Sorry for the long question, feel free to just go off of the pictures!

spots on dracaena leaves

Background info.: I've had him for about 10 months. He gets bright indirect light in a SW window, watered with rain or de-mineralized water when the soil feels dry and the pot is lighter. He's pushing out lots of big beautiful new leaves, I repotted him in late June and his roots (healthy-looking) are already starting to come out the bottom of the new pot. The soil is coco coir with a generous helping of perlite and clay.

Miscellaneous info.: This is a very dry house (north of the Netherlands), he sits in front of a window so it can be drafty, IIRC this started during or right after a heat wave (~35°C/95°F) but I made sure he got no harsh sun.

Problem: Starting in late July, he's been getting these orange spots. They are very specifically only on the tips of the leaves, and so far only affecting his middle-growth (not the old or new leaves). The spots start off yellow, then become bright orange, with a translucent outline that is visible when holding the leaf up to the light. There are also a few "stippled" clusters of tiny translucent spots (no orange) on some leaves.

It's been almost 2 months, the spots haven't noticeably gotten bigger, but there are more affected leaves now. A couple of the old spots dried out and became papery and sheer white (maybe from attempts to treat). Meanwhile, the tips that were yellowing have dried and browned (still with a yellow outline), so maybe there are two problems going on at once. The white specks in the photos are dust, I haven't seen any pests. The brown margins on the bottom leaves are old fluoride burns.

Troubleshooting attempts:

  1. I figured it could be fertilizer burn, as I had been giving him diluted 3-1-5 fertilizer pretty much at every watering. I flushed his soil thoroughly the day I first noticed the spots. I also hosed the leaves down, which wasn't the smartest thing as I later found out, but I did dry them right after. I haven't fertilized since July.

  2. I stopped misting.

  3. More spots appeared, so leaning more towards fungus, I sprayed the tips of some of the affected leaves with a mix of water, Dr. Bronner's and baking soda (twice). Didn't seem to do much. I made sure to catch any falling droplets with a towel and not let it run down the leaves. I've been careful not to spread anything by touch as well.

  4. I read that underwatering can cause yellow tips. He'd been getting dry much faster than before, in about 3 days as opposed to 7/10 days, but I didn't want to overwater so I'd let him dry a couple days more. I increased my watering since then.

  5. Leaning towards fungus again, I figured that drying out the tips aggressively might work. I spot-applied some 3% peroxide, barely diluted, on some of the orange spots. I'm not sure if this had the intended effect, because the burnt-ness of the treated spots looks really similar to the spots themselves.

Figured I should finally ask for an outside opinion! It hasn't spread to any of my other plants. I think the fact that it's only affecting the tips of the middle-growth has to have significance. Also, none of the spots have had a brown center yet (so maybe not fungus?). What do you reckon? Link to extra photos (including whole plant)

Dr. Bronner's spray on leaves

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.