Plant ID forum: HELP - Identifying two plants

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Sunni90
Feb 21, 2018 5:04 PM CST
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20874
Sunni90
Feb 21, 2018 5:06 PM CST
I need help identifying the two big plants in my sunroom. I inherited these when I purchased the house last March. They were thriving great until now. I really need care instructions as you can see they are shedding abnormally. Any tips will be appreciated along with products I can use will be appreciated!
Thanks
Sunni
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 21, 2018 6:12 PM CST
Hi & welcome! The 1st pic has Dracaena marginata (with some kind of palm behind):
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

It looks like it has gotten so tall that it is bumping into the skylight. It can be pruned if desired. New growth will come from right by the point where it is cut, so keep that in mind when deciding where to do it, if desired. The removed part can take root, in another pot or by sticking into the same pot. You should have plenty of stem to stick it all the way to the bottom of the pot. This will allow roots to form all along the buried length of stem.

The 2nd plant looks like Ficus benjamina:
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)

They are famous for dropping leaves if/whenever conditions change. If given a stable routine, a new flush of leaves should stay on unless/until conditions change again.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 24, 2018 9:14 AM CST
I agree with Tiffany's ID and assessment. Don't be afraid to prune both plants sharply. The very tall stem on the Marginata should be cut back to a height of about 2-3 feet.

I would prune back the Ficus by about one-third or more to get it back to a more manageable, less leggy condition. Unless you recently moved it, then the recent leaf loss is due to a watering problem. Ficus trees are hard to over water, so I suspect yours got too dry and is shedding leaves as a result. Water it thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels barely damp. Make sure water is not accumulating in the bottom of the outer pot.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Contact me directly at [email protected]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 24, 2018 9:29 AM CST
A goal for this plants' appearance was not stated, just a question about its' health. I don't see any empirical connection between pruning this species and its' health. In this particular situation, bumping into the skylight could cause the leaves to burn or mildew if they stick to wet glass at times from condensation or their own guttation. That could cause an issue with health. For most individuals of this species in the captivity of a pot, height must be reduced periodically due to limitations of the room/building. The struggle is real. Smiling

Will, I am sure you have a specific goal in mind when you say, "should be cut back to a height of about 2-3 feet." Your information would be more complete if the dots were connected, so to speak. Is it in regard to appearance, in relation to the gorgeous room in which it lives, some other thing?

If one wants the new foliage to appear at that height, that is what they should do. If they want new foliage to appear at 1 foot, or 5 feet, any spot other than 2-3 feet, it is not what they should do. Should implies that some detriment is expected if not accomplished. Except in life-or-death situations, plants usually have options which one could do, but rarely anything that should be done.

Not everyone has the same aesthetic or other goals for their plants, and some have not yet explored the possibilities enough to develop a goal. Some might have an assumption in mind that does not match a piece of advice, so if followed, the result would be disappointing.

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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Feb 24, 2018 9:30 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 24, 2018 11:57 AM CST
I agree with Tiffany.

And will add: Ficus drop leaves in the fall and winter but yours seems to be a little over exuberant on that. They also drop leaves if they are too dry or too wet. Check your watering practices - they would rather be on the dry side.

The dracaena looks good.... unless you want to move it out of the center of your room. Smiling

If the windows do not go all the way around (I assume they don't), give them both a 1/4 turn everytime you water to keep them balanced.
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skylark
Feb 26, 2018 7:13 PM CST
i agree with Will - the tall cane begs to be pruned. i'd prune either at 3' (lower then the fork of the other trunk) or about 6' - so that the cut is just above the tips of tallest leaves.
it certainly is a goal of many people to keep the houseplant looking good - and that includes both the health and the aesthetics of the plant.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 27, 2018 5:58 PM CST
Of course, folks can let their plants go unpruned as much as they want. I know that pruning is the most commonly neglected plant care technique because folks don't know they can do it without killing the plant or they are afraid they will do it wrong or it never occurs to them.

