Home Houseplants How to save a dying corn plant (Dracaena)

How to Save a Dying Corn Plant (Dracaena) – GIY Plants

dracaena corn plant 'lemon'

Corn plants, or Dracaena fragrans, are among the most popular houseplants due to their resilience and decorative appeal. However, they are not immune to problems, and there may be times when your corn plant is dying.

This article explores the signs of a dying corn plant, the steps to revive it, and how to maintain it for future growth.

Why Is My Corn Plant Dying?

Possible reasons your corn plant is dying include inadequate watering, lack of humidity, direct sunlight, pests, or diseases like root rot.

Understanding these factors will help you diagnose and treat your corn plant effectively.

Signs of a Dying Corn Plant

Close up of a dracaena fragrans plant with white background.

Understanding the signs of a dying corn plant is crucial in providing timely care. Here are some common symptoms:

Yellowing Leaves: When the leaves of your corn plant turn yellow, it’s often a sign of overwatering or inadequate drainage, leading to root rot.

Brown Leaf Tips: Brown tips on the leaves usually indicate too much water or inadequate humidity, a typical corn plant problem.

Brown Spots or Brown Leaves: These may be a symptom of too much direct sunlight or fungal infection.

Stalk Problems: A soft, wilting stalk can signify overwatering, while a hard, thin stalk may indicate underwatering.

How to Revive a Dying Corn Plant

Reviving a dying corn plant requires patience and attention to detail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you save your corn plant:

1. Move the Plant: Start by moving the plant away from direct sunlight. While corn plants can tolerate a fair amount of light, they can get sunburned, leading to browning or yellowing leaves.

2. Inspect for Root Rot: Remove the plant from its pot to inspect the roots. Black, mushy roots characterize root rot. If present, remove the damaged roots and repot them in fresh, well-draining soil.

3. Adjust WateringOverwatering or underwatering can lead to many corn plant problems. Only water the plant until the soil is moist, not drenched. If underwatering is the issue, ensure the soil only dries out partially between waterings.

4. Regulate Humidity: The corn plant prefers high humidity as a tropical plant. If your indoor environment is dry, consider using a humidifier or place the plant pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water.

5. Prune Damaged Leaves: Prune away brown or yellowing leaves to direct the plant’s energy towards new growth.

6. Fertilize: Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for your corn plant. Remember to follow the instructions on the label.

Other Important Tips to Save Your Corn Plant

Aside from the steps above, it’s essential to pay attention to these additional considerations:

Potting and Repotting: Corn plants prefer pots that provide enough space for their roots to spread. When repotting, choose a pot one size larger than the current one.

Temperature and Lighting: Corn plants thrive in temperatures between 60-75°F and prefer indirect light.

Pests: Regularly inspect your corn plant for pests like spider mites and scale that can damage the leaves.

Preventive Measures to Keep Your Corn Plant Healthy

Knowing how to save a dying corn plant is essential, but prevention is always better. Here are some preventive measures:

1. Regularly Inspect the Plant: Regular inspection helps detect early signs of problems.

2. Follow the Watering Rule: Water your corn plant thoroughly and wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again.

3. Maintain Humidity: Regular misting or using a pebble tray can maintain the humidity level around your corn plant.

4. Keep Away from Direct Sunlight: Although corn plants can tolerate many light conditions, they do not do well with direct, intense sunlight.

5. Use the Correct Soil: A well-draining soil mix is crucial to avoid waterlogging and root rot.


Understanding the needs of your corn plant will ensure that it remains a vibrant, healthy addition to your indoor plant collection. Armed with these tips and techniques, you’ll be well-prepared to grow your corn plants, spot any problems, and save your corn plant if it starts to decline.

Join Us

Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!