Very Sad & Droopy Cane, please advise

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by caitrock, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. caitrock

    caitrock Member

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    I was recently given this indoor tree. It is in quite bad condition and I would like to revive it if possible. I am not sure of the variety, but after searching the web I think it may be a mass cane. Please correct me if not.

    The leaves are very long. All of the leaves are dark and unhealthy looking; many exhibit significant discoloration as visible in the photos. It was not until closer inspection that I even realized some of the leaves were variegated. The youngest ones at the top of the cane-heads are soft, translucent. The leaves are wrinkly but not brittle. All of three of the tops of the cane-heads are soft, soggy, and drooping. The plant has clearly been distressed for some time. Older leaves towards the bottom have dry, brown tips. The top layer of soil appears to have some form of mildew.

    On a positive note, I felt along the cane from the bottom up, and the original cane and the other (sub?)canes appear to be solid right up until the top 3-4 inches of growth.

    I do not mind chopping as much of it down as necessary to help it recover, but I require advice about how to best prune it, and how to ensure that the mildew problem is vanquished. Any suggestions about what likely happened to it, and how to best avoid the same issues in the future would be much appreciated.
     

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  2. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    The plant is definitely too "wet", and almost like it might have been outside or exposed to cold/freezing temperatures.
    If this is the case I'm not sure if there is much you can do but let it dry out (possibly even transplanting if the soil is really wet) and let it warm up and see if it will come back. You may also have to cut it back to where it's healthy.
    Sorry I can't give you more help but for now it's "watch and see what happens"
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    It's a Dracaena massangeana; you can look up info about droopy leaves on that name, or Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana'. They are supposed to like to be in small pots, but I'm wondering about so much plant for that small pot that only seems half full of soil, and maybe it's the original soil from how long ago. You could remove it from the pot, see if the roots are still there, scrape off the white stuff, wash the pot, put new potting soil mixed with drainage material in the pot and replant it. Keep the top of the soil at the same level on the trunk. You'll have to water the new soil, but then feel how heavy it is and don't water it again until it not only is dry a bit below the surface but the pot feels considerably lighter.

    If there are no roots or the roots are mushy, I would expect you to have a better chance by cutting the plant way back so that there is less to support while you try to keep it alive while it's trying to grow new roots. I don't expect that the droopy leaves will ever perk up; maybe the best you could expect is perky new leaves. You could take a couple of cuttings from where the stem feels ok, maybe 20cm long, remove the bottom leaves and stick them into soil in another pot (or other pots), see if they'll grow into nicer new plants. These things do root easily and grow fairly quickly.

    I've read that these plants get brown leaf tips when watered with chlorinated water. You could keep water in a pot or bottle so that when you use it for watering, the chlorine has evaporated.
     
  4. caitrock

    caitrock Member

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    Just wanted to say thank you for the advice and update you on my mass cane plant. Unfortunately, as I looked further into it and started to prune it, the stocks were mostly moldy in the area of new growth. I ended up cutting all of the stocks back down to the main trunk. As of now, I am happy to report that the plant is happy and healthy again. It is a much-loved addition to my living space.
     

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  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Wow, what a good looking plant now! Seriously, I've never seen one look so good, certainly not anything I ever grew. Congratulations, well-done, and thanks for coming back to show us, particularly since we have had several recent postings from people asking if they can cut their sick plants back to the main stalk.
     
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  6. madonnar

    madonnar New Member

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    wow! @caitrock -do you have pictures of the plant after you cut all the stalks back down to main trunk? did you repot it before or after you did that? how long did it take to get from your first set of pictures where it looks close to dead to where you got it to? i have a dracaena lisa that is dying right before my eyes and i'm not sure what i should do with it
     
  7. caitrock

    caitrock Member

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    Hi @madonnar, I don't think I have pictures of just the stump, but I can give you an idea with some new, closer pics. You'll have to excuse the poor quality photos as it's quite dark in my dining room at the moment. I repotted it before I cut it down. I suspected it was possibly rootbound and definitely needed new soil. I also just wanted it to have a better pot. This was before I discovered that the stalks were moldy on the inside where new growth was supposed to form. It took about two years from a stump with no greenery at all to the second set of pics. I still have the plant (almost 5 years!). Now it is considerably taller, but it's a bit neglected at the moment. The original trunk (which was cut & sealed at the top as you see in the 2nd pic) had three branches coming off of it, all of which were moldy from excessive watering. The pot I recieved it in had a reservoir on it, so I think it was just perpetually sitting in water. I cut all of the branches down to the main trunk although I suspect I could have left them standing from where they were healthy and they would have sprouted their own little buds. It sat like a stick in soil for quite a few months with seemingly no change and I just steadily cared for it. I recall my roommates at the time tried to convince me it was dead. Then it put out two tiny buds. Unfortunately I killed one of the buds as it was extremely close to the soil line, but the other one grew into the lovely branch that you see in the pic and which makes up all of the leaves the plant has now. Hope that helps. I don't know anything about dracaena Lisa, but this one has been very forgiving to me!
     

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