Got a Dracaena Marginata that needs some serious lovin'! How to s

organic_amosMarch 4, 2009

Bought this dracaena marginata a couple of days ago from Loblaws (see photo) on sale for $5 bucks. It looked that pitiful in the store, hence the price. I thought with some lovin', I'd save the plant from certain death and consider it a challenge. But I'm a beginner, so I don't much know where to start in saving this plant. Do I cut the bad parts off of the bad leaves? I'm putting it near a south-facing window -- should it be close to the window or if not, how far from it? Should I give it plant food? Any other tips to nurse it back to health? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dracaena marginata in bad shape

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jeannie7

Amos, the dracaena marginata prefers bright light...and in giving such enhances a red stripe down the edges of the leaves.
The leaves themselves then acquire deep olive greeness.

Dracaena, as a group of plants, gets along with standard potting mixes---make sure the soil drains well.
The water given should drain in a reasonable time depending on the amount of soil and the compactness of the soil when you water.
You'll no doubt hear a lot of information about water that the dracaena does not get along with well.
That is, the plant resents water with a high degree of salts. When you fertilize, such salts can build over time...many months, years maybe. So don't concern yourself too much with this. Make sure the plant drains and when, after thorough draining, the water in the saucer below is not allowed to sit for more than 10 or so minutes.
What happens if that is not dumped, the water then is drawn back up---after having got rid of the salts--it reaquires it around the roots.
Water should not sit there because over time, many months of watering, the roots become saturated...and soon, are unable to draw more water up, even tho the water sits only inches away.

The water should not be cold...not directly from the tap.
Ideally, the water should sit over night to gain room temperature.
Let the plant dry down somewhat between waterings. Poke a finger down into the soil and if it feels damp, let it go another couple days. Never water as per a schedule.
The plant should need the water.
In winter, when the sun is low, plants need less water because they are not growing...or at a much slower pace.

Bright light can sometimes be cause of concern. Window glass can increase the heat of the sun's rays so keep that in mind. New windows, being double glazed, can prevent such heat buildup...so just watch over the plant until you get accustomed to how it dries and grows.

The position you put the plant can determine how well it comes along. Air currents from open and closed doorways, open windows, air currents from heat vents or fans above, can cause the soil to dry out faster than it might.
These can also cause the plant many problems such as leaf tips browning, leaves yellowing and maybe dropping off.
Usually trouble comes in the lower leaves first...that's your cue to fix whatever is causing such.

Consider that overwatering is by far, the one biggest cause of plant failures. So don't be too kind to the plant...let it tell you if there's a problem.

To bring you up on many other causes of concern, do investigate the many problems plants have.
Familiarize yourself with pests that are common to houseplants and how to treat.

As far as fertilizer is concerned, personally, I give very little fertilizer to my plants as a rule. On store shelves there are many type fertilizers for houseplants.
Do not use fertilizer that is commonly given outdoor plants
Feed according to how the plant might use it. When in doubt, feed 1/4 of the prescribed rate and feed more often.
That way, if a problem does occur, it will require much less fixing.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:04AM
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ces797(6)

Hi Organic_Amos
Your little guy can definitely bounce back!
I would hold back on anything drastic until he's been with you for awhile and he starts to get a bit more healthy. Put it in your bright window and let it start to put out new growth before you consider pruning/fertilizing. I actually probably wouldn't cut it back at all yet unless you want it to be short. These guys will just keep growing and many people use these plants as indoor trees. The lower leaves will start to die back as the newer ones come out....I usually just pull on it downwards and it comes off very easily whenever the leaves turn yellow or the tips are really brown.

Good Luck!

Curtis

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 11:18AM
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bunnygurl(Z3)

When the tips of my Dracaena's leaves turn brown I cut them off at an angle to keep the natural shape of the leaf, and only removing leaves when they turn yellow. But perhaps like Curtis said, wait until it gets a little more settled in to its new home first before doing any pruning.

I know you can make your new baby look gorgeous. Just give it a little time and some TLC.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 10:02AM
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birdsnblooms

Amos, your D. marginata should do fine. It's really not in bad condition, and for 5.00, you got a great deal!

First, check for insects..Especially Spider Mites and Mealy. Look for fine webbing or white cottony masses.

Trim brown tips like Bunnygurl suggested, but leave a little, about 1/8" of brown on each leaf.

D marginata soil needs to dry between waterings. The pot looks large, so depending on its soil, it may take time to dry.. Test soil. The pot MUST have drainage.

After it's all potted in, trimmed, if possible, place in the shower. Let water run over leaves. You'll have one happy plant. After it's settled, give it a dose of house plant/foliage fertilizer. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 2:26PM
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bunnygurl(Z3)

Toni, I didn't know you should leave a bit of brown on the leaf. Why is that?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 9:23AM
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breenthumb

You leave a little brown so that it doesn't continue to dry out and brown even further. Funny, I used to be on this forum all the time but not much in the past couple of years. But I still think of Toni every time I cut the brown tips off a plant--leaving 1/8".

Hi Toni. Also think of you when watering spider plants --from a jug. Hope all's well there.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 11:49PM
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bunnygurl(Z3)

That brown tip tidbit is really interesting. I didn't know that. Well I'll be sure to remember that from now on! Thanks guys.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 6:08AM
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birdsnblooms

Bunny, Breenthumb got it..:)
Howdy Breen..I'm okay, and you? Where have you been hiding? Even though you haven't been around GW, it's good knowing you kept interest in plants..
That's hysterical you think about me when trimming leaves and watering Spiders..lolol..
Glad seeing you again, I hope you're well..Toni

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:27AM
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ohiomiscreant(5)

My d.m. has brown tips on some leaves but has a lot of new growth as well.. Should I trim the brown tips or prune the leaves entirely? Otherwise he seems to be doing well, I got him at walmart and I am new to keeping houseplants. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:20PM
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ohiomiscreant(5)

My d.m. has brown tips on some leaves but has a lot of new growth as well.. Should I trim the brown tips or prune the leaves entirely? Otherwise he seems to be doing well, I got him at walmart and I am new to keeping houseplants. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:31PM
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ohiomiscreant(5)

My d.m. has brown tips on some leaves but has a lot of new growth as well.. Should I trim the brown tips or prune the leaves entirely? Otherwise he seems to be doing well, I got him at walmart and I am new to keeping houseplants. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:32PM
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ohiomiscreant(5)

Sorry for the repeat post!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:14AM
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