Over- watered dracaena houseplant

I have a plant that a friend gave me she called it a pineapple top. She’s had success growing and propagating 4 of the plants with no problems. Mine seemed to have a yellow or dead leaf every week or so. It’s increased a lot more lately though and when I was wiping it’s leaves clean tonight there was a patch in the middle of the stem with short dead brown/black leaves. Healthy ones on top again but since there was such a large ring of them I didn’t want to do anything else til I got some help. I think I’ve figured out he’s a dracaenas compacta or dracaena Janet Craig…but don’t know why it’s started having issues. I did move it about 2 months ago to a side table with a lamp that was only ever turned on from September in evenings. Otherwise the table is low light. I lightly water it weekly. I have not fertilized it yet, I was getting ready to do that when I noticed the damage. Help.

Hi Bea,


Your plant is a Dracaena janet craig. Most problems with this very easy care plant are caused by too much water or the quality of the water you use. Lightly watering each week is not a good idea. Wait until all of the soil has almost dried out; in the location you described, this could take two or three weeks. When you finally water, water well enough so that it comes out the bottom drip holes in the pot. Do not let the plant sit in the water, but immediately empty the drip tray. Then, do not water again until the soil has again almost totally dried out. Until you are sure how long this takes, you may have to carefully remove the plant from its pot and feel the soil at the bottom of the root ball. If your water contains fluoride or chlorine, allow it to sit out over night before using it. These chemicals damage the leaves of dracaena plants. The plant would probably be be happier if you could move it to a brighter location at least until it starts to get over the watering problems.

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.