Why Is My Cordyline Dying? [And How To Revive It]

Cordyline is an ornamental shrub with lovely leaves, which can be green, scarlet, or purple. It is known as simple to grow, but like any other plant, it occasionally encounters difficulties that might lead to death. You may wonder why your Cordyline is weakening and what you can do to save it. We've thoroughly researched this topic, and here is what we've got.

Cordyline may die mainly from overwatering, underwatering, excessive sunlight, low humidity, tap water, and diseases. You should immediately remove dead stems to make room for new development and feed your Cordyline well to promote new growth. Don't forget to apply fungicides to reduce the risk of insect pests in case of infections and to monitor your plant continuously.

One can't control everything while cultivating even a simple plant like this Cordyline. So, your plant may acquire leaf problems like spots and discoloration or diseases which may lead to death. Here you may find information about the potential causes and remedies for your dying Cordyline and the diseases that may harm your Cordyline. So, keep reading.

Beautiful pink and purple cordyline plants, Why Is My Cordyline Dying? [And How To Revive It]

Factors That Can Affect Cordyline

The beauty of the leafy plants of Cordyline imposes architectural aspects. Many designers and homeowners want this because of its extreme robustness once planted, low maintenance requirements, and appearance, which speaks for perfection for any garden. Large, long, primarily purple leaves with flashes of pink and green are present on each leaf.

Here are the leading causes for your dying Cordyline:

1. Overwatering

The most frequent cause of your Cordyline appearing to be dying is typically related to how much water it is receiving. Your Cordyline may have received too much water leading to its demise. With Cordylines grown in containers, this issue typically occurs more frequently. 

Overwatering results in your plant being mushy and dark brown. At first, it becomes discolored and turns yellow before going brown. This provides a clear sign that it is approaching death.

If you overwatered your Cordyline, cease watering right away. Doing this will give the soil a chance to dry out a little before you start watering it again. Cordyline prefers a moderate amount of moisture but never waterlogged soil. 

2. Underwatering

Underwatering may be to blame if the leaves on your Cordyline turn a crispy brown color. They can survive periods of dryness but need rich, well-drained soil and consistent hydration. This is crucial for Cordylines cultivated in pots since they require constant watering, especially during the summer.

Avoid allowing the soil to become very dry as this might lead to a buildup of mineral salts that will burn the roots. Browning on the leaves is a warning indicator that a plant is not getting enough water. 

Cordyline prefers its soil to be kept moist. Give it a good soaking if it is completely dry. Mineral salts will also be concentrated where partial irrigation stops.

3. Excessive Sunlight

When the plant is severely harmed by excessive direct sunshine, it can induce leaf yellowing. This can sometimes happen when a plant unexpectedly moves to a different place, from indoors to outside.

Give the plant as much bright indirect light or, if possible, a sunny window when growing indoors. If you want to transfer the plant outside, let it gradually become used to the weather. On the other hand, insufficient sunshine can also result in withering, color loss, and yellow leaves.

You may use artificial light to achieve the most excellent foliage color for your indoor plants in a dimly lit space.

Click here to see this LED light for indoor plants on Amazon.

4. Low Humidity

Cordyline frequently suffers damage from cold to the point where the plant's top dies and is left with only a stem. These plants prefer a warm, humid climate from the warm tropics. 

The Cordyline plant prefers a moderately damp atmosphere, like many tropical plants. For the winter, you should bind the leaves together with string to protect the crown from the harsh weather. Alternately, you can use a room humidifier to maintain ideal air moisture levels.

Click here to see this AquaOasis mist humidifier on Amazon.

5. Tap Water

This sensitive plant may be harmed by fluoride and other additives found in regular tap water. The leaves may become discolored due to poor water quality and fluoridated water. 

If at all feasible, water the plant with bottled or distilled water. It may also be helpful to flush large amounts of pure water through the ground to remove any accumulated soil salts.

