I have more than eight years of hands-on experience in the horticultural maintenance industry and shares many tricks of the trade.
Mass Cane Plant: A Low-Maintenance Beauty
Mass cane (Dracaena fragrans "Massangeana" or Dracaena fragrans) is also known as "corn plant" and is one of several popular varieties of Dracaena, including Dracaena lisa, Dracaena marginata, and Dracaena compacta. It has stalky stems and long, green leaves with light-yellow/light-green stripes running through them. It is an easy-to-grow houseplant that requires little maintenance (and even puts up with neglect), making it a great choice for beginners.
Although originally from Africa, the mass cane is popular throughout many homes and offices in the U.S. and the U.K. because it is a low-maintenance beauty. For those who are lucky enough, the corn plant may even produce clusters of fragrant white flowers, though this is very rare. Below are care instructions for diligent gardeners who want to grow mass cane in the most ideal conditions.
Facts About Corn Plant (Mass Cane)
4 to 6 feet tall
60°F (15°C)–75°F (24°C)
Indirect bright is best; no direct sunlight. It can tolerate low light.
Once a week should be enough. Let the soil be a little damp or slightly dry.
Any soil with good drainage.
Non-toxic to humans, but toxic to dogs and cats, especially smaller ones.
The idea temperature for mass cane is 60°F (15°C) to 75°F (24°C). Conditions below 55°F/12°C will cause the leaves' edges to turn light grey or brown. Guard it from the wind and cold by keeping it away from open windows in the winter.
In summer, move the plant away from any window with direct sunlight filtering through or minimize heat with a curtain. If you see that the leaves begin turning towards the inside of your house or curling, then it is a sign that the plant is trying to guard itself from sunburn.
Mass cane tolerates a wide variety of indoor light conditions, but ideally, it thrives in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. Moderate bright light will provide all this plant needs to grow and produce healthy-looking leaves. Placing it on a porch or near an eastern-facing window is best.
In strong light, the plant will grow faster, but the leaves may become bleached or burned, and the soil will dry out too quickly, which causes dehydration. If you cannot avoid growing the corn plant in an area with copious amounts of sun, then the plant needs to be regularly fertilized to avoid symptoms of chlorosis. However, too much sun creates a greater chance of the plant developing mealy bug. If you cannot move the mass cane to another location, filter the light with a curtain.
Mass cane is very tolerant in low-light conditions, but it will grow much more slowly and the leaves may yellow or brown. If growing in low light, you should water less frequently to avoid root rot and browning leaves.
Ideal Humidity Level
Because the mass cane is a tropical plant, it prefers high humidity. However, it does just fine in normal humidity. If leaves begin to brown and you suspect low humidity, spray the foliage daily to keep the leaves damp. Mass cane also benefits from having other plants around, which helps create humidity.
How Often Should You Water a Mass Cane?
Watering is fairly simple. If placed in moderate light, the plant should be watered when the soil surface is dry to the touch. Water the mass cane just enough to moisten the soil throughout the pot. In most moderate conditions, there is no need to leave excess water in the plant's liner. Allow the soil surface to become dry to the touch before watering again.
- In moderate light, the plant should be watered every week or two.
- In areas with strong light, it may be necessary either to leave some water in the liner or water more frequently.
- In low light, you will want to water less frequently. Be sure to allow canes in low light a period of drying.
Remember that mass cane is a slow-growing, slow-reacting plant. It may take weeks for the plant to show symptoms of either overwatering or underwatering; by then, the damage will already have occurred.
What to Do When the Leaves Turn Yellow or Brown?
When your mass cane's leaves turn brown or yellow, it is commonly a symptom of overwatering or underwatering. The leaves will begin to show signs of discoloration around the edges but then spread to the middle. Similar symptoms show when the plant is too cold. Keep your mass cane away from drafty areas and move it to a warm location with ample indirect sunlight.
Yellowing or browning leaves is also a sign of fluoride toxicity. If you are fertilizing your plant, stop immediately. Fertilizers contain more fluoride than the mass cane likes or can handle. Tap water also contains fluoride, so water with bottled water or rain water if you suspect that fluoride overdose is the problem.
