Ask a Question forum: corn plant - dracaena..... regrowing leaves on the stalk?

Views: 999, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end

aa2by2
Dec 11, 2015 11:43 AM CST
hello

i have a mature corn plant, it is spindly looking. a tall stalk with leaves at the top, sort of lollipop looking.

question: is there a way to cause the plant to grow new leaves on the stalk portion? nicking it perhaps?
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 11, 2015 12:15 PM CST
aa2by2 said: ... i have a mature corn plant, it is spindly looking. a tall stalk with leaves at the top, sort of lollipop looking.

question: is there a way to cause the plant to grow new leaves on the stalk portion? nicking it perhaps?


Hi, "Aa", and welcome to ATP!

I didn't find any helpful growing advice here, but there are photos and a list of people who are growing it.
Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena braunii)

Is your plant less leafy than @SongofJoy 's? Maybe that is just how they grow when large.

@DogsNDaylilies and @purpleinopp, do you have suggestions for how to get a "lollipop-shaped" Dracaena to grow leaves lower on the stems?

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, I wouldn't try to stimulate new growth in Winter. The plant needs to be more dormant in Winter.

Some things I would consider, pending advice from someone with more of a clue would be:

1. Has it been re-potted every several years, with root pruning? Really RE-potted, not just moved to a bigger pot with all the old roots intact? If not, it could be seriously root-bound. Only thin, new roots can take up much nutrition.

2. Did you fertilize it in spring and summer, like a little bit every two weeks? (It needs less fertilizer in winter.) Over-fertilizing is a good way to kill potted plants, but they do need some fertilizer.

3. Does it get sunlight or bright artificial light?

4. I often see those "Lucky bamboo" plants chopped off short and growing new stalks from the base. MAYBE a severe pruning would stimulate new growth. It would take a long time for the "tree" to grow back, but you would have leaves near the base during that time.

5. If the plant propagates from stem cuttings or root division, you could start some new plants that will be leafy rather then stem-y.

P.S. If you go to "Your Profile", and enter your location, it will appear in the upper-right corner of every post. Then we won't always be asking: "Where do you live? What Hardiness Zone?" We have members ALL over the world!
http://garden.org/users/memberlist/map.php


"Your Profile" is reached from the upper-left corner of any ATP page - the two small white ovals that look like an outline of head-and-shoulders. Then "ยป Change your public profile" .

And a photo of the plant in question always draws people in. You might even submit a well-focused photo to the Plant database.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
DavidLMO
Dec 11, 2015 11:36 PM CST
I am presuming this is a Dracaena fragrans. It is not easy to get it to 'back bud' which is what you want it to do. Unfortunately - that would require optimal growing conditions (e.g. a Greenhouse) not available to a person typically growing these in their home.

And the described growth habit is their typical normal growth habit. Green Grin! Many times you will see 2, 3 or more stems with different heights which gives the appearance of leaves at different levels.

Perhaps someone else has some magic. Sorry I cannot be of more help. I have grown these and sold them in my flower shop.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Moonhowl
Dec 12, 2015 12:22 AM CST
Hello and Welcome! to ATP @aa2by2

This may be a bit more cutting than you want, but the only way I know to get new growth below the top of the plant is to prune the plant back and encourage branching. Here is some info on how to do that. I hope this helps.

http://www.ourhouseplants.com/plants/dracaena-fragrans

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/prune-dracaena-fragrans-massang...
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Dec 12, 2015 6:36 AM CST
Hi & welcome, Aa2!

TY for tagging me, Rick. I don't have much to add to what's already been said. Agree, the lollipop appearance is normal for an older specimen. These trees lose their lower leaves as the trunk becomes woody. Beheading is the usual procedure for one that's too tall. This can result in 2 stems growing from the stump, but not always. New growth usually comes in right near where the cut was made. Putting the cut-off top in the same pot can get things started toward a clump look.

I've also been nicking trunks (of D. fragrans and other species) over the past year or so but it hasn't produced any results yet.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

aa2by2
Dec 12, 2015 7:55 AM CST
Thank You! thanks for all your responses. i have decided to cut the stalk two feet from the soil and replant the top part.

another issue: sometimes after i water my corn plants a number of leaves will turn brown....i am guessing this is root rot from overwatering?

so could overwatering be prevented by putting in an inch or two layer of stones/pebbles/perlite at the bottom of the planter?
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
Image
greene
Dec 12, 2015 8:11 AM CST
You can put the stones in the tray under the pot but putting stones inside the pot will have a negative effect and create more wet soil.
There was a post about this a while back; can anyone find a link for the OP?
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Dec 12, 2015 8:28 AM CST
Whenever possible, trying using distilled or rain water. Dracaenas are sensitive to chemicals in tap water.

Agree, adding rocks at the bottom of the pot doesn't help with anything, except to make it heavier. Does the pot have a hole in the bottom?

If you want new foliage to start forming about 2 feet up, that's a good place to cut. A clump appearance works best, IMVHO, when the foliage clumps are at different heights. I would encourage you to wait until next summer to do the cutting if possible, when longer days and warmer temps can aid in the recovery of the stump and propagation of the removed top.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 12, 2015 8:32 AM CST
I remember that post too, Greene. Basically it said that a layer of pebbles in the bottom of a pot actually caused more water-retention rather than less. I know this is counterintuitive, but the post had good information that pointed to this (bad) result.

