Why is my plant turning brown?

Asked January 12, 2015, 7:54 PM EST

My beautiful office plant is turning brown. It's very hot in the office now, and dry. But I don't know what to do. It thrived on once-a-week watering in the fall. I'm not sure if I have overwatered it, or if it needs more water. Help.

Middlesex County Massachusetts

1 Response

The plant in the photo looks like a Dracaena. You did not mention how long you had the plant and if the exposure or location has changed. The plant looks like it may need more light and less water. Make sure the plant is not located next to heating or a/c vents.
Even though they tolerate low light, the plant benefits from bright light but not in direct sunlight. The best spot is one that gets 2-3 hours of sunlight filtered through a blind or curtain. Normal room temperatures should be about 65-75 degrees. High humidity is necessary so keep the air moist by standing the plant on a tray or saucer of moist pebbles and by occasionally mist spraying the fofliage. During the winter months water to make the potting mixture barely moist and allow the top mixture to dry between waterings. Make sure the pot has good drainage. During the active growth period keep the potting mixture moist but do not allow the pot to stand in water.
Dracaena is very sensitive to fluoride in tap water. Symptoms include yellowing of the tips or margins of the leaf or dead, scorched areas. You can use distilled water to water the plant. Fertilize during the active growth period only.
See the following link for more information http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/indoor/foliage/hgic1504.html