Dracaena Getting Brown Leaf Tips

I bought this plant a couple years ago and I can’t figure out what it is! It seems to be too small to be a Yucca plant (which is what some have suggested ) but it doesn’t seem like a Dracaena to me either? It’s leaves turn brown at the tips. I’d like to figure out what I’m doing wrong and how to take care of it better!

Thank you!

Hi Courtney,

Your plant is called a dracaena arborea. Dracaenas are very sensitive to florine, chlorine, salt in the water, or too much plant food. All of the following can cause brown leaf tips.

Using  too much fertilizer is worse than using too little. Feed plants only when they are actively growing and producing new leaves, which is usually in the spring and summer. If the plant doesn’t absorb the food, the salts in the food collect in the soil burning the roots and causing unsightly brown or black tips on the leaves. I always recommend diluting the fertilizer to ½ the recommended strength.

Never use water that has passed through a water softener. This is a salt issue again. Water that comes out of a softener has a lot of salt in it which causes the same issue as too much fertilizer.

Household water has too many chemicals like fluorine and chlorine in it. Although it’s fine for us if the water we drink has chlorine or fluoride in it, many plants don’t like it, especially dracaenas and palms. Using water full of chemicals is often the cause of  brown tips. The least expensive way to handle the problem is to let the water stand out over night before using it. That gives the chemicals a chance to dissipate and  no longer be in the water. You can also spend the money and buy distilled water or collect rain water.

These dracaenas have the same care tips as the Dracaena Corn Plant listed in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.