A agree that the only (reasonable) way to induce the bottom leafing is to top the plant. That stalk (I would not have it 2' tall but more like 12") will probably branch or at least regrow with a new top and leaves and the cut-off top can be rooted.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 12, 2015 8:34 AM CST
I agree with Tiffany. Unless you have a greenhouse, wait until the spring to do this when the plant will be in active growth again.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
DavidLMO
Dec 12, 2015 8:42 AM CST
Yep to above comments. And that is why when you see these, there are most typically a clump of 3 stalks; e.g. 1', 2', 3'
Very excellent advice in this thread.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Dec 12, 2015 1:09 PM CST
Which Dracaena plant do you have, D. fragrans or D. brauni? I think a lot of Dracaena tend to lose the lower leaves and can be pruned to force branching and new foliage. Leaf edges sometimes turn brown when the humidity is not high enough. You can increase humidity by placing the plant on a tray of moist pebbles, as the water evaporates it helps raise the humidity around the plant; just remember to replace the water in the tray as the level decreases. You can mist the foliage every so often which should help also. Good air circulation is important too and a fan kept on low for a few hours daily should help with that.

~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~

aa2by2
Dec 12, 2015 8:01 PM CST
Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana')
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 14, 2015 1:24 PM CST
aa2by2 said: Thank You! thanks for all your responses. i have decided to cut the stalk two feet from the soil and replant the top part.

another issue: sometimes after i water my corn plants a number of leaves will turn brown....i am guessing this is root rot from overwatering?

so could overwatering be prevented by putting in an inch or two layer of stones/pebbles/perlite at the bottom of the planter?


The main problem with overwatering is that too much water is retained in the pot instead of running out the bottom. Water displaces air, but oxygen and CO2 won't diffuse through water in soil voids as fast as through air in those same voids - gasses diffuse 10,000 or 100,000 times faster through air than through water.

Too much water is retained for two main reasons: perched water and capillary water.
The soil usually holds too much water because the soil is too fine-grained and not coarse enough.

Peat-based potting soils are like deathtraps if you tend to overwater as I do! Look for grit, crushed stone, bark chunks or coarse Perlite.

Capillary water clings to soil particles in a thin film. If the soil voids are as small as twice the thickness of a capillary film, they fill completely and HOLD that water, displacing air and drowning the roots. Small soil particles casue small open spaces. Coarse soil particles cause larger open spaces.

Perched water happens when the soil changes abruptly in coarseness or composition. For some reason, capillarity works better with "like to like" soils. When fine grained mixes sit on top of coarse gravel or pebbles, the water reacts as if the abrupt transition was impervious to water. the "capillary connection" breaks when you put stones, garvel or broken pots int he bottom of a pot.

That's an example of conventional wisdom that is dead wrong.

In containers, the whole batch of soil should be uniform and coarse enough to [b]drain quickly[/u]

The solution is a coarser soilless mix from top to bottom and specifically spilling out the drainage holes. If the soil can touch whatever is UNDER the pot, the water can be pulled by capillary attraction right out of the pot (especially if you set the pot down on something that wicks, like a cotton towel or flannel. (Like this, but with a bigger pot:)
http://garden.org/ideas/view/RickCorey/646/Bottom-Watering-S...

Al / Tapla convinced me that soil mixes coarser than around 0.1" are ideal for containers. They drain fast enough that you CAN'T drown the roots, but you might have to water every day since the pot does not hold a lot of water. Instead, it holds a lot of air, which lets the roots breath!

Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DogsNDaylilies
Dec 14, 2015 1:43 PM CST
There's a lot of great information going on in this thread. Rick, thank you for tagging me earlier. Like Tiffany said, there isn't much I can add. I'm not terribly experienced with dracaena, I just purchased my first one this year. I find it interesting that Tiffany said she was trying a method of nicking the plant because that was something that crossed my mind, too. It's a pity that hasn't yielded any results yet, though.

Aa2 - welcome to ATP!! Welcome!
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Moonhowl
Dec 14, 2015 4:54 PM CST
While nicking trunks, think it might create some branching if you tried grafting slices of the stem into the lower trunk?
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
Image
purpleinopp
Dec 14, 2015 5:09 PM CST
Rick, another excellent article!

Grafting, that's taking things to a level way beyond an impulsive and virtually effortless swipe of a pruner (to make a nick.) My next level was going to be to jam a little pebble into the nick, kind of like air layering without the extra effort of surrounding the nick with moist peat and covering in plastic. It's not like I need more of the Dracaenas I already have, I surely don't. But performing weird plant manipulations, then seeing what happens, is a lot of why I get up in the mornings! That's how the nicking that I've done manifested, not necessarily in connection with the goal of more plants or branches in mind. Just unbridled curious enthusiasm, and the desire to have "something to check" besides just looking for pests or thirsty conditions.

And, I didn't come up with the idea, not at all. So if it was very likely to cause a new branch on Dracaenas, it would probably be a well known, common practice with these popular house plants. Where on the trunk could be a factor in the likelihood of results too, whether it's old wood, semi-woody, or farther up in the newer, greener material.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
Moonhowl
Dec 14, 2015 5:24 PM CST
I understand, Tiffany, as I also run in many directions with unbridled curiosity...That thought just happened to grab the bridle for a moment. Big Grin

As for the idea not being yours....well, I don't know any one else nicking dracaena stems, so I thought I would ask. Thumbs up
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Dec 14, 2015 5:53 PM CST
That's very kind of you to say, Tiffany, especially coming from someone who grows houseplants and tropical plants successfully!

Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
DavidLMO
Dec 14, 2015 7:02 PM CST
RickCorey said:

Al / Tapla convinced me that soil mixes coarser than around 0.1" are ideal for containers. They drain fast enough that you CAN'T drown the roots, but you might have to water every day since the pot does not hold a lot of water. Instead, it holds a lot of air, which lets the roots breath!


Tapla's media mixes are legendary. And among the best I have ever tried.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"