Why is my Dragon Tree losing leaves?

Dragon Plants, or Dracaena if you want to use their Latin name, tend to be one of the easier houseplants to take care of.

Dragon Plants, or Dracaena if you want to use their Latin name, tend to be one of the easier houseplants to take care of. This also means that if you do spot a problem, it is usually fairly easy to diagnose and correct the issue before it damages your plant’s health too much. There are not many causes of leaves dropping for Dragon Plants, the main ones being overwatering, low light levels, or cold temperatures/drafts.

Overwatering can cause your plant to lose leaves

If you find that your Dragon Plant is starting to lose leaves from the bottom up, then it may be a problem with the roots that is causing the issue. The most common one is overwatering. Giving them too much water too often is one of the main killers of Dragon Plants so you need to act quickly if you suspect this is the problem. Dragon Plants absolutely hate sitting in water as this can easily lead to root rot meaning the plant becomes unstable and also cannot get needed nutrients from its root system. Waterlogged soil also gives off quite a damp and musty smell so get up close to all of your houseplants every so often to check for any smells.

If you think that your Dragon Plant is waterlogged, check the moisture of the soil immediately and adjust watering accordingly. We also recommend replacing the potting soil straight away (rather than waiting for it to naturally dry out) so that the roots can begin to recover and resume healthy growth. Take a look at our guide to handling root rot for more information.

In future, try to regulate your watering and always check that the top of the soil is dry before giving your Dragon Plant any more water. You need to also water according to the seasons; in the spring and summer (growth period) your Dragon Plant will require water about every 5-6 days. However, in winter (dormant period) about once every few weeks is enough.

Leaf drop can also indicate drainage issues

It’s worth checking the drainage of the soil and pot that you’re using for your Dragon Plant as even if you are watering the correct amount, without proper drainage your plant may still be waterlogged. Having the root system soaked in water for long periods of time is likely to bring about a whole host of problems, not just falling leaves. To improve the drainage of your plants; make sure there are unblocked drainage holes in the pot, any decorative pots are regularly checked for excess water and potentially add some stones to the bottom of the pot or perlite to the soil.

Dragon Plants can lose leaves due to lighting issues

Dragon Plants like bright, indirect light and if they spend too long in a shady spot, they may start to drop some of their leaves. Make sure you place them somewhere they will receive several hours of bright light. You might also need to think about moving your Dragon Plant around depending on the seasons. In the winter months, when the sun isn’t as strong (and out for less of the day) it might be necessary to move your plant a little closer to the window to make use of the limited sunlight as best as possible.

If you can’t find a sunnier spot in your home for your Dragon Plant, don’t worry. They are pretty resilient plants so they can cope in a range of environments. Your Dragon Plant will adjust to the light levels and should stop losing as many leaves. It may drop one or two every few months but this shouldn’t be anything to worry out, it is just prioritising new growth over its older leaves.

Cold temperatures/drafts may also be to blame

Another cause of leaf drop in Dragon Plants can be cold temperatures and drafts. They dislike cold air so make sure that you do not place your plant near doors or windows that may be drafty. Even though the temperature of your home may be perfect for your Dragon Plant, the drafts coming in from outside may be colder and harm your plant’s health. This is actually the case for most houseplants so try and avoid placing any near drafty windows or doors that are often open to the outside. You can always pick up a digital thermometer to check the spot your Dragon Plant is sat for piece of mind.

Natural ageing can cause some leaves to fall off

As your Dragon Plant matures, it may occasionally lose a lower leaf as a natural sign of ageing. This is absolutely nothing to worry about but make sure that you keep track of how many leaves have dropped and how often this is occurring. If you feel it is losing too many leaves, more than a few each month, double-check the environment around your Dragon Plant as it could be a sign of one of the issues detailed above. There is no harm in giving the soil and roots a once over to check for signs of root rot and keep an eye on any changes in light or temperature that may be affecting its health.

Leaf drop isn’t always something to be alarmed about, but it is good to double-check the care you are giving your Dragon Plant to see if it may be a sign of a more serious issue. Thankfully there aren’t too many reasons you need to check through and a small adjustment to your care routine or its environment should have your Dragon Tree back in full health pretty quickly.


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