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Dracaena marginata plants don’t need much water, so it’s easy to overwater them. In this article, I will discuss how to save an overwatered dracaena marginata and keep it healthy.
Here’s how to save an overwatered dracaena marginata:
- Remove it from the pot and examine the roots
- Wash the roots
- Dispose of the old soil
- Clean the pot
- Add new soil and make sure it’s well-drained
- Place dracaena marginata back in the pot
Overwatering is common in plants, including dracaena marginata. There are many stories on online forums of people asking for help and guidance on how to get their plants back on track after overwatering, so you’re certainly not alone!
So, without further ado, let’s get into how you can save your dracaena marginata from overwatering.
If you suspect your dracaena marginata is suffering from overwatering, the first thing you should do is examine the roots and the leaves. The leaves will likely look limp and yellow if your plant is overwatered. Some may even fall off entirely.
You should remove the plant as gently as you can to avoid damaging any of the roots or other parts of the plant. Check the roots for rot once the plant is out of the pot. In many cases, an overwatered dracaena marginata will get root rot.
Here are some signs of root rot:
- Soft, mushy roots
- Dark roots
- Unpleasant odor in the soil and roots
Important note: With a simple case of overwatering, you don’t need to replace the soil or repot the plant. In such a case, all you need to do is let the soil dry before rewatering. However, you may need to remove some of the soil around the root to allow it to receive oxygen more easily; this can help dry the soil quicker.
But if you want to be on the safe side, there’s no harm in repotting and replacing the soil (even if you don’t suspect root rot).
If you notice some of the roots are damaged, you should remove them using garden scissors. Be sure to wash and disinfect the scissors before and after touching the infected roots and leaves.
After cutting off some of the roots, you should also cut off some of the leaves. It would be best if you aimed to prune away some of the weakest-looking leaves.
After removing any damaged roots, you should wash them under running water. This is particularly important if your dracaena marginata has root rot due to overwatering.
Cleaning with water will rinse away any dirt and debris before going in with a disinfectant or fungicide.
Once you have washed the roots, you should use a fungicide to kill any pathogens that may be leftover on the healthier roots. If your plant doesn’t have root rot and is just in the early stages of overwatering, you don’t need to use fungicides.
There are different fungicides to choose from, so you need to make sure you go with the right one. According to Pennsylvania State University, the fungicide you use for your plant’s root rot should have the plant name on the packaging.
So, in this case, the fungicide packaging should have ‘dracaena marginata’ or ‘dragon tree’ written on it.
If you’re unsure which fungicide to go with, you should get a professional to look at your plant and guide you in the right direction.
It’s good to get rid of the old soil, especially if there is an infection due to the overwatering. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not entirely necessary to replace soil if it’s just a case of overwatering.
However, I often like to give my plants a fresh start by replacing the soil now and then, and I highly recommend it.
When it comes to infected fungal soil, the best thing to do is throw it straight in the trash. Some people may like to add it to a compost pile, but this will only be useful if the weather is hot and the sun is shining.
If the infected soil doesn’t reach hot temperatures, the fungus won’t die, and it will spread to other parts of the pile.
If you want to try and salvage the soil, place it in a plastic bag by itself (so as not to contaminate anything else) and lay it under the sunlight. It needs to reach a temperature of 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) or higher for at least 30 minutes for the fungus to die.
Since this is the case, it’s only possible to treat your soil with heat during the summer. Replacing the soil is the easiest and best method, especially for a potted plant like dracaena marginata.
Once you’ve removed the old soil, you’ll need to clean the pot. Rinse it out with water to remove any leftover soil, dirt, and debris.
If there is an infection in the plant, you should disinfect the pot with bleach. Alternatively, you can use the same fungicide that you used for the plant. This will ensure that there is no infection left in the pot.
You can also use a new pot if that’s what you prefer. If it has been a while since you’ve repotted your dracaena, you may need to repot it due to it growing bigger. You should consider placing it in a bigger pot if it has grown significantly since you last repotted it.
Note: You don’t need to disinfect the pot if there is no infection present in the plant.
Now, your pot is ready for new soil. To avoid your plant being overwatered or waterlogged in the future, you should make sure you go with light, well-drained soil.
An example of a well-drained soil for marginata is this Rio Hamza Indoor Plant Soil Mixture. This soil is specifically for indoor houseplants, including dracaena marginata. It’s made of peat moss, perlite, lime, and worm castings, which are all-natural ingredients.
If you’re still worried about waterlogging in the future, consider placing some clay pebbles in the potting soil. They help with aeration in plants and promote water absorption, so there will be less water damage.