Common Mass Cane (Dracaenea) Problems
As easy as caring for this plant is, there are some very typical issues associated with it.
- Mealy bug is the most common pest. The best treatment is to keep your plant healthy, wipe away any visible bugs from the leaves, and remove new leaf crowns if needed.
- Brown spots along the leaves, especially on new growth, are common. There are a few possible causes for this. An older plant may have roots that have grown outside the pot, which need to be cut away. Also, salts from the water can build up in the soil; if that happens you need to add more soil. If new growth shows spots, you can cut the crowns to encourge new, healthier growth.
- Overgrown stalks can be found on older plants and can get spindly and out of control. The stalks should be cut back.
- Tilted, leaning, or crooked canes are usually the result of either the plant leaning toward or away from a light source or uneven watering. It can also be a result of a plant being tipped over or forcibly moved. Straightening a cane is simple: just push the cane back into its upright position and pack soil as backfill for stability. Also be sure to rotate your plant regularly to provide balance and to water evenly across the soil's surface.
- Brown leaf tips are most commonly a result of overwatering or inconsistent watering. The leaves are very accommodating to being trimmed back, so either cut off the brown parts of the leaves or cut the brown leaves off altogether to restore the look of healthy foliage.
- Yellow leaves may be caused by acclimation, underwatering, or age. There is a trick to removing corn plant leaves. Starting at the tip, split the leaf in the middle and begin to tear right down the center all the way back. The two segments should then peel away very easily.
- Wrinkly stalks are due to severe under watering or root damage.
- Rotten stalks, or mushy canes, are due to extreme overwatering or root damage.
- Fungus gnats can be an issue for any indoor plant. They are most commonly caused by overwatering.
What If One Stalk Is Healthy but Another Shows Symptoms?
Mass canes usually have multiple stalks. Canes in pots with diameters of 10" or larger are tapered in height above the pot and below the soil surface. The tallest stalk's roots will be deepest in the pot, and the shortest stalk's roots will be closest to the soil surface. Keeping these depth differences in mind can help you troubleshoot any watering issues.
- If the shortest cane shows symptoms of underwatering but the tallest cane is fine, you may need to water more frequently as the shallow roots are likely drying out between waterings.
- If the tallest cane shows symptoms of underwatering, but the shortest cane is fine, it is likely that you need to make sure that you're watering enough to moisten the bottom layer of soil.
- If the tallest cane shows symptoms of overwatering, but the shorter ones seem fine, then it's likely that too much water is being left in the liner, thus overwhelming the deep roots in the pot.
What's the Best Soil to Use?
Mass cane is not picky, so any soil with good drainage is fine. I recommend multipurpose potting mix or indoor potting mix. Potting soil that contains peat moss will also improve drainage. Make sure the pot has a draining hole because mass canes will get root rot if water sits.
Should I Fertilize My Corn Plant?
Corn plants do not take well to excess fluoride or baron, both of which are found in fertilizers, hence, fertilizing could cause leaves to brown. This plant does just fine without fertilizer, but if you believe the plant needs a boost of nutrients, then only fertilize once a year.
Pruning Mass Cane
Nothing can be simpler than pruning dracaena. Simply take some garden shears and trim any discolored or sick-looking leaves at the node (the point where a leaf attaches to the cane). Trim up any new sprouts or side shoots to help the plant maintain its shape. If your plant is getting too tall, lop off a part of the top by cutting horizontally across the stem. You can propagate the cutting if you wish to have another mass cane tree. The good news is that it's super easy to propagate a dracaena cutting.
How to Propagate Mass Cane
When planting a mass cane from cutting, make sure to do it in the spring and summer when the parent plant is actively growing so that the part that gets cut off will experience new growth.
- Choose a healthy stem with little buds present. These small buds will grow into shoots.
- Using gardening scissors or a sharp knife, cut off at least 3 inches of the stem. Cut just below the horizontal groove.
- Stick the new cutting into the soil of a new pot, making sure that the buds remain above the soil. Water around the stem right away.
- (Optional) Dip the end of the cutting in some rooting hormone powder to improve its chances of budding.
Why Is the Mass Cane a Popular House Plant?
- It is tolerant of most indoor lighting conditions.
