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The Joy of Gardening

Whether prairie plant or pansy, native or ornamental, gain insight into all aspects of gardening & wildlife.

Brown Patches on Draceana

My corn plant has developed brown blotches all over, both old and new growth. The green parts of the leaves look healthy. I do not think I am doing anything differently than I have been doing for a number of years. Is it a disease, or am I doing something wrong?


Corn plants, or Draceana fragrans, are wonderful houseplants, as they are relatively trouble-free, require little maintenance and put up with low light levels. No plant is indestructible however. The symptoms you are describing could have several possible causes, however the most likely culprit is overwatering. Even though your care of the plant has not changed, other environmental factors do change. This time of year, light levels are low, and plants drastically reduce active growth, or photosynthesis. This winter light levels have been even lower than usual, as we have experienced many dark and cloudy days. During these times plants require absolute minimal watering as they are barely using water. Another side effect of overwatering can be salt buildup in the soil; in this case plants should be repotted into fresh potting soil. I advise that you; reduce your watering, practice consistent watering, use room temperature water, check soil moisture levels throughout the pot and seek in an area in your home with good light levels. Brown spots can be remedied by cutting leaf sections or entire leaves. In extreme cases even foliage crowns can be pruned to promote healthy, new growth.

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