How to Save Dracaena Marginata from Root Rot

Root rot is a common occurrence in plants, and is usually triggered when the soil isn’t well-drained. The moisture in excess attracts microorganisms which cause root rot.

There’s good news: that you can save a plant such as the Drachaena marginata from root rot by following the methods I’ll describe below.

Here’s how to keep dracaena marginata safe from root the rot:

  1. Take the plant out of the pot
  2. Get rid of soil that is old
  3. Clean and treat the roots
  4. Get rid of infected roots and any the excess foliage
  5. Disinfect shears/scissors
  6. Clean the pot
  7. Create new soil
  8. Place the Dracaena marginata back in the pot
  9. Stop root rot from occurring over and over

As per Iowa State University Root rot is a very common disease in indoor plants, and it’s not surprising that many are interested in knowing how to prevent and treat it from happening. Fortunately the treatment of moderate root rot within the dracaena marginata is fairly simple.

Follow this step-by-step guide to help you save the dracaena marginata plant from root decay.

1. Take the plant out of the pot

If you spot the discoloration and wrinkled leaf growth on the Dracaena marginata it is time to investigate the root cause. The symptoms above indicate root rot in a lot of cases and it’s recommended to take the plant out of the pot as quickly as you can.

When you are removing the plant, be careful not to pull too hard , as this could result in damage or even breakage. Make sure to pull the root instead of the leaves. After you’ve removed the plant put it in a safe place to keep it from becoming damaged or wet.

black pot on soil for repotting

Make sure not to place a Dracaena Margata away of direct light. If you are removing the plant out from the pot it’s a great idea to put it on a newspaper. This will help ensure that the plant is protected and will take away any water that could cause root decay.

2. Dispose of Old Soil

After you’ve removed the plant’s dracaena, it’s time to get rid of the soil that was previously used. You may be tempted to reuse your soil when you’ve treated the plant, but you should avoid it. Because fungi are the most common cause of root decay and soil rot, it is probable that the soil has been affected.

It’s not a good idea be going through the hassle treatment of your plants just to put it back into the soil that is contaminated by fungi. Since fungi thrive quickly and easily in moist or dense soils, it’s recommended to replace the original soil by lighter sandier soil.

The light sandy soil drains water well however not so much that your dracaena will not have enough.

3. Wash and Treat the Roots

If it appears that all of the root is affected, you must get rid of the plant and purchase another plant. Infected roots that are completely infected is difficult to deal with. If only a small portion of roots are affected it is possible to treat your Dracaena to the best of your abilities.

Clean the roots by placing them in running water. Be careful not to get the foliage wet as it could harm the plant. Instead focus the water directly towards the roots.

In washing the roots you can help remove some extra dirt. But, it will not eliminate the root rot completely. If you’re looking to get rid of this root-rot (or at the very least, significantly lessen the severity of the disease) A fungicide is the best option.

There are various fungicides for various types of fungi. It’s recommended to determine the type of species of fungus that is infecting your plants prior to purchasing the chemical. It is best to only apply the fungicide only when it is absolutely it is necessary. If you’re not certain about the kind of fungus you’re dealing with, seek out a specialist.

Because fungicides are chemical substances that can cause harm to plants if used excessively or frequently. Use gloves when you treat your plants using a fungicide, to prevent the contact of your face.

Use fungicide only on the roots since that is where the problem is. In the event that you don’t, you could cause damage rather than benefit for your plant when you apply the fungicide elsewhere.

4. Remove Infected Roots and Excess Foliage

It is recommended to look at the roots to determine the severity of the problem. If you begin treating the roots randomly without taking into account the severity and nature of injury, you could cause damage that is more harmful than beneficial. Here are the most common symptoms of root infections in the dracaena.

  • Roots that are discolored (brownish) root. Healthy roots should have white or have a light brown shade. Any other color could be a sign of an infection.
  • Mushy and soft roots. Roots should be firmer than soft or mushy. If they’re soft or mushy take out those roots which feel as this.

After you’ve identified the root that is affected Cut them off with garden shears or scissors. Before you do this, make sure the tools are sterile in order to prevent spreading the infection to other areas that are part of your roots.

Cleanse your tools with household chemicals such as alcohol or bleach Take care to perform the disinfection in a secure location far from your plant. After that, you can begin cutting off the roots that are infected. This should be simple to complete since they’re likely to be soft and mushy.

If you decide to remove certain roots, you’ll need to take off some leaves. In the event that you don’t the roots will have more leaves to care for which can stress the roots and making the plant grow slow. Make sure you remove the affected roots completely.