- It is inexpensive. It's usually the cheapest variety of dracaena and very inexpensive compared to other house plants.
- Slow growth means the mass cane will fit a particular space for a long time with little maintenance.
- The leaves are long and strap-like, making it easy to clean.
- Watering is easy.
- Mass cane has the height and look of a tree but can fit indoors and requires less maintenance than other houseplant trees, like ficus, rhapis, or mahogany.
- It cleanses the air. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, dracaena plants remove formaldehyde from the air in your home, as well as other substances, such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and xylene.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Will direct sunlight outside hurt a Mass Cane plant? What is the lowest temperature they can survive in?
Answer: If your a Dracaena has been indoors, direct sunlight will probably be too intense for it. I believe it is recommended to keep them in temperatures 50 degrees and up, but even the 50 degree range can begin to cause damage. For a healthy Dracaena, I would recommend keeping it in an environment 60-90 degrees.
Question: I was givin a Mass Cane plant as a gift about a week ago. We added Miracle Gro indoor potting mix. I watered it four days ago. A lot of the leaves are brown and look like they are dying. What can I do to save the plant?
Answer: Allow the plant time to acclimate to its new environment. Make sure that the plant has an appropriate spot with sufficient lighting, airflow, and temperature conditions, and water it adequately to help it stabilize (tips for basic care are detailed in the hub). Many plants will lose some leaves when brought into a new environment as a symptom of the stress caused by a change in the environment, and does not necessarily indicate that the plant is dying.
Question: I just bought a corn plant from Ikea. Some leaves have brown dots surrounded with a larger yellow spot on the side of the leaves, or in the center, or at the tips of the leaves. What is wrong?
Answer: Overall this plant is likely healthy. It is believed that the rust like spots develop after being watered with water that has a high mineral content. Also, check for bare roots that are protruding from the bottom of the grow pot. If any are present, cut them back.
Question: I am having trouble figuring out if my plant is slowly dying or slowly coming back to life. We accidentally left it in 5 degree Celsius weather for about three weeks while moving. Most of the leaves were brown to the core. Now all the leaves are slowly looking less limp and are green. One stalk has new green growth from the core where the other two stems have dry, brown, brittle stalks with no new regrowth. It’s been 5 months since we left it in the cold. Is there still hope?
Answer: Based on the description given it sounds like miraculously some stalks of your Mass Cane have survived the prolonged cold exposure, and some have died. Remove the stalks that are clearly dead, they would be the ones described dry, brown, brittle stalks with no new growth. Add soil to the pot to fill the empty space created by the removal of the dead stalks.
Continue to care for the remaining living stalks with new growth, if anything is green 5 months after the cold snap then it has made a valiant comeback.
Question: Why is that my Plant grew a stem with these little pods that are leaking clear liquid?
Answer: Your plant is blooming. It is recommended to cut the blooms off. The blooms are messy and take a considerable amount of resources for something that is ultimately unproductive.
Question: How do I take off the brown leaves without hurting my mass cane tree?
Answer: The best method for removing dead or dying leaves from a Draceana is to split the leaf in half from the tip separating it back to the stem, the divided leaf strips should pull away from the leaf base fairly easily.
Question: Thank you for your response below about cutting my cane down. So do I need to seal the top somehow? The top has a brown wax on it.
Answer: You can avoid sealing the plant so long as your cut remains slightly above the viable portion of the cane.
Question: The two taller stalks of my mass cane are dead. How do I replenish or save the existing stock?
Answer: If the two taller stalks have died, this plant has probably been watered too shallow since the smallest stalk will be planted the most shallow in the soil. Continue to water the remaining stalk, and it should continue to live and grow. As it gets taller, consider increasing the amount of water and decreasing the frequency of watering.
Question: Where do you water the mass cane?
Answer: Water the surface of the soil, distributing the water across the entire surface of the soil as evenly as possible.
Question: I bought a Mass Cane on clearance at a grocery store several years ago. My plant is still alive, and has grown, but it never looked great. I’m concerned about the stalks. What do I do to help them?
