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I've got a palm tree that I was given as a gift when I left work to have my first child so it's precious to me but my husband convinced me to put it in it's pot outside during the summer. We have also repotted it twice to allow it to grow. Last year the trunk had a hole in it and so I told my husband it would stay inside from now on. Since then it has started leaning over and looks very unhealthy although it has one really healthy looking new shoot coming up from the soil. Could you tell me if there is a way I could rescue the tree? I have enclosed a photo




Well, I give the plant full marks for struggling on and surviving. It appears to be one of the Dracaenas, not sure which at this stage, possibly Dracaena fragrans or Dracaena massangeana. Maybe you could google both those names to see if either looks as your plant did when you were first presented with it. It should have straight stems (called canes) with tufts of growth on top.

Dracaena, in the UK, are houseplants - both the varieties mentioned require a reasonably brightly lit (daylight) position, without direct sun, away from any heat source like radiators or electrical equipment. Average room temperatures, but not below 55 deg F. Watering routine is the same as for most other plants - let the surface of the compost dry out a bit so that it feels dry to the touch, then water thoroughly, allowing the excess to drain freely away, and empty any outer pot or tray 30 minutes later.

The knotty problem now is what to do with it now its in this condition. Assuming you can find somewhere in the house that fits its growing requirements, you've got two choices - you can simply cut away, down to about 1 or 2 inches, the three big, bent and gnarly stems, cleanly, using clean loppers, remove all the dead material on top of the soil, and encourage the new shoot to grow on. The other option is to remove sections of one or two of the three big stems and plant them into new pots in clean, new, potting compost in other pots - the problem with that is, you want a straight piece of cane or stem to do that with. You could cut off a short length from the top of one of the canes that doesn't have leaves, even the one that has leaves, and try potting those separately. Insert the cut end into the compost, water, and ongoing, keep it lightly watered but not wet, or it'll rot, till it starts growing on its own, then water as mentioned above. You could do both, keeping the pot you've got with its new shoot, having cut all the rest down, but clipping out a couple of straight pieces from the parts you cut and potting those separately.

One other thing - it looks as if your dracaena is planted into a pot without drainage holes, as there's no tray or anything beneath to catch water. It should be in a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to exit the pot, and this is true for all plants.

28 Apr, 2017


Hi, welcome to GoY, nothing to add to what Bamboo has said, except to point out that Dracaena is not a 'palm', seperate family altogether, Derek.

28 Apr, 2017


It looks as though its been kept in a dark corner and done its best to bend toward the light. If it has to be kept somewhere that's only bright on one side its a good idea to turn it round regularly so that it grows evenly. (Though as the others have said its too late to straighten that one!)

28 Apr, 2017

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