How To Revive A Dragon Tree

To save a dying Dracaena marginata, you must first determine what is upsetting it.


Changing its location can be all that’s required for it to recover if you feel that too much or too little sunshine is the root of the issue. After you move it, keep an eye on it because the altered amount of light it receives may also change its temperature and the amount of water it now requires.


Your dragon tree may need to be replanted if you believe overwatering caused the root rot. Examine the roots by carefully tipping the dragon tree out of the pot. White roots indicate health.

The roots are already decomposing if they are dark and wet. Repot your dragon tree with brand-new, well-draining soil after cutting away the damaged roots.

Pot Size

Think about the pot’s size as well. Your dragon tree may be in a pot that is too big for it, which would explain the overwatering problem. The excess potting soil in a too-large pot may collect too much water, resulting in waterlogging of your dragon tree.

Your dragon tree might recover if you repotted it in a smaller container. The same goes for your dragon tree; if the pot is too small, it can have grown rootbound and has to be repotted in a slightly bigger container. Dragon trees don’t necessarily mind being rootbound, so only repot the plant if it appears to be in trouble.


You must get rid of the infestation if you see any pests on your dragon tree, such as spider mites, scale insects, or mealybugs. Although heavier infestations should be treated with Neem oil, you might try simply rinsing them off.

Since unhealthy plants are more prone to be attacked by pests, you’ll still need to figure out what else is making the plant unhappy if you want to keep the pests away.

Will my dragon tree grow new leaves?

Simply remove the dead leaves and the tops of the stalks. If these stems are still alive, which they appear to be in your photo, they should produce new growth.

How can a dragon plant be revived?

When determining the nation of origin of this plant, its name is definitely a bit of a giveaway. In order to accurately reproduce growing circumstances, it is usually helpful to know what kind of place the plant evolved in.

You must exercise caution in Madagascar because it is a diversified nation with a wide range of climatic and environmental variables. The Dragon Tree actually originates from the country’s forested regions, which indicates that it won’t withstand direct sunshine.

Too Much Light

Bright light is necessary for your Dragon Tree to thrive, but even a small quantity of direct sunlight can cause the leaves to droop and turn brown. Browning typically starts on the leaf tips and edges but gradually spreads to the entire leaf. If the plant is not moved to a less sunny position, they will soon stop growing.

If you move your plant to a more shady location, it will probably recover even in the worst-case scenario where it begins to lose leaves. The tall, beautiful stems of this plant store a large portion of the reserves it needs to thrive. The plant should begin to shoot new leaves eventually, though it might take some time.

Too Little Light

Problems can also arise from insufficient lighting, though they are far less severe. The margins of the leaves of many dragon plants are pink or white. The plant will lose that color and turn completely green if it senses that it is not receiving enough light. Usually, it is feasible to locate a brightly lit area indoors that does not actually receive any direct sunlight.

Your Madagascar Dragon Tree will grow more slowly in low light settings, becoming more sparse and stretched over time. The chance of overwatering issues will rise due to the low lighting, which can also make the plant more vulnerable to pests and illnesses that can quickly destroy it.


It’s very likely a watering issue if the lighting is ideal and your plant is exhibiting signs of stress. Most indoor plants prefer their soil to be moist but not wet, especially those that are native to tropical or subtropical environments.

These plants frequently experience stress because well-meaning owners mistakenly believe that extra water will make their indoor plants happier. Rarely is such the case.

In contrast to many other home plants, your Dragon Tree can endure quite dry circumstances. That is because the prickly stems have a limited capacity to hold water. Allowing the plant to gradually dry out in between waterings is okay.

By touching, you can verify this. The plant probably needs water if the top inch of the potting soil is dry. Give it a good soak until water begins to drain from the holes in the pot’s base, and then let it air dry once more. Avoid leaving the plant submerged in a water saucer.

