Why Are My Dragon Tree Leaves Falling Off? (& How To Fix It)

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Dracaena, or dragon trees, are popular houseplants because they’re easy to care for and offer a variety of leaf shapes, colors, and sizes.

While dracaenas are generally low-maintenance plants, their leaves may fall off if they’re not getting the proper care.

This article will discuss why dragon tree leaves may fall off and offer tips on how to fix the issue.

What Causes Dragon Tree Leaves to Fall Off?

You need to take a close look at your dragon tree to determine the exact cause of the problem. Here are some common reasons for dracaena leaves falling off:

1. Overwatering

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for dragon tree leaves to fall off.

Dragon trees are native to Africa and grow in dry, sandy soil. As a result, they don’t need much water and can be harmed by too much moisture.

Dracaena plants need to be allowed to dry out completely between waterings. If the soil is constantly wet, the roots will start to rot, killing the plant.

If you think you may be overwatering your dragon plant, check the soil before watering it. If the top inch of soil is dry, you can water the plant.

2. Underwatering

While overwatering is a common problem, underwatering your dragon tree can cause its leaves to fall off.

An underwatered dracaena plant will have droopy, yellow leaves. The plant may also suffer from leaf loss if it doesn’t get enough water.

To prevent this, ensure you’re watering your dragon tree regularly and giving it enough water each time.

They must be watered at least once a week but more often during the summer when they’re actively growing.

The best way to water a dragon tree is to soak the soil until water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

3. Temperature Stress

Another common reason for dragon tree leaves to fall off is temperature stress.

Dracaenas are tropical plants and need warm temperatures to thrive. They can’t tolerate cold drafts or temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your dragon tree is exposed to a draft, move it away from the window or door. If the temperature in your home is cooler than 60 degrees, you can raise the thermostat or use a space heater to warm up the room.

4. Nutrient Deficiencies

A dragon tree that isn’t getting enough nutrients will also lose its leaves.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential nutrients for dragon trees.

You can fertilize your dragon tree every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer that contains these nutrients.

5. Too Much Sunlight

While dragon trees need some sunlight to grow, too much sun can scorch their leaves and cause them to fall off.

If you notice that your dragon tree’s leaves are turning yellow or brown, it’s getting too much sun.

Move the plant to a spot with indirect sunlight or use a sheer curtain to filter the light.

You can place your dragon tree outdoors during the summer, but make sure to gradually acclimate it to the sunlight, so its leaves don’t get burned.

Indoors or outdoors, dragon trees need bright, indirect sunlight.

6. Not Enough Light

If your dragon tree isn’t getting enough light, its leaves may start to turn yellow and fall off.

Dragon trees need bright, indirect sunlight to grow. If they’re not getting enough light, they’ll start to stretch, and their leaves will drop.

Move your dragon tree to a spot that gets indirect sunlight, or use a grow light to supplement the morning it’s getting.

7. Soil Issues

The type of soil your dragon tree is growing in can also affect its health.

Dragon trees need well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter. The best way to provide this is to mix equal parts potting soil, perlite, and compost.

If your dragon tree is growing in heavy clay soil or sand, its roots may not be able to get the oxygen they need to survive. This can cause the leaves to fall off.

You need to repot your dragon tree into a pot with well-drained soil.

8. Pest Infestation

Pests can also cause dragon tree leaves to fall off. The most common pests that affect dragon trees are spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects.

These pests suck the sap out of the plant, which can cause damage and leaf loss.

If you think your dragon tree has a pest problem, inspect it carefully for signs of pests.

Spider mites leave behind small webbing on the leaves, while mealybugs look like white cottony masses. Scale insects appear as small brown or black bumps on the stems and leaves.

To get rid of pests, wash them off with water or use an insecticidal soap.

9. Diseases

A few diseases can cause dragon tree leaves to fall off. The most common diseases are root rot and leaf spot.

Dracaena root rot is caused by overwatering or planting the dragon tree in poorly drained soil. The roots start to rot, which prevents the plant from getting the water and nutrients it needs to survive.

A fungal or bacterial infection causes leaf spot. The leaves develop small brown or black spots, eventually leading to leaf loss.

To prevent diseases, ensure you’re not overwatering your dragon tree and that it’s growing in well-drained soil. If you notice any signs of disease, you can treat the plant with a natural fungicide or bactericide.

10. Transplant Shock

Transplanting a dracaena can also cause its leaves to fall off. This is because the plant goes through a lot of stress during transplanting.

They need time to adjust to their new environment and recover from the transplanting process.

To prevent transplant shock, ensure you acclimate your dragon tree to its new environment before transplanting it.

You should also choose a pot that’s only slightly larger than the one it’s currently in.

11. Natural Leaf Drop

Dragon trees naturally lose their leaves as they age. Older leaves will turn yellow and fall off to make way for new growth.

Lower leaves are also more likely to fall off than upper leaves.

If your dragon tree loses a few leaves here and there, it’s nothing to worry about. But something may be wrong if it’s losing a lot of leaves or its leaves are turning brown or yellow.

Check the plant for other signs of stress, such as pests, diseases, or environmental issues.

12. Improper Fertilization

Fertilizing your dragon tree is essential for its growth. But if you’re not doing it properly, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

Dragon trees must be fertilized every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.

During the winter, you can reduce the frequency to once a month.

