Answer

Corn Plant Turning Brown on the Tips

Question

The tips of the leaves on my corn plant are turning brown. Why is this happening and how can I prevent it?

Answer

Corn plant or dracaena is an excellent houseplant because it requires relatively little care and can take the low light conditions typical of our homes and offices.

I like the tropical look of the plant with its woody trunk topped with a bundle of strap like leaves.

Corn plants prefer daytime temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees F and 65 to 70 degrees F during the night. The soil should be kept consistently moist, but not soggy and they only need fertilizer every 6 months. Although dracaena can take low light conditions, they do best when placed in bright but indirect light. Try to avoid placing them in full sun as it will burn the leaves.

The problem you are experiencing is probably due to inconsistent watering. If the soil dries out too much the tips of the leaves will turn brown. Of course, you don't want to over water either, especially in winter when growth has slowed, because this can lead to root rot. A good system for determining when to water is to scratch into the soil about 1 inch down, if it is dry then it is time to water. Check your plants about every 7 to 10 days and remember that our homes are often hot and dry in the winter so plants may need to be watered more often.

When you water, make sure the water temperature is not too hot or too cold, just pleasant to the touch. Your plants will appreciate you for this and they'll drink more of it. Also it's important to realize that too much chlorine can harm your plants. You can easily de-chlorinate your water by simply filling the watering can the day before and the chlorine will evaporate overnight.

It's just natural for a plant to produce a few yellow leaves, its nothing to get alarmed about. This is particularly true if the plant has been moved to a new location. However if it produces a lot of yellow leaves all at once, say five or six, you may be over-watering or the plant may be suffering from a lack of light.

One of the fun things about corn plants is that they are easy to propagate. To create a new plant from an existing one simply lop off the green top, plant it in a new container filled with clean potting soil and water it in. This should be done in the spring or summer when the parent plant is in an active growth stage. Now, I know this sounds drastic, but the old plant will put out new growth where you made the cut.

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