Dracaena/Corn plant rescue

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Wanadooo, Jul 1, 2022.

  1. Wanadooo

    Wanadooo New Member

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    I've had this plant for several years. Originally it was 3 stalks in a pot. The other 2 died some time ago, but I've tried my best to keep the big guy alive.

    It goes through periods of doing 'okay', and periods where I'm removing brown/yellow leaves constantly.

    I've tried watering it frequently (once a week), and less frequently (maybe once every 3-4 weeks) but neither watering regime seems to help it flourish.

    It's gotten so bad now that I was just about to bin it, but I noticed 2 new buds growing which stopped me in my tracks. The buds are growing right at the very base of the plant, pretty much at soil level.. Strange!?

    Any ideas how I can help this thing flourish? There a couple of completely dead limbs on top that I don't think are going to produce leaves again. Should I prune those off completely?

    I was wondering if I could remove the dying limbs and set them in their own pots to see if they would grow? If I do that, will the main stalk grow new limbs up top again, or will it just continue to only grow new shoots very low down on the stalk?

    I'm attaching pics that might better illustrate this!
     

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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Welcome, @Wanadooo. Dracaena don't need a lot of light, but maybe they want a little more than they're getting in that window-less corner.
    Also, when was the last time you repotted it?
    And, speaking of potting, after you water it, do you make sure there isn't any water pooled at the bottom of the blue jardiniere?

    If it were mine, I would refresh the whole thing, keeping in mind my points above. I would repot it and cut the trunk off a few centimeters above the new growth at the base. It is not so unusual for Dracaena to have new growth like that. Sometimes, they do that under the soil, so it looks like they sent up a whole new plant.
    I would also do up a new pot with the leaves and green stem part of all the new growth at the top of the trunk, as three separate plants, but they can all go into one pot if you want, or you can make separate plants.
    It might be that not all of that will be successful, but some of it should work.

    Feel how heavy the pots are before you water them, and then after you water them. Make sure all the water can drain out after you water them. Rather than watering on a schedule, see if you can figure out when they are light enough to have not dried out, but still need water. While they still feel as heavy as they did after you watered them, don't give them more water yet.
     
  3. Wanadooo

    Wanadooo New Member

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    Thanks wcutler!

    I have moved it around a bit to different locations with varying degrees of light and shade but I just can't seem to find conditions that it thrives in. I will move it back to a slightly brighter spot out of direct sunlight again and see if that helps.

    I did go through a phase of only watering it when the soil was bone dry to a depth of 2 inches or so. Again, this didn't produce ideal results. It's a temperamental little thing! I always make sure there's no water sitting in the tray after watering it.

    I think I'll take your advice and cut the main trunk a few inches above the new growth at the base. Any tips on how to do that? I don't suppose a handsaw is a good idea?! Does the cut need to be sealed or treated with anything afterwards?

    I will also try setting the failing top branches in a new pot like you suggest. Would it be best to set those directly into new soil or try to root them in a jar of water first?

    As for the the remaining section of the main trunk (after the top branches have been removed), would it be possible to get that to root again too?
     
  4. wcutler

    wcutler Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    It shouldn't be that tempermental. Maybe it doesn't have to be that dry, but it needs to be lighter than when it's been recently watered.
    Maybe the problems are more than it needs repotting. I would repot the original plant that you're going to cut down too; did I say that? My Dracaena pots have always been a little larger than yours. Normally I might wait to repot, after doing such drastic surgery, but I think the problem might be the soil it's in, and these can take a lot of abuse.

    I'm sorry - I have no idea. Anything that will do the job. I don't know about treating it afterwards. I myself would not bother, but I've never worked with anything with a trunk like that.

    Yes, push them right in, no prior treatment. These things are generally pretty eager to grow.

    Don't get impatient to see results, and don't give up on anything until it's well and truly dead. I've had new growth appear on plants that surely were on their last breath. I would not be looking to much action for at least a couple of months.
     

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