This might be a duplicate, but as it is not set as answered, I have decided to ask the question again and try to provide some more information.

My Dracaena marginata leaves started to brown, break and then fall off for about three weeks.

pre-leaf fall

I went to a local store, and they gave me some anti-bacterial chemicals. They also suggested that the pot might be too small, so I transplanted it. After one week, no leaves was left:

post-leaf fall

Is there any chance to save it? Unfortunately, I have been watering it once every three to four weeks. Is this too much?

P.S. I live in Germany, and the window is facing the west. The Dracaena is around one meter (three feet) away from the window.

Update: Following the advices, I have tried to get some cuttings and stick them in some soil. However, after four days, I have noticed some tiny white areason the cuts (see figure). Are these mold? enter image description here

2 Answers 2


Dracaena Marginata is native to Madagascar and Mauritius. Its normal environment is hot, dry and sunny. Although this plant adapts well to indoor conditions root rot due to overwatering is the most common cause of death. I think your chances of getting viable cuttings are negligible. By the time all the leaves have dropped off the roots are dead and the stem is stressed.

For you to have more success with this plant try:

  • placing it right next to a south or south-west window for maximum light. No drapes or sheers to cut down on the light
  • let the top few inches of soil dry out before watering
  • consider repotting a new plant right away in a more porous soil mix. Adding sand, perlite or vermiculite will enhance drainage. Perlite lasts the longest as sand washes out and vermiculite breaks down.
  • spider mite is an endemic problem with these plants. Many plants come from the store with an existing population suppressed by the last pesticide spray at the greenhouse. On arrival in your house, they are set to expand. A preventative wipe down of the bottom of the leaves with a cloth soaked in dish soap and water repeated three times at five to six-day intervals can be useful.
  • I think you are right since there has been two weeks with no improvement. I still will give cuttings a chance, as it is the last solution. Jan 22, 2017 at 20:30

If the temperature was lower than 16°C or if the plant was stressed because of irregular watering (underwatered, then overwatered when repotted), the chances to save it are small.

If I were you I'd take cuttings and put them in wet perlite or wet vermiculite. You can try putting them in water until they grow roots, but be careful to fill the jar less than half to avoid rotting and change the water every 5 days. You can also put the cuttings directly in damp soil, but this method is prone to disease. Don't forget to maintain the polarity of the cutting, meaning that the top part must be kept up and the lower part must be put in perlite, water or soil.

I don't know its exact light requirements, but if you find them out you can check the environment to see if it provides enough by measuring the light with some free phone app. Just search "light meter" on app store.

Please add an update when the situation changes one way or the other so that future users know what to expect. It seems to be a common problem with Dracaena.

EDIT: Watch this video that shows what to do. Even if your plant doesn't have leaves anymore, you can try the cuttings and if it works you'll see that new leaves will appear.

If you feel like it, after removing the top you can cut a part of the woody stem that had no leaves (a few inches portion is ok, the important thing is to have a few nodes). Then you can place this stick in water, soil, vermiculite, etc, as you just did with the top of the branch. The covered nodes will develop roots, while the nodes that are in contact with the air will develop leaves. Don't forget which was the upper part and which was the lower part.

In case the woody stem is hollow or black on the inside it means that this part of the plant is dead and will not come back to life. If this happens, cut until you find firm normal woody stem. The plant is not bothered by the fact you cut it, in fact it will develop new buds to replace what is lost.

  • It might be the temperature. We put it outside to get some sun, only for 5 hours maybe. But the temperature was lower then 15 °C. We only did it once, and almost two days later, she got sick. Do you mean cuttings from the leaves or from the body? can you please explane? or provide any links? Jan 22, 2017 at 15:59

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