Re: Dracaena foilage.

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Posted by Newt on February 06, 2003 at 12:17:23:

In Reply to: Dracaena foilage. posted by Jeff on February 06, 2003 at 09:37:29:

: Hi

: I have a Dracaena Massangeana. Aprrox 3 feet tall. Low to medium direct sunlight.
: About 2 months ago...I decided to change the potting soil and prune the roots. The whole pot was roots...and it appeared to be affecting the two branches. 1 branch became to weak to support itself and broke. When I pulled the plant from the pot I pruned the roots to approx 2 inches in length (actually most of it fell off by itself) Still a full root ball tho. Replanted in approx 75% new soil and 25% prev soil...standard potting soil mix. About a weak later my cat decided it was time to play with the remaining branch and injured it beyond I cut it off.
: Now 2 months later I have a 3 foot stem and no appearance of any new buds.
: My questions are....When will new branches start to appear?? Did my repotting and pruning do more damge than good?? Is there anything I can do now, to help it along??
: It was a beautiful plant, but its fullness in the pot appeared to be affecting the growth of the branches.

: Hope you can help....thanx.

Hi Jeff,

Gosh, sounds like your poor plant has been through a war. ;-) I'm a little confused. You say that you pruned the roots to 2" and yet it's still a full rootball. I don't know what size pot you had it in, but if you are going to root prune then the top should be pruned as well so that the diminshed root system won't have a lot of top growth to support. You probably already know that though. So, if you have a 2" root system, it's going to take some time for those roots to get large enough to support new top growth. Your plant is going to need some time to recover. It could take 6 months before you see any buds for new leaves.

Sometimes when a plant is very root bound it's best to just untangle some of the outer roots and put it in a pot that is 2" larger. Another option is to take a sharp clean knife and make 4 to 6 cuts from the bottom to the top so new roots will eventually come out into the new soil.

If you do have a 3' stalk and a 2" root system, this plant is going to struggle. When you water, use milk. Yup, the stuff you put in your coffee. You can either fill a just emptied milk container with water or add a tablespoon to the watering can. This will give calcium and other minerals that will help the root system to get established. You can use this water on any of your houseplants. It works especially well on blooming plants.

Also, if you do have a 2" root system and choose to cut the stem a little shorter as the new growth will appear somewhere near the top, cut the stem shorter and put the cut end in water. It will take at least a couple of months before you see roots, but you should get some.

Also keep in mind that everything should be proportional. If the plant is 3' tall, the pot should be about 1/3 the height of the plant, hence a 12" pot. It's best to check your plants once a year to see if they need repotting.

Good luck,

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