Watering Frequency

In comparison to winter, summer requires more frequent watering because the plant is growing more quickly and more water evaporates due to the warmer weather. The amount of water a plant needs will vary depending on its size in proportion to its pot, the material of the pot, the underlying temperature, and the humidity level.

Over time, you will become much more skilled at determining the moisture content if you learn to rely on feeling the top inch of soil. For additional useful watering advice, read my guide to watering houseplants.

Drooping leaves can be caused by both excessive and insufficient irrigation. The difference is that the leaves will turn dry and brittle if there is an excess but insufficient water. The leaves will turn limp and wet if there has been an excessive amount of watering, and root rot is considerably more likely. The long-term health of your plant is considerably more seriously impacted by overwatering.

Fertilizer Problems

Problems with fertilizer are significantly more likely to be caused by too much than not enough fertilizer. If you give your plant food on a regular basis, fertilizer salts may accumulate in the soil and harm the roots physically, obstruct water absorption, and negatively impact the pH of the soil.

Look for indications of salt buildup from fertilizer on the soil’s surface if your Madagascar Dragon Tree is wilting and producing brown leaf tips and edges. Put an end to fertilization and thoroughly rinse the soil with water to help remove extra fertilizer. Repotting your plant into new soil should only be done as a last option because it can put the plant under more stress.

These plants only need a balanced general-purpose liquid house plant food. Since they develop slowly, you will only need to feed them once a month or less in the summer and you can completely stop feeding them in the winter when they are dormant.

By reducing the fertilizer to half its recommended strength, fertilize with caution. Giving your plant a little fertilizer on a regular basis is preferable to giving it a lot of fertilizer seldom. For help with this crucial part of houseplant maintenance, read my guide to fertilizing houseplants.


In homes with air conditioning or in the winter when central heating dries the air while keeping us warm, low humidity can be a concern.

Your plant may dry out more quickly and develop brown leaf tips and edges due to low humidity. Although it won’t harm your plant, it could detract from the Madagascar Dragon Tree’s attractiveness.

Here are some helpful suggestions to increase the humidity in your house:

  • Maintain the plant upright in a dish filled with water and rocks. Instead of resting in the water, the bottom of the pot should be on the pebbles. The amount of local humidity will rise as a result of the water evaporating.
  • Put your indoor plants in a group so that their combined transpiration will raise the humidity level for all of them.
  • To rapidly and simply increase the humidity in your house, use a humidifier.
  • To keep track of the humidity levels, purchase a digital humidity meter. This allows me to view the range of humidity in my home and make adjustments as needed, which I find to be quite useful.


The plant might have been overpotted or outgrown its previous container, which might both have an impact on the potting soil’s ability to retain moisture. When the plant is put in a pot that is far larger than the root ball, overpotting develops. The plant becomes saturated due to the excess potting soil absorbing a lot of water, which causes root rot.

This is a pretty typical reason why a Madagascar dragon tree dies since you may really trigger root rot by only watering your plant sparingly. Most indoor plants require appropriately sized pots, especially Madagascar Dragon Trees, which detest being overwatered.


The root ball will fill the pot if the plant is growing too large for it, leaving little room for soil. Water will just flow through the pot if there is no soil to hold onto moisture, starving the plant. Your Madagascar Dragon Tree will sluggish down over time, getting less and less colorful and healthy.

Use a general-purpose houseplant mix to repotter the plant into a pot that is marginally bigger than its present container. A third of perlite added to the mixture will significantly improve drainage and alleviate many overwatering problems.

One of the causes I’ve already discussed is most likely to blame if your plant begins to appear unhappy. These plants are susceptible to assaults from mealybugs, spider mites, or scale insects, much like all indoor plants. It is doubtful that the bug itself is the reason your Madagascar Dragon Tree is dying because typically these pests attack plants when they have been weakened by other environmental issues.


Vigilance is the first and most crucial line of defense against pests. These people don’t just materialize out of nowhere. They cannot accomplish this if you are committed to regularly monitoring your plants because they gradually accumulate over time.

