Ask a Question forum: Dracaena / Corn plant help!

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The Netherlands
Lyanne
Jan 14, 2018 5:41 AM CST
Hello!
I need help with my dracaena, I am pretty bad with plants but I tried by best with this one.

My friends didn't have space for this plant anymore, so they gave it to me. It had some brown tips, and after watching some videos and reading up on dracaenas I dicided to cut the leaves. After that the leaves seemed to brown even faster and become yellow as well. Should I not have done that?

My friends had been overwatering it a lot, without any drainage holes in the pot. The soil smelled horrible and when I made holes in the plastic pot so much water poured out.
I asked for help on a Dutch forum and they advised me to repot the plant, which I did. I removed as much of the old soil I could, trying not to damage too many roots. I cut the roots that were mushy. I put it in a pot with drainage holes and I put those clay hydroballs at the bottom.

Right now the plant is looking worse and worse. I want to know if I just have to wait and see now, or if there's anything I should do.

Thanks!

About two weeks ago:
Thumb of 2018-01-14/Lyanne/a2b758

Right now:
Thumb of 2018-01-14/Lyanne/60668c
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Jan 14, 2018 6:38 AM CST
I suspect it is still losing leaves to compensate for the extreme root loss from all that water. Wait and see. I don't know it it will recover; I have no experience with this particular plant.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 14, 2018 8:39 AM CST
Lyanne - Your Corn Plant has undergone a lot of trauma to its root system. It will not recover easily or quickly. It might have been better to simply let the original soil dry out on its own after you created the drain holes.

That said, it should now be in a small pot, just barely large enough to accommodate the roots and a minimum amount of porous potting mix. The soil needs to dry out a couple of inches deep about a week after watering. The damaged roots will need both water and oxygen every week to be able to recover. At best, that will take a long time.

In the interim, remove any discolored leaves, as they will never re-green. Look for signs of healthy new growth at the tip ends of stems. If any of the canes shrivel or if the outer bark separates from the inner layers, then those canes are dying and cannot be saved.

You might consider propagating some tip cuttings just in case the plant doesn't make it.

Good luck with it!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
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BigBill
Jan 14, 2018 8:54 AM CST
With the inexperience that you have with plants, especially with plants in trouble, I am wondering whether or not it is worth the effort and heartache.
Corn plants are relatively cheap at places like Lowe's or Home Depot. Perhaps it would be more prudent to buy a new, large healthy plant and start new. It can be very discouraging to try and save such a troubled plant!
Good luck regardless!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Image
sallyg
Jan 14, 2018 9:26 AM CST
Bill makes an excellent point. You can often find these for less than 20 dollars. Many people post here for advice trying to save a doomed plant, and it seems there is no talking them out of it. If you want a nice corn plant, either spend 15$ or spend a year tending this before it looks as nice as a new one (if then).
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
The Netherlands
Lyanne
Jan 14, 2018 10:48 AM CST
Thank you for all your answers! Too bad there's no magic cure.

I'm trying so hard because my friends had difficulties giving it away, they were very attached to it and even named it.
Such a shame it was doomed before I got it

Thanks again!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 14, 2018 10:56 AM CST
Sounds like your friends loved the poor plant to near-death by over-nurturing it with lots of water when it really needed more oxygen!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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