What wrong with my Dracaena deremensis "Lemon Lime"?

greendale(6B)November 28, 2012

I got this Dracaena from Lowe's 2 weeks ago. It is still in its original pot. I have watered once(flushed the soil). I find there are some brown strips on the leaves. What causes the brown - too cold, too wet or too dry? Should I worry about it?

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Close up shot of the leaves - see the brown strips along the leaf (not the tip)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:05PM
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New development

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:06PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Almost looks like sunburn, except at the edges.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:51PM
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There's a few reasons leaves/tip brown.

1. underwatering
2. lack of humidity
3. Too much direct sun, 'if that's an option in Nov.
4. Water straight from the tap.

If soil is drying too much leaves brown..normally, crispy brown. Stripe Dracaenas require semi-moist soil at all times. Not wet, barely moist.

Dracaenas need a certain anount of humidity.
(The more the better, but air dries quite a bit during winter months.) Humidifers are best..other options are hosing foliage once a week, daily misting, and washing leaves w/a soft rag.

Depending on your location, direct south or west exposure will brown tips.
I placed my Striped Dracaena in a south window during summer..A HUGE mistake.
I doubt sun is too bright now, but it's something to think about in the future.

Although, some don't agree, certain plants do not like tap water..That doesn't mean you have to run to the store and buy bottled water..lol
Instead, use a clean container, fill with water and let sit 24-hours or longer. I wash and save gallon milk containers. When a plant is ready to be watered, it's free of chlorine, and room temp. 'Unless floor is too cold.' If cold temps are the case, set containers near a heating source until it warms up.

For the time being, trim brown leaf tips, leaving about 1/8" of brown..brown can spread if leaves are cut in green tissue. Same applies to foliage sides. Leave a little brown.

Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Greendale, your plant looks pretty healthy to me, assuming it's just a few leaves like that. It's pretty near impossible to keep all Dracs with only perfect leaves.

If it's been in the house plant section at L's, that could be frost/cold damage. Is that section outside still (when you got this?) Just went to look at my plant to refresh my memory and that's pretty similar to some sunburn that a few leaves got on them before I found the "sweet spot" for this plant (just early morning direct light, then in bright shadow the rest of the day.) Really not sure which yours is. I also notice that the lime edges have become much wider and brighter since finding the light it likes. The leaves it grew before that have very thin stripes on the edges, and much more dull color overall. I assume that was from being inside at WM with no direct sun and right next to the door during the winter, where I found it on clearance very early this spring.

If you have some kind of stand you can put your plant on, so light reaches the lower leaves also, the plant will retain the lower leaves longer.

But back to the crunchy tips... the more I learn about water impurities, the more determined I am to make use of rain water. None of this stuff in the water is good for plants (or people.) Good point to bring up, Toni. Starting to think that going outside and being rained on during the summers is the only reason some of these plants have lived so long. But the fact that they are is testament to knowing that tap water, at least for a few months per year, is not in itself a plant killer. And some plants just don't seem to happen to be affected by these water chemicals, like heart-leaf Philodendron. It's much more of a hardship for Dracs. There's probably a lot going on with soil chemistry also, like PH, that can exacerbate the problem of water chemicals (or probably more accurately, a plants' ability to deal with them.)

Chlorine will evaporate readily but most municipal systems now use chloramine, which does not evaporate in a few hours. It's necessary to call your local water supplier to find out what is in the water to know which substance is necessary to deal with.

There may also be fluoride in the water, which is much more difficult to remove.

Generic bottled water is likely to contain any or all of this stuff, since it is likely to be tap water from somewhere. If it is called spring water or artesian well water, it must be from that spring or well, so would not be tap water. There are also some bottled waters that are filtered in various ways. If it says reverse osmosis, the chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride will be removed. Distilled water would be "the" bottled water to buy for plants, IMO, if one were going to spend money on such. It's much cheaper than little bottles, free of any of these impurities, and much less plastic in the one big bottle.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:05PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

I wonder if my hard water is causing my peace lily to have brown tips....