Answer: At some point in its life, the plant has been severely under-watered. This causes the bark to become detached from the cane as its internal structure retracted due to dehydration, and the fact that it has lived but "never looked that great" is also a result of residual effects of damage to the internal cane and root structure. Once damage like this has occurred, the plant can survive, but the damage cannot be reversed. If the plant has lived for several years under your care, you have probably cared for this plant as well as can be expected.
Question: The tips of my mass cane leaves are brown. I don't know what to do. Should I cut the brown part of the leaf, or leave as is?
Answer: It is recommended to trim away brown tips of Draceana foliage.
Question: My Mass Cane plant has this weird 2-foot sprout that has shot out of the top of the taller cane about two months ago. It is very sticky with lots of sap and has these clusters of bud looking things every few inches and a big one at the top. What is going on with my plant?
Answer: Your Mass Cane has sprouted a bloom. Mass Cane blooms are messy, often regarded to be unattractive, utilize quite a bit of the plants' energy. Indoors the blooms serve little to no purpose. It is best to prune it off.
Question: My cane has bloomed when it hasn't in twenty years. It was very heavy, and dripped like a faucet. Why is it doing this?
Answer: Mass Canes will often bloom following a dramatic temperature, or light change. The blooms are characteristically very sticky, and tend to make a mess. It is recommended that blooms be cut off in interior settings; they do not benefit the plant.
Question: What type of planter should I replant a Mass Cane in?
Answer: It is best to select a pot or planter that is no more than 1-2 sizes larger than the diameter of the pot that the plant is currently potted in. A pot or planter that has drainage holes for excess water is also advisable. Keeping in mind these two basic recommendations there is a huge variety of options to choose from, which are mainly at the discretion of your personal preference.
Question: My leaves on my Mass Cane plant look kind of dusty. Should I be concerned? Should I wipe them off with a warm washcloth?
Answer: It is a great idea to wipe down your plants leaves as part of regular maintenance. Leaves on indoor plants do get dusty, and dust definitely detracts from the overall vibrant appearance of the plant.
Question: The bottom two shorter canes on my corn plant have limp leaves, and at the base of the leaves, it is dry and wrinkled. I must have underwatered it when I first got it. Even though I corrected the water about a month ago, and misted it regularly, it still hasn't recovered. You can tell that no water can get through. Should I cut it off? Where should I cut it? Will anything grow back?
Answer: You can cut the foliage back on the smaller canes. It may be best in this situation to just remove the damaged leaves one by one until you get to new growth deeper in the crown. Once watering conditions have been stabilized, new leaves will grow. If the damage is too extensive, cut the whole leaf bundle off; if the cane is still healthy, it will grow a new leaf crown or two. Be advised if the whole leaf bundle is cut back to the stalk it will take some time for the stalk to grow new foliage, so be patient.
Question: I have two mass cane plants in the same room on either side of a bar. They both receive the same amount of light and water. They also have vines growing in the bottom. One is dying (but the vines are fine), and I suspect it’s because my husband is getting fresh ground coffee in the pot. Could this be killing it?
Answer: The fresh ground coffee could likely cause a problem. It is an unfortunately common occurrence for indoor plants to have drinks food, etc. poured or dropped on them. Coffee is very common, and often on purpose. Many people believe that the plant will process the foreign material just fine, and in the case of coffee, that it will fertilize the plant. If this was an outdoor plant that has the assistance of nature all of that may be true, not so for an indoor plant. What ends up happening to a houseplant is a concentrated build-up of the foreign organic material, leaving the plant to stew in something that it can not process, and a substance that can go rancid rich with aggressive bacteria to boot. This often leads to root damage, and can kill the plant.
If possible try to rinse the soil through thoroughly, and repeatedly. It may be best to water in a way that the plant is not allowed to have any standing water in the liner. Adding fresh soil can also help to rebalance. Move the plant, so no more grounds get into it.
Question: My plant has grown quite large, even in our vaulted ceilings it's quite tall. Is there a way to trim it down, so it doesn't grow more into the ceiling?
Answer: Mass Cane foliage crowns can be cut back to the desired height at the center point where the leaves originate to prevent undesired overgrowth.
Question: I want a Mass Cane plant for my porch area. Will hot weather do damage to it even if it's in full shade?
