Dracaena help

MoonpieMomNovember 4, 2013

I recently rescued a roughly 4' tall Dracaena, possibly fragrans (although the leaves are solid green) that had been abandoned in the trash area of our apartment complex. It spent at least an entire day, and possibly a night in the cold. I brought it home, watered it and let it drain. I cleaned off all the leaves and the soil looked to be in decent condition. No bugs or mold. The trunk appears sound.

The leaves are curled lengthwise, rolling up like a cigar, and drooping. There are three shoots off the single trunk...two small and one that is quite elongated with leaves just coming off the last foot of it. Almost all of the leaves have some browning on tips and edges. I cut off 3 leaves that had cracked across the main vein and some that were such an unhealthy color I figured it was just a matter of time before they died anyway.

I have placed it in a draft-free corner where it gets diffuse late afternoon sun. Our apartment stays between 65-70 degrees.

I'd really like to save this plant. I'm wondering if it would be best to prune off the long shoot and let it focus its energy on the two smaller ones. Did the shock of being in the cold weather briefly do it in or is there a chance it will recover if I just leave it alone for awhile? These can be so pretty when they are healthy and full, I hope it can recover.

Thanks for any advice!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Hi & welcome to Gardenweb! How cold was it outside?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:54AM
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It was probably in the 40s most of that day. The night prior it dropped down into the 30s. I have no way of knowing exactly when the plant was dumped. It didn't look like it had spent a night in near freezing temps though.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

That doesn't sound too bad. IME with Dracs, damage to them can take a while to show up, weeks. Unless it was literally frozen, it can probably recover though may lose more leaves. In particular with corn plant, my Mom didn't move hers from its' spot under some trees in her yard all winter, just covered it with a tarp on the colder nights, the low around here last winter was about 25. Its' pot sits in a hole, which has stopped it from blowing over, but that doesn't help protect the foliage. Corn plant is reputed to tolerate colder temps then a lot of other Dracs, so that bodes well.

Dracs are sensitive to tap water chemicals, especially fluoride, so any type of water besides tap, such as catching rain water, condensate from a dehumidifier, distilled, are preferred if possible. Fluoride toxicity is described here.

If the root system wasn't capable of supporting the plant at its' current level, it wouldn't have grown to its' current level. If it can no longer support some quantity of its' foliage, I would prefer for the plant to decide that, and which part. More leaves = more food production. It's hard to advise on trimming, based on just a description. If you are able to add a pic to this discussion, people could give much more specific advice.

What does the soil look like?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:55AM
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