6. Diseases

If Cordylines are left too damp for an extended period, they can develop several fungal infections. Below are the common diseases of Cordylines:


They begin as brown, water-soaked regions with irregularly shaped borders. The severe infection causes leaves to drop off the plant and die. Phytophthora also results in cankers, which are sinking patches of diseased plant tissue. 

Resolving the infection involves spraying water from the local soil onto the lower leaves. Also, avoid watering the leaves at night and ensure enough air circulation. You may apply fungicides for prevention.


Armillaria attacks the roots and trunk of your plant. Typically, the first signs of an infestation are leaves that are discolored and small. Avoid overwatering plants or letting the roots soak in water for a lengthy period to avoid armillaria root rot.

Fusarium Leaf Spot 

Fusarium leaf spot exhibits tan to reddish-brown spots with an elliptical form. Reduce the amount of water that is applied to plant leaves. Fungicides may be helpful during overhead watering.

Versicolor Wilt

Verticillium wilt is a fungus that affects the vascular system and can lead to the plant's demise. The foliage initially changes to a pale green, yellow, or brown color and may even wilt before dying. With the correct quantity of water and fertilizer, you can keep your Cordyline disease-resistant. 

How Do You Save A Dying Cordyline?

Red Edge plant (Cordyline fruticosa)

There is hope for rebirth in every plant, which may look excellent again after applying specific methods. These are the various methods you can do to save your Cordyline:

1. Remove Dead Stems

Snip off any stems that are broken and dead and also leaves that are yellowing and withering. Pruning a stem encourages a brand-new growth to sprout. 

Depending on the stem's thickness, use a knife to remove the dead leaves. You can extensively prune the stem, but you should leave it a few inches above the soil since you don't want the new growth exposed to insect and disease attacks by being so close to the ground.

2. Feed Your Cordyline

If your Cordyline isn't getting enough nourishment, it can die. Add some fertilizer to the Cordylines to help them continue their recent growth. The fertilizer should be organic to prevent overwhelming a vulnerable plant with needless chemicals.

Click here to see this Osmocote plant food on Amazon.

3. Monitor Your Plant

Continue to feed the plant and keep an eye on it to minimize any potential problems down the road. Try relocating the plant indoors in the brightest area you have with regular watering to maintain high humidity levels. Always keep an eye out for pest and disease attacks.

4. Applying fungicides 

Diseases affect plants often, and treating those diseases is crucial for gardeners or homeowners. Fungicides function best as preventatives. Applying the right kind of fungicide may limit the disease's progression.

Click here to see this Garden Safe fungicide on Amazon.

Is It Okay To Remove Brown Leaves Off My Cordyline?

Brilliant red Ti plants (Cordyline) against deep green tropical foliage. A native plant from eastern Asia to Polynesia, the Ti plant is commonly found in Florida and Hawaii, as well.

Brown leaves are the typical sign of low humidity, but you might initially notice some yellowing. Prune any dead leaves or brown areas of the leaves that you see. Use pruning shears or scissors to cut through more rigid stems or to remove brown leaf margins and tips.

Removing dead leaves or stems with your hands is okay, but be careful not to pull too firmly, or you risk damaging the healthy section of your plant. 

Click here to see this Fiskars pruner on Amazon.

Can You Keep Cordyline In Pots?

Tiplant's bright red leaves in pot (Cordyline fruticosa)

Cordylines must be potted in big pots rather than small ones because they require a lot of growing space. Overcrowding may turn their leaves yellow. 

How Much Sun Do Cordyline Plants Need?

Colourful cordyline fruticosa or Ti plants foliage growing near wooden window and concrete wall. The sun shines through window onto the tree.

Cordylines can have either full sun or half shade. It can endure through shade but can grow lanky in excessive shade. The Cordyline plant requires up to four hours every day of direct sunlight. 

In Closing

Cordylines typically require little maintenance and require little irrigation. As long as you give cordyline plants the proper care, they are relatively simple to keep as indoor plants. We hope this post will serve as your inspiration as a gardener or homeowner. We also have other posts that you might want to check out:

Why Is My Japanese Maple Dying? [And How To Save It]

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