Answer: The ability to safely keep a Mass Cane outdoors really is dependent on your outdoor climate. If you live in a tropical climate, it should be fine; I would probably avoid a spot where it receives many hours of direct sunlight even in this environment. If you live in a climate of low humidity, and or a place in which the temperature and weather are prone to dramatic changes it would not be a good idea to place a Mass Cane outside.
Question: My cane plant has fallen over! The roots are very loose in the soil and the plant is not upright anymore. It looks generally stressed - yellowing leaves, browning tips, leaves are crinkling. It's possible I overwatered, although the soil is dry now. How do I know what is wrong? How can I help it recover?
Answer: It sounds as if this plant has suffered some root damage either from under, or over watering, since the soil is currently dry I would lean toward the probability of under watering being the culprit. To try and rehab this plant try placing the canes back upright, and packing soil around the canes to hold them secure, then water the plant until soil is moist. Avoid over saturating the soil since the plant may have minimal root structure available to absorb water. If the plant is still viable it will generate new root material overtime. Great care will need to be taken to make sure the soil moisture remains optimum to allow for new root growth.
Question: Can the leaves that have turned brown on my mass cane be cut off?
Answer: Brown leaves can, and should, be removed from the plant. It is best to gently pull the leaf away from the stalk to remove it completely. Stripping the leaf back from the tip in two halves is a very effective method of removal.
Question: My mass cane has had a bud of new growth for over a year, but it has not leafed out. Any ideas as to why?
Answer: Possibly moving the plant into a space with greater light exposure would incite the new foliage crown to spring into action and grow.
Question: I have wrapped fairy lights around the canes of my Mass Cane. Will this damage the plant? Thanks
Answer: Fairy lights will not damage your Mass Cane.
Question: How should we take care of the leaves on my Mass Cane tree? The leaves are split down the middle (I think it happened on the drive home).
Answer: Continue to separate the leaf at the split all the way back to the base, and completely remove the damaged leaves. Splitting the leaves is actually the preferred method of removal for Mass Cane leaves; your plant has given you an unintentional head start.
Question: I was transplanting my Mass Cane and it fell over, resulting in the top breaking off. Will the top grow if I put it in water? How do I save it? The top, that is.
Answer: You can attempt to root a Mass Cane crown. I recommend researching more information about starting root cuttings for Draceana. I believe Draceana cuttings need soil to start a root cutting, and rooting hormone, so a bit more involved than placing the cutting in water.
Question: How often will a Dracaena plant flower?
Answer: An indoor Dracaena will usually bloom when some external stress factor has come into play like a dramatic temperature change, or a move, so consequently indoor blooming is irregular.
Question: I just purchased my first two mass cane plants a few months ago on clearance, so I figured why not? I have learned a lot about my new plants with your article and questions. My question is that each plant has two stalks. Is there a way to propagate additional plants off of my current plants? If so, should I do it now while it is still winter or should I wait until spring?
Answer: It’s great to hear that the article has been of good use, thank you for the feedback. As for propagating a Mass Cane stalk from the existing canes, yes it is possible but the results will likely be disappointing if a new full cane is expected, and there is a big risk in damaging the existing Canes. While it is possible, I would not recommend it, the risk and effort involved will be greater than the return. I have however seen leaf crown cuttings propagated after a Dracaena has been trimmed. This will create a small foliar plant. That kind of start from a stem cutting carries little risk and would create more of a tabletop indoor plant if successful. If the smaller cuttings sound like what you would want, begin by getting more information on starting root cuttings for Dracaena probably using root hormones. If you do plan on attempting trying a root cutting I would do it in spring, or the milder summer months in which the most consistent temperatures and sunlight are available.
Question: Do you have to water the leaves of a mass cane?
Answer: Water only needs to be put in the soil. It is a good idea to occasionally wipe the leaves down to keep them clear of pests and dust.
Question: My mass cane was fairly dead, so I cut off most of the stalk to save it. It has new sprouts from the base of the stalk. Should I put something over the stalk where I cut it off? The mass canes I see at garden stores all have what look like a rubber coating on the top of the stalk where the cut is.
