Dragon's Backbone Browning

by Arlene
(St Paul, MN)



I saw another comment from someone about their Dragon's Backbone turning brown on 1 side of a stem, and mine is doing the same. Is it too much sun, too little water, too much water, too much fertilizer, what?

I just purchased this plant this year, it is outside on my deck. In case it is getting sunburned I placed it in a corner that is more often in the shade. I did harden my plants off, putting them outside in the shadiest section of my deck, rotating them through the sun and so on.

I am also having some spots of some leaves of various succulents that I am afraid may be a mold. I had 1 plant that I checked the internet for, and the leaves were kind of fuzzy gray and not pretty in spots, but my other plants are now experiencing spots that are more brown rather than gray. Same thing? Different thing? Will a neem oil spray do the trick? I don't want to have to throw everything away!!! Suggestions please!!!

Comments for Dragon's Backbone Browning

Click here to add your own comments

No Oil!
by: Jacki

So, the Devils Backbone plant (Euphorbia tithymoides) does tend to go through a summer dormancy, where it loses all its leaves and stops growing for a while, but generally, it's a bit later in the hot season for some people.

I'm not sure what your weather has been like, but if it's been really hot and bright (or dry and windy) this could cause the type of damage you're seeing. For the other plants, this could also explain what's going on - did you have any hail within the past few weeks? Sometimes, damage from weather that occurred a while ago takes some time to show up.

That seems to me what's going on - so wind storms, even hard rain, or hail especially, will show as blackened spots, or the skin of the foliage looks like it's bruised or even dead in places.

There's nothing you can do except protect them from further weather events, and wait for the new growth to emerge so you can eventually cut the damaged bits off. If they're still functioning, leave them on the plant, or use them for propagating if they're still healthy enough.

Don't be going using some kind of spray unless you're sure that there are bugs or diseases happening. Oil sprays, on an already compromised plant, in full sun, will do them in.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Horticulturist.