tap vs. filtered water, and how often?

Since my indoor dracaena recently took a turn for the worst, I thought I'd ask some basic questions before I replace it. It was healthy for two years, except for brown at the edge of the leaves so I guess my first question is, is that normal for a dracaena? It didn't seem to hurt anything. I never trimmed the small bits of brown off the leaves since virtually all of them had it (only the tips were brown, not the sides or heart of the leaves)
Second, in order to not overwater, I would water it once every week to week and a half. I would pretty much fill it up with water, then let it almost dry out before watering again (this was suggested by a local nursery)
Finally, when I watered it I'd use tap water (LA tapwater - yipes!) Should I be doing this or using the filter on my sink?
Finally, feeding. I can't recall the brand, but it's the little pellets. I was spreading the food out over the top and then I worked it into the soil, probably an inch down. I followed that up with a good watering.
Any advice on what I might change going forward to improve my care would be appreciated.
-jd
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

LA tap water is pretty good quality, but there might be a build up of salts anyway. You could take the plant outdoors, flood it two or three times to wash out whatever might have accumulated.
I'd also try cutting back on the fertilizer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What kind of a pot is it in? Does it have good drainage? If you let the soil dry out, does the soil get a whitish or brownish crust around the edge?
My wild guess is your plant needs repotting in good soil, with a pot with a good drain hole. And since you say it's "taken a turn for the worse", I'd be inclined to wash most of the soil off the roots and repot it in a pot where the roots fill about 75% of the space. After it settles in, water by soaking the rootball thoroughly and then let the pot drain. Feed sparingly. When the lower leaves drop off, consider air layering if you don't like the bare-legged look.
Kay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like you're drowning the poor plant and then starving it of water. It's best to just keep it moderately moist all the time.

Most municipal water supplies fresh from the tap are pretty heavy on chlorine... you may want to consider filling a large container and letting it sit a few days for the chlorine to evaporate, then use that water for your plants.

Can't comment if you don't know the brand you're using... how can you not know the brand??? In any event I don't think pellet fertilizer is good for house plants, probably too strong.
Perhaps your plant should be repotted in fresh sterilized potting mix and a new pot.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

so even though the tree is totally dried out - not necessarily brown, but just very dried out - can the tree really come back to life by replanting it??
It's just so weird that this happened as suddenly as it did... I've been watering it the same way for so long with absolutely no problem.
and what about the brown tips? Is that normal for a dracaena?
thanks...
- Jason
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like mostly you need to water it, and more regularly... but it can't hurt to repot it too... all potted plants should be repotted at least every two years.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

There appears to be some differences in care between the varieties. Maybe if you could identify it specifically, further advice could be offered.
http://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheets/HGIC1504.htm
"Dry tips and edges are usually caused by too little humidity.
Dracaena is very sensitive to fluoride. Symptoms include yellowing of the tips or margins of the leaf or dead, scorched areas. Avoid potting soils that have a high percentage of perlite and keep the soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5 to prevent fluoride from causing injury. Do not use fertilizer which contains superphosphate since it often has high levels of fluorine.
Allow dracaenas to dry slightly between waterings. Wait until the soil surface is dry to the touch, then water them thoroughly. Avoid watering with cold water.
If the humidity in the house is below 30 to 40 percent (it probably is during winter), plants will benefit from an occasional misting of their foliage.
A standard commercial houseplant potting mix may be used. Feed dracaenas with liquid foliage plant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer months. Time release fertilizer pellets may be used also."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:
[...]

i am in so cal coastal. we are in the 2nd year of the worst drought in memory.
normally, in the "rainy" season, the sky water flushes out the chemicals from faucet water.
not this year!
so i am grateful for the heads-up
have filled a water pitcher for people drink, and several buckets on the patio for plant drink, to allow chlorine to dissipate.. at least i can be nice to the house plants and patio plants.
[...]
persephone
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 12, 2:29?pm, Persephone wrote:

That would be moi. I don't keep house plants anymore because now I have cats but I used to have a houseful of potted plants. I learned this trick of aging water from my days of raising tropical fish, in fact I was the one who brought the very first batch of fancy veil tail guppies into the US from Germany (1953).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

non sequitur!!!
not mutually exclusive
persephone
but I used to have a houseful of potted plants. I learned

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 14, 12:27?am, Persephone wrote:

You haven't met my cats. LOL
Actually I do still have one house plant, an asparagus fern that spends summers outdoors hanging from a tree and spends winters hanging from a beam by a cellar window. But I don't really need indoor plants these days, for the last few years I own 106 acres of outdoor plants.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

oh, man- y'all need a helper??? <g>

so you're the one who flushed them down the toilet, whereupon they grew to MONSTER sizes.. makes the New York alligators look like weenies...
<vbg>
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 8/10/2007 7:02 PM, JayDee wrote:

Dracaena will rot if the soil remains wet. You need a potting mix that drains well and stays moist without being wet. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html for ado-it-yourself recipe. Then water only when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Also, be sure the pot has a drain hole and is not sitting in a container that holds water.
Brown leaf tips can indicate salts in the water. If you are in the San Fernando Valley, you are getting Owens Valley water, which is low in salts. If you are downtown, you might be getting water from the aquifer under the Los Angeles River, which would be high in salts. Also, water from the Colorado River is somewhat salty; but water from the California Aquiduct is low in salts. In Los Angeles, there are also areas that receive a blend of waters from multiple sources. Check with the LADWP to find out what is the source of water for your particular neighborhood.
Brown leaf tips can also result from too much fertilizer. In the end, over-feeding will tend to cause a build-up of salts. Thus, it might not be the water.
An almost dead dracaena can be revived. See my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/indoors.html , and scroll down to "LivingRoom". My son thought the plant was truly dead, but (about a year later) it's doing quite well.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.