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17/05/2012 at 15:22

Hello all

You'll have to excuse my ignorance as I have absolutely no clue about plants, but perhaps you'll take pity on me as I really want to save this poor house plant of which I am very fond.

I don't even know what kind of plant it is - I have always just called it Bob.  I was given it as a present about five years ago, when it was just a little spring of leaves in a tiny pot, purchased from Wilkinsons, probably for about 99p.

Bob grew at an incredible pace for the first few years, and I repotted him three times.  He always had a great crop of glossy leaves and was cheerful and strong.  He has moved house with me several times and always survived and even thrived. 

However, over the last couple of years, he has lost a lot of leaves.  They gradually turn brown and drop off.  This mostly seems to happen in the winter (although I don't think he is a diciduous plant, if that is the right term...).  Gradually he became more stem than leaf, but always with a fresh clutch of new leaves in the middle. 

Last winter, however, the leaf loss was even more than usual and then, just as spring was trying to arrive, disaster struck.  My flat was being painted, and one day I came home to find Bob had been bashed, and his lovely new clump of leaves had been snapped right off as a one.

His other leaves have continued to drop, and he only has three left now, and they are going brown and droopy at the ends, so won't be around much longer.  His middle section is still strong seeming, but hasn't grown since the injury.  His stem is still long and thick and seems quite robust.  I keep him in plenty of sunshine, and try to make sure the compost is damp without being too wet. 

The picture shows the sorry state he is in now.

Do the good people of this forum think that poor Bob can be saved?  If so, what should I do?  I am really sad to see him in such a poor state and wish I could stimulate new growth.

Help please!!

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VOM0sLiBkNc/T7UJHZcwsYI/AAAAAAAAASI/N7tk995En_c/s640/DSC01125.JPG

17/05/2012 at 16:04

Bob would appear to be a Yucca.  I would just leave him alone to see if he can recover.

17/05/2012 at 16:07

Hi there

Well i read about poor Bob and as i was scrolling down and things were getting worse and worse and the ultimate in horror he lost his gorgeous new clump of leafs....I didnt know whether to laugh or cry. Then when I actually seen this handsome creatures photograph ...well!! Im sat here crying laughing!!!!!!! (made my day)

Bob looks like a dracaena palm to me though im probably wrong. It may be the central heating thats getting him down. You could try misting him with water and maybe try him in a different window for a while. Im not great with plants myself but he looks kind of dried up to me

17/05/2012 at 16:18

Bob is a Dracaena marginata - I would let the compost dry out a bit and put him somewhere bright but not direct sunlight and do as Averil says - give hime a mist now and then - I hope he recovers

Pam x

17/05/2012 at 20:55

Looks like a yucca to me, if you are brave enough you can cut them down and they send out new shoots, also they hate to sit in water so check that it is not too wet.

17/05/2012 at 22:52

Really feel for you Ellie (although I was entertained with your description of Bob's decline!). I hate losing any plant. Best of luck with all of this advice. Hope he survives. Keep us posted.

I have a couple of these and they do tend to be very tall and "leggy". I assume that is how they should grow?

17/05/2012 at 23:26

I agree that it looks like Dracaena marginata (dragon tree).  I've had one for years in my conservatory.  It is normal for the leaves at the bottom to drop off because that is how the trunk grows.  You get the same thing with most palms, which is why they get that curious pattern on the trunk.  Mine has three stems so the top must have been cut off at some point before I got it.  Perhaps that will happen to yours?

17/05/2012 at 23:32

Actually, I just checked on the internet and it says that you can chop the top off and it will produce new leaves.  Interestingly enough, it also says that they are sensitive to fluoride so you may want to be careful if you live in an area with fluoride in the tap water.

Mine is in the biggest pot that I want to use and it tries to push itself out of the pot. Every now and then I tip it out of the pot, cut off some roots and repot it with fresh compost.  It doesn't appear to mind.

17/05/2012 at 23:48

I have a plant with one stem, but a bit of a gap between leaves. Do you think iIf I cut off the top of this one,I could cultivate it and generate a new plant - and also, the original plant would survive and produce new leaves?

18/05/2012 at 09:47

I can't guarantee it, but I often behead mine and push the cut-off sections into the compost. The majority generally take, and the cut stem usually produces two or three shoots. It's best to do this around about June.

19/05/2012 at 19:12

Thanks so much everyone for all the advice (and the identification)!  It sounds like he might be for the chop then..... I'm a but nervous about doing that, but if it might help, I suppose I should take the plunge.  Should I literally just cut straight across below where the leaves are?

Will also try giving him a mist.  We don't generally have the heating on all that much, and my flat is quite draughty, but I suppose his leaves could be drying out a bit.  I'll also double check he's not sitting in water.

Thanks again, and I'm glad if Bob and I gave some of you a giggle!

19/05/2012 at 21:12

Cut across about half-way down the stem, so you have a good section of stem with the leaves and a good section left behind.

21/05/2012 at 20:00

Okay, thank you Alina.  I'm a bit scared as it seems so drastic, but I'll give it a go in a couple of weeks once it is June, like you recommended above.

Thanks again

28/06/2012 at 21:08

Hmmm.  I cut across the stem about three weeks ago now, and all that has happened is that the "stump" end is looking a bit shrivelled.  I wasn't able to replant the leaf end as I didn't have another pot and compost (I did mention that I'm not a gardener!), so now I'm getting a bit worried that I've lost Dragon-Bob altogether.  His stem still seems robust and healthy and I've given it a good feed, but should I be able to see some signs of regrowth by now?

 

Thanks!

28/06/2012 at 21:23
Oh dear, poor Bob. I'm afraid I have never grown a 'Bob', so cant help much. I have had palms in the garden and they have survived being cut right back. We chopped our Cordyline Australis to just a stump last year and it is sprouting out everywhere. Bob is much the same except a lot smaller, sodont give up hope just yet.
28/06/2012 at 21:34

I think you are being a bit optimistic about Bob.   Leave him for longer and I am sure he will produce shoots eventually. 

I recently chopped down a 26-year old yucca, leaving a stump in the pot.    There were no signs of life for two months.     Now I have FIFTEEN new shoots!  

28/06/2012 at 22:02

Oh poor Bob.  I have a big version of Bob - I was waiting for your Bob to successfully produce some fresh shoots before I give my big Bob a chop.  I'll maybe just leave him as he is!

 

28/06/2012 at 22:12

Hmm.  Thanks for your responses.  Looks like I'll just have to wait and watch and keep my fingers crossed for Bob.

 

Lisa, I'll let you know if there's anything to report!

28/06/2012 at 22:19
EllieS1982 wrote (see)

Hmmm.  I cut across the stem about three weeks ago now, and all that has happened is that the "stump" end is looking a bit shrivelled.  I wasn't able to replant the leaf end as I didn't have another pot and compost (I did mention that I'm not a gardener!), so now I'm getting a bit worried that I've lost Dragon-Bob altogether.  His stem still seems robust and healthy and I've given it a good feed, but should I be able to see some signs of regrowth by now?

 

 I've had a Draceana Marginata for  mumbly mumbly years. I chop it down to ground level when it reaches the ceiling and give the offshoots to friends and relatives - or I did but I think they've all got one now. Some years ago after a chop I got 2 branches. I keep it out of full sun, and water it only when the compost is dry. I give it a slow release fertiziler tablet in spring and another early summer. It's even survived the kitten peeing on it.

05/10/2012 at 21:14

Hmmm.  Still no signs of life from Bob, and I noticed this evening that the part of his stem where I chopped him is starting to feel spongy and dead  Lower down still feels firm and robust.  Should I make another cut?

 

Sad

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