Why Dracaena Leaves Turn Brown

Hi Judy. I believe I have a Dracaena Carmen (although I once saw it referred to as a Dracaena Art Carmen) that is showing signs of distress (see photo; the “healthy” leaves are firm, dark green with a yellow stripe along each edge). Any idea what I’m doing wrong and how to remedy? I don’t know if it matters, but I recently moved from an almost 100% fluorescent office light interior office to an office with a south facing window that lets in plenty of indirect sunlight and a few hours of direct sunlight. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!


Hi Brady,

Brown leaf tips on dracaena plants, or “leaf tip burn” as this condition is sometimes called, is usually caused by the quality of the water you use.  If your water contains a lot of chlorine and especially fluorine, allow it to sit out over night before using it so the chemicals can evaporate. You can also use rain water or distilled water. Salty water also causes brown tips on dracaena leaves, so never use water that has passed through a water softener, it is much too salty.  Many people don’t realize how much salt is in plant food. If you over feed your dracaena, that also causes brown leaf tips. Fertilize a dracaena monthly in the spring and summer, and always dilute your plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength. Dracaenas are low light plants that get bleached and damaged if any direct sun hits the leaves. If it were my plant, I’d move it further from the window perhaps into a corner protected from the sun. You can read all my care tips on how to grow a dracaena plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.