Why Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow and Brown – 9 Causes?

Dracaena leaves are turning yellow and brown due to over-watering, under-watering, poor lighting, pest disease, salt build-up in the soil, sudden temperature change and more.

Dracaena is a popular houseplant known for its striking leaves and easy care. However, many growers may notice that the leaves of their Dracaena plant start to turn yellow and brown over time.

This can be a frustrating and confusing issue, but understanding the causes can help you prevent or remedy the problem.

By identifying the cause and addressing it promptly, you can keep your Dracaena plant healthy and vibrant. 

Dracaena Plant – Know About Your Plant

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The Dracaena plant consists of 40 different types of species in which one of the most popular varieties is Dracaena Marginata, also known as the dragon tree. This variety has thin, pointed leaves that are green and red in colour, and can grow up to 15 feet tall.

Another popular variety is Dracaena Fragrans, also known as the corn plant. This variety has thick, sturdy leaves that are green in colour and can grow up to 10 feet tall.

Dracaena plants prefer the following growing conditions –

  1. Bright, indirect light: Dracaena plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. They should be placed in a location where they will receive bright, filtered light, but not direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
  2. Consistent moisture: Dracaena plants require consistent moisture in the soil. They should be kept evenly moist, but not waterlogged, as over-watering can lead to root rot.
  3. Proper temperature: Dracaena plants prefer temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid direct sunlight and cold drafts.
  4. Proper humidity: Dracaena plants prefer humidity levels between 40-50%. They can tolerate lower humidity levels but may struggle in very dry conditions.
  5. Fertilization: Dracaena plants benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. They should be fertilized every 2-4 weeks during the growing season, and less frequently during the dormant season.
  6. Clean environment: Dracaena plants like to be kept in a clean environment, so regular cleaning of the leaves with a damp cloth will help to keep the plant healthy and looking great.
  7. Proper Drainage: Dracaena plants like well-draining soil, which allows excess water to drain away and prevents the roots from sitting in waterlogged conditions.

9 Causes Why Dracaena Plant Leaves are Turning Yellow and Brown?

All varieties of Dracaena plants have similar requirements for growth and thriving. Here are 9 causes –

1. Over-watering

Over-watering is one of the most common causes of the yellowing and browning of Dracaena leaves. When the soil is too wet or, the plant is sitting in standing water, the roots can become waterlogged and begin to rot.

The signs of over-watering are yellowing and browning of leaves, wilting, and a mushy or rotten smell from the soil. Over-watering can also lead to fungal and bacterial infections which can further damage the roots and cause the leaves to yellow and brown. 

To avoid over-watering, it is vital to ensure that the soil is well-draining and that the plant is not sitting in standing water. Additionally, it is important to wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before watering again.

Check this out: Can I Put My Dracaena Outside in Summer?

2. Under-watering

Under-watering is another common cause of the yellowing and browning of Dracaena leaves. When the soil is too dry, the plant may not be able to absorb enough water and nutrients to keep the leaves healthy. 

Underwatering can result in the soil becoming dry and the leaves appearing crisp and fragile to the touch. The plant may also look stunted, with smaller leaves and a thinner stem. The symptoms of underwatering are dry soil, dry leaf tips and curling, crisp leaves, wilting and dry leaves. 

To avoid underwatering, it is important to ensure that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged. 

3. Poor lighting

Dracaena plants prefer bright, indirect light and can tolerate low light conditions but not complete darkness. If the plant is not receiving enough light, the leaves will begin to yellow or brown, and the plant may appear yellow and, it will be drooping.

Poor lighting can also cause leaf drop, weak growth, and an overall unhealthy appearance. To avoid poor lighting, it is vital to place the plant in a location that receives bright, indirect light.

If the plant is not getting enough light in its current location, you may need to move it to a brighter spot or provide additional artificial light. 

Note that direct sunlight can cause leaf scorch and can burn the leaves.

4. Pests

Pests can be another cause of the yellowing and browning of Dracaena leaves. A variety of pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects can infest Dracaena plants and cause damage to the leaves. 

The pests suck the sap from the leaves which causes the leaves to yellow and brown, and the plant to appear stunted and weak. The symptoms of pest infestation are yellowing and browning of leaves, small white or brown bumps on leaves and stem, and webbing. 

To avoid pest infestation, it is vital to regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests and take action as soon as possible.

5. Old leaves

As the plant ages, it will naturally lose some of its leaves and the remaining leaves may become yellow and brown. This is a normal process of the plant’s life cycle and is not necessarily a cause for concern. 

The symptoms of old age in Dracaena leaves are yellowing and browning of leaves, leaf drop, and overall thinning of the plant. As the plant matures, the lower leaves will naturally yellow and brown and fall off, revealing a woody stem. 

Pruning yellow and brown leaves will help to maintain the plant’s appearance and can promote new growth.

