dracaena massangeana - rescue needed

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Beckface, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. Beckface

    Beckface New Member

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    Hello. I saved this plant from our office before we started working from home (I'm in England, so we're under lockdown due to Covid). It has never looked well, but to say it looks rough now is an understatement.

    It has always looked sparse but seemed happy enough where it was in my house (stairs facing a window). However, very quickly since January loads of leaves turned brown. I removed them and this is what's left.

    A few notes:
    1. I have barely watered it over the last few months, possibly once every 2 weeks if that. Maybe I overwatered it?
    2. There are no insects or signs of infection, except...
    3. The smaller cane does not feel as firm as the larger cane.
    4. It seemed happy all year with the light it was getting, but I don't know if the turn to winter and shorter colder days could have caused it.

    If anyone has ideas on how I can rescue it I would be grateful. I'm happy to 'hard prune' it but I don't know how. Instructions online are hard to follow as they seem to be for lush, green plants, whereas mine looks a bit sad. Many thanks.
     

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  2. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi Beckface. It looks like your biggest concern is the light. It's far too low. With very low light over time the roots die back and rot, the soil turns sour and nothing is drinking up the water in the soil so the plant starts crashing and showing under- and over-watering symptoms at the same time. It needs to be a lot closer to a window. In the winter months in England it actually would do best right in front of a window, not off to the side or across the room. East or west windows are best if you are right up almost touching the dead center of the glass. North is ok. South windows it could be a little farther back or filtered or a longer acclimation period. The internet says they should never have direct light, but this is a pervasive myth. There are plenty of them growing outdoors in the tropics in full sun all day. That is probably in the range of a hundred times the light you are giving it. If you just can't move it, you can add bright supplemental artificial light on a timer above it. Repot in spring when it is doing better and starting to grow faster.
     
  3. Beckface

    Beckface New Member

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    Thank you, this is really helpful. I moved it to a well-lit room 2 weeks ago and it does seem happier.

    Someone elsewhere suggested cutting off the top and propegating it and ditching the rest. Would you advise this or can it recover as it is?
     
  4. Tom Hulse

    Tom Hulse Active Member 10 Years

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    It can recover as-is. Chopping the top at this point would be just for aesthetic reasons. It would mean you have a shorter, fuller plant without the unsightly branching in the trunk. The new plant could be cut above that branching, and the old plant below the branching. The old plant may possibly have 2 or more new shoots come up where you chop it if it's healthy & in high light before the chopping, and the upper & lower portions could someday be recombined into a nice display.
     
  5. Beckface

    Beckface New Member

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    Hi Tom, thanks again for replying (apologies for the delay, I've only just seen this). I'm a bit unsure where to cut and which one is the old and new plant. Will it be ok with no leaves? Please see the attached photo - can I cut here?

    Many thanks
     

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