Help my sons Corn Plant!!!

pushpins1001February 27, 2014

My mother decided to get a "tree" for my son who turned 2 yrs old, since that is all he wanted. Got the tree in September... Never knew how to care for it.
Fast forward February, the big ol dummy that I am took this plant outside since everytime I watered it the water would leak out. Forgot it overnight, (I live in NJ) and overwatered it big time!
My mother keeps saying I didn't kill it. I took out the old dirt, put new one and trimmed the brown ones.'s starting to smell.
Can I really save this tree? My poor son keeps telling me you put too much water and why it looks like that? Mind you I have a black thumb, as you can probably see. HELP!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

How cold was it that night?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 3:32PM
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The leaves definitely look dead, I'd chop them off. Squeeze the trunk and if it's still hard it will regrow its leaves. Let the soil dry out until you see me growth.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 4:43PM
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And next time, water it in the sink, tub or over the toilet.

This post was edited by brodyjames on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 21:49

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:53PM
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I dont believe there is any hope for it with the temps as cold as they have been.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:01PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sorry, but w/out even being a grower of this plant, I'll tell you if it's starting to smell that's rot. Pls. throw it out, there is not usually recovery from rot which generally equals death in plants.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:35AM
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If the soil smells bad that would make me worry that the roots are rotting. That could be because the cold weather killed the roots, or it could be because too much water caused the roots to smother and die.
If you really want to try going all out to save this plant you could try taking some cuttings of the cane and see if any of them root. It might not work, but you don't really have anything to lose by trying since if the roots are rotten it is dying anyway.

However, similar to those stories about parents who switch their kid's dead hamster with a live look-alike, I think the easiest answer might be to find another corn plant that looks like this one and swap it with your son's plant. :)

I am including a link to some care info for corn plant so that if you decide to start over with a new one you will know what to do.
Growing houseplants, like any other skill, is something
that gets easier with practice. Most of us have killed a lot of plants before we learned how to keep them, so don't feel bad.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corn Plant

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:27AM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

Take it out of the pot. If the cane is firm, its salvageable.
Cut the cane with a hack saw just above the soil line if the rot smell is coming from the roots we'll just get rid of them. Remove all dead and dying folliage.
Leave the cane to callous about a week.
Find a pot (not large) big enough for the can to be in with maybe an inch clearance on each side. (clay would work really well).

If you have rooting hormone sprinkle it on the bottom of the calloused cane (if you dont no big deal)

Get your soil out and fill the bottom inch of the pot with your dirt, add the calloused cane, and fill rest of the pot with soil, tamp lightly. DO NOT WATER. if any leaves are not mush and are salvageable mist them. Mist the trunk daily, put in the brightest sunniest window of your home. It will more then likely not be able to keep itself verticle. let it lean on the glass. Mist everyday. Eventually (after some time especially since its winter) New roots will form, and you will see new growth.

Once new growth shows up you can water the plant through the soil. Allow to try out thoroughly between waterings. This will make sure that new roots will not rot the way the old ones did.

This will take a lot of time. Depending on how much life force that cane has to regenerate roots.

(this is how they do it at greenhouses :) )

good luck! Happy growing! Dont throw it out yet!

Seriously though, once you have it re-potted after removing all the roots and waiting a week. please please please do not water it.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:41PM
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