Houseplants forum: Help identifying plant and issue

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jbmfg
Dec 5, 2016 1:55 PM CST
I've looked and looked online for what kind of plant this is but can find anything. So first question, what is it?

Second, it's been having a pretty major issue since re-potting where it lost all the lower half leaves very quickly. I've had this plant for years so i feel like i know what im doing with it as far as water and light and such. Combine that with the fact that all this happened after re-potting I'm betting the soil or drainage or both is incorrect. So any help on those things for re-re-potting it? Also, is there any way to get it to regrow the lost leaves?

Thanks in advance!
Thumb of 2016-12-05/jbmfg/a1ad46


kum_kudos
Dec 5, 2016 2:33 PM CST
Hi @jbmfg! Great handle btw! What does it mean? (jocks burrowing mindlessly for gold - just a stab in the dark lol)

It almost looks like a spider plant - that is what my mind is saying, but it doesn't have the white stripes. My mind is telling me it might be a chinese evergreen. But, my soul tells me it is a Dracaena.

Before i get into the dracaena, I want to point out that a lot of the crazy stuff that plants do revolves around survival. FOr example, there is a - โ€œsensitive plant,โ€ - Mimosa pudica. This is a miniature member of the mimosa family and its little leaves fold inward. Flick it a little harder, and all the stems retract like an umbrella or like some kind of botanical turtle hiding its head. It practically cries out to be flicked every time you walk by, and itโ€™s a must-have plant for any kids garden ( I am assuming you are a pre-teen). But the sensitive plant also goes to show what kind of weird and remarkable things plants can do!!!

Plant geneticists are just beginning to understand the complex and clever network of genes that make plants tick. For instance, one particular gene in roots signals the stems to grow fewer and smaller leaves when the soil moisture is getting threateningly low. Thereโ€™s even evidence that genes in seeds have a kind of memory that guides new growth based on the experiences of the parent plants. Bottom line: That head of cabbage might not be as dumb as you think.

Now the dracaena. One suggestion is to put a penny in the vase. I was skeptical of this idea until I learned that copper also works as bactericide and fungicide. In fact, copper is one of the oldest fungicides in the book, and it is still used today (often by organic farmers).

According to this thread (cant post link but google dracaena care - it is the homeguides page), you should repot dracaena plants every other year into a pot 1 inch or so larger than the current pot. Remove as much of the old potting soil as possible without damaging the stiff roots. Make sure the plant sits at the same level as in the old pot.

Things you will need:
- Liquid houseplant fertilizer
- general purpose potting soil
- general purpose in life
- Flowerpot

Hope this helps!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 5, 2016 2:49 PM CST
Hello jbmfg! To me your plant looks like a Dracaena Janet Craig. At times, plants do drop older lower leaves first. Since you said you just recently repotted it, maybe there was some root disturbance it is reacting to, and if you repositioned the plant, it maybe adjusting to it as well.

Just be careful with watering, don't make them too soggy. Over and underwatering manifests the same on the leaves.

It is a low light plant, so make sure it does not get too much direct sun.

jbmfg
Dec 5, 2016 2:59 PM CST
I thought it was a dracaena too but I cant find any pictures that look like it. Keep in mind that my picture is after it lost all the leaves. It used to be covered in leaves all the way to the soil. The lower 1/2 lost all the leaves so now it looks like it has a large stem.

I've thought its possibly a Janet Craig Compacta as well so i would believe that. I just have not been able to find a picture that looks just like mine before it lost all the leaves so i havent been sure. Here is a really old picture of it when it was much younger to see if that helps. Can i expect the lower leaves to regrow if it is a D. JC?
Thumb of 2016-12-05/jbmfg/aa9886

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Dec 5, 2016 4:53 PM CST
See this link..lots of photos to compare with: https://www.google.com/search?...

Typically, the lower leaves are gone when it has fallen, and new growth comes from the top. like any typical Dracaena, you can choose to chop off the stem, and it may sprout a new set of leaves below the cut end of the cane.

Here is a link about how to care for it, with pruning done best in Spring: http://www.balconycontainergar...
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 6, 2016 10:15 AM CST
Hi & welcome, Jbmfg and Kum! (LOL, Kum @ your guess for a possible meaning of a possible acronym.)

Agree with Dracaena JCC. It's normal for the older leaves to be lost as the trunk lignifies. Your plant looks fine. Mine has never been given fertilizer, had for about 5 yrs.
Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans 'Janet Craig Compacta')

I've cut and propagated all of my other Dracaenas that are big enough except JCC. I don't want to cut it until it blooms.

The pics at the bottom of that last link (to balconycontainergardening) show different Dracaenas, and says JCC only gets to be a foot tall, though there are many pics of much taller ones.

What did the roots look like when you repotted?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
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Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Dec 6, 2016 11:06 AM CST
Welcome! jbmfg & kum_kudos

The plant in question might be Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans 'Janet Craig') which can grow 6 to 8 feet tall, whereas Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans 'Janet Craig Compacta') apparently grows only 3 to 4 feet in height. I agree, lower leaf drop is normal as the plant forms it's woody base.

~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 6, 2016 3:30 PM CST
That could be. I thought the different names (JC/JCC) were in regard to leaf length, not height. Maybe nobody's had a potted one for long enough for it to have gotten really tall? How old is this cultivar?

Found this pic on DG.
http://pics.davesgarden.com/pi...
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

jbmfg
Dec 7, 2016 7:54 AM CST
@purpleinopp, that picture looks to be my plant exactly. I didnt realize they eventually dropped the lower leaves. Perhaps nothing is wrong with my plant after all? I've had it for probably close to 5 years now and it always just added leaves at the top. In the picture you posted you can see a few of the shorter ones have leaves all the way to the bottom while the taller ones have the long leafless stem.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Dec 7, 2016 8:09 AM CST
Yes, all of the lower leaves have fallen off of mine, had for a similar amount of time. If new leaves are forming at least as fast as the older ones are being discarded, that's normal growth for a Dracaena (and almost any other woody entity.) Repotting usually causes a period of adjustment, also normal, and necessary if/when roots have run out of room to keep growing.

๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Dec 10, 2016 5:37 PM CST
It is indeed a Janet Craig compacta.

Unnecessary repotting is one of the most common causes of plant problems. Contrary to conventional wisdom, plants like this do not need lots of room for their roots. They do best when kept moderately potbound, as nursery growers do. Larger pots mean more soil and that soil tends to retain moisture much longer around the roots thereby increasing the possibility of inadvertent over watering. In addition, if repotting is done incorrectly, tiny root hairs are easily damaged and they do most of the work. Finally, it is very important to use a potting mix that closely matches that of the original mix. It is no wonder problems occur so often after repotting.
Will Creed
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Dec 11, 2016 6:34 AM CST
Repotting & potting-up are not the same thing.

No plant likes to be rootbound. What is necessary for plants to stay alive is for their roots to not rot, which can happen so easily in a pot with dense soils, like ground dirt, or bagged mixes of predominantly tiny particles of peat, (or to simply shrivel from simply never getting any water.) Having very little soil around the roots would make the soil dry more quickly, and for even the most dedicated plant-overwaterers to not rot the roots of their plants. This is not ideal, since most non-cactus plants are stressed by dry conditions, it's just a way of coping with soil that has little air in it when moist.

Negative experiences in regard to potting-up, where an undisturbed root ball is placed into a bigger pot with more soil around it, vs. doing a repotting, as described below, can give rise to old wives' tales about plants not liking to be repotted/disturbed. Potting-up a root-bound plant that has roots surrounding the outside root ball often lead to this negative experience because those roots had adapted to accessing oxygen around the outside of the root ball and surrounding them with more dense, soggy-but-airless potting soil will likely lead to suffocation.

The reason bonsai masters are able to keep potted entities alive for hundreds of years is because they care for the roots by trimming them and changing the soil. A plant grows from the roots-up, so if the roots are not healthy, gorgeous foliage will decline &/or no flowers can form. When you unpot a plant and find a pancake of roots at the bottom, chopping that off will give roots a chance to grow normally again for a while and will make removing the old soil easier.

Roots need oxygen & moisture at the same time to function. Just air = shriveling. Just moisture = suffocation & rotting. Either will cause root death and dessicated foliage because the roots have been unable to deliver moisture. Having to let soil dry, as if ones' tropical jungle plant was a cactus, is an unnecessarily stressful coping mechanism for non-desert dwelling plants in soil without enough oxygen for the roots to stay healthy when it is moist and can lead to premature loss of older leaves and in extreme cases, dry shriveled roots/dead plant.

The ability of roots to be able to function properly depends greatly on the soil structure/texture, which can change over time. Potting soil tends to be very dense, mostly peat, with very little air in it. Any kind of organic ingredients decompose into smaller bits over time, and roots fill air spaces over time as they grow through soil. Replacing soil periodically is usually necessary to keep plants healthy because of these reasons. A more porous, chunky, airy soil (like cactus/palm, if one is buying bagged,) can have more air in it even when it is moist because there is space between the particles. When there are tiny particles of any kind in a pot, such as peat, sand, silt, clay, they filter into all of the tiny spaces in a pot, eliminating the air. "Overwatering" is the label and manifestation when roots have suffocated and/or rotted, combo of both. Over time, organic bits decompose into smaller bits, so even the "best" soil, if it has organic components, will need to be replaced when this happens. The speed at which this happens depends on many variables, but on average, about 1-3 years.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
๐Ÿ‘’๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒฝโ€โ˜€๐ŸŒบ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.

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