Ask a Question forum→Drooping Dracaena Marginata

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Park Ridge, NJ
scotty_x_bones
May 13, 2020 6:36 PM CST
Hi, I recently repotted a new Dracaena Marginata with two older trunks. While the new plant seems to be doing well... the leaves on the older trunks are drooping... big time. See photo. I checked the roots and saw no signs of rot. Also pruned / cut back a few stems on the older trunks.
Thumb of 2020-05-14/scotty_x_bones/6ba37e
Thumb of 2020-05-14/scotty_x_bones/74ead9

Park Ridge, NJ
scotty_x_bones
May 14, 2020 7:51 AM CST
any thoughts on this? he looks so sad!

update: i placed the stems that were drooping that i cut in a cup of water in a bright area of the house... and the leaves already have renewed vigor... so now I'm not sure what to do! I thought overwatering was the primary suspect in the droop...
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 14, 2020 9:10 AM CST
Welcome! Dracaena Marginatas do not like their roots disturbed and often react adversely to repotting.

Did you remove some of the original soil when you repotted or did you leave the rootball intact? Does the new pot have a drain hole? How dry does the soil feel and how deep before you water? How much water do you give it?

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Park Ridge, NJ
scotty_x_bones
May 14, 2020 9:47 AM CST
WillC said: Welcome! Dracaena Marginatas do not like their roots disturbed and often react adversely to repotting.

Did you remove some of the original soil when you repotted or did you leave the rootball intact? Does the new pot have a drain hole? How dry does the soil feel and how deep before you water? How much water do you give it?



Thanks for the welcome and the tip, Will! Appreciate the help. These are good questions.

The roots were intact on the older trunks, but I did knock away some dirt when repotting. They had already begun to wilt by this time, and I was afraid of rot. So I was inspecting the roots closely. So they're intact, but relatively loose in the new soil.

All trunks are planted in a plastic pot with 4 drain holes, and then sitting in a decorative pot.

I have been trying not to overwater it! Just so it is moist. I had actually waited some time to water it because I was afraid of overwatering... but they were still wilting... hence what prompted the repotting.

Let me know what you think! Again - can't thank you enough for the tips. I'm trying to become a much better plant owner these days...
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
May 14, 2020 10:01 AM CST
Repotting is a common reaction to many unrelated plant problems. If a plant is wilting, it is because the soil is getting too dry and the solution is more watering. Or it is because the roots have started to die due to overwatering, in which case letting the soil dry out more is the solution. Repotting does not solve anything.

The problem with repotting is that it damages the tiny root hairs that do most of the work. The more the original soil is disturbed or removed, the greater the damage to the roots and ultimately the plant. The quality of the new potting soil and the size of the new pot also have an effect on how much water it needs and its recovery.

Without knowing all the details of your repotting, I suggest the following:

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. Recovery will be slow and wilting and leaf yellowing will continue in the interim.

For future reference, leave plants in their plastic nursery pots and insert or double-pot those into more attractive decorative planters.

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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