Why is My Dracaena Leaning?

Last Updated on October 14, 2022 by Stephanie

Dracaena trees can add an elegant touch to your home. They are beautiful to behold, particularly when theyre straight and upright. However, over the passage of time, houseplants can begin to lean on the other side.

If this occurs, dont be concerned. Follow this step-by-step guide to restore your dragon tree back to its straight and tall posture once more. Most of the time, switching to indirect lighting and changing the way it waters itself will be enough to get the job done.

What To Expect With a Healthy Dracaena Tree

Dracaenas are available in various species, and each one has a distinct appearance. However, the majority of healthy dracaenas have common characteristics.

The stems of good dragons are strong and stay straight in their pots. Then, at the tip of the stem, you will see the sword-shaped leaves that shoot upwards toward the sky but lean towards the end.

While some dragon trees may have dried tips on their leaves, its usually found in the older leaves of a few.

Dracaenas are robust plants but slow to grow. They may take a few years to reach the indoor size of around six feet (1.8 meters) tall. Although it is contingent on the variety of plants, you can expect to see one inch or more inches per season.

In the end, it is important to stay attentive to your plant and observe the time it ceases to grow. If you notice its getting less vibrant, such as the stem becoming weaker and leaning, it indicates that your dracaena is struggling to adjust. Its time to act immediately to protect it.

Related: Can My Plants Grow Without Soil?


Why Does a Dracaena Start Leaning?

The majority of species of dracaena are susceptible to learning due to a variety of reasons. Lets study each of them.

Overwatering Issues 

If you frequently drown your tree the soil is never able to dry and drain correctly.

In the process, the soil is able to retain extra moisture, which interferes with oxygen and gas exchange within the roots. This, in turn, suffocates healthy root structures and reduces their capacity to absorb water and nutrients.

In the end, the root system begins to decay, impairing the plants ability to take in moisture and nutrients. The stem weakens because of a deficiency in sufficient nutrients, which makes it weak.

Furthermore, once the roots begin to rot and die, they will not support the rest part of the plant in the proper position.

The majority of dragon trees that are overwatered have fungus. It is easy to spot this by taking a look at their stems. Most of the time, it will appear darker on its lower portion while appearing more aged and wrinkled on the top side.

It could also be becoming less rigid and beginning to loosen.

Another indication of a dragon tree that is overwatered is when it smells unpleasant, like eggs that are rotten. These smells suggest that there is an issue with drainage and that the roots are decaying. It is also possible to examine the leaves as water-logged ones are yellow.

Related: How to Water Dracaena Marginata

Low Sunlight Levels Affect Dracaena

Similar to other species, dracaenas need adequate sunlight to keep growing. However, the majority of dracaenas are placed in areas that receive less sunlight. This is why the plant will try to aid itself in finding more light to carry its photosynthesis and other essential tasks.

In order to achieve this, it has to endure an insignificant, leggy growth as it tries to extend it towards a more advanced source of illumination. But, as the leggy growth is weaker and rougher, youll notice the stem leaning towards one side.

Overgrown Stems Can Make Dracaena Lean

If you dont take care of them, the stems of mature dracaenas tend to grow too large and grow taller. If you dont trim the plants, they usually do not branch out freely. In the end, they will end up having several tall stems, which become quite weighty over time.

Sometimes, the plant is difficult to support the additional weight, and if the stem isnt strong enough, it could begin to lose weight.

Pot Issues with Dracaena

If its not the soil thats the issue, the pot that was used to grow the dragon tree may be the cause. Maybe drainage isnt as good, or the container doesnt have drainage holes in the first place, making it difficult to figure out how much to give the plant.

However, the size of the pot may be contributing to the leaning issue in equal parts. If the pot is large, it will require more soil to support the Dracaena tree. If there isnt sufficient soil in the pot, the plant could take over the pot and begin to lose weight.

If your pot is smaller in size, it is likely that the dracaena is overgrowing it and is now roots bound. It is evident through the plant roots.

If you notice they are popping out of the drain holes or wrapping the pots edges on the outside, its likely that the plant is getting strangled.

The tightness of the roots and their wrapping greatly reduce absorption, reducing the number of nutrients that are delivered to the plants. In the end, the stem begins to shrink and begin to lose its shape. If you observe that the tree is growing out of the pot, you can see that the tiny container is unable to support the size and weight of the tree.

