Usually, Dracaena are easy plants to care for but a common way they’ll let you know they’re struggling is by developing black areas on their leaves.
In this article, we’ll look at the common reasons why this happens and what exactly you should do about it.
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Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Turning Black?
Your Dracaena leaves are turning black because they may be suffering from over-watering or under-watering, or they might have caught a disease that is causing the leaf damage.
Alternatively, there may be a problem with its soil, or it might have got too hot or too cold.
Any of these issues can cause leaf blackening and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Dracaena plants may also develop black leaves around the bottom that was once a protective layer for new growth.
This is normal and these leaves are dying because they are not needed any longer.
If this is the case for your plant, those leaves can be removed.
Dracaena plants like damp soil, but they don’t like to stay wet for long.
You should add drainage material such as perlite to your plant’s pot when potting it; this will keep it from staying too wet.
If you don’t have perlite, some gravel near the base of the pot will work.
You should also avoid over-watering your Dracaena.
Before giving your plant a drink, push the tip of your finger into the top inch of the soil and check how damp it is.
If it hasn’t dried out, the plant doesn’t yet need a drink.
Dracaena plants are reasonably drought tolerant so they will do much better being slightly underwatered rather than being overwatered.
Under-watering is less of a risk with these plants, but it will also produce leaf blackness, so if the soil is very dry beneath the surface, it’s definitely time to give your plant a drink.
Be vigilant in summer and don’t let your Dracaena get too dry, or its leaves will turn black.
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Certain kinds of disease can also cause the leaves on your Dracaena to turn black, and these plants, unfortunately, tend to be vulnerable to fungal infections.
A common one is Fusarium leaf spot, and this – as the name suggests – causes damage to the leaves.
It will make the tips of your Dracaena’s leaves curl up and blacken.
The spots won’t start out black.
They will appear brown or rusty with a yellow edge, and then turn black as the leaf dies.
This kind of disease is caused by the Dracaena’s leaves staying wet for too long, leaving them vulnerable to fungal infections.
Try to make sure your Dracaena dries out before nightfall if you have misted or watered it; this will reduce the chances of this sort of disease.
If you notice leaf spot disease on your Dracaena, the first thing you must do is remove the infected leaves.
Remove entire leaves that are affected, all the way down to the stem.
If the problem persists once all diseased leaves have been removed, you can treat your plant with Daconil.
Follow the instructions by diluting and adding the mixture to a sprayer.
Use a fine mist to spray your plant until all upper and lower leaf surfaces and stems are thoroughly wet.
Finally, move your plant to a location that has good air circulation and allow it to fully dry out before you water it again.
Too many minerals in the plant’s soil can also cause the leaves of your Dracaena to turn black, as they don’t like having their roots clogged up.
You should fertilize your Dracaena plant regularly, but you will need to help clear any buildup from the soil by occasionally flushing it out with filtered tap water or rainwater.
Changing the soil may help too.
If you regularly water your Dracaena with unfiltered tap water, you should be aware that there are also minerals in this that can clog the roots.
It is better to use rainwater if possible.
If you can’t do this regularly, make sure you completely flush out the soil from time to time with rainwater or filtered water.
Lack of minerals – frustratingly – can also cause leaf blackness.
Your Dracaena plant needs calcium to survive, so check that your fertilizer contains this, or the deficiency might lead to unhealthy foliage and a sickly plant.
Plants don’t like suddenly going from hot to cold temperatures, or vice versa.
It shocks them.
Dracaena plants are no exception to this rule, so if you can, you need to keep your plant somewhere with reasonably stable temperatures, or its leaves will blacken.
If you grow your Dracaena outdoors, this won’t be an option, but you should try and protect it from cold snaps with a cloche or cover, and plant it near to the house.
Indoors, keep it away from windows if the temperature is suddenly dropping.
Why Is My Dracaena Stem Turning Black
The stem of your Dracaena is turning black because either the roots have been broken from it or the plant is experiencing root rot.
This plant has fragile roots and they can be broken from the stem if you were too rough moving it or repotting it.
Once the roots have been disconnected from the stem, your Dracaena will no longer be able to take up water and nutrients from the soil and this will cause the stem to turn black and die.
If you have broken the roots and somehow disconnected them from the stem, there is not much you can do.
You can only hope that enough healthy, connected roots are left behind so that your plant can make recovery.
Another common cause of your Dracaena’s stem turning black is root rot.
Root rot occurs when a fungus attacks your plant’s roots, usually because of over-watering and the soil remains wet for too long.
If it’s root rot, you will need to repot your plant into fresh soil and allow it to completely dry out before watering it again.
With Dracaena, you’ll often have more than one stem in the pot.
If one of the stems is too black and two rotted, you’ll have to remove it completely from the pot, roots and all.
There are quite a few reasons for black leaves on a Dracaena plant, and if your plant seems to be suffering, you need to investigate the cause and fix the issue before your plant comes to harm.
Check watering and fertilizer requirements, keep your Dracaena at a stable temperature if possible, and don’t leave it with wet leaves for days on end – it may like humidity, but this opens it up to fungal infections.