When someone asks for "tips" (as was done here), I think I should offer that up as a possibility even when pruning does not have an effect on a plant's health. If you review my many comments on pruning, I think you will find a consistent message that pruning does not affect a plant's health; it only alters its appearance. I think it is important for folks to know that is an option.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
JC/NYC (Zone 7b)
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skylark
Feb 27, 2018 6:12 PM CST
i think in many cases pruning will Improve the plant health (more branches, more leaves).
i have several Ficus benjamina and sometimes they dry up to a point of dropping ALL leaves - when i am away and water runs out or wicks stop wicking (i grow them on self-watering wicks).
then i prune them by 1/3 may be and water slowly and put them in the very good but not hot harsh light - and they recover . Always ! :).
i have one just like this sitting in the west window - already showing buds after just 10 days.
one that dried up severely (was totally dry for sev weeks if not a month) - it took it's time, may be 6mo to recover fully. and then i reshaped it again.
Ficuses are very vigorous plants and recover fast - i would not worry much about how to prune - just
read up a little and prune it lightly and learn as you go along.
that Ficus in the pic really NEEDS pruning - it has just a few leaves at the ends of branches. It's super sparse - considering it's under a skylight, i am surprised. it's should be getting enough light.
most likely it's kept too dry for such a large tree. Or may be the soil needs to be changed and it needs to be fertilized regularly, since it's a fast grower.
[Last edited by skylark - Feb 27, 2018 6:18 PM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 28, 2018 8:21 AM CST
I did not say to not prune it, at all, nor did I disagree Will. I said that pruning should be done so that it helps one achieve the goal they had in mind.
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skylark
Feb 28, 2018 9:57 AM CST
>>>I said that pruning should be done so that it helps one achieve the goal they had in mind.
that's a very generic statement. When somebody knows how to prune and has experience with many plants - they develop pruning goals :). when somebody just has a few plants for indoors that they wish to be healthy and looking good - that's a goal too.
the ficus in the pic looks unhealthy with very few leaves. the goal is to bring the crown back - that requires pruning. even with good culture it will develop mostly tip-leaves, that's just how they grow.
it also needs watering more (most likely) and changing soil (quite likely), etc.
if the OP does not want to prune - that's her plant and her decision. if she wants to learn a bit - she can do so too.
[Last edited by skylark - Feb 28, 2018 10:47 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Feb 28, 2018 10:49 AM CST
"Looking good" is completely subjective, per person and per plant. Some might think "natural," or "just shorter," or "more green," or "symmetrical," or "like a miniature tree," or "shaped like one I saw in a magazine," or "like it did when I first got it," or "more bushy," or "with more stems," or "with more leaves," or "taller," or "in proportion to the room/decor," or any number of other things.

No need for one to have any experience to have an idea like that.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
JC/NYC (Zone 7b)
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skylark
Feb 28, 2018 12:10 PM CST
hm-m ..since pruning is quite a specific practice for shrubs and trees there are quite specific guidance rules for it. they are devised for both: health and appearance.
everybody's advice is subjective to the extent of their personal experience and knowledge.
and then there is advice of professionals/horticulturists/show judges etc - which is also subjective but driven by extensive knowledge. it is the choice of every grower whose advice to follow :).
so i don't see what you are arguing about - you give your advice, i give my advice, will gives his advice.
we might disagree - the OP chooses what to do.

Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Feb 28, 2018 2:20 PM CST
I did not advise anything or disagree with anyone. I asked a question and tried to clarify by saying that when pruned, new growth would appear from right near near the cut. I really don't see how anything I've said here could be called arguing. Quite the opposite of disagreeing, I agreed in my first post that if it is desired to have new foliage growing at 2-3', that it should be pruned as described, at 2-3'.

I could not advise in regard to aesthetics or style without first establishing what the desired aesthetic or style is. I might suggest what I would do, and explain the aesthetic or style that would be achieved as the result of that action, in case that end result does not match what the person who asked the question had in mind, but have not gone in that direction at all in this discussion.

ETA, honestly, I'm genuinely confused. And just to clarify, all of my comments except the last part of my 1st post have been in regard to D. marginata. I assumed that but it may not be clear to all.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
[Last edited by purpleinopp - Feb 28, 2018 2:27 PM (+)]
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