Answer: Since the plant has begun to sprout, it has likely closed the wound at the end of the cane on its own. If you would like to take extra precaution, you can add a coating of wax to the cane to cover the exposed cut. This will help ensure that pests and disease do not have an easy point of entry.
Question: My Mass Cane's leaves are yellowing but it’s starting near the cane, not the tip. What could be causing this?
Answer: If the leaves are yellowing at the base of the foliage crown the plant is likely not getting enough light.
Question: I have a Mass Cane, and it only has one shoot on the side. It has a spot where another one used to be. Is there a way to get it to shoot out again?
Answer: I have been told that if you are to score the bark's surface in a place where you wish to have a foliage crown sprout on a Mass Cane, that it will encourage the plant to produce new growth in that spot. I have not seen a plant produce a sprout over time after witnessing this method. This is not to say that it does not work; I just cannot confirm that it does.
Question: I've had my mass cane for two weeks. It's indoors in the corner with low light. We see worms in the soil. Is this normal and what should I do?
Answer: Worms in the soil of houseplants are not common. If they are Earth Worms they will help the plant out, so if you can tolerate them leave them alone. If they are larvae, you may need to try and get rid of them. Removing larvae from soil could be tricky. You could scoop out the loose upper layers of soil and replace it with fresh. A very light solution of dish soap and water can be watered in, this will not have a negative effect on the plant and can help the plant absorb water more effectively. A systemic pesticide could also be used, but I would only recommend that as a last resort.
Question: My mass cane has some kind of flowering branch. What is this?
Answer: It is most likely that your Mass Cane has bloomed.
Question: Last winter I bought a mass cane and accidentally froze it in my car. I decided to keep it and see what happened. I was thrilled when the leaves started to regrow. But they started close to the bottom of the cane. Should I cut the stalks off since the leaves are well below the top?
Answer: You should probably cut the cane down, I would bet that the upper portion has died back. Squeeze the cane near the top, if the bark feels like it is loose, has a lot of give to it, that is a good indicator that the root system is no longer feeding that portion of the cane and the interior of the cane is dead. Cut it back to a place slightly above where it feels that the cane is still solid.
Question: Do the flowers reproduce the plant?
Answer: If in it’s natural habitat dracaena blooms would take part in the reproduction process. Indoors they are of little to no use, and actually cause undue stress to the plant.
Question: Can I save my Mass Cane plant if my cats have urinated in the dirt?
Answer: Try to run water through the plants pot allowing it to drain off, essentially rinsing the soil if possible. This can help get rid of the urine. Potted plants do not tolerate urine well, the plant may or may not survive.
Question: I have a mass cane plant that is fourteen-years-old. It is very healthy. It is budding at the top, and I have never seen this before. Is there something I need to do?
Answer: It is best to prune off blooms from Mass Canes that are indoors. The blooms are sticky, and utilize a great deal of resources from the plant that are not used productively.
Question: Can the Draceana Massangeana be pruned below previously pruned off section?
Answer: Yes, you can prune a leaf crown, or cane to any height even if it has already been pruned.
Question: What do mass cane blooms look like?
Answer: Mass cane blooms look like a cluster of spiked spheres.
Question: The cold weather killed my Dracaena plant. Will it resprout?
Answer: Dracaena are not cold hardy; it is highly unlikely that anything will grow back.
Question: I received a Mass Cane plant with 3 canes. Two of the canes are very healthy and even bloomed. The third cane has no leaves at all and has one dried out protrusion where there was probably a head of leaves at some point. Is there a way to bring this cane back to life, so that it will sprout leaves again? Should I just cut the thick cane back a bit?
Answer: This particular issue is well detailed in the Mass Cane article, a very common issue in which the smallest cane often has the most shallow roots of all the canes, and because of this is the most common to be deprived of water and die while the larger canes thrive. The cane will not come back. It is best to remove that entire small cane from the pot, the trick is to wait long enough that the roots on that stalk have deteriorated enough so the cane pulls out clean.
Question: My leaves are brown, some at the tip and some 1/4 way up. Read the possibilities of overwatering, which I may have done. They are inside and have been since early fall before temps got below 60°. Will my leaves eventually turn back to normal? Any need to change out the soil?
