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House Plants/Unsure of the name of the plant and why the leaves are drooping


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I have had this plant for about 11 months and re-potted it about 6 months after I got it. After all the research I have done I believe it is a  "Dracaena godseffiana". I have placed it in a window with alot of light (which it did not like)and it is currently  beside a window where it gets sunlight and shade. I water it when the soil feels dry and only with distilled water.  

About 3 months ago it had flowers on it and about 3 new leaves. Since then the flowers have died and withered away, and several leaves have turned yellow and died. It is currently drooping and I am at a loss as to what to do or if I have even properly identified the plant.

I would appreciate any help you can give me.Thank you.

Hi Melynda,

You have correctly identified your Dracaena, although botanists have now renamed it Dracaena surculosa. It is commonly called gold-dust Dracaena.

Although it is true that this plant needs protection from more than an hour or so of direct indoor sunlight, it needs as much bright sunlight as possible. Right on a north or east windowsill is best. If it gets less than ideal light, the growth rate slows and the proportion of green to cream spots will increase.

The primary problem for your is that it is now over potted. This is a naturally small and slow-growing plant that almost never needs repotting. Given its slow growth rate, it takes too long for the soil around the roots to dry sufficiently frequently enough. Although the soil may feel dry on the surface, it is still too moist deep around the roots.

I am concerned that yours is suffering from root rot. I suggest that you un-pot your plant and remove all of the soil you added under, around and on top of the original rootball. Then put the original rootball without added soil back into its original pot or one of similar size. This will allow the soil around the roots to dry more frequently and prevent further root rot.

You may lose some of the lower leaves as a result of the over watering, so pruning is in order. Prune back tall stems as they start to lean severely or when they have lost most of their lower leaves.

This particular species likes warm temps, high humidity and rarely grows very large, so it is often used as a terrarium plant.

Using distilled water is only necessary if your tap water is hard. Normally chlorinated and fluoridated tap water is fine for this and other houseplants.

I have written an article on repotting that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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