If you’re fertilizing more often than this, it can burn the roots and cause leaf loss.

Make sure you’re using a fertilizer specifically for dragon trees and following the directions on the label.

What To Do When Dracaena Leaves Fall Off

If your dragon tree’s leaves are falling off, there are a few things you can do to fix the problem.

1. Check The Soil

The first thing you should do is check the soil. Dragon trees need well-drained soil to thrive.

If the soil is too dense or wet, it can cause the roots to rot, leading to leaf loss.

To check the drainage, stick your finger into the soil. If it feels soggy, the drainage is poor, and you’ll need to improve it.

The best way to improve drainage is to add organic matter, such as compost, to the soil.

You must also plant the dragon tree in a pot with drainage holes.

2. Check The Watering Schedule

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for dragon tree leaves to fall off.

Ensure you’re only watering the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry.

In general, dragon trees need to be watered about once a week. But during the winter, they can go longer without water.

Also, ensure not to underwater the dragon tree as this can also cause leaf loss.

3. Prune The Plant

If your dragon tree is losing a lot of leaves, you may need to prune it. This will help encourage new growth.

Start by removing any dead, dying, or diseased leaves. Then, cut back any long, leggy stems.

You can also remove any yellow or brown leaves. Once you’re finished pruning, the plant should look healthier and have new leaves.

4. Move The Plant To A Bright Location

Dragon trees need bright, indirect light to thrive. If the plant isn’t getting enough light, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

To fix this, move the plant to a brighter location. But ensure not to put it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

East- or west-facing windows are ideal as they provide plenty of light without being too intense.

5. Adjust The Temperature

Dragon trees thrive in warm temperatures, between 65°F and 75°F (18°C and 24°C).

If the temperature is too cold or hot, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

To fix this, adjust the temperature in the room where the plant is located.

If it’s too cold, you can use a space heater. And if it’s too hot, you can use a fan or air conditioner.

You should avoid drafts from windows or doors as this can cause leaf loss.

6. Check For Pests

Pests are another common reason for dragon tree leaves to fall off. These include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects.

To check for pests, closely inspect the plant for any small bugs or eggs. You can also look for damage signs, such as leaves holes.

If you do find pests, you can remove them by hand or treat the plant with insecticide soap or neem oil. This will kill the pests and help prevent them from coming back.

7. Check For Diseases

Diseases are another common reason dragon tree leaves fall off. The most common disease is root rot, caused by too much water.

To check for diseases, inspect the roots of the plant. If they’re black or mushy, it’s a sign of root rot.

To treat root rot, remove the affected roots and replant the dragon tree in well-drained soil.

8. Fertilize The Plant

If your dragon tree isn’t getting enough nutrients, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

To fix this, you need to fertilize the plant. Use a balanced fertilizer and apply it according to the package directions.

You should fertilize dragon trees about once a month during the growing season. But during the winter, you can reduce this to every six weeks.

Be careful not to overfertilize the plant, which can also cause leaf loss.

9. Replace The Soil

Over time, the soil in your dragon tree’s pot will become depleted of nutrients. This can cause the leaves to fall off.

To fix this, you need to replace the potting mix. Start by removing the plant from its current pot.

Then, add fresh, nutrient-rich potting mix to the pot. You can also add some compost to improve drainage.

After you’ve replaced the soil, replant the dragon tree plant and wait a few days before watering.

10. Keep an Eye on The Plant

Dragon tree leaves falling off can be a normal part of the plant’s growth cycle.

So, if a few leaves are falling off here and there, it’s nothing to worry about.

But if the plant is losing a lot of leaves or the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

You should keep an eye on the plant and try to identify the problem so you can fix it.

Dragon trees are robust plants that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. But if the plant isn’t cared for properly, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

What Are The Benefits Of Dragon Tree Leaves Falling Off?

Dragon tree leaves falling off can be beneficial for the plant.

When a dragon tree loses its leaves, it’s a process called abscission. This allows the plant to get rid of old or damaged leaves to grow new ones.

Abscission also helps the plant conserve water and energy during periods of stress, such as drought.

So, if your dragon tree is losing its leaves, don’t be too alarmed. It’s a normal part of the plant’s growth cycle.

What To Do With Dracaena Leaves That Have Fallen Off?

Once your dragon tree’s leaves have fallen off, you can compost them.

Dragon tree leaves are high in nitrogen, a nutrient that helps plants grow.

So, by composting the leaves, you’re giving back to the plant.

To compost dragon tree leaves, add them to your compost pile. Or, you can bury them in the soil around your dragon tree.

The leaves will eventually break down and release their nutrients into the soil, which will help the plant grow.

It’s also a good idea to mulch dragon tree leaves.

Mulching is when you cover the ground around your plants with a layer of material, such as leaves, bark, or straw.

This helps to protect the plant’s roots from extreme temperatures and keeps the soil moist.

It also helps to prevent weeds from growing.

To mulch dragon tree leaves, add a layer of them around the base of your plant.

The leaves will help to insulate the plant and protect it from the elements.

Final Thoughts

Dragon tree leaves falling off is a normal part of the plant’s growth cycle. But if the plant is losing a lot of leaves or the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

You should keep an eye on the plant and try to identify the problem so you can fix it.

Overwatering, underwatering, and pests are the most common causes of dragon tree leaves falling off.

But with a little investigation and care, you can get your dragon tree back to good health.