Answer: The leaves that are already damaged will remain that way; the existing damage is not reversible. If the watering is stabilized new growth should come in free of damage, at that point the older foliage with brown tips can be removed. The soil should be fine as it is, some soil could be added to top off the pot this might help to distribute moisture more evenly but is probably not necessary.
Question: My husband brought Mass Cane plants home from work. I didn't know they are inside plants, so I put them outside and watered them every morning. We've only had them for three days. Now they are inside, but the leaves are becoming brown around the ends. What should I do?
Answer: The climate that you live in is what would determine if your Mass Cane is an indoor, or outdoor plant. Tropical climates will support a Mass Cane living outside. Cold, dessert, or climates with dramatically fluctuating seasons will not support a Mass Cane living outdoors.
The brown tips are likely a result of inconsistency, since the plant has been moved multiple times to different environments, and has not had a chance to adjust. It has most likely struggled to use the water it has been given with all the changes, thus causing the brown tips. This results from burst plant cells that have taken on too much water.
It is best to find an appropriate place and allow them time to acclimate, also be mindful of watering it may be best to allow the soil to dry a bit before attempting to water again since the plants are now in a less active environment than they were when outside.
Question: I just acquired an 11-ft corn plant from an owner that could no longer care for it. She said she gave it 2 cups of water on Sundays and Wednesdays. I have followed that schedule but am getting a couple of yellowed leaves and some shriveled black ones. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: It is possible that the plant is just acclimating to it’s new environment, loosing a few leaves is not uncommon after a move. I would reccomend getting a soil probe to check the moisture level through the pot for this plant prior to watering it. It may not be responding the same way it had with the previous owner as there may be differences in light, temperature, and airflow. Unless the soil probe tells you something different about the soils moisture, you may want to consider giving more water less frequently.
Question: I see that most Mass Cane plants have two stalks in a pot. What if I have only one stalk in my pot?
Answer: Most Cane plants are grown with an odd number of stalks as such a grouping is usually more aesthetically pleasing. Potted Canes that have two stalks most likely had three to start, and one has died and been removed. If you have one stalk it just means there is one stalk; the plant was either grown with one stalk or other stalks have died off and been removed leaving just the one. If the cane itself has unique features beyond what a standard straight cane would have, such as interesting bends and knots, it could be what is called a "Character Cane." These are often potted alone.
Question: Can mass cane purify the air?
Answer: Any plant that performs photosynthesis works to clean the air; this plant is no exception. Some plants are more effective at air purification than others. The heavy hitters are those that are found on the typical “plants that purify the air” lists, but really they all contribute to some degree.
Question: Some of the heads and new spouts have turned Brown and can be easily pulled off. Will they ever resprout, or do I have to cut something?
Answer: The cane could sprout new heads again. Cut away any dead; this can potentially stimulate the plant to grow. Check for possible pest issues such as Mealybug, Spider Mite, and Aphids, as they all prefer new growth crowns to feed on.
Question: What size pot should I use to transfer a mass cane plant?
Answer: It is best to pot up one size from the pot that your plant is currently in. For example, if your plant is in a 10” diameter pot, go up to a 12” diameter pot.
Question: Can I put my mass cane in the ground in a shady spot in my yard in Florida?
Answer: I recommend consulting a local nursery in your area for the best answer to this question. Many houseplants are initially grown in Florida nurseries and shipped around the country to be sold as indoor plants. I believe that Mass Cane are grown outdoors in your area. Since I am in a very different climate, I would have little information to offer in respect to the outdoor hardiness of a Mass Cane.
Question: Why is my Mass Cane floor palm tree blooming?
Answer: It is not uncommon for a Mass Cane to bloom. Often, but not always, the blooms are triggered when the plant has been under some form of stress like a temperature, light, season, or other environmental variation. These stressors will instigate reproductive instinct in the plant causing it to produce blooms.
It is recommended to remove Mass Cane blooms. The blooms are somewhat messy and draw quite a bit of energy that can negatively affect foliage quality.