Soil Issues for Dracaena

Many people wait too long to be aware that their container or soil that is holding the dragons tree could contribute to excessive water retention and poor drainage.

When youve planted your Draculaena plant in soils that are denser it is possible that it will keep excess water that isnt needed by the plant.

Most households will have a standard potting mix that is porous enough. However, as time passes, the soil could become compacted or too dense, creating a substrate that is not suitable for development.

If you water these soils, they will absorb excess water, which can have the same effect on the roots as excessive watering. This can hinder absorption and gas exchange, thereby weakening the whole plant.

Related: Which Pot is Best for Dracaena Marginata?

Related: Best Soil For Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree)

Grow of Heavy Leaves Affect Dracaena

The majority of dragon trees grow and hold onto many leaves. While the older and yellowing leaves have to be shed by themselves, others remain in the plant, increasing the weight. When the plants stem isnt very sturdy, it might not be able to handle the additional leaf weight, resulting in being slanted.

Pest Issues

Pest infestation is by far the most frequent cause of the leaning dragon tree. This is because dracaenas are typically low-maintenance plants, which decreases the chance of pests playing with them.

However, pest infestation is still possible. The soil could be contaminated with the fungus gnats, which could cause extensive damage to the root system of the plant.

On the other hand, mealybugs and aphids can consume the moisture of the plants leaves and stem and cause havoc to the overall health of your dracaena plant.

Temperature Fluctuations Affect Dracaena

Although these robust houseplants can withstand a variety of environments, the optimal one being 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (16deg-21degC), rapid changes in temperature can cause stress to the plant.

The extreme heat caused by a temperature increase or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight causes the plant to lose water via transpiration. The water that is lost is usually greater than the amount that plants can absorb through their roots. In the end, the plant becomes weaker over time and begins to lose its shape.

However, exposing the plant to extremely cold winds or abrupt temperature drops can damage the cells. Because of this, the tree loses its rigidity and appears wilted or appear droopy. In the case of severe damage, it may be impossible to repair the tree.

How To Fix Dracaena Tree and Stop it Leaning

There is hope If your dracaena has already started leaning. It is possible to make it rise standing taller. Heres how you do it:

Water the Plant Properly

Dracaena species, particularly dragon trees, do not require excessive watering. When you water your plant be sure to keep these guidelines in your mind:

  • Check Drainage: The water should be thoroughly rinsed, allowing excess water to drain from into the base of the. Allow the plant to drain completely, then empty the saucer or dish beneath the plant.
  • Check Soil: Allow your plants to rest for a couple of weeks to feel the soil with your finger to determine whether its dry. When you are sure that the soil is dry, youll be sure to give your Dracaena tree once more.
  • Check Moisture: Check the soils moisture prior to applying water again. This will remove any doubts and allows you to provide your dragon tree with water just when thirsty. If youre uncomfortable poking with your hands into the soil, you can use an instrument to measure the moisture. When it is inserted into the soil of your potting, it will tell you if the soil is dry, so you can sprinkle some water on it. Make sure you dont follow an unreliable watering schedule, as the needs of dracaena change regularly.

Related: How to Water Dracaena Marginata

Expose Your Dracaena to More Sunlight

Let your dragon tree receive what it needs most: plenty of light and direct sunlight. If this isnt feasible, however, the plant will thrive in the shade.

The majority of dracaena species can are tolerant of different levels of light. To avoid the leaning that is feared, it is essential to provide the plant with sufficient lighting. This will reduce the chances that the plant will lean to get a better view of light.

However, it is crucial not to expose the dragons tree to direct sunlight since it could cause scorching of the leaves. If you have to, you can let it rest under the suns rays in the morning - only for a few minutes. Do not expose the tree to direct sunlight in the afternoon.

The goal should be to make sure that your dracaena plant gets indirect sunlight for between 4 and 6 hours per day. If it continues to be leaning towards the window, It is important to rotate the pot every week. This allows every part of your tree to have a high-quality lighting source, which reduces the tendency to lean hard.

Prune Stems Strategically

If your dracaena tree has a number of overgrown stems that arent able to support the weight of their branches, you could reduce them to a size that is manageable. The most effective way to get away from the burden of weight while allowing the tree to grow straight is to create an angle of 45 degrees across its stem.

As time passes, the cut will grow forth new stems. Its good news that you can continue to root the cut stem tips in the water. Then, you can transfer it to another pot to grow new dracaena plant varieties.

