Ask a Question forum: Newly propagated (Dracaena?) getting soft at the bottom of cane

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Name: Kari Jackson
Seattle (Zone 8b)
okaleeo
Jun 16, 2015 12:32 AM CST
I have had this plant for close to 15 years. It was dying when I got it (left on a moving truck, in the dark, for about a week). I nursed it back to health and it is seriously like my first child.
Over the years, it had started growing really tall and the stalks (canes? I don't know the correct teminology) started leaning so I tied it to a large stick to prop it more upright. I started researching, firstly, what type of plant this is. I think it's either a draceana or a yucca? Anyways, I wanted to find out what I could do for the heighth, if I needed to just find taller and taller sticks to prop it up. I came across "propagating." It sounded easy, but I was super nervous because this plant has a soft spot in my heart and I didn't want to mess anything up where my plant would die.
I saw enough images on forums and online where I felt brave enough to make the cut. My original plant had 2 stalks. I cut the tops off and stuck them in soil. I then took the stalks (canes) and cut those in to smaller pieces. I originally put those cuttings into water, but I saw one dying right away (got really soft and turned black) so I took them out and put them in soil with the original base of the original plant. After several weeks I saw little buds(nodes) poking out!!! I had done it!!!! I had started with 4 canes, 1 died and the other 3 had the little buds. 1 of them is really taking off now. This is the one that is starting to worry me.
I just felt the stalk today , and it's getting soft at the bottom. Is it dying?! Is there a way to save it? I don't know what to do because it has 2 stems now growing out of it, and I don't want to lose it Sad What can I do, if anything?
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jun 16, 2015 7:31 AM CST
I think it's Yucca. Has the soil been changed recently? If it's been needing to be propped up, probably would love a bit more light if possible. I totally know what you mean about a plant being sentimental!
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jun 16, 2015 7:40 AM CST
Welcome! okaleeo

It might be a Yucca or a Dracaena; in either case it might benefit from a lighter mix and maybe better drainage? They hate to have wet feet.
What is your location/zone?
Name: Kari Jackson
Seattle (Zone 8b)
okaleeo
Jun 16, 2015 9:28 AM CST
Thank You! I live in Seattle.
That is a good idea, to change the soil. Do you think that would help with it getting soft? Can it come back from this?
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
Plumerias Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator Region: Florida Cat Lover Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
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Dutchlady1
Jun 16, 2015 9:40 AM CST
In my experience these are pretty hard to kill so I think it will be ok. Just make sure that, while they need regular water, they never SIT in water.
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
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purpleinopp
Jun 16, 2015 9:45 AM CST
Hopefully vigor can be restored, impossible to say for sure. I put all of my plants in cactus/palm soil, instead of potting soil. What you describe could be an issue with the roots rotting, from not having oxygen in the soil while it is moist. The much smaller particles of potting soil have much less space between them, so there's less space for oxygen to be in the soil. Adding a lot of perlite to potting soil is another method that has a lot of devotees, I just happen to have a strong aversion to perlite.

Whatever "stuff" you choose to put in the pot, leave it fluffy, don't pack tightly.

You may find a pancake of roots at the bottom of the pot. Chopping that off will help the roots to be able to grow normally again, and make removal of the old soil so much easier. Remove any mushy roots if you find them, replant so that the soil is at the same level (where the trunk/roots submerge) as it was before. If the new soil is moist at all, not necessary to water right away, and a chance to completely dry in the new soil should have a healing effect on the roots, if they had some rottong but are still salvageable.

The first few times you water a newly repotted plant, try to apply a gentle sprinkle, so the force of gushing water doesn't compact the soil & eliminate those tiny air spaces that help roots breath & soil to evaporate to dry in a timely manner.

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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
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
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purpleinopp
Jun 16, 2015 9:46 AM CST
Good point, Hetty! A drip saucer should only protect furniture, never hold water.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

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