Ask a Question forum→How to save an overwatered Dracaena Marginata

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Brussels
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noemi_ch
May 9, 2020 11:48 AM CST
Hello everyone,

I took my boss's plant - Dracena marginata in order to saved it. It had a pot and a decorative container which was filled with water, so It was sitting like this for quite some time. I stopped giving it water for a week and then I re-potted it, the roots weren't so bad, not stinky or anything, typical bright yellowish Dracena roots. I took all the soil out (didn't cut the root edges) gave it new soil and put it in a bigger pot (the old one was very small). I thought this would do the trick however it hs been two weeks and it is still droopy and loosing leaves. However I think it is growing new ones as well.

Should I take out all the old ones yellowish leaves? Should I just let it sit like this? I read online some people trim the stems in severe situations but I wouldn't do that if not necessary.

Looking forward to some advice and help.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 9, 2020 1:35 PM CST
Welcome! Overwatered plants simply need to dry out; they don't need the soil replaced. When repotting, it is never a good idea to remove any soil because doing so tears away the tiny root hairs that usually go unnoticed but do most of the work. That causes what is commonly called "transplant shock." It can be avoided if the rootball is left intact. There was nothing wrong with the soil except that it was too wet.

Going forward be aware that your plant is now in recovery mode as it tries to grow new roots. It will continue to lose more of the older leaves. Discolored leaves can be removed because they will never recover.

I suggest that you remove all the soil you added to the top of the original rootball so that the uppermost roots are just barely covered. That will allow oxygen to penetrate the root zone more readily. Then wait until the top inch of remaining soil is dry before adding just enough water so that it dries out similarly again in a week. Experiment a bit to see just what the right amount of water is.

The watering is tricky but critical to getting the roots to recover. It will require much patience on your part because it will take a long time before you see any improvement.

No reason to cut back stems unless they shrivel and get soft.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Brussels
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noemi_ch
May 9, 2020 5:24 PM CST
Hello Will,

Thank you so much for your quick reply.

I was almost sure that I will find root rot and many sites online said that in such situations the soil needs to be changed. Wish I didn't do that now.

I don't mind taking it slow and waiting for it to recover, I was just worried that it is damaged beyond repair. I took out the yellowish leaves and the top soil, so let's see how it goes now Smiling

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 10, 2020 8:37 AM CST
I'm sorry you found that very common misinformation posted online. Most unfortunate. Sad
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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