Houseplants forum: What's wrong with my corn plant?

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Name: Colorado Amateur
Parker, CO (Zone 5b)
Jun 11, 2017 12:42 AM CST
Can someone tell me what's wrong with my corn plant? Just as I thought it was dead, this lone leaf came up. The plant still didn't look very healthy overall, so I took it out of the pot and washed the roots. Are these dead? Any advice to save it would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Amaryllis Houseplants Annuals Garden Photography
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Foliage Fan Bulbs Bee Lover Frogs and Toads Container Gardener
Jun 11, 2017 1:00 AM CST
Take it outside and put it in the garbage. You can buy a lovely replacement.
Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Region: United Kingdom Native Plants and Wildflowers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds The WITWIT Badge Container Gardener
Foliage Fan Sempervivums Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Region: New Mexico
Jun 15, 2017 9:29 AM CST
You sure its a corn plant? Looks more like yucca gigantea. I agree, throw it out and get a replacement

Did that cutting in the pot beside it come from that plant? If it has serated leaves then its definitely a yucca
Heat zone 1-2
[Last edited by syzone8aUK - Jun 15, 2017 9:36 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jun 15, 2017 1:35 PM CST
How often do you water? I find both Dracaena and Yucca to be fairly drought tolerant. Does the stem down near the trunk feel soft if you squeeze it? That would definitely be an indication of the stem rotting from the inside out. My eyesight isn't the greatest so I can't say the roots are dead because sometimes roots are brown in color. I wouldn't give up on the plant just yet because I think I see it sprouting new growth with at least one tiny new shoot near the top of the branch on the left in our photo.

Corn Plant (Dracaena fragrans) looks very similar to Spineless Yucca (Yucca gigantea) Even the bark looks similar on both plants but the leaves are a bit different. Dracaena fragrans leaves are broad, soft and pliable whereas Yucca gigantea has narrower, stiffer leaves. I find that on my Corn Plant the leaves usually grow in a downward position while the Yucca leaves are pointed up.

For comparison, I also just went outside and took photos of the leaves of both plants in my yard.

Dracaena fragrans leaves
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Yucca gigantea leaves

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

Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Jun 17, 2017 7:01 AM CST
Your plant is definitely a cut-back Yucca elephantipes, not a Corn Plant. The roots are mostly dead, but there are enough live roots that it will attempt to live on. Rinsing away all of the soil damaged many of the roothairs that do most of the work so that has compromised the roots, as well.

Discarding it is certainly an acceptable option. If you want to attempt a rescue, move it into a terra cotta pot that is just barely large enough to accommodate the roots snugly. Use a porous potting mix with added perlite. Keep it in a warm, moderately sunny indoor location. At best, recovery will be very slow.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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