Dracaena Help


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My friend recently gave me her dracaena plant. She's had it for I think 2-3 years in the same tiny pot for three plants. It looked top heavy and root bound, so I decided to repot it. I used Miracle Gro Indoor Plant Soil. When repotting, it was COMPLETELY root bound. The roots were spiraling in circles around the pot, so sad. I shook out all the dirt and a few small, weak roots broke off but the main ones are strong. When I put it in this new pot, it doesn't seem to ben strong enough to hold itself up, they all sag to one side. I used a stick and tied them up a bit as I've seen on other plants. The plant base is not soft or squishy, it's firm. The roots were not rotting from what I could tell. Over the next few days, I noticed this "burning". Fluoride toxicity? I was using tap water. Today I used bottled water. The soil was completely dry, so I saturated it until it drained out the bottom and then dumped the excess water. From now on I will be letting the tap water sit for 48+ hours to get rid of any fluoride. I've already noticed new leaves on the top of all 3 and they look very nice I think.

I just want to know if I'm on the right track.

My other brand new house plant that I don’t know what it is, repotted the same way in the same stuff, is now burning on the tips as well so I’m really thinking it’s either soil or tap water.
 

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Meadowlark

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...I shook out all the dirt and a few small, weak roots broke off ....

Shaking out all the dirt and breaking off roots in the process seems like a good way to send the plants into shock and possibly burn/damage tender roots. When I transplant, I try to keep all the roots intact even if it means retaining some of the old soil.
 
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When you repot a rootbound plant you have to be careful not to have air pockets in the soil. This is likely a large part of your problem. My method of preventing this is messy and best done outside. I fill the new pot up to the point where the roots will sit. I then soak the soil. Next I put the plant in the pot and add about an inch of soil. Then I water it in until the soil is soaked and fills in all voids. I repeat this process until the pot is full. I then let the plant sit until the soil is nearly dry before watering again.
 
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Interesting, all the videos I watched about severely root bound plants said to do what I did to get rid of the old dirt and some even said to purposely break some small weak strangled roots (which I didn’t do) to promote healthy growth. The small, weak, white little roots that ended up falling off were all on the very top of the old pot, some broke off just from removing the plant from the pot without doing anything else at all.

What would air damage show up as in the leaves?

I didn’t have to shake out or break any roots on the second new plant, but it’s showing the same damage on it’s leaves, which is why I thought it was either the soil or the tap water since it’s on two different plants now.
 
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You did good, and the only thing i could add, is that you planted your Dracaena too deep in the new container. Also very important, you added soil on top of the root ball and that will keep too much moisture in the root zone. That's whats causing the spots you have. Gently remove as much of the new soil on the top of the old root level so the excess water will evaporate.
.
 
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You did good, and the only thing i could add, is that you planted your Dracaena too deep in the new container. Also very important, you added soil on top of the root ball and that will keep too much moisture in the root zone. That's whats causing the spots you have. Gently remove as much of the new soil on the top of the old root level so the excess water will evaporate.
.

Okay, I actually almost redid the whole thing to make it DEEPER because The soil line “mark” on the plant was about 2 inches higher than it is at now, so I thought maybe that’s why the plant isn’t holding itself upright anymore, from the lack of support of soil at the bottom. Glad I didn’t do that... haha
 

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Hello,
From your name, I think you may keep aquariums or "ponds", and plants? Try saving water from water changes on tanks or ponds for your house plants. As for the root question, unless there is rot or pests, I have a do no harm policy. Even rounded roots will immediately find the new soil, love it, and go for it. It reduces stress for the plant, also. I know what you mean about the videos, some people just always break apart a root ball. Once upon a time I thought it was the thing to do. But think about it...what will make the plant happier? Having its feet ripped open, or being provided with a new, sustaining "shoe" for those feet? I have never had a plant die because I did not traumatize its football enough. (Sorry for the double negative...I think my point is understandable.)
 
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Hello,
From your name, I think you may keep aquariums or "ponds", and plants? Try saving water from water changes on tanks or ponds for your house plants. As for the root question, unless there is rot or pests, I have a do no harm policy. Even rounded roots will immediately find the new soil, love it, and go for it. It reduces stress for the plant, also. I know what you mean about the videos, some people just always break apart a root ball. Once upon a time I thought it was the thing to do. But think about it...what will make the plant happier? Having its feet ripped open, or being provided with a new, sustaining "shoe" for those feet? I have never had a plant die because I did not traumatize its football enough. (Sorry for the double negative...I think my point is understandable.)

I do have a 10 gal aquarium, I never thought about using their water like that. The bacteria / algae / poop in fish change water isn’t harmful to a plant? That’s such an interesting idea!

As for the roots, yes your point makes sense. I probably will not break apart the ball next time I repot a plant, hopefully this one survives my beginner mistakes! :(
 
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The water is great for plants. It's a mild fertilizer. The chlorine and chemicals have had more than enough time to evaporate. It is good for the environment, and plants. If you have medicated the fish or used salt in the tank in the past few days, I would skip using tank water that week. Otherwise, the tank water is absolutely perfect for your plants, even fussy calathes! The temp is generally pleasing, I can go on and on about the symbiotic relationship between my aquariums and houseplants. Next time you root a cutting, try it in the tank, just keep leaves above the water. Roots appear quickly, and fish love playing in them. But the environmental benefit is probably reason enough to give it a try. Next time you travel vac, and have seriously poopy water, bless an outdoor plant with it. The plant will reward you!
 
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And do not feel bad about beginner mistakes! You are doing great just by making the effort to learn more. Good things will come!
 

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