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Tiff: my peace lily stopped having brown tips once I started leaving water out overnight before watering with it. This is one of the first gardenweb tips that worked for me and really improved the look of my peace lily.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:36PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Huh? So it lacks needed humidity? I have 5 other plants on the same table. Are you saying to leave a container of water by the PL? If so, for how long? How often?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

No she's saying she believes chlorine had a chance to evaporate from the water sitting before use, which would be correct if there was chlorine, not chloramine, in the water.

Hard water has lime, which is yet another issue. I have that problem too, very lime-y tap water.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:33AM
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The plant is indoor when I got it. But it was exposed to the cold weather from the store to my car. Sunburn also a possibility - it was in front of a south face window. Hmm, no, since the brown edge is a new development after the plant sit on its current location a eastern window with sheer on. I do not know about our water but I will use the water from our basement dehumidifier to see if it improves.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's excellent, should be free of impurities, besides maybe a little dust. Easier than investigating your water too.

If you turn it and the leaves on the window side start to do that, it would confirm sunburn, but also damage more leaves. But that's based on the assumption it's been facing the same way since you brought it home. If that's the case, are the affected leaves positioned to get the most light? If you think that's what happened, try moving it back from the window a bit, and turning it as often as possible. I'm not convinced either way, just trying to help you investigate.

It may not have appreciated the flushing if the soil held a lot of water afterward.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:55PM
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Purple. Last summer I phoned our water dept, and, and, and, and.
I was given different phone numbers in which I called every single one.
After several hours spent on the phone, my questions were not answered..

I was told, 'you need to call this number,' 'I don't know the answer,' 'someone will return your call.'
No one called back..I even gave several city and state employees/agents my email addy, but never received a response.

What a joke! lol

On several threads, responders to questioneres, suggested notifying their agriculture agents about soil questions, etc.
As far as I know, in our part of IL, there aren't any. Perhaps nearest farms, approximately 100 miles south, but not here.

If anyone lives in IL, has the correct phone number, website or email addy, please let me know.

Tiff, I've read posts from people asking the same question regarding hard water.

Tiff, lol. You can leave a ornamental container, filled w/water next to a group of plants..it helps a little.
Purple explained what I meant.
The milk/whatever container can be kept anywhere in the house. I prefer a warm room..water turns cold if the room is chilly...especially if a container is left on the floor in a cold room/cold floor.

Cold water will shock the heck of roots.

Green..water from a de-humidifer is perfect..Same with a fish tank, and I've read, water from a washer and even dish washer..never tried either, but supposed to be good.

Then of course there's snow and rain. But snow needs to melt and warm up before watering plants.

Green, except for a couple brown tips and the one leaf, your Dracaena looks good.

IMO, the brown on your Dracaena is a humidity problem. Just a gut feeling. Toni

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 1:09PM
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I first suspected sunburn, cause first I brought it home sit it in front of a south window, then after 2 days, I turned the plant, the two leaves face the window, after 2 days when I checked, I find the brown stripes. But it also possible that the brown was already there when I bought the plant, I did not do a overall check at that time. Also, might be salt in the soil too. We will see...

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If you can take a series of pics from a bunch of different angles, you don't have to go by memory when trying to decipher your results in the future. That helps me a lot since memory can be so subjective to hidden/subconscious/overt agendas. Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Why is my plant rooting in water turning brown. It has water roots an inch long. Is it ready to repot?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Are these roots enough to repot?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 11:46AM
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OP: that looks like cold damage from the journey home.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 6:21AM
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Is there anything I can do to save it. Are the roots in the second picture sufficient enough to pot in soil? Thank you for your advice.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 8:50AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi bornigeri, welcome!

Yes, I would put that cutting in soil. Nice-looking piece/roots!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:37AM
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Thank you kindly. I feel like I made a friend for life. I have many questions, but I dont want to be bothersome...I'm going to trim the brown leaves off and put into soil. Do I need to rub and rooting powder on it? Also should I use a fertilizer as soon as I pot it.
I make coconut oil from scratch and I save the shells to grind up as composts. Would it be good to mix with the soil and perlite for my lemon lime cutting? Thanks in advance!!!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:56AM
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