Consider the Mother Earth Hydroton Original Clay Pebbles if you’re looking for some extra aeration and water absorption for your dracaena marginata.
These pebbles are made of natural semi-porous clay with balanced capillary action, making them particularly ideal for boosting aeration and water absorption.
Choosing suitable soil can be challenging. I mentioned the Rio Hamza soil above, but there are many others to choose from. Below, I’ll briefly mention some other good choices for your dracaena marginata.
This potting soil is hand mixed in small batches, so you’re sure to get natural and good quality soil.
The soil is catered explicitly to dragon trees (also known as dracaena marginata), so you can be sure your plant will be in the ideal conditions. It contains no added or unnecessary fertilizers, which is excellent for preventing root rot.
The Miracle-Gro potting mix is perfect for dracaena marginata because it’s a well-draining soil.
This means it will help prevent waterlogging in the case of overwatering. It contains all-natural ingredients: peat moss, sand, and perlite.
The most crucial part of potting soil for dracaena marginata is that it is well-draining, and this soil is undoubtedly that.
Although it’s marketed towards cacti, you can use this soil with your dracaena plant. It’s pH balanced with adequate drainage, meaning there’s less chance your plant will get water damaged.
Once you have replaced the soil and prepared the pot, you can put the plant back. After digging a hole in the middle of the soil, you should place the root ball in. Make sure the hole is approximately two inches bigger than the width of the root ball.
Once it’s in, you can cover the root with soil. To promote better oxygen contact, you can leave the root close to the soil’s surface. From now on, only water your dracaena marginata when it’s dry.
This is generally once a week, but it may be once every week and a half or every other week.
To know whether it needs water or not, you can tell by feeling the soil around the root. If it still feels damp, avoid watering it as you’ll risk over watering again. If it feels dry, you should water it.
Another way to determine whether your dracaena marginata needs water is by picking up the pot and assessing the weight.
If it feels heavier than usual, there is water in the pot; it’s what is weighing it down. If it feels light, there isn’t a lot of water in the pot, so you should give the plant some water.
If you don’t treat an overwatered dracaena marginata, it will become susceptible to diseases, particularly root rot. Waterlogging causes the roots to lose access to oxygen, which can kill your plant by depriving the leaves of the nutrients they need for photosynthesis.
It’s never a good idea to ignore the signs of an overwatered dracaena marginata. If it’s the very early stages of overwatering, all you need to do is let the soil dry out.
Avoid watering the plant until the soil feels completely dry. If the soil doesn’t seem to be drying, even after a few weeks of not watering the plant, you may need to consider changing the soil to a lighter, more well-draining mix.
The worst thing you can do to an overwatered dracaena is give it more water. If you see the leaves are yellow, there’s a high chance of water damage. So, don’t give it more water until you’re sure it’s not already overwatered.
Many signs point to a dying dracaena marginata, including:
- Wilted leaves
- Leaves falling off
- Leaf discoloration
- Darker in color
- Loss of its original bright green color
You’ll likely notice pretty quickly if your dracaena marginata is dying. Dracaena marginata plants are generally bright and green, so a dying one that looks sad and droopy will be pretty easy to identify.
Overwatering can cause your dracaena marginata to die, so you should always be sure you’re not giving it too much. If you notice any of the signs above in your plant, you should investigate the cause immediately to figure out how to treat it.
If you catch many things early, there’s a high chance you can fix them before they get worse.
The leading causes of droopy leaves on a dragon tree (dracaena marginata) are overwatering, underwatering, and disease. If the soil feels dry, you’re possibly underwatering your dragon tree. If it always feels wet, it’s being overwatered and likely has a disease as well.
Although overwatering is a leading cause of drooping leaves on a dragon tree, underwatering can also be a culprit. Yellowing or browning of the leaves can also indicate under or overwatering.
You’ll likely know what the reason for the drooping is because you’re the only person who truly knows how often you water your plant. If you’re only watering it once a month, the drooping is likely caused by underwatering, and vice versa.
You can save an overwatered dracaena marginata if you catch the problem early. The most important things to remember are:
- You only need to replace the soil if your overwatered plant is also experiencing a disease, like root rot.
- To treat a non-diseased overwatered plant, all you need to do is let the soil dry out naturally until watering again.
- Remove damaged or diseased roots and foliage.
- Disinfect the roots and pot if there is a case of root rot.
- Make sure the plant is in well-drained soil.
- Use clay pebbles to decrease the risk of waterlogging and increase aeration.