Janet Craig - Black Tips

jhc523September 23, 2012

Hi, I am a plant novice and really worried about my janet craig. I have about 5 ft tall janet craig that I received from my grandmother as a housewarming gift. She repotted the soil and it is currently in a clay pot. There is a small drainage hole on the bottom of the clay pot.

The plant is not directly in front of any window, but next to a wall that is across an east-facing window.

I water about every one to one and a half week - approximately 3.5 fluid ounces/2 liters.

Starting about 2 weeks, the leaf tips have been turning black and now there are other leafs that are starting to turn yellow/brown.

Is this due to overwatering? Do I need a larger pot for this plant?

Would appreciate any help! Thank you.

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more photos

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:46PM
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pot and size of plant

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:47PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If your plant has never wilted that you noted, and if you can still detect ANY moisture in the soil when you water, you're not under-watering. That leaves the problem very likely to be found in the combination of soil choice and and watering habits, which automatically brings into play the level of soluble salts in the soil. Going only by the odds, the best placer to put your money is on over-watering and a soil too water-retentive to allow you to water correctly w/o impairing root function. When the soil is soggy, the root system can't get the air it needs to fuel its metabolism, so the ability to move water efficiently shows up in the most distal parts of the plant - leaf tips and margins. While there may be other secondary contributing factors that need attention, the most progress, by far, can be made by working toward providing a healthier root environment.

If you're interested, I'll provide a couple of links that should go a long way toward helping you avoid some of the pitfalls that keep forum pages populated with folks seeking aid for the same problem you're facing.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:01PM
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hi al
thanks so much for your response. yes, i would love to take a look at some of the links you mentioned.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Besides a few black/brown leaf tips, your Dracaena, JC is beautiful.

Do you spray with Leaf Shine?

There are different reasons leaf tips turn brown/black, but four most common, underwatering, lack of humidity, high temps and salt build up, 'from fertilizers.'

You didn't mention pot size, but 3.5 oz of water, every 7-9 days, potted in clay is barely enough liquid to keep a cactus properly watered, let alone a tropical plant.

Soil need be watered until entire root ball is saturated...water will seep out of drainage holes into saucer.

Reason two is lack of humidity, although in your case, I believe problem is due to underwatering.
Now that winter is approaching, 'espeically if heat is on,' air dries. 50-70% humidity is perfect.
Hygrometers are very helpful.

Three, when room temps exceed 65-70, leaves tend to brown. Plants do best in cooler temps. Hot air and low humiity leads to problems including insects.

When plants are fertilized w/chemical fertilizers, there's always a chance of salt builds-up. Leeching soil once a month or so, 'depending on how often a plant is fertilized,' releases salts from drainage holes. Leaching is basially watering from top soil until water runs clean/clear from drainage holes.

I doubt brown leaves are caused by insects but it never hurts to check. Inspect inside/rolled foliage. A Mealybug's dream house.

One last thing. Allow water to sit about 24-hours before watering. Room temp water prevents shock. I keep old, cleaned milk containers around..when it's time to give a plant a drink, tepid water is ready to go.

Any questions, feel free to ask. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:42PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

JHC - For the sake of accuracy - the most common cause of spoiled foliage on dracaena and all other plants we so often discuss here is over-watering, often exacerbated by a high level of solubles (salts) in the soil, both of which regularly accompany the use of overly water-retentive soils. ALL fertilizers and ALL tap water carry with them the certainty that solubles will build up in the soil if poor watering habits are used - not just synthetic soluble ("chemical") fertilizers. 65-75* temperatures are ideal for most houseplants and are not the cause of spoiled foliage.

Even though I allow water to rest overnight to come to room temperature before I water indoor plants, I have never found anything credible or anyone who should know (I'd asked a lot of people with plant related degrees) that would agree cold water 'shocks' plants. That I have always watered houseplants summering outdoors with cold water directly from the hose with no sign of problems supports the probability that the cold water thing is a myth, yet I still let irrigation water sit out night for plants over-wintering indoors - but NOT with the thought that it helps with chlorine/fluorine dissipation. Lol - I have no explanation for WHY I do this, other than habit, and perhaps because I'd rather have everything in place & ready to go when it's time to water instead of procrastinating.

Hopefully, you'll find some value in this link that gives a basic overview that will help you avoid most of the things that bring people here seeking resolution to common problems.

This link goes into a considerable amount of detail in outlining a concept that will help you get a feel for the fact that your choice of soil is extremely important in determining how easy/difficult it will be to get your plants to grow as close to their genetic potential as possible. Some soils are so limiting they make it extremely difficult, even for experienced growers, to obtain results that offer a satisfying return for the effort expended.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:28PM
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