Why Corn Plant Dracaena Gets Brown & Yellow Tips

Hi Judy- I came into ownership of an unknown house plant when I got married. My husband does not know the type of plant and it appears to have a fungus for last several months. The good news is there is a new budding piece but I’m unsure of how to save the main part. Or if I should split the old and new. Any help would be great. Thanks!

Hi Ceyo,


Your plant is called a Dracaena Massengeanna or Corn Plant Dracaena. You can trim the brown and yellow sections off of the leaves with a sharp, WET, scissors. Using wet scissors prevents the leaves from continuing to yellow. I don’t think it is a plant fungus attacking your Dracaena. Dracaena Corn Plants are very sensitive to fluoride, chlorine, and salt in the water. The leaves also turn brown and yellow when the plant gets too much fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.  . Here are some suggestions to prevent the brown and yellow tips from developing on your Corn Plant Dracaena:

1. Never use water that has passed through a softener, it is too salty

2. If your household water contains a great deal of chlorine & fluoride, allow it to sit out over night before using it. This allows the chemicals to evaporate.

3. Always dilute your plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength. Dracaenas should only be fed in the Spring & Summer months, once in the fall, and never in the winter.

You can read more about a Dracaena Corn Plant in the Popular HousePlant Section of the website.