My dying Song of India

eayeary(5)April 3, 2012

I have a habit of collecting clearance plants and reviving them back into beautiful houseplants. However, this Song of India will be the death of me.

When I so kindly saved it from the clearance rack, I thought I could love it, light it, feed it and let it thrive. Much to my dismay, I have been completely duped.

First it had spidermites, then aphids, then some weird bug in the soil...after several types of insecticides (of course organic, natural ones first that didn't work then the tough stuff) I finally stuck it outside on the porch in the frost to perhaps kill off these invincible bugs. I had treated every plant in my house and all of them did well...this plant...not so much.

It started with three little trees in one small pot and then it has dwindled down to just one. This one has been locked in the back laundry room to hope some humidity will perhaps assist it on it's death bed.

It has lost all color and is currently the lightest pale white and light green known to man. However, the leaves have not completely fallen off. On top of that, it still has some funky brown spots (very small and random) on a few leaves that I cannot pin down as to what they are. The stalk is still green and alive.

Anyone know what I need to do to this thing to save it? I have nearly murdered it trying to get rid of bugs and it's definitely on its last leaf.

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Howdy Eayeary,

Like you, I love the clearance or what I call Dead Cart plants. lol

Of course, there's a limit. Thank God, I've been lucky choosing plants w/o hitch-hikers.

Which Song of India did you get? Green, medium variegated or Golden?
Reason I ask is Golden is one fussy plant. Maybe lack of green has something to do with it.

When buying plants from the Dead Cart, always check leaves and soil.
If I found a plant in the dead cart with Mealy Bug, 'as much as I love plants,' I'd not only pass up one plant but the entire shabang.
However, if a plant had Mites, 'a plant I really wanted,' you bet it'd end in my cart.

Stop with the poisons. Please. Harsh chemicals are only weakening your Song.

If the Song was mine, I'd remove from the pot, TOSS soil, pot and roots from the two dead songs.
Then let sit in soapy water 10-15 minutes.
Rinse and re-rinse.

Repot in new container, 'not too big,' and fresh, dry, well-draining medium/soil. Water thoroughly until water flows out of 'drainage holes.'

The first 3 days it'd sit in semi-shade, not complete dark. Day 4, medium light.
Leaves would be inspected and sprayed daily. The golden needs a lot more humidity, so if by chance you have the gold, a vented, plastic bag, would provide humidity.

Spider Mites are easily killed. Soapy water usually does the trick, but I also make a home-made mix of garlic, mouth wash, 'Listerine, generic is fine,' hot pepper, 'powdered,' and citrus. Mix the night before, and spray need to discard. A second application, as a precaution is necessary.

For Aphids..Ladybugs love Aphids..Problem is no one but me would keep ladybugs in their house, lol.
Second best is Yellow STicky Traps. They're inexpensive and chemical-free..These traps capture all flying insects. They're great!

I have no idea what the soil insect, sometimes milipedes and other outdoor bugs find a way in soil. It might or might not be harmless to plants..
Harmless or not, I don't like creepy-crawlers in the house. LOL. Creepy Crawlers meaning spiders, milipedes, centipedes.. ladybugs are

Songs don't like direct south or west sun. Bright light is sufficient.
Mine sits off the side of an unobstructed south window, but it doesn't get direct sun. If anything, it gets more east light.

Good luck, hope your Song of India does well, Toni

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:13PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'll make it easy for you, eayeary. Toss it in the trash can. We've all done it and many of us have waited longer than we should have.

Once you've gotten rid of this little 'bug factory', keep a close watch on your other plants for the next several months. Infestation of pest free plants can often occur with the bargain basement finds.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I know the dump it and take a lesson learned strategy. I do have guilt from a plant that I could've saved but didn't know how many years ago and thus strengthens my desire to hold on until I can't hold on anymore. lol
I'm not sure why I didn't just dump the soil to begin with once I saw the first round of pests. Live and learn. The soil had little, tiny silver-grey bugs, almost like flea size and would crawl around the soil like it was a dirty soil fest.
I went to the laundry room and decided whether I would follow reply 1's directions or dump and try again with a healthier plant....I went with trying to save the little stinker.
I discarded all the old soil (which was sopping wet....wasn't a very good draining soil which may be apart of all the issues).
Soaked it in a glass of dish soap and water for a few minutes while I scrubbed the container clean. Then rinsed off the plant itself.
Repotted it in the same container (roots looked orange....not sure if that is normal for this plant) and some fell off when rinsing it thoroughly...was a bit rough to get the chunks of crappy dirt from in between the ball of roots.
The only soil I have at this time in my house is FoxFarm Ocean Forest potting soil...hope that was okay.
I stuck in it there and then whacked the ever living crap out of the leaves. I cut off all the brown, dying and spots. I set it near my other plants (since inspection showed no signs of pest life) in an area that it will receive some reflective light throughout the day.

Pictures below...I hope to update you on it's future. I have high hopes for the booger.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Eayeary...The bugs you're describing are definately Fungus Gnats.
They're easy to rid, as long as you've changed soil and water properly in the future.

Constantly wet soil, with lack of or too much humidity attracts gnats.
The solution is water when soil feels dry and, if possible, open a window or run a fan to better air cirulation.

Although your Song of India/Dracaena Reflexa is nice-looking, it's going to take time to grow taller/fuller.
Of the three Songs, variegated is the slowest-growing..Too bad, huh? They're truly beautiful plants.

I wouldn't toss it. Leaves look very healthy. Toni

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 2:44PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

That plant will never become fuller...just taller. I'm sticking with my vote....I would fling it from an upstairs window, lol. Plants are too replaceable, too common place, too inexpensive, etc. to be messing around with something that is clearly such bad shape.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:49PM
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HelloPandaNF(Zone Five)

It looks very healthy, despite all the pests it's been through! I would keep it. The "tall" shape is nice, in my opinion...

Of course, I am a new at this, so it's just my two cents...or maybe half a cent... ; )

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 10:02PM
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