© 2012 thoughthole
Questions and Comments
Chaker on July 25, 2020:
Plz need your help
Carmenmiranda1 on July 18, 2020:
I have a Dracaena potted with two stalks, a tall and short. A few weeks ago the tall stalk seemed to be listing, so I decided to straighten it up. I also watered. Ever since then the leaves on the tall stalk have been turning dark brown (not the light brown of dryness), yellow, and shriveling. These are the outermost leaves of the crown. The short stalk is fine. I have checked soil and it is not wet. I’m at a loss and assume that moving the stalk caused this damage, but I really don’t know what to do now and am hesitating to water it given potential for root rot. Or move it at all since I don’t want to potentially damage it further. Would you have any suggestions?
Phoebe on June 29, 2020:
I bought a mass cane with two stalks (or stems) three weeks ago. The shorter stalk is turning to dark brown gradually and one leaf has turned to yellow and brown. Is my plant dying? What I should do? Thanks a lot.
Cristina on June 22, 2020:
I bought two Mass cane plants and because they were leaning I thought it was the soil so i replanted in a different soil mix flower potting soil and dirt, now the leaves are turning inward and some are turning brown so i have to cut it down, but i dont get the inward leaves, i have them in front of a window where they do not get sun just light, but im not sure if I underwater them or not...
Madeleine on June 14, 2020:
I have a wonderful cane plant that seems to be doing well but for some browning on the leaf tips. One of the multiple stalks is not doing well. It is the tallest. It seems the new growth lacks size, lacks color and the tips are brown, some to the bottom of the leaf or halfway down. I do fertilize every time I water (which I have now learned is not advisable) which is only when needed and I don't allow it to sit in water, stopping when I see seepage. What can I do?
Carmen Chavarria on May 20, 2020:
Does this plant require holes in the pots for drainage?
Bea W on May 12, 2020:
The leaves on my cane plant are curling and drooping. It is in indirect sunlight and I only water it when the top soil is dry. I’ve had it for almost a year. What do you think the problem is?
Poochhk on March 19, 2020:
Hello great to read this blog and to read everyone’s feedback! I ve had my mass cane for over 7 years in the office In hk...we recently moved office and i re-potted to bigger pot... she gets great light in the day...she must have been very happy. Btw chinese say its very auspicious when a plant flowers like this. I pray that we all stay safe and hope this virus withers away...
Barbara on November 15, 2019:
Where can I find your info re pumice
Troyymuellerr@gmail.com on November 14, 2019:
Can I separate mass cane into separate pots
Aldrin on November 09, 2019:
I guess I'm one of the lucky one my mass came is producing flowers.
Paul on November 09, 2019:
Can repot my dracaena during the winter? It’s an indoor plant but want to assure I don’t shock it and damage the plant? I’m in Texas and temp in 50’s in November. Thanks!
Kaye on August 01, 2019:
Hello. I have a mature 3 cane plant that is huge and has been repotted twice. I am wondering whether to try and separate the three canes and have 3 separate manageable corn plants. Is this possible?
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 15, 2019:
The top leaves of my mass cane look healthier than the bottom ones who seem kind of limp. The top gets more sun than the bottom. It has not needed water, the bottom of the soil is still damp. Should I worry about the bottom leaves?
Saf on April 24, 2019:
My lemon lime dracena has many dry leaves after it has been watered a few weeks back. Also the soil has some black worms. What could be wrong? Thanks
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 10, 2019:
I am happy to hear that you have found the information here helpful.
My first reaction to reading through your current issue with your Mass Cane is that there are many variables at play in a short period of time.
In the world of an indoor Mass Cane 2 months is not an extremely long period of time allowed to acclimate a new environment, so the plant was still in an adjustment phase when it was repotted, which introduced yet another level of stress on a plant that was still struggling to adjust to its 1st change of environment, and at a time (winter) when most plants are less able to adapt.
The best course of action at this point would be to try and stabilize the plant as it is. I would recommend giving this plant some form of artificial light, grow lights are now fairly easy to find, and reasonably priced. The added light will help the plant begin to utilize other resources with less struggle, and help it regenerate root material that may have been damaged.
As long as a sufficient light source is provided, keep the soil mildly moist until the plant appears to have stabilized.
Any crowns that appear to be coming in damaged should be removed and discarded, this will help the plant put energy toward regