Overwatered Dracaena: Owner’s Guide To Symptoms & Pro Tips

If you’re worried that you might have an overwatered Dracaena, this is the guide for you.

This is a problem that I have faced myself, and if you can spot the signs of overwatering earlier (yellowing/browning leaves, drooping leaves, saturated soil, etc.), there’s a very good chance your Dracaena will survive.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything there is to know about overwatered Dracaenas, from the common symptoms to preventative measures.

Let’s get into it.

Symptoms of An Overwatered Dracaena To Look Out For

It’s super important to know the symptoms of what an overwatered Dracaena might have.

Yellowing Leaves

In my experience, one of the first signs I noticed in my overwatered Dracaena was the yellowing of leaves, followed shortly by them turning brown.

The leaves started to lose their vibrant green color and turned yellow.

Brown Tips And Edges

Another symptom I observed in my Dracaena was the appearance of brown tips and edges on the leaves.

A brown tip on a Dracaena Marginata
A brown tip on my Dracaena Marginata’s leaf, in this case, caused by physical contact

This is something that can happen due to several other reasons as well, such as low humidity and even underwatering, so be sure to look for other symptoms like yellowing or drooping.

Drooping Leaves

My Dracaena also started to show drooping leaves when it was overwatered. The leaves began to lose their firmness and started to look weak and bend over.

This is one of the most common symptoms of overwatering, so you should definitely keep an eye out for this one.

Root Rot

I was fortunate enough not to have to deal with severe root rot when my Dracaena was overwatered.

Root rot is something that can kill a Dracaena pretty quickly, but it does take a while to develop.

It’s caused by one of two things:

  • Roots that start to rot due to suffocation
  • Dormant fungi in the soil that becomes active in overwatered conditions

I’ve written a full guide for dealing with root rot in Dracaenas which you can find here.

Slow Growth

Slow growth is also pretty much a guarantee if your Dracaena is overwatered.

If the roots can’t absorb the necessary nutrients and moisture, it’s really no surprise that growth slows down quite a lot.

Causes Of Overwatering

It’s also very important to know the causes of overwatering.

If you can figure out where you’ve gone wrong, it makes it easier to avoid in the future.

Improper Watering Frequency

Watering your Dracaena too much leads to overwatering, but you’d be surprised how easy this is to do.

When I first started growing Dracaenas, I thought that more water = faster growth, but this is not always the case.

Dracaena prefers to dry out slightly between watering, so it’s better to wait until the top few inches of soil are dry to the touch before watering again.

It took me some time to figure out the optimal watering schedule for my Dracaena, so don’t worry if you make some mistakes here – it’s completely normal.

As a general rule, though, I water my Dracaena every 1-2 weeks, which seems to work well for maintaining its overall health.

In the winter, it can drop to once per month, and remember that it depends a lot on the size of your Dracaena and how fast it grows.

Poor Drainage And Soil

Poor drainage, either from a lack of drainage holes or due to poor draining soil (or both), can also lead to overwatering:

  • Dracaenas need soil that drains well but holds onto some moisture. You can use a succulent soil mix or a regular houseplant mix with perlite or vermiculite added.
  • Drainage holes are also necessary to allow for excess water to escape through the bottom.

This one can catch a lot of people off guard because you might not be watering that much, but due to a lack of drainage, it can lead to overwatering anyway.

How to Save An Overwatered Dracaena

If your Dracaena has been overwatered, you’ll need to act quickly to stop things from getting worse.

The longer you leave the roots in overwatered conditions, the more time there is for them to rot.

Examine The Roots

The first step is to gently remove your Dracaena from its pot to examine the roots.

You can use your hands for this, and I like to wear gloves as well.

Gently remove it and remove soil with your fingers – if the roots are dark in color and mushy, then they are rotten.

Trimming Damaged Leaves And Roots

If the roots are rotten, you’ll need to trim them away using a pair of sterilized scissors.

I would also personally trim any yellow or brown leaves – you don’t have to do this, but it’s a personal choice and won’t have an impact on the rest of the plant.

You can be aggressive here and remove a good amount of roots – Dracaenas will survive as long as there are some healthy roots left – just make sure you get rid of all of the rotten roots.

Treat the remaining roots with a fungicide designed to target root rot specifically.


Once you’ve got rid of the affected roots and leaves, you can repot.

Make sure that the pot has lots of drainage holes in the bottom, and use a well-draining soil mix if you weren’t previously using one.

It’s a good choice to use new soil even if your old soil did drain well, as it likely contains rotten debris and lacks nutrients.

How To Prevent Overwatering In The Future

You now know how to identify an overwatered Dracaena and how to fix it, but the easiest method of all is preventing overwatering in the first place.

Here are some easy tips to stop it happening again.

Using The Right Type Of Soil

A well-draining soil mix is essential for Dracaena plants and helps to prevent overwatering.

I personally like to use succulent mixes just because I have a lot of this at my house, but you can also use a mixture of compost and perlite as well.

Watering Technique And Schedule

The next thing to get right is the watering schedule.

I like to keep things easy and only water when the top one or two inches of soil become dry.

I’ll water quite generously at this point and always check the bottom to make sure some water has passed through.

Good Drainage And Container Choices

Choosing a container with drainage holes is essential for maintaining the health of overwatered dracaenas.

These holes allow excess water to escape, preventing the plant’s roots from becoming waterlogged and deprived of oxygen.

Plant Maintenance And Monitoring

Lastly, I’ve found that regular plant maintenance and monitoring are crucial in preventing overwatering.

By keeping an eye on my Dracaena plants and recognizing signs of underwatering or over-watering early on, I can adjust my watering frequency accordingly.

Slow growth, yellowing/browning leaves, and soft or drooping stems are all signs that there may be an issue with the watering schedule.

In Summary

I hope this guide has cleared up everything there is to know about overwatered Dracaenas.

It’s all about spotting the signs of overwatering early and taking the steps to make sure your plant isn’t suffering from root rot or any other disease/pest issue.

From there, you can prevent overwatering from happening in the future by using a good soil mix, watering properly and ensuring your pot has good drainage.

If you’ve got any other queries, please let me know!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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