Nevertheless, they are skilled at hiding, so you won’t be able to identify them at first glance. To be sure they are not covertly assembling their forces, you will need to look carefully inside leaf joints and underneath leaves.

Early detection will likely allow you to simply blast them away with a water jet or wipe them off with a moist towel. You could require additional firepower if they are more firmly established than that.

Any infestations should be quickly eliminated by spraying the plant with diluted neem oil (95% water). But keep in mind that the plant was likely stressed when they arrived, so that problem will need to be resolved. A healthy plant can fight itself against pests much better.

Can It Be Saved?

The only chance you have to rescue your Dragon Tree if it has root rot is to spot the illness early, remove the diseased roots and soil, and repot the plant. Trimming and pruning the plant may be necessary in some instances to ensure that the smaller root system can continue to support growth.

The roots, however, show the first signs of root rot. It can be difficult to save your plant as the problem spreads to the point where the leaves are impacted.


This problem results from recurrent overwatering and poor drainage, in addition to a lack of sunlight. In fact, the combination of these two conditions is likely to cause root or stem rot.

In turn, this illness weakens the roots, making them more vulnerable to bacterial and pathogen attack. If left untreated, root rot will cause the plant’s roots to deteriorate and become incapable of absorbing the nutrients required to maintain the plant’s health.

Solution and Prevention

Making ensuring the pot has an effective drainage system, which frequently includes holes at the bottom of the container, is the simplest technique to prevent root rot.

Additionally, you should test the potting mix by sticking your finger in the soil to make sure you are only watering the plant when it requires it. It’s time to water your dragon tree if the ground is dry 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) below the surface.

In the end, establishing a correct watering schedule can help you give the plant just what it needs to grow.

How can a dying Dracena be saved?

You must first identify the source of your Dracaena’s stress before you can address it. Next, consider what it needs and what may be absent from its existing care plan.

Some dracaena varieties need direct, bright light to grow. To keep them healthy, let the soil totally dry out in between waterings.

These plants demand well-draining soil, ideally a gritty mixture that is suitable for desert plants. Not a lot of fertilizer is required.

The greatest time to apply liquid fertilizer is in the middle of summer when the soil is at its most fruitful.

A Dracaena’s brown leaves will never turn green again, so keep that in mind. Any harm done is permanent.

A severely damaged leaf that has turned more brown than green can be safely removed. Remove the brown leaf from the stem with a sharp knife.

I generally don’t bother with vegetation that is mostly green. But let’s say the dracaena’s leaves are colored.

In that instance, they can be employed for photosynthesis, which turns air and water into energetic carbohydrates with the help of sunshine. For a sick plant, this energy can make all the difference in the world.

How to Save a Dracaena That Has Been Overwatered or Has Root Rot

Repotting is the first step in saving a Dracaena from overwatering. Your Dracaena can be examined for decay or other damage by being taken out of its current location.

Selecting a new pot and getting fresh soil ready are the initial steps. Make sure your new pot has at least two drainage holes because more are better.

It is best to use a coarse, free-draining cactus or succulent mix. (Click here to view Amazon’s price list.)

If infected or rotten roots need to be cut out, clean scissors or shears should also be available.

Inspect the roots for indications of rot after removing the ill Dracaena from its pot and thoroughly rinsing the old media with fresh water.

On your Dracaena, you want pale, fibrous roots. If they’re soft and mushy, or if they’re becoming brown or black, they’re rotting. To cut them off, you’ll need clean shears or scissors.

The Dracaena can then be simply moved to a new pot and placed back in its original spot.

No matter what kind of Dracaena you have, you must let it totally dry out in between waterings.

In the winter, when growth slows, you might find that watering once every two weeks—or even longer—is sufficient.

Even Dracaenas only require a couple thorough soaks per month if you live in the South.

For individuals who can’t bring themselves to leave their plants alone for extended periods of time, a moisture meter is a necessary tool.

