Help with Dracaema?

MonkeylegAugust 19, 2014

I have a Dracaema plant that's about six feet tall. It's been growing very well for the last few years. Just recently I noticed that the lower leaves on one of the sub-trunks (don't know the correct term) are curling, then turning yellow. I've pulled off several lower leaves. As soon as I pull one, another starts to curl and then turn yellow.

I've had the plant in the same location--by a large north window--for over a year without problems.

I thought it was overwatering, and so I've cut back on the frequency of watering, but to no avail.

It only seems to be affecting one of the clusters of leaves. The clusters on the other sub-trunks aren't curled.

Could this be a root rot problem or something else? I've attached a photo of a leaf that's starting to turn yellow.

Thanks for any reply.

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subtropix

First of all, that looks more liked Yucca elephantipis than Dracaena. How big is the pot? (Pic) These Yuccas are fairly vigorous growers and you do have several trunks (separate plants) in the same pot.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 3:59PM
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Monkeyleg

Thanks. It is a Yucca elephantipis.

The pot is 10". Do you think it's root bound?

Here's a photo of the whole plant.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:02PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

It looks much better in the whole-plant shot than the leaf closeup. Nice tree!

Yes, that looks like a very small pot for a tree that size.

For any plant that makes a woody trunk, it's normal for the lower foliage to be discarded as the trunk lignifies (turns woody.) As long as new leaves are showing up as fast as (or faster) than older ones are being discarded, it's perfectly normal. It looks good.

Whenever you repot, you can sit the root ball at a slight angle, so the tree is more upright. Just don't alter the soil line level right at the trunk. Trim the 'high side' of the roots if necessary. A few large rocks sitting on the surface for the first couple months can make sure it doesn't fall over while securing itself in its' new position, just not big enough rocks to smush/pack the dirt down. Having little air pockets in the pot is good, desirable.

If you change to a more chunky/airy mix (like for cactus instead of 'potting soil,') you should be able to water much more often without risking rotting the roots (overwatering.) Leaves can be lost from getting too dry as well as too wet. The first pic of this discussion looks a little wilty to me, confirmed by the pic of the whole. "Overwatering" would produce yellow/brown tips.

When you do water, regardless of soil type, be sure to thoroughly moisten the entire contents of the pot, which usually requires enough water so that a lot of it comes flowing out of the drain hole. That requires a trip to a sink/tub/shower. If your plant is not too heavy to do that, it will help keep it looking as good as possible. A gentle shower is best, strong flows of water can cause the tiny particles to flow into and fill/block the tiny pockets of air within the pot. Roots need air and moisture to function. When there is only moisture, rot can happen (and is then called overwatering.)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:22AM
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Monkeyleg

Thanks for the help, purpleinopp. I got a much larger pot and changed out the soil. I also straightened the trunk.

This business with the curled yellowing leaves is recent. The plant has never done that before, and it's been in this house for several years. I figured maybe it had a reached a point where the root system couldn't sustain the growth. Anyway I hope that's what it is.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:21PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Your theory is quite likely. Glad to share info, sending good vibes!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 4:59PM
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