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My dracena is dying! Help!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by Plant Lover on July 18, 2004 11:09 AM
I have a large, 6' tall Dracena (corn plant) that I've been taking care of for several years. In the last couple of weeks I've noticed a big change in the plant. The plant had 3 large stems coming off of one big trunk. On 2 of the stems the leaves started to die off and the stems themselves seemed to rot away. They became brown and mushy. Now there's only 1 stem left and I'm really getting worried about this plant. About the same time this happened we had summer kick in to full gear here, with temperatures jumping up into the 90's. I have been keeping the same watering schedule I always have with this plant. Anyone have any ideas what the problem might be? I really want to save my plant. Please help!
by Chrissy on July 18, 2004 04:14 PM
Hi [wayey] Is your Drac inside or outdoors? The reason I ask is because I have a huge Dracena that I have had for years & it has always lived indoors with full slightly filtered sun & done really well. This summer I decided to put her outdoors because she is getting so big (I can barely move her pot)....well I made a big mistake doing that, all of her leaves started to turn brown fall off & she now has only 3 leaves left & they are all damaged looking. I believe my plant has an extreme sunburn. I tried to acclimate her to the full sun exposure, but it didn't help any, as soon as she went into full sun she began to die. I have since brought her indoors & she looks to be recovering, I see new growth now. I don't know if you are facing the same problem...but if yours is in full sun, I suggest moving it. Chrissy

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by Plant Lover on July 18, 2004 11:26 PM
Hi Krissy (sp?). Thanks for the advice. I have not moved my plant. It's been indoors it's whole life. It has been standing in the same place in my house for about 4 years now. The only change that happened to the plant was that it started to get really hot here. It went from 70 degrees to about 90 degrees in just a couple of days. One whole side of the plant (including the big trunk) is brown. One stem is soft and brown. I didn't change how much water it gets, and didn't move it. Ahhhh! I'm so worried about this plant. It's the first plant my boyfriend and I ever got, so it means a lot to us. Anyways, thanks a lot for your advice. I have noticed that Dracenas are very sensitive to light.

by plantlady19 on July 21, 2004 06:49 PM
It sounds like your plant has a kind of fungal rot. Even though it may seem like a chore, you need to prune off everything that is brown and mushy and replant that baby, ASAP! It may look hopeless after you prune it back, but with some TLC, you stand a 98% chance of getting your plant back. It takes time so be patient. I really hope you catch the rot in time! Good luck. [thumb]

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Rule like a Goddess.
Command like a queen.
Work like a slave.
by plantlady19 on July 21, 2004 06:53 PM
Oh! I almost forgot! Make sure you discard the old soil to prevent anything in it from infecting another plant. Use clean, new soil when you repot your plant. And if the roots are still alive and not black and mushy (take not of this when you repot) your plant will come back. [Smile]

* * * *
Rule like a Goddess.
Command like a queen.
Work like a slave.
by Plant Lover on July 22, 2004 09:43 PM
Yeah, I was afraid of some sort of rot. I'll try re-potting and see what happens. Thanks.
by Will Creed on July 28, 2004 03:48 AM
The symptoms do suggest a root-related problem.

Squeeze the bottom of the bark-covered cane just above the soil. If the bark feels loose and papery, then the roots and plant are beyond recovery. Cut off the remaining healthy "head" and root it in water or moist potting mix.

Otherwise, the likely cause of this is that you have been keeping the soil a bit too moist and gradually over a long period of time the roots have rotted and died back. Repotting is unlikley to help. Allowing the top third of the soil to dry out might help if the roots haven't completely rotted.
by Plant Lover on August 04, 2004 09:00 AM
My dracena update:
I re-potted the plant. Gave it fresh soil and Perlite and threw the old soil away. Most of the roots were rotted away. The pot had completely stopped draining, so it was like the plant was sitting in mud. The top half of the trunk is black, mushy, and rotting away. There is still the small green stalk that has some green leaves attached to it but they are slowly turning brown and falling off. The bottom half of the trunk seems ok. Where should I cut the plant in order to try and make a new plant out of it? At the main trunk, or the small stalk that is green? Any ideas would be most greatly appreciated!

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