Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow?

The dracaena is one of the most popular plants on the market because it is so hardy and can grow in almost any environment, including low light conditions.

However, there are situations when your dracaena leaves might be turning yellow! This blog post will discuss some of those reasons as well as how you can help save your dracaena from what’s happening.

Why are my Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow?

Your dracaena leaves are turning yellow due to overwatering. The dracaena is a hardy plant that only needs watering when 50% of the soil is dry, which means that it’s easy to give the plant too much water.

Let’s explore the most common causes of yellowing leaves on a dracaena and what you can do about them.

Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow from Overwatering

When you notice the leaves of your dracaena turning yellow, that’s a sign that it is getting too much water. Watering should only occur when the top 50% of soil has dried out, so let it dry between watering to help prevent overwatering and save your plant!

Normally I would suggest using your finger to test if the top inch of soil is dry. However, dracaena plants like dry soil, so I recommend letting the top few inches of soil go dry.

This means using a moisture meter is the most accurate way to test when it’s time to water. You may be surprised to know that I frequently only water my dracaena every 4 weeks!

When it does come to giving your dracaena a drink, I suggest using room temperature water that is filtered. The worst thing to do is use hot or freezing water, as this will shock the roots and make them unable to take up nutrients.

Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow from Too Little Sunlight

Another reason that your dracaena leaves are turning yellow is because of too little sunlight. Dracaenas like bright, indirect light, but should never be placed where they will receive direct sun exposure for most of the day.

You can fix this issue by moving the plant to a brighter location. If this is not possible, I recommend adding some grow lights onto your dracaena’s planter to add some supplemental lighting (Amazon link to my favorite).

I use grow lights on all my houseplants during the winter. If I didn’t, then they would get nearly no light at all! However, don’t put the lights too close or you may burn the leaves.

Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow from Stress

Stress is another reason that your dracaena leaves may be yellowing. It’s possible for the plant to become stressed from changes in lighting and environment, transplant shock, pests such as aphids and mites, over-fertilization due to incorrect application of fertilizer (only use a weak solution once every other month), or overcrowded pots.

This is why I only re-pot when it is absolutely necessary, as this is one of the biggest causes of stress in dracaenas. In fact, many people make the mistake of re-potting a dracaena with yellow leaves, which tends to only make the issue worse (unless the plant is suffering from root rot).

Yellow Dracaena Leaves FAQs

You may still have some concerns and questions, so I will now answer some of the most frequently asked questions I receive about yellow dracaena leaves.

Should I cut yellow leaves off the dracaena plant?

These leaves are as good as dead, so feel free to cut them off. Use sterilized scissors to cut above the node while trying to avoid damaging the healthy leaves.

Is it normal for my dracaena to lose some of its lower leaves?

Yes! As your dracaena grows, it’s normal to see some of the lower leaves drop off. If they are yellowing or browning instead of just drooping down, then that may be a sign that something is wrong with the plant and you should check your care routine for any potential problems.

Will too little light cause my dracaena leaves to turn yellow?

Yes, green leaves will turn yellow if they don’t get enough light. However, too little light isn’t the only problem. Yellow dracaena leaves can be a sign of several different problems, including overwatering and stress.

Will too much water cause my dracaena leaves to turn yellow?

Yes, yellow dracaena leaves are a sign of overwatering. It’s important to minimize the amount you water your plant, while also ensuring that it is draining properly and not sitting in excess water for extended periods of time.

Will yellow dracaena leaves turn green again?

It’s unlikely that a yellow dracaena leaf will turn green again, so cutting the leaves off is recommended.


In conclusion, your dracaena leaves turning yellow can be due to overwatering, too little sunlight, or stress. The plant is likely suffering from root rot if the bottom of the soil has turned black and mushy (which will also cause all new growth to turn brown).

Here’s a little reminder of what we went over today…

Overwatering – Make sure you only water when 50% of the soil is dry. If it’s still in a pot with drainage holes, make sure not to let water sit at its base for long periods after watering because this could mean that your plant isn’t getting enough air circulation which causes roots/rot problems!

Too little sunlight – If your plant still needs more light, find a brighter spot for it!

Stress – Make sure you only re-pot if necessary, which means when there are roots growing out of drainage holes or soil has compacted so much water can’t seep through easily.

Try moving houseplants away from drafty areas like open windows and doors because this will also cause stress on plants. Consider using humidity trays under potted plants during the winter months.

2 thoughts on “Why Are My Dracaena Leaves Turning Yellow?”

  1. Good day,

    I have a Draceana with yellowing leaves. I read your article, but not sure if any of your suggestions are pertinent. It is an outdoor plant in the front (east side) of the house. It has been in the ground for ten years and is over ten feet tall and 4-5 feet across. All but the highest leaves are yellowing. I live in Hollywood, FL (Fort Lauderdale) about eight miles inland. I have seen similar issues for other plants that were attributable to iron deficiency, but I have no information regarding iron in draceana. I do not want to lose this plant as I have had it for over twenty years, with the first ten being an indoor house plant when living in the midwest.

    Thank you for your assistance.
    Stephen Welch, Ph.D.

    • While Dracaenas are generally hardy plants, they can still be susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, even in outdoor settings. Iron deficiency can manifest as yellowing leaves, particularly in the younger growth.

      Dracaenas prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, so if your soil is too alkaline, it could be interfering with nutrient uptake. A soil test kit from a garden center can help you determine if pH adjustment is necessary.


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