Yellow Dracaena Leaves – Reasons & Treatments

Dracaenas are known as the dragon tree due to their sword-like red-edged leaves. They are popular houseplants that do not require a lot of care.

They are often kept in the home or office for their attractive foliage. Tolerant to low light and easy to grow, these small trees can grow to up to 20 feet tall in the outdoors but are generally grown as potted houseplants and pruned down to around 6 feet or less. 

Although these attractive plants are hardy, they can suffer from afflictions that will turn their leaves yellow. When this happens, there is something going wrong with your plant.  You’ll need to figure out the cause to determine how to save your plant. 

The Dracaena Plant

Dracaenas are native to Arica, southern Asia, and even Australia. Kept outdoors, they can develop little white flowers and small orange berries. There are over one hundred different varieties of Dragon Tree plants, which vary in appearance but require similar care. . They all have a treelike gray stem with gracefully arching leaves at their peak. Some Dracaena have a single cluster of leaves, while others have multiple clusters. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, and because of this they have become quite popular in both homes and offices, where they can help filter toxins out of the air. 

They do best in bright light, but are also able to tolerate lower light areas, thought their color may suffer from the lack of light. 

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Why Sansevieria Plants Gets Yellow Leaves

There a several conditions that can result in the yellowing of a Dracaena plant’s leaves.

1. Moisture

Improper moisture levels are the most common cause of yellow plants leaves in the Dracaena. Dracaena are very easy to overwater. These plants prefer soil that is damp, not soaked in water. Likewise, while they are drought resistant, too little water can also cause their leaves to turn yellow. They also do best in an environment with some humidity. 

2. Sensitivities

Dracaena are especially susceptible to salt and fluoride in the water, and the presence of too much of either of these substances can cause yellowing of the leaves. 

3. Pests

Pests can also cause yellow leaves. Stressed or damaged plants can become more susceptible to pests such as scale, mealybugs, thrips, and spider mites.

4. Temperature

Dragon trees do best in relatively warm conditions between 70 – 80 degrees F. They also do best in a stable climate and do not tolerate large swings in temperature well. 

5. Lighting Issues

 Dracaena do best in indirect sunlight. Bright direct sunlight can burn the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and brown. While they are able to tolerate dimmer conditions, this too will often result in discoloration of the leaves.

sick Dracaena

Treatments

Moisture:  

  • If the plant has yellowing leaves with brownish tips, it is likely overwatered. If the leaves are just yellow over all and it appears dried out, it requires more water.
  • Ensure your plant is in a pot with good drainage and make sure any excess water that drains into the saucer is thrown away. If your plant sits in a pool of water, it can cause root rot. 
  • Make sure that you are consistent with your watering. The soil should be moist, not soaked and you should water on a regular schedule. 
  • It can take three to four weeks for a Dracaena to dry enough to be ready for another watering. Dracaena are very susceptible to over watering. 
  • Mist your Dracaena periodically to ensure the leaves do not dry out in an arid environment. 
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Sensitivities: 

  • If you have high sodium or fluoride levels in your water, use distilled fluoride free water when you water your Dracaena. 

Pests:

  • Mealy bugs are visible to the naked eye and can be removed from the plant. 
  • Afterwards, wipe the leaves with alcohol on a cotton ball. 
  • Gently spray or rinse the plant to get rid of spider mites. You can do this in the shower with warm water, or you can 
  • Consider using a natural insecticide on your plant if you are consistently struggling with pest issues. 

Temperature:

  • These plants prefer a warm environment. Do not leave them outside when the temperature is expected to drop below 70 degrees F.
  • Set the thermostat in your home to a level between 70-80 degrees F.
  • Keep the plant away from areas that experience sudden temperature swings, such as drafty doorways and heating vents.

Lighting Issues:

  • Move plants away from windows where they will be in direct sunlight. 
  • Consider adding a sheer curtain or blind to a window if you are intent on leaving your plant in that location. This will serve to diffuse the light. 
  • If your plant is in a very dim environment, and the leaves are turning yellow, it may not be getting enough natural light. Consider moving it to a room with more sunlight. 

How to Take Care of the Yellow Leaves

It can take time for a plant to heal from environmental damage. Wait up to a month to see if color is restored in the leaves. If it is not, you can gently remove the leaves.

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Leaves often begin to turn yellow and fall off as new growth comes through. If your plant has healthy green new growth, but older leaves are beginning to turn yellow, this is normal. You can remove the old growth gently to allow the new growth to fill in. 

Conclusion

The Dracaena is a popular plant for the home and office and does not require out of the ordinary care. The biggest danger is over-watering. Make a watering schedule, and when you find one that works, stick with it so you do not inadvertently over water your plant. Also ensure your water does not contain too much sodium or fluoride. Keep your plant in a relatively warm environment and do not subject it to large temperature swings.  Be alert for signs of pest infestation and take care of them promptly. 

If you follow these steps, your Dragon Tree should grow beautifully and remain healthy and green for many years to come.

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