The rule of thumb is to remove approximately the same amount of foliage the roots are removed. Don’t be concerned about the absence of leaves for the moment. The dracaena will develop enough foliage when it’s got enough roots.

5. Disinfect Shears/Scissors

After you’ve used the tools, be sure to clean them. They were exposed to infected roots The most important thing is not to spread the infection to healthy roots.

Similar to root rot treatments cleaning gardening tools is dependent on that you follow the steps in the following steps.

  • Clean them with running water to get rid of any dirt or other debris.
  • Cleanse your scissors or shears by using alcohol or bleach to get rid of any fungus stuck to the tools. This is a must because if you don’t, there’s a possibility that you’ll be spreading the fungus to different areas in your yard.

It’s easy to just leave your tools in their original state and not think about cleaning or disinfecting them.

But, you could unintentionally create problems for other plants at home or in your garden by using potentially harmful tools, so be sure to follow this procedure.

6. Clean the Pot

Cleaning the pot of your plant is a crucial part of protecting your dracaena from root decay. If you don’t, you could leave behind a few fungi which could infect the marginata dracaena once you return it to the pot. To wash your pot, follow these steps.

  • Rinse the pot in water to remove the soil and dirt that has accumulated.
  • Make use of bleach to clean the pot. This will get rid of any remnants of infection from the pot.

Naturally, it is possible that you could also get a new one in the event that you are unable to clean the old one completely. However, this isn’t required as long as you follow proper steps to get it cleaned. It is also possible to change the pot in case there are indications of damage, such as cracks or a lack of drainage.

7. Create new soil

After the pot has been cleaned and disinfected, it is possible to put in fresh soil. Make sure to use loose and well-drained soil to minimize the chance of flooding, which can lead to root decay. Here are the most crucial points to keep in mind when making the addition of the soil or potting to the dracaena marginata.

  • Make sure the pot has adequate drainage. The pot should have a drainage hole inside it. If not, your dracaena could become swollen, causing issues like death of the plant. If your pot doesn’t have a hole, you can drill one in it.
  • Include clay pebbles in the soil. Clay pebbles aid in aeration of the soil, and aid in absorbing excess water. Because fungi thrive in moist soil, clay pebbles will stop fungi from flourishing and spreading.
  • Give about two to four inches of space at the very top of your pot. So your plants will be given enough room to develop well and decrease the chance of it becoming overcrowded.
  • Make sure the plant is in indirect light. Like we said earlier, dracaenas thrive best in indirect light. If you put the plants in sunlight that is direct, it will cause the leaves to become burned and decrease the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from its leaves.

8. Place the Dracaena Marginata Back Into the Pot

Once you’ve incorporated your new garden, you are able to place your plant back. Make a hole in the center of your soil, and put the roots of the dracaena into.

Then then, you can move the soil around the root, covering it, thereby preventing exposure to elements that can harm you.

9. Prevent Root Rot From Happening Again

According to the old saying that an ounce of prevention can be worth the cost of a kilogram of cure. If you’ve learned how to deal with minor instances of root rot in the dracaena marginata plant, you can avoid future headaches if you can also stop root rot from happening from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips for avoiding root rot in plants of the dracaena.

Ensure the Soil Is Well-Drained

A well-drained soil is essential for the dracaena marginata. If you choose to use the light, sandy soil, that drains easily without taking away the water it requires the plant will thrive. Avoid soil that is clay-like heavy, or excessively moist because these types of soil do not drain well.

It’s an excellent idea to add clay pebbles into your potting soil in order to aid it drain properly. It is easy to purchase clay pebbles on the internet, such as those from organic clay pebbles CZ Expanded available on Amazon. They’re completely organic, and the level of pH won’t hurt your plants.

Avoid Overwatering the Plant

If you are prone to overwatering dracaena marginata it can trigger issues such as root rot, leaf scorch and stunted growth, and even plant death. The excess watering can make it difficult for soil to absorb oxygen, making it more difficult for roots to care for the other parts part of the plant.

The soil that is waterlogged provides the ideal environment for fungi and bacteria to flourish. Also, in addition to your plant not getting the nutrients it requires from its roots, excessive watering could also increase the risk of the recurrence of infection.

Ensure You Don’t Over-Fertilize the Soil

In excess, fertilizing the soil could weaken your dracaena margarata, which makes it more vulnerable to diseases and infections. The plants typically don’t need any fertilization therefore it’s not necessary to fertilize them too frequently.

If you are looking to fertilize your Drachaena marginata it is best to do so in the spring and summer months with an organic fertilizer that is water-soluble.

A good water-soluble fertilizer that is suitable for use is the Miracle Gro Water Soluble, All Use Plant Food available on It is suitable for all plants in the house, and is usually applied every two weeks to keep your plants healthy.

But, remember the fact that dracaena marginata can be described as a plant that grows slowly and does not require a lot of fertilization. It is only necessary to fertilize your soil if it isn’t able to absorb vital nutrients, which isn’t likely in the conditions that which dracaenas thrive.

Avoid Overcrowding and Repot Every Two to Three Years

Based on research from Texas A&M University Overcrowding is the main reason for disease within potted plant. If too many plants are crowded together this reduces airflow which causes the soil to stay wet longer and attract bacteria and fungi.

Overcrowding may also happen when the plant starts to grow out of the pot. If this occurs it is necessary to pot your dracaena again. In general, it is recommended to repotte your dracaena plant each 2 to 3 years or when it appears that the plant suffers from overcrowding.

FAQs on Treating Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata

I’ve provided the procedures for treating minor cases of root rot in the dracaena marginatas.

If you have additional questions that I haven’t discussed above, go through the FAQs below to check if there’s anything that can help.

Is Baking Soda Good for Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata?

Baking soda is a remedy for root rot in dracaena marginalata because it is antifungal and that are suitable for mild cases of root rot and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew. Because fungicides contain toxic chemicals, they could cause harm to plants. Baking soda can be a less harmful and natural method to combat the fungi.

While fungicides are stronger and generally more effective however, it is worthwhile to try baking soda first.

As mentioned baking soda also contains antifungal properties. For pet owners, baking soda can be safe because the chemicals found in fungicides could be toxic.

For baking soda to be used to treat fungal infections at home mix it by adding water to it first. Watch the video on YouTube below to find out how to make an baking soda spray to treat your Dracaena marginata.


Can Hydrogen Peroxide Kill Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata?

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful agent to kill the rot of the root in dracaena marginata. For hydrogen peroxide to be used to treat root rot mix one portion of 33% hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water. The solution will kill bacteria and fungus that cause the root rot.

A great hydrogen peroxide item can be found in one called the Essential Oxygen Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide that is accessible on Amazon. It’s not contaminated by harmful stabilizers or GMOs which means it’s safe for use in your plants and won’t cause harm to your pets.

If you are planning to make use of hydrogen peroxide, choose one that has 33% potency. Anything higher-potent could harm or even cause death to your dracaena marginata.

Can Bleach Kill Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata?

Bleach is a great way to be used to kill root rot in the dracaena marginata if you dilute it and use it only sparingly. For bleach to fight root rot mix one part chlorine bleach with 9 parts of water. If you do not dilute the bleach enough it could damage the plant.

While chlorine bleach is effective in killing plant diseases It is better to test other methods first. This is because bleach is one of the most dangerous treatment for plants, so make sure to only use it when you are left with no other option.

Can You Fix Severe Root Rot in Dracaena Marginata?

You can’t fix severe root rot in dracaena marginata. If the majority part of your root has been affected it is unlikely to be able to save the plant. The best option is to throw it away and plant a new one instead. The plant isn’t salvable if the whole root is spongy dark, mushy, and dark.

If you decide to throw the plant that is diseased ensure that you thoroughly cleanse and disinfect the pot. It is helpful to dispose of the soil that is infected.

Refreshing your plant with a new plants is the best option in the event that your dracaena marginata plant is severely affected.

Can You Sterilize Soil Instead of Throwing It Away?

It is possible to sterilize soil rather than throwing it away in case it is infected due to root rot.

To accomplish this, put your soil inside a plastic bag that is black and place it in the scorching sun. The heat will eventually kill the fungus and other bacteria.

The majority of fungi, such as yeast as well as mold and root rot fungi won’t last beyond 160°F (71 degree Celsius).

To kill the fungi that live in soil, try to keep the soil temperature to 160°F (71 degree Celsius) for minimum 30 minutes to an hour.


Root rot is a common problem among houseplants, such as the dracaena marginata. It is possible to fix the issue if it’s not too serious. The most important points to learn in this post are

  • Remove the infected roots.
  • If the majority part of your root has become affected remove the plant.
  • Make use of fungicides and baking soda to clean the plant.
  • Make sure that the soil is well-drained in order to avoid any further infections.
  • Instead of replacing soil that has been affected instead, you can clean it by allowing it to rise more than 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degree Celsius) for at least 30 minutes.


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