With this useful tool, you can monitor the moisture content of the root mass, which might give you a sense of security. (Click here to view Amazon’s price list.)

Reviving A Dracaena That Hasn’t Had Enough Water

The best way to hydrate a dry plant is from below. Where it is most needed, the root mass, it delivers moisture directly.

For this method, a basin or tub is needed to contain the Dracaena’s thirsty plant. You will also require clean water, preferably rainfall, distilled water, or water that has been through filtration.

To the water below:

  • Remove the Draceana from its saucer or drip tray.
  • Put the plant in the basin after it has been filled with water.
  • Water should be poured into the basin until it is halfway up the side of the pot.
  • Give the Dracaena at least 30 minutes to soak in the water.
  • Refill the water as necessary.
  • Before putting your Dracaena back in its container, give it at least 15 minutes to drain.

No matter the kind, dracaena must be entirely dry before being watered once more.

Over time, dry growth conditions usually develop a hydrophobic surface. They are unable to hold water as a result and instead reject it.

Take your time while watering a dried-out mix from above. I just add about a quarter cup at a time, distributing it evenly across the soil’s surface and letting it gently percolate into the mixture.

Before the soil is ready for soaking, it may take a dozen of these tiny dosages in large pots. Just wait till you see tiny drops coming out of the drainage holes.

After that, add enough water to completely submerge the mixture. As soon as it drains, the dracaena should resurface in its original spot. Before watering it once more, let it totally dry.

Saving a Dying Dracaena from the Top Down

It is advisable to completely remove your plant if the crown is severely damaged or dead. Whatever the reason, a dead crown stops the Dracaena from growing new leaves, which ultimately results in the plant’s death.

Thankfully, Dracaena are hardy and can create new growth points after the old, dead one has passed away.

Simply use clean shears to completely cut off the point a few inches below the dead crown, removing the old, dead crown.

You just need to wait at this point. Assume that the medium is properly irrigated and that the light levels are sufficient.

In that situation, you ought to see the plant’s top sprouting new buds. The same trimmed Dracaena has given me up to three new shoots every spring.

How to Save a Soft-Stem Corn Plant

To save a Dracaena or corn plant with a weakening stalk, similar extreme procedures are needed. Most likely, the roots there are dormant or decaying.

By spreading the healthy portion, you can still save the growing crown of your plant. But after that, it’s time to remove the head and begin over.

It is necessary to have clean, powerful shears that can cut through the stalk. You might need to use a saw instead if working with larger specimens.

Additionally, you’ll require a clean water container big enough to accommodate the plant’s stem and crown. For little specimens, a jar or bottle will frequently do, but for larger ones, a bucket would be necessary.

To save your corn plant, take the following actions:

  • Cut a few inches above the stalk’s highest point of tenderness.
  • You’ll then need to immerse the entire object in water.
  • Place the vessel in a room with good lighting that is not in the sun.
  • You ought to see roots forming within a few weeks. When many roots are at least three to four inches long, you can plant it in the ground.

Before the roots have a chance to develop, some individuals pot their cut-off Dracaena right away.

I favor applying water to a sick plant. Water propagation actively discourages the spread of disease from the soil, and also allows you to monitor how the roots are doing.

You also have a lot less risk of passing the illness to the next plant when employing water propagation.

Dracaena grows slowly but contentedly in water. In actuality, plants in this genus, such as Lucky Bamboo, are frequently never planted in soil.

There is no need to transfer your water-propagated plant to the soil if you like it just the way it is.

This type of propagation can also help dracaena that have almost entirely lost their lower leaves as a result of underwatering. This shedding could make you look ‘leggy’ and too tall.

A base without a crown will just send out new shoots and resume growth; cutting off the crown and water propagating it can yield two new plants.

For good cause, dracaena are frequently referred to as “unkillable plants.” A plant will heal and grow better than ever with quick treatment, even if it is severely ill or wounded.