Why Dracaena Marginatas Lose Leaves

I purchased these two Marginatas about a month ago at a local Nursery. I left them in the growers pots that have holes at the bottom, placed a draining tray underneath and placed them in decorative planters. I waited until the soil felt dry and then watered them. Since then, they have been consisentently dropping leaves—the tricolor Marginata is shedding much more rapidly than the Marginata, at about 7 leaves a day for the past week of so. What can I do to save them?

Attached are some pictures depicting their current state.

Thank you for your help!

Hi Shawn,

Dracaena Marginata

Marginatas are stalk plants and it is normal for them to lose their bottom leaves as long as they are getting new leaves at the top. During this process the entire leaf usually turns yellow and falls off. If the leaves you are losing and other leaves on the plant are getting brown tips and gradually falling off, this indicates another problem or two.

The most important mistake is over watering since this can kill the plant. Over-watering causes root-rot and is the main reason a dracaena marginata dies. Water well and don’t water again until the top 50% of the soil is dry. In low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. it could take up to three weeks for the soil to dry out.

Brown tips on the leaves also indicate too much fluoride or salt in the water. Never use water that has passed through a softener, too salty. If your household water has a lot of chemicals, allow it to sit out overnight before using it or use distilled water.