How to Use Stakes for Extra Support

If trimming your Dracaena doesnt work for you, consider using stakes to aid in supporting the heavy dracaena stems.

The most effective stake is a bamboo pole that is usually coated with either plastic or metal. Both are accessible at home improvement stores as well as nurseries. Whatever stake you pick, make sure its strong enough to keep your stem straight.

To provide additional support, you can make use of a wire to tie the stem tightly. Make sure not to tie it too tight so that it is able to dig into the plants tissue.

The stakes will allow your dracaena plant to grow straight for a while. When the plant is solid, you can take the stakes off and let the plant grow long and straight.

Be aware that when you stake specific dragon tree species, the trees could depend on them for a lifetime.

Related: How To Prune Your Dracaena Marginata

Trim the Leaves Regularly 

The heavy leaves of the dragon plant are sufficient to bring it down and cause it to lean to one side. But you can also make use of gardening scissors to cut off the aged and yellowing leaves. You can also form your plant to make it more compact and suit your preferences by trimming and removing the excess leaves.

Can I Cut the Top off a Dracaena?

You can trim the top of a dracaena with garden scissors. Pruning the tree for 10-12 inches (25 to 30.5 cm) is the best option. As time passes, new growth will grow in the cut-off area.

Adjust Your Dracaena in the Pot

Use this method only apply this technique only if the whole tree is leaning and not just the top portion:

  1. Loosen Roots: Carefully dig the soil out to release the plant and its entire roots from its pot.
  2. Place Plant in Pot: Return the plant back to the pot, placing the root ball at an angle, allowing the tree to rise straight up.
  3. Check Soil: Make sure you have fresh well-drained soil, and then fill it into the pot along by adding the tree of dragons.

How to Replace Pot and Soil Properly

If you believe the soil youve used to plant your dragon tree is too hard or compacted, give a boost to the plant you have chosen by planting it in different pots of soil.

The majority of dracaena species do well in the many pre-mixed potting and potting soils that are available. However, you may be interested in confirming that the soil you are using has excellent drainage, a breathable substrate, light, and some pumice or perlite. The addition of one portion of pumice or perlite to 3-4 parts of potting soil will help make the soil lighter.

Additionally, you should look over the pot that is holding the dragons tree. It is important to choose a pot that has enough room so that the root ball can grow.

Related: Best Soil For Dracaena Marginata (Dragon Tree)

In general, a distance between one and two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) between the sides of the pot between the pots sides and its root ball should suffice. Any more than that will hold in excess soil moisture, and a smaller space is likely to require repotting, too in the near future.

Additionally, the pot should have at least one drainage hole on the bottom. A pot that has an ideal drainage hole allows you to water your dracaena plant well without having to worry about clogging the roots or soil.

Control Pests with Pesticides or Natural Remedies 

Dragon trees can be able to recover from pests through different treatments. These range from natural solutions as well as synthetic pesticides. The one you choose to use will be contingent on the type of pest that has invaded your tree.

I treat fungus gnats by watering my plant with a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide. All you have been able to measure is four water components and mix them together with one part of hydrogen peroxide. Then, you can apply the mixture to the plant once the topsoil is 2 inches dry.

Hydrogen peroxide is extremely efficient in killing larvae and gnats, but it is not able to cause harm to the root structure of your plant.

Another method for natural insect control is to use the method of watering. If you only water your tree as needed and in the right way, it will not create an environment that is conducive to pests multiplying.

Avoid Extreme Temperature Exposure 

When exposed to extreme heat, the dragon tree can become dehydrated. If this occurs, take it out of the source of heat and then completely water it. Be sure to monitor the plant to make sure it is able to recover within a couple of hours.

If the indoor temperature drops to below 50 deg F (10degC) and causes the plant to shrink, Find a new location to keep it safe from freezing temperatures. It is essential to avoid exposing the dragons tree to long-term temperatures since it could cause permanent damage.

If you react quickly to the situation, your dracaena will recover within a couple of hours or several days. The ideal place to store the plant is in a location that receives constant indirect sunlight. This means that you should not keep the plant close to a window or air conditioning and heating vents.

Can I Grow Dracaena Outside?

It is possible to grow the Anita Dracaena outdoors if your region is not frosty and the temperatures range from 60deg to 70degF (16deg-21degC). If temperatures fall to below the 50 degree mark (10degC) the dracaenas could not thrive and may even end up dying. Extremely hot temperatures must also be avoided by this tree.



Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)