6. Salt buildup in the soil

Excessive use of fertilizers containing superphosphate can lead to the accumulation of salts in the potting soil, which can negatively impact the growth of Dracaena plants. When choosing potting soil, avoid those that contain perlite as they are known to have higher levels of fertilizer salts.

Fertilizing is an important aspect of plant care, but it is important to use the right type of fertilizer and to use it in the correct amounts. A balanced liquid fertilizer is a good option for Dracaena plants. 

When using a fertilizer, it is vital to use only half the recommended dose at a time to avoid over-fertilizing. Additionally, it is best to only fertilize the plant during the active growing season, typically from spring to mid-autumn. 

When you find that your plant is suffering from excess salt build in the soil, all you have to do is to flush the soil with fresh, pure water. This can be done by watering the plant thoroughly and allowing the water to run out through the drainage holes.

Also Read: Should I Water After Applying Fertilizer?

7. Temperature Fluctuations

Temperature fluctuations can have a significant impact on the health of Dracaena plants. When the temperature changes rapidly and frequently, it can cause stress to the plant and lead to the yellowing or browning of the leaves.

  • Dracaena plants prefer temperatures between 60-90°F (15-32°C) and should be kept away from cold drafts, air conditioning vents, and direct sunlight that can cause the leaves to burn.
  • Sudden changes in temperature, such as moving a plant from a cool room to a warm room or vice versa, can cause the plant to go into shock and the leaves to turn yellow or brown.
  • If the temperature changes are frequent or severe, it can also cause the plant to stop growing and can inhibit the growth of new leaves.

To prevent temperature fluctuations from causing problems for your Dracaena plant, maintain a consistent temperature range and avoid sudden changes in temperature.

8. Poor quality of water

Poor water quality can have a significant impact on the health of Dracaena plants and can lead to yellowing or browning of the leaves.

  • Dracaena plants prefer to be watered with purified or distilled water, as tap water can contain high levels of chlorine and other chemicals that can damage the leaves and cause discolouration.
  • Hard water, which has high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, can also cause damage to the leaves of Dracaena plants.
  • You can use rainwater and bottled water too.

9. Humidity

Humidity plays a crucial role in the health of Dracaena plants and can affect their leaves in several ways.

  • High humidity levels can cause the leaves to turn yellow or brown due to fungal or bacterial infections.
  • Low humidity levels can cause the leaves to become dry and brittle, leading to brown tips or edges on the leaves.
  • Dracaena plants prefer a humidity level between 40-60% to thrive.
  • To maintain the right humidity levels for Dracaena plants, you can use a humidifier to add moisture to the air or place a tray of water near the plant.
  • Additionally, it is important to avoid placing the plant in drafty or windy areas, as this can cause the humidity level to drop, leading to dry and brown leaves.

Also Read: Can You Mix Epsom Salt With Fertilizer?

How to Revive Dracaena yellow leaves?

Reviving Dracaena plants with yellow leaves can be done by identifying and addressing the underlying cause. Here are a few steps you can take to revive your plant –

1. Watering – During the summer months, it’s important to water your Dracaena plant more frequently to ensure that the soil stays moist. Reduce watering during the winter, watering only once every 10-14 days. Make sure to let the soil dry on top before watering the plant again.

2. Repot the plant – Repotting allows you to refresh the soil, which can help to improve the health of the plant. When repotting a Dracaena plant, it’s important to use a well-draining potting mix that can support the plant’s growth. A mix of 2/3 potting soil and 1/3 horticultural grit or orchid potting mix can improve the soil structure and support the plant’s root system. 

3. Always Avoid Tap Water – Chlorine dries out the leaves and causes them to turn brown. Fluoride, on the other hand, can cause leaf tip burn and discolouration. Using purified or distilled water can Revive Dracaena yellow leaves.

Dracaena Plant Care to Avoid Yellowing of Leaves

  • Watch the tips of the leaves on your Dracaena plant. If the tips of the leaves on your Dracaena plant are brown, it could indicate that the plant is not receiving enough water. Just water the plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry.
  • Pruning the dead or browning foliage on a Dracaena plant can help in maintaining its appearance and promoting healthy growth. This can be done by using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to remove any brown or yellow leaves that are no longer vibrant and healthy. 
  • Dust can accumulate on the leaves over time, blocking light and preventing the plant from photosynthesizing properly. To remove dust, gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or spray them with water. 


Dracaena plants are relatively easy to care for and can add a touch of elegance to any room. However, if the leaves start turning yellow or brown, it could be a sign of a problem. 

By understanding these causes, you can take steps to revive your plant and keep it healthy. Regularly monitoring the leaf tips, pruning dead or browning foliage, removing dust, and providing proper care and attention can help prevent the yellowing of leaves in Dracaena plants.