Houseplants forum: My camouflage dumbcane is waning :-(

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bknik
Feb 6, 2018 1:13 PM CST
I have a beautiful dumbcane but it's leaves are turning yellow and dropping. Its in front of a south facing window with fairly thick curtains but I'm not sure if that's considered dappled light. I tried watering it weekly then every 2 weeks and don't know what to do. It also sits under a heat vent and we keep the house at about 71 o72 degrees.

Any suggestions you guys can give would be so helpful. I feel like its dying and I really would hate for that to happen.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 6, 2018 1:27 PM CST
Your Dieffenbachia is not getting enough light. Very thin sheers might allow enough light through a south window, but thick curtains are blocking out nearly all of the light that is usable by plants. Dieffenbachias want as much bright light as you can provide, but just short of having the sun's rays fall directly onto the leaves for more than an hour or so each day.

Allow the top quarter of the soil to dry before watering thoroughly. Trim off any leaves as soon as they start to discolor.

This is a plant that quickly becomes very tall and leggy. The solution is not a larger pot, but regular pruning to keep the plant full and compact. Cuttings propagate easily in water or damp soil.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

bknik
Feb 6, 2018 1:38 PM CST
THANK YOU! I didn't realize that it wasn't getting enough light. I'd read it needed dappled light so I was keeping the curtains shut. I can open the curtains and the blinds to allow more light in. So you're saying I can leave it where its at and it won't be too much light on the plant?
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WillC said:Your Dieffenbachia is not getting enough light. Very thin sheers might allow enough light through a south window, but thick curtains are blocking out nearly all of the light that is usable by plants. Dieffenbachias want as much bright light as you can provide, but just short of having the sun's rays fall directly onto the leaves for more than an hour or so each day.

Allow the top quarter of the soil to dry before watering thoroughly. Trim off any leaves as soon as they start to discolor.

This is a plant that quickly becomes very tall and leggy. The solution is not a larger pot, but regular pruning to keep the plant full and compact. Cuttings propagate easily in water or damp soil.


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 6, 2018 1:49 PM CST
Dappled light is something you get outside under a shade tree.

I wrote, "Dieffenbachias want as much bright light as you can provide, but just short of having the sun's rays fall directly onto the leaves for more than an hour or so each day." Let me explain. The sun's rays will fall directly on the leaves through a south window for most of the day if the plant is close to the window and that is too much. Place it just beyond the reach of the sun's rays on a sunny day. That might be a bit off to the side of the window or maybe 5 or 6 feet in from the window. Watching to see just where the sun's rays fall during the course of the day can be very instructive.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

bknik
Feb 6, 2018 3:06 PM CST
I see. My plant is definitely getting too much direct sun.

I can move it near an eastern window or about 6 feet from a western facing window too. I'll have to play around with the location because it doesn't work with my d├ęcor to move it 6 feet from it's current spot.

What sort of plant would you recommend that might work in its place. I wanted that location to have some green but there's not a lot of room in that area to play with.

I appreciate the education you're giving me.

WillC said:Dappled light is something you get outside under a shade tree.

I wrote, "Dieffenbachias want as much bright light as you can provide, but just short of having the sun's rays fall directly onto the leaves for more than an hour or so each day." Let me explain. The sun's rays will fall directly on the leaves through a south window for most of the day if the plant is close to the window and that is too much. Place it just beyond the reach of the sun's rays on a sunny day. That might be a bit off to the side of the window or maybe 5 or 6 feet in from the window. Watching to see just where the sun's rays fall during the course of the day can be very instructive.


[Last edited by bknik - Feb 7, 2018 10:28 AM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 6, 2018 4:44 PM CST
The Dieffenbachia should be okay 6 feet from an uncovered west window.

Plants that might do well right in front of and close to the uncovered south window include a small Fiddle-leafed Fig, Dracaena marginata, Cactus or Euphorbia, ZZ Plant, Rubber Plant, Ponytail Palm, Sansevieria, White Bird of Paradise, and Yucca cane. All of these come in various sizes. I don't know what is available in your area. These plant all require and do well in direct indoor sunlight.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

bknik
Feb 6, 2018 7:34 PM CST
so based on your advice I moved my dracaena marginata to the window where the dumbcane was. But it's potted with another plant & I have no clue know what that plant is. It's been in there for years but doesnt seem to grow much. I suspect it doesn't have the same light requirements as the marginata.

The leaves look like baby versions of what I believe is my Chinese evergreen. I included pics of the marginata pot and my evergreen, what do you think?

WillC said:The Dieffenbachia should be okay 6 feet from an uncovered west window.

Plants that might do well right in front of and close to the uncovered south window include a small Fiddle-leafed Fig, Dracaena marginata, Cactus or Euphorbia, ZZ Plant, Rubber Plant, Ponytail Palm, Sansevieria, White Bird of Paradise, and Yucca cane. All of these come in various sizes. I don't know what is available in your area. These plant all require and do well in direct indoor sunlight.



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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 6, 2018 8:01 PM CST
Yes, that is a Chinese evergreen potted with your Marginata. If you were getting a new Marginata, I would recommend it for the south window. But yours has been in much less light for a long time and has adapted accordingly, so I don't recommend that you move it from where it was. The Chinese Evergreen does not tolerate direct sun very well. I do suggest that both plants might benefit from pruning to help eliminate the leggy stems.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

bknik
Feb 7, 2018 9:55 AM CST
Hmmm..could I separate the Marginata from the evergreen potted with it?

As for pruning - to be honest - I dont know what to do. I understand what "leggy" means but I have no clue how to prune a plant outside of pulling off dead leaves. For the Marginata I want it to be fuller in appearance but leaves have fallen off t he stems and most of the fullness is in the tops of the stalks.


WillC said:Yes, that is a Chinese evergreen potted with your Marginata. If you were getting a new Marginata, I would recommend it for the south window. But yours has been in much less light for a long time and has adapted accordingly, so I don't recommend that you move it from where it was. The Chinese Evergreen does not tolerate direct sun very well. I do suggest that both plants might benefit from pruning to help eliminate the leggy stems.


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 7, 2018 2:20 PM CST
The roots of the two plants potted together are completely intertwined and very difficult to separate. Another option would be to cut off the Chinese Evergreen stems just above the soil and root them in water so you can start them in their own pot.

Pruning is more about aesthetics than technique. All you need to understand is that any healthy stem that you cut will produce new growth just below the point on the stem where you make the pruning cut. For example, if you have a 3-foot stem with leaves only at the top 6 inches, you cut that stem all the way back to 3 -6 inches above the soil. That would eliminate the bare stem and encourage new growth much lower down. I suggest you experiment a bit by pruning off a few really leggy stems and them wait a couple of months to see how new growth comes in. That will encourage you to do more. Eventually, you can prune as much or as little as you want to get the plant to the size and shape that you prefer.

The Chinese Evergreen cuttings will propagate quite easily in water or a small pot filled with potting mix. The Marginata cuttings are much more difficult to propagate, so my recommendation would be to simply discard them for now or until you are ready to learn about air-layering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

bknik
Feb 10, 2018 2:15 PM CST
I will attempt to prune the leggy evergreen first before tackling the marginata. Seems like I'll also be trying my hand at propogating the evergreen stems from the combo pot. I'm nervous!

I noticed the a few of the new buds on the Chinese evergreen are coming in yellow. Could this be the result of overwatering? None of the leaves are yellow & the plant looks healthy and has sprouted about 9 new buds even though it's winter.

Btw, I've seen articles from you on the net when researching my plants. The forum is fortunate to have your expertise.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Feb 10, 2018 3:49 PM CST
No reason to be nervous. Chinese evergreen stem cuttings root quite readily.

The yellow new growths are flower buds. No cause for concern.

Thank you for the compliment.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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