Ask a Question forum: Dracaena Help!!

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Name: Alice Toadstool
Apr 6, 2017 10:13 PM CST
Hi all,

I need some advice for my dracaena a bought last December, I'm a complete novice!
I don't feel like it is doing very well at all.

1. Firstly can anyone tell me which type of Dracaena it is, the only information from the lady I bought it off was 'lily bamboo' (she didn't speak much english) and I can't seem to find too much information on it.

2. Secondly, although I know its normal for leaves to brown and fall off on these species, mine seems to be losing around 2 a day on average and seems to be looking thinner than when i first bought it.

3. Thirdly, I am mostly worried about some brown drying up spots and splits on the leaves and also the stems inside the tree seem to be shrivelling up.

Watering - the lady told me to water it once a week, which i did at first but then cut down to once every 2 weeks as i was afraid of over watering it and getting root rot. Also I'm unsure of how much water i should give in one go. Should I be feeding it nutrients? Is tap water bad?

Its Home - We first lived in an apartment that was very warm and humid and the plant was in a south facing window getting sunlight all day but then we moved to a very cool and very dry apartment with only has a north facing window which gets 0 sunlight.

Please can anyone help.
Thank you
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Apr 7, 2017 4:19 AM CST
I bought 2 small ones and they are thriving on a north-facing windowsill. No plant can stand 0 sunlight, so give them some. You say the place is dry, so a misting every few days will help. If space is tight, rotate the plants to a sunnier spot once a week, they will appreciate some light but not a south or west window. Just something better than 0 light and they will last longer.

In my experience, moving plants around will let you know where they are happy. As in, where they stop losing leaves. ;)
[Last edited by Yardenman - Apr 7, 2017 6:14 AM (+)]
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Name: Alice Toadstool
Apr 7, 2017 8:40 AM CST
Ahhh well that could be a huge problem, I live on the south side of the building and unfortunately have no windows that get sunlight. I should specify...i get no direct sunlight only shadowed.

I'm hoping that as summer comes the Sun will set further round the building giving me a couple of hours in the evening.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Apr 8, 2017 2:29 PM CST
Your plant is a Dracaena reflexa, sometimes called Pleomele. The very dense foliage suggests that it was grown under very high light in a nursery. Only in such intense light can a plant support that many leaves so close together. That means yours is going to lose many of the leaves in the center or interior portion of the plant. That does not mean you are not caring for it properly. It simply means that the available light allows it to support far fewer leaves. The more light you can provide, the fewer leaves it will lose. But it will continue to lose lots of leaves in the best of circumstances.

You should water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. No one can reliably tell you how much or how often that will be. Tap water is fine unless it is on the hard side, in which case you should use filtered or distilled water.

The growth rate of your Reflexa will slow considerably in the reduced light. That means it will gradually use less water and very few nutrients. If you fertilize, do it no more than a couple of times per year at half strength. Fertilizer is not a replacement for light.

The cracked leaves are normal as is leaf discoloration as your plant acclimates to its new environment with greatly reduced light.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Apr 10, 2017 12:04 PM CST
Well, luckily dracaena can withstand some shading, although it does it's best in high filtered light. The main reason why yours is dropping leaves, is likely, because of adjusting to the new conditions, also it's spring, so if there is new growth, there might be some leaf loss. It's also important to fertilise from time to time, that might help with quality of the leaves. And remember to reduce watering during winter months, and resume more frequent watering during months of active growth, namely spring and summer.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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Apr 10, 2017 12:15 PM CST
Give your plant time to adjust. In time it will normally drop the older lower leaves. It is a low light plant that is quite drought tolerant so once a week thorough watering should be okay. As long as that container has drainage holes for the excess water it should be fine. When you water, do it early in the day, not at night, so it is not inviting fungal issues. For now, don't give it any fertilizer yet, as it is still adjusting to your growing location.

It is a good looking plant! Happy growing!

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