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Avatar for darcyh
May 17, 2020 11:45 AM CST

Hello all!

My previously flawless Dracaena has suddenly taken a turn. Within a few weeks, its leaves have started showing yellowish spots, and in one place the tissues look damaged and transparent. I've inspected it thoroughly and can find no evidence of pests.

I repotted it about two months ago -- just before it started going yellow. It had been quite rootbound. I used a basic potting soil mixed with about 1/4 perlite in an appropriately-sized terracotta pot. I'm a bit worried it's a root fungus? The bag of soil is kept on a balcony, and hadn't been well sealed. I also moved the plant at this time. It is about 3 metres from the front wall of our condo, which is one big south-facing window. It's VERY bright but indirect light. Previously it had been in a slightly more sheltered situation.

I water this plant when the soil is dry to about 3 inches down, and I water until it percolates out the bottom. I did fertilize it with a 10-15-10 liquid plant food once or twice after repotting, but stopped when it started yellowing. I just use lukewarm water from the tap, which is chlorinated, but this plant has lived in this apartment (with the same water) for a year and a half before looking unhappy.

Thank you for your input!

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May 17, 2020 1:17 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
How much of the original soil did you remove whe you repotted?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for darcyh
May 17, 2020 1:53 PM CST

WillC said:How much of the original soil did you remove whe you repotted?


Hello Will, thank you for your reply. I don't specifically recall, but I doubt it was much if any. I don't remove soil from the plants when repotting, aside from what falls off incidentally. Is this incorrect?
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May 18, 2020 7:57 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Leaving the rootball intact is a good thing. Removing soil tears away many of the tiny roothairs.

Your Dracaena 'Lemon-lime' is reacting to the repotting, which was probably unnecessary.

When you repotted, how much new soil did you add to the top surface of the original rootball? How often does it take for the top three inches dry after watering?

Move it close enough to the window so that it gets a couple of hours of direct sun falling directly on it each day.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for darcyh
May 18, 2020 9:56 AM CST

Hi Will -- thank you for this. There is a half inch of new soil on top of the root ball, if that. The size difference between pots was maybe 2" in diameter. I water about once every 10 days.
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May 18, 2020 12:11 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
The pot is larger than necessary. Plants that are now in overly large pots have excess soil that tends to retain moisture for too long and suffocate the roots.

I suggest that you remove 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 half-inch of remaining soil is dry before adding just enough water so that it dries out similarly again within a week. Experiment a bit to see just what the right amount of water is.

Sorry if this seems complicated, but it is what happens when plants are unnecessarily repotted.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for darcyh
May 18, 2020 4:17 PM CST

I have no qualms about complex instructions. Thank you Will!
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May 19, 2020 7:07 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Smiling
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
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