Is my Dracaena fragrans doomed?

ihana(7)May 3, 2010

I can post a picture if needed (if I figure out how to do that)... but let's see if anyone can help with just a description of the problem:

I bought a selection of tiered Dracaena fragrans canes about three years ago from a BIG box store (starts with an I). The plants were magnificently beautiful with three canes of varying sizes in one pot. The trunks were maybe 2.5 inches thick. Absolutely lovely.

Out of an abundance of concern for the plants, after about a year I decided to repot them. They were all three in a tiny nursery pot, and because they were all growing so large and so quickly, I decided that bigger equaled better. Boy was I wrong.

Soon after I repotted them, the plants started to look stressed, and the smallest cane even started to brown a bit, with some browns appearing at the tips. At first, I thought the plants were stressed because of the repotting (and because I let them sit outside for a few hours afterward). Then I remembered that there were a few little black dots on the undersides of the leaves. I discovered the dots on the plants after I'd found a few of them, hard and raised, on the wall near the plant. The plant was situated next to a window, and Id just assumed that the plant was tasty to some animal. I sprayed a bit of homemade soap-and-oil spray weekly for about three months, and after a while the "infestation" died down.

The shortest cane didn't survive, however. IÂm pretty sure we overwatered the pot at some point, and the smallest cane just slowly browned from the bottom up. After about nine month from the repotting, the smallest cane looked "completely dead".

By this time IÂd read that the initial potting up was a bad idea, so after the smallest cane had browned completely, I repotted - down this time. I found that all of the canes seemed to have very few to no roots and the smallest cane had somewhat loose bark. The top growth on the two biggest canes looked *AWESOME*, by the way. Even though the smallest can was seemly dead, I cut the smallest cane and put it back in the dirt.

Turns out that the smallest cane started to grow new roots, at some point, but because it had no top growth. I mistakenly tore the roots when refreshing the soil for the canes this spring after the second cane slowly went the way of the first.

That's right, the second tallest cane died, too. From the bottom up. I don't know what happened to *that* one. We did not overwater, and the second cane did not have loose bark in death. I didnÂt even bother to replant the second cane because it was completely brown and dry looking when I cut the bottom of *it*.

NOW, the last and final cane (about 5 feet tall, if you donÂt count the leaves) is started to get brown leaves on the bottom. It is still putting out new growth from the top, but I feel like the new growth is not as wide as the previous new growth (if that makes sense). It also has a impressive number of roots.

IÂm afraid that my last cane of this once gorgeous ensemble is about to bite the dust in the same manner as the previous two.

There are no new shoots on the sides of the last and tallest cane. In the first year there were a few new shoots, and they've since flourished. But after the first repotting and the problems that started with it, all of the emerging new shoots on the tallest cane eventually die and turn brown at the bark.

Here is a bit of information on my watering and fertilizing schedule: I deep water this plant once a month until water comes out of the bottom of the pot. (I do not flush often, maybe once a year, so could it be salt buildup?). For feeding I just use the continuous feeding pellets. I supplement with and occasional misting of water+kelp solution or liquid houseplant food. The plant gets diffuse but reasonably bright light. The indoor temperature varies from 68 F in the winter to 85 F in the summer.

Any ideas? ANY ideas are appreciated.

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    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 5:56PM
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