10 and 15.6 °C) for overall health and to retain healthy leaves.

6. There’s Been a Pest Invasion

Mealybugs, aphids, and other pests can cause drooping and yellowing leaves on a Dracaena Marginata as they feed on them, stressing the plant out.

Pests will typically move in when your plant has been overwatered or its lighting is too low, resulting in a desirable environment for them.

Some gardeners will try the cinnamon spray mentioned above. You can also use insecticide soap or neem oil. If you can identify the type of pest, that will help you determine how to get rid of them.

Make sure to follow all safety and application instructions of any products you purchase.

Amazon.com has a variety of options to control and eliminate pests, including the following:

Frequently Asked Questions About Dracaena Marginata

Fertilizer Dracaena Marginata

When people consider bringing a Dracaena Marginata into their homes, they may find themselves wondering about the topics included below. Read on for some quick and concise information regarding your plant.

Are Dracaena Marginata Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Dracaena Marginata is toxic to both cats and dogs. Dogs that eat the plant leaves can vomit with and without blood, have diarrhea, drooling, weakness, loss of appetite, and more.

A cat will exhibit the same symptoms as well as have dilated pupils.

These symptoms can lead to dehydration and death. If you have a cat or dog and own one of these plants, move it to a high place or a room where the pets cannot get to it.

Does Dracaena Marginata Flower?

Dracaena Marginata can bloom and flower if it is undisturbed and happy in its growing environment with a good pot, optimal soil, proper drainage and lighting, and so on.

Often indoor plants do not grow blooms, or you may only see them every several years or so. If your plant does bloom, the flowers are relatively inconspicuous; however, you will smell a strong and pungent odor coming from them.

Can Dracaena Marginata Live Outside?

It depends on the climate. If you live in a consistently warm climate where it does not drop below 63 to 65 °F (17 to 18 °C), including in the winter season, then it can flourish.

However, you will still need to monitor how much sunlight and water it gets and if it receives proper drainage to keep pests away, to keep leaves from drooping, and prevent root rot.

Does Dracaena Marginata Clean the Air?

Dracaena Marginata cleans the air. The plant can help filter out harmful air pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene.

In fact, Dracaena is quite efficient when it comes to cleaning surrounding air, making it an excellent choice for those concerned about air quality.

Where Is Dracaena Marginata From?

Dracaena Marginata is native to Madagascar. It is an eye-catching plant that many household gardeners like to care for.

The plant doesn’t require excessive care, but you’ll still need to regularly attend to its needs, which are influenced by its tropical origins.

Why Are Dracaena Marginata Leaves Pointing Down?

Dracaena Marginata’s leaves point down when they droop, which occurs when the leaves have insufficient moisture light and experience extreme weather conditions. These may be caused due to several reasons, including unfavorable watering schedule, location, and sudden weather changes.

If your Dracaena Marginata is leaning, that is also an indication of a lack of moisture in the plant.

As in most plants, visible signs of stress are first seen on the foliage of Dracaena Marginata, which offers an opportunity to identify and correct the issue.

Any delays in your rectifying attempts could lead to all the leaves browning and dropping off and the plant’s eventual death.

Can Dracaena marginata Take Full Sun?

The Dracaena Marginata cannot take full sun as bright direct sunlight will burn it or dry out the soil too far. Ideally, you’ll want to place your Dracaena Marginata in a location where it receives bright, but indirect sunlight, either inside or outside. Aim for a 63%-73% shade level.

Do Dracaena Marginata Like To Be Root Bound?

Dracaena Marginata doesn’t like to be root bound, and will slow its growth if it finds itself in this situation.  Therefore, it should be repotted as soon as the roots fill up the pot. When doing so, you’ll want to leave an inch of space (2.54 cm) between the root ball and the container.

Conclusions

Drooping of the leaves and stem in a Dracaena Marginata is an indication that the plant is under stress. The common causes are overwatering or underwatering, soil too compactible, or no water. Other causes include the wrong size of the pot, temperature damage, or lighting issues.

These issues are easy to remedy as the Dracaena Marginata is a hardy plant that can sprout new leaves and shoots easily.