Whats wrong with my Dracaena draco?

tintin88April 4, 2010

Ok, so I have grown this lil fella from seed, and, it started off looking fine, then after it got to become a little more than a seedling it started getting these brown spots that look like burns

So I immediately thought it was a sun problem, but, it doesnt get all that much sun anyway, so I done a search ages ago, and found that it could be the water? Tap water has flourine that can damage it right?

So I havent watered it with tap water for months now, and instead use just usual rain water and yet, the spots persist and are even worse in fact.


The rest of the plant actually looks relatively healthy. So I would hate for it to end up destorying it gradually.


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Tintin..How tall is the entire plant/tree now?

It looks like fungi. I did some research on fungus w/house plants, and though some authors promote fungicides others are against using on indoor plants.
Here's what it says:
Fungicides are chemicals that kill or inhibit the growth of fungi, so it makes sense that using a fungicide might cure a disease problem. Unfortunately, this rarely works, for two reasons.

1. Fungicides are best used preventatively, before a disease becomes serious, because they are used more for stopping fungal 'spores,' from germinating than routing out an established infection.

2. Leaf tissues do not regernerate once they have been devastated by a fungal disease, so stopping the progress of the fungus does little to restore health.

Save your use of fungicides for outdoor plants at high risk of developing fungal diseases, and use them to prevent, rather than cure, fungus problems.

How often do you fertilize? Did you try flushing soil?
For some reason, of all Dracaenas, Draco is most finicky.
I have two Dracos, both started as babies, 'not seed though.' Both have some brown on leaves, though not circles.
I tend to underwater, a little too much, plus both are underpotted, so brown leaves, and direct sun, 'direct' will naturally brown.

If your Draco soil is old, maybe you should toss and use fresh, well-draining soil.
Draco's cannot live in continuously wet soil, so make sure it dries between waterings.
How often do you fertilize? Dracos are slow-growers, so they don't need much fert, it should be stopped entirely when plant goes dormant.
If you do fertilize, what type of fert do you use? Chemical or oganic?
I still think your Draco has a fungus, but if you're using chemical fertilizer, soil should be flushed..This is important. Salt build up leads to all types of problems, and most chemical ferts contain a lot of salt..plus the more you fertilize the more salt build up.

So, if your Draco soil isn't too old, but you use chemical fertilizer, why not flush soil? It won't hurt.

In the meantime, isolate your Draco from other plants. As the author states, fungi spreads through spores.
Remove completely marred leaves, and trim leaves with brown edges and tips. Reduce fertilizers, when your Draco looks better, why not use an organic fertlizer like Fish Emulsion. Though I must warn you..FE has an odor. They sell an odorless type, but it still has a little fishy smell. lol..Still, a couple days of smell is worth saving a plant, especially one grown from seed.

As for water..What I do is, since many plants can't endure tap water, I save used/cleaned milk containers then fill w/regular tap water..Let sit at least 24 hours. When plant needs a drink, the room-temp, tepid water is available.
Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Hey Toni, thanks for that. Much appreciated.

My draco is about 27cm tall I think, but thats just a guess, I have no measuring device in my room right now.
Only started growing it from seed just under a year ago, So I don't think thats too bad going for a slow grower.
I have some redwoods at home that are not much taller. Planted at the same time from seed.

Anyway back to draco's.
I shall get to trimming the brown parts. See if I can stunt the fungi. If that is what you think it is.

It's not overly watered, and I've never fertilized it directly, but I think it may have some slow release fertilizer in it. Put in when I upgraded pot sizes around July I think.
Other than that All its had is water and the soil its already got.
Maybe it needs new soil, a larger pot, and no fert what so ever? In the wild these guys live practically on sandy dusty soil and water right?

The only plant its near is my Jalapeno but i can move that to the next shelf, I dont think that was the problem though. Its had these brown splodges almost since it got growing really. After about 2-3 inches it started gettign them I think.


Well, i'll keep you posted, for now I shall trim the leaves and then water hardly ever



    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 8:06PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

Hi, looks like you have the same problem as I do, or should I say my Draco's do. Mine are also seed grow from some seeds I picked in Lanzarote in 2004. They were fine until the winter of 2008/9 when a few brown circular spots appeared. This winter they have developed even more. The centre leaves of my two are clear of them at the moment. They are in large tubs and have about a metre spread. They spend the colder months in the g/h but will go outside during the summer...if we ever get one of those again. Here's a pic of what one of them looked like 12 months ago. I thought they were damage from water spotting by condensation dripping on them, but as I mentioned the newer leaves are all clean.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Brown spots on leaves could be underwatering:

Soils that contain granular fertilizer need to be periodically leached otherwise fertilizer salts can reach dangerous levels.

If the soil mix is such that when it is fully moistened it stays wet for too long and puts your plant in harm's way, then you must modify the mix so that you can water freely.

The soil mix in the photo does not appear appropriate at all, with far too much peat...and D. draco is not a houseplant, it needs to be outdoors in sun and fresh air. Do not expect your plant to be healthy and vigorous unless the conditions change to suit its needs.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 7:21AM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

X, do you think mine is also suffering from underwatering as well? Mine have these regular circular patches and little other marks on them.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2010 at 9:29AM
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It's not the underwatering that causes brown spots - its the fact that the soil mix may be retaining fertilizer salts.

I have a Bottle Palm that lives happily outdoors with plenty of watering all summer long. Then when I bring it indoors, as soon as the soil begins to dry out those same type of spots appear, on older leaves first (new ones are untouched). I have to flush the soil out regularly.

You must water enough so that a good amount drains out the bottom - and NEVER EVER let any plant sit in a saucer of drained water, that is poison. Figure out how to get rid of excess water a different way.

Some species are more sensitive to salt accumulation in the soil than others.

I'm not saying that's the cause, it may not be, but you should practice good habits. I always add a little vinegar to my water as well. There's not really good science behind it, but theoretically the acid may bind some of the excess soil mineral ions - they are then leached out more easily during watering.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:35PM
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greenclaws UKzone8a

X....Thanks for the further explanation. I missread your previous post, should have read it more carefully I guess.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:00PM
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