What is my plant and why is it turning brown?

I received this plant in June from my mothers funeral, and it did not come with any care instructions or name. I water about once every two weeks, or when the soil feels dry to the touch. However, the ends of the leaves have been turning brown, and a number of leaves have turned totally brown. How I can resolve the browning issue and should I transplant it to a larger container? Please help me. I don’t want to kill this plant. I appreciate it!




There were pictures of two different plants attached to your email. The first plant is called a Dracaena Marginata and the second plant is a Split Leaf Philodendron (a poisonous houseplant). The Split Leaf Philodendron looks quite healthy so I’m guessing that you are having problems with Dracaena Marginata. The broken stems indicate a watering problem. It’s usually an over-watering problem with Dracaena marginatas, but if you are only watering every two weeks, you may have an under-watering problem. Try taking the plant out of its pot and feeling the soil at the very bottom of the pot. If it’s wet or if it’s dry, you’ll know the answer as to whether you are giving your dracaena too much or too little water. Over- watering causes root-rot and is the main reason Dracaena marginatas die. Water a Marginata, or as some call it a Dragon Tree, well and do not water again until the top 50% of the soil is totally dry, in low light this could be up to three weeks. Dark brown tips on a Dracaena Marginata indicate over-watering, too much plant food, or too much fluoride or salt in the water, especially if there is a yellow halo around the brown. Never use water that has passed through a water softener on a Dracaena Marginata. Numerous yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant means a Dracaena marginata needs more water. A Dracaena marginata is a stalk plant, so it is natural for it to lose its bottom leaves as long as it is getting new leaves on top. Cut off the dead stalks so the plant doesn’t waste its energy trying to save them. Always keep an eye out for the plant pest called spider mite that loves Dracaena marginatas.

There is more information on a Dracaena marginata and a Split Leaf Philodendron in the Popular HousePlant section of the website.