Root Rot In Dracaena Marginata

If you’ve noticed that you can see that the roots of the Dracaena marginata tree isn’t looking well, you might be wondering what is causing this. And, more importantly what you can do to solve it. There are two primary reasons for root rot to be found within Dracaena marginata.

The primary reason behind Dracaena marginata root rot is the excessive soil moisture. The excessive moisture can create an environment that allows different organisms and fungi to flourish and cause damage to the plant. In excess feeding with fertilizerscan cause the fungi and bacteria to degrade the roots.

Dracaena marginata, also known as The Dragon Tree, are plants that can withstand a variety of conditions and in different environments.

But, it doesn’t mean they are immune to diseases and other issues that cause the root to turn brown. The earlier you recognize and look for symptoms of root rot, the more likely and easier chances of salvaging the health of your Dracaena.

Causes Of Root Rot In Dracaena Marginata

There are a variety of reasons that cause root decay within Dracaena marginata. The most frequent reason is that the soil is too wet.

The moisture causes the growth of various types of fungi and bacterium which eventually cause the root to turn brown.

The excessive moisture present in the soil could result from overwatering or inadequate drainage of the soil. One possible result of excessive watering could be the loss of oxygen for the plant. The lower oxygen levels affect the capacity of roots to develop and for the plant to thrive.

Another common way for the spread of fungi and bacteria is by overfeeding the plant. In essence, feeding too much results in the nitrogen levels of the soil to rise. This, in turn, triggers an immune system in the Dracaena to decrease its sensitivity and thus fight any illness.

Bacterium Can Cause The Root To Rot

The root of the Dracaena marginata plant may be damaged if it is infected by a specific bacterium known as Erwinia carotovora . Carotovora. It basically invades the plant by way of a cut, or a area on the plant where there was a wound or cut.

The pathogens multiply and spread in water. They can spread faster if the soil is wet and drainage is inadequate. The bacterium also likes to thrive in warmer temperatures.

It is possible to detect if the rot is growing due to this bacterium once the root turns brown. It is evident at the bottom of the plant, as well as the lower portion of the stem, as well as other roots that connect.

It is possible that there is excessive amounts of water on the bottom of the Dracaena marginata base, which can cause the dark brown color of the stem and root.

The most effective way to spot the roots that are brown and decaying is to observe the plant when it is removed from the pot. Additionally, the leaves close to the plant’s base may begin to drop off.

As a result of the process of rotting the root softens and develops the appearance of a mushy texture. Similar to decay in other plants lifeforms, there is an unpleasant smell that is associated with the process of rotting.

Fungus Can Cause Root To Rot

Two types of fungi could cause a decaying root within Dracaena Marginata. The first is rot caused by it being caused by the Pythium fungus. This kind of fungus is widely known in numerous soils and plants.

Sometimes Pythium fungus isn’t harmful however, certain strains may cause harm, particularly when you have a Dracaena is already in poor health. If the plant is suffering from an illness, injury or weakness, this particular type of Pythium could result in the roots to turn rotten.

The symptoms are similar to symptoms of the bacterium: soft, brown and decaying roots, lower leaves, and the stem. The growth is also slowed because the roots aren’t functioning properly.

If the Dracaena plant root is suffering due to the Pythium fungus, the older leaves may be sloughed off, die and turn yellow in the color. The new leaves will be limited until the issue is resolved.

The second kind of fungus responsible for Dracaena marginata root decay is Armillaria. Armillaria is also known as the oak root fungus. This fungus also grows and thrives in extremely humid conditions.

Armillaria fungus targets the Dracaena marginata plant by release of an enzyme that penetrates and destroys the roots of the plant. The fungus spreads from the root tips towards the base of the trunk and the plant is weak and begins to decay.

The Armillaria fungus is so invasive that it can cause mushrooms to appear in the base of the Dracaena if the disease is serious. The plant typically dies between one and two years after the onset of the fungal disease.

plants indoor table

What Does Root Rot In Dracaena Marginata Look Like

First, determine the root rot that appears in the Dracaena marginata. The roots and the bottom of the stem will turn soft and brown. The discoloration starts at the bottom of the stem however, it will progress upwards as the decay spreads.

Normal roots are strong and can hold their own shape extremely well. Sometimes, the roots are black and extremely fragile to contact. They are so fragile that they are prone to be able to fall away after being exposed to the sun and taken off from soil.

Another thing that is common when root rot occurs can be that leaves on the bottom of the plant begin to fall off. They start to lose their shape and then change to yellowish hue.

When the degeneration is serious the brown-black color may extend all the way up to the top on the Dracaena.

There may be a foul smell emanating from the Dracaena marginata when the roots are rotting. These are all typical signs of excessive watering in other plants that eventually lead to stem rot and root decay.

For those who are looking for these signs There are specific ways you can employ to determine whether your Dracaena is getting worse.

How To Check If Dracaena Marginata Has Root Rot

If you think you suspect that your Dracaena is suffering from root rot, you can test this by inspecting the plant to confirm. To visually inspect all roots, take the plant out of the container.

Because Dracaena marginata is a tough plant It is fairly easy to take them out of the soil and then replant them.

The container should be placed with the plant on the side, and gently tap and wiggle it so that the Dracaena is free of the sides. If it seems somewhat stubborn Try using a sharp knife to cut off from the side of the pot as well as the soil.

Then, gently lift the plant away from its root out of the pot, however take care not to harm the plant. It is possible to cause injury by not being gentle enough in the process, particularly when there are indications of a illness (for instance, leaves that are yellowing).

After the Dracaena is removed from the pot, break loose some of the extremely compact soil so you can examine the roots. In order to be able to observe the root ball clearly, as well as the smaller roots, be sure to get rid of enough soil and dirt.

If the roots of the Dracaena marginata is healthy, they appear either orange or yellow in color. Compare this with the dark brown-black hue of roots that are decaying and you’ll be in a position to confirm (hopefully but not) the suspicions. To make this process simpler, pour some water on the root ball to improve visibility.

If you’re checking the roots carefully You may also notice the unpleasant odor released when the roots begin to rot. The unpleasant, rotting smell is another definite sign that your Dracaena requires help.

How To Fix Root Rot In Dracaena Marginata

If you suspect that your Dracaena marginata is suffering from root decay, there are a few options to help save your plant. These techniques generally aim to address the two main reasons: excessive watering and feeding. Through controlling drainage and nutrition of the soil, it’s possible to fix the issue.

Watering Methods To Fix Root Rot

When the roots of your Dracaena marginata is softening and has changed color There are several options to attempt to resolve the issue. The soil must be well-drained since excessive moisture can cause the root to turn brown. The roots begin to decay because the water is the place where bacteria flourish.

If you notice that the Dracaena root is dying due to it being affected by the Pythium fungus, you can manage the fungus by taking a bath every week. Proper water management is irrigation of the plants regularly every fourth day and less often in winter when it is cold. This will prevent overwatering and could fix the root issue of rotting.

Another way to avoid overwatering is to examine the top layer of soil. If the top layer is dry, you should sprinkle water on the Dracaena. Many people overwater, and therefore a clay-based pot is a great idea. The clay can draw the water from the soil faster than other pots.

A soil mix that is well-drained is crucial to your Dracaena. They prefer loose soil that replicates their natural environment, with an acidity range of 6 – 7.

A well-drained soil is vital because Dracaena marginata tend to be tolerant of dry weather. One method to improve the drainage of the soil would be to include sand and pine bark particles. It is possible to add tiny stones or pebbles to in the base of your container, too.

Request well-drained soil choices. There are a variety of pre-mixed soils you can find from the nurseries. After your Dracaena is established it is possible to repot it every couple of years until you spot evidence of root decay.

Repotting and using a new and better soil could aid in removing the root rot issue. It will be apparent how the drainage isn’t flowing through the soil, then you can repot the Dracaenausing new soil. You can also add perlite or pumice to the mix.

Feeding And Caring Methods For Treating Root Rot

The excessive feeding of fertilizers can cause fungus to thrive. Make an effort to stop the spread of fungal diseases by giving Dracaena Dracaena each two weeks, or even every month in the spring and summer. The fertilizer must be water-soluble.

It’s probably a good idea However, take care when handling the plant. The recovery will be contingent on how severe the rot is, and how long this process has gotten. Any further injury can delay the recovery process or make it impossible.

It is possible to address the root rot issue by eliminating the affected parts in the plants. Remove the roots, leaves, or stems that are decaying and eliminate the affected parts. This technique can be effective for an infection of a minor degree and usually helps to restore the plant or at the very least stops further spreading by the bacteria.

If you have an Armillaria fungal infection, the only method to treat the issue is to eliminate all affected parts in the plants. When the decay is severe and the plant is infected, the Dracaena must be eliminated and destroyed completely.

The dying root is unable to transport the essential water and nutrients to the other parts of the plant in order to continue to live.

There are no products on the market that can save the Dracaena with serious and irreparable root decay. However, you can use disinfecting tools and solutions to stop the spreading of the decay in mild cases.

A DIY remedy is to mix 1 part ordinary bleach with 9 parts of water. After you have removed the affected roots as well as stems and leaves apply the solution to the areas that are exposed.

How To Prevent Root Rot In Dracaena Marginata

Prevention is always the key in extending the lifespan of your beloved Dracaena marginata. You can take care of your Dracaena by putting it in a location that has shade and sun. The balance between sunlight and shade are crucial to ensure optimal growth.

It is Dracaena marginata is renowned as a tough plant that can withstand diverse conditions. But, if you wish to ensure that the health of your plants and to prevent root rot, it is important to have a moist soil that is well-drained to ensure that it doesn’t get too moist for the roots.

The soil’s content should also be taken into consideration, since Dracaena have a very organic soil composition. Another crucial aspect to consider when trying to solve the issue is to stop it from spreading to others Dracaena plant.

If one plant is suffering from an infection that causes the root to turn brown, it could be spread to other plants that are close by.

Examine your plants regularly for signs of root rot to determine and separate the affected plants. One method to do this is to isolate the plant with the issue from other plants that you have. It is also possible to relocate all healthier plants onto one side of your garden or the house.

Another way to prevent root decay for Dracaena marginata is to examine your plant’s health for diseases or injury prior to purchasing it. The majority of plant owners do not require irrigation overhead, however some nurseries use these.

Do not use this method of watering or purchasing a Dracaena from an establishment that uses it. The systems can cause water to pool on the soil that attracts bacteria as well as different kinds of fungi.

How To Save A Dracaena Marginata From Root Rot

Most of the time the case, the Dracaena marginata will be cured of root rot if properly and effectively. While it is unlikely, it could also be fatal. It is crucial to follow the steps to keep the plant safe step-by-step.

First, you must be able to view the entire root system. The only way to do this is to remove the plant from its container. After that clean the roots thoroughly to make sure it’s clear where the rotten parts are.

Cleansing thoroughly is the most important step , as if any roots are not removed, the rot will come again after having repotted the roots again. When you can see the rotten roots clearly, cut them off with gardening shears, or sharp cutting tools.

Make sure you are as clean as you can Use clean tools and clean your hands frequently throughout the entire procedure. You can apply your DIY remedy (1:9 bleach, water) for the scissors or shears as well on the pieces you’ve removed. This will prevent future infection to the healthy areas of the plant.

After you’ve taken away all brown and decaying roots, you may find some stems that are rotting and leaves which also have to be cut and pruned back. The Dracaena may appear very barren at this point, but it’s essential to take the necessary steps to prevent bacteria or fungi from re-invading.

Then, repot the Dracaena into clean well-drained soil. The container should be soaked in the bleach solution. It is still possible to make use of the old container or pot, but be sure that it’s completely cleaned. Make sure you are using the right feeding and watering methods for ensuring that the rootrot doesn’t come back.


The two main reasons for Dracaena marginata root rot is excessive watering and feeding. This creates the environment that allows the fungi and bacteria to flourish and can attack the plant.

The result is the stem and root becoming decayed and, in extreme instances, can cause the Dracaena to end up dying. There is a way to treat root rot by carefully removing affected areas. It is possible to use preventative measures as well.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)