Dracaena Marginata 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 biggest challenge I have had with a Dracaena Marginata 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 leaves is normal.
If the plant starts drooping or dropping leaves from the upper leaves, it usually means something is wrong with its care schedule.
1. Watering Schedule
A Dracaena Marginata is a drought-resistant plant that should be allowed to go dry in between watering. It does not need to be watered more than once a week or every 10 days, depending on the humidity where you live.
If the plant gets too wet or the roots become rotten, your Dracaena Marginata will droop and its leaves will begin to fall off. Let the plant dry out completely before watering it again.
Sometimes though, since this is a hardy and drought-resistant plant, it is possible that you are underwatering it.
Dracaena Marginata should be allowed to go dry between watering but should not stay dry for long. If the soil feels very dry and the plant is drooping, give it a thorough watering until there is water running from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Always make sure to have drainage holes and well-draining soil for your Dracaena Marginata to prevent root rot from happening.
I use a soil that is 1:1:1 mixture. 1-part perlite, 1-part soil and 1-part peat moss. I find this works best to keep the plant healthy.
I also have more drainage holes in the bottom of my Dracaena Marginata than in most of my other plants to make sure there is adequate drainage. It is much easier to fix the problem of overwatering before it becomes an issue.
If you suspect your plant does have root rot, you may need to repot it to fix the drooping.
Use fresh and fast-draining soil when you repot, and it is safe to cut away any of the rotted or slimy roots gently with clean and disinfected shears.
Repot it in a pot only an inch or two bigger than the roots and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on them to prevent fungus.
If the roots are all rotted, there is a pretty good chance your plant will not make it, so it is always a good idea to check it as soon as the drooping leaves become apparent.
Another thing to consider with water management in Dracaena Marginata is that they do not tolerate salts or chlorine well.
This matters because most municipal water treatment plants sanitize the water with chlorine. It is a good idea to boil water and let it cool or use a quality filter that takes the chlorine and impurities out before using the water to feed the plants.
I use a water system that takes heavy metals and chlorine out both for my drinking water and for the plants! Another option is to let tap water sit for 48 hours or more after it comes from the tap. This will make sure the chlorine evaporates before you use the water.
In some cases, the drooping leaves are an indicator of a fungus that has traveled from the roots to the stalk and stem.
In an extreme case like this, the plant is most likely not salvageable, but it may still be beneficial to try and repot it anyway.
Squeeze the stem as low into the soil as you can reach. If it feels slimy or soft and the skin slips, there is a good chance the fungus has come from the roots into the whole plant system.
In a case like this, flush the soil, sprinkle some cinnamon on the roots, and repot it. There is no guarantee that this will fix it but it is worth a try!
3. Sunlight & 4. Temperature Issues
The Dracaena Marginata needs indirect bright light in order to thrive. It cannot tolerate direct sunlight as the rays are too harsh for the plant and will cause it to scorch and droop. It does need indirect light, or it will droop and wilt.
It also doesn’t like temperature fluctuations. It is better if the temperature remains constant and that the plant is not near air conditioning drafts or heating vents. These can both be reasons for leaf drop in Dracaena Marginata.
The perfect temperature for a Dracaena Marginata is between 60 degrees and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much heat and the plant can’t absorb water fast enough from the soil which will cause the leaves to droop.
5. Root Bound
A Dracaena Marginata can droop when the roots are too big for the pot, they are in. An easy way to check is to lift the pot and look at the drainage holes.
If there are roots coming out of them, that is a fairly good indicator that the plant has outgrown its existing pot.
You will have to transplant the Dracaena Marginata into a pot slightly larger than the root system. It needs to be moved to a pot that is no more than 2 inches bigger than the root ball.
You don’t want to put it in a pot too big or the soil will not drain properly, and the roots will rot as the soil will remain wet.
Occasionally mealy bugs or other pests can be the culprit for a drooping Dracaena Marginata. Aphids and mealybugs feed on the juices from the plant’s leaves and this can cause stress on the plant and cause it to droop.
They may also turn yellow in this case. It is safe to use an insecticide soap or Neem oil on the leaves to manage an infestation. I have also used a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol with good results.
Dracaena Marginata is an easy to care for plant that shows you the displeasure of the care it is receiving through drooping leaves.
Pay attention to the indicators the plant is putting out and you will have a healthy and beautiful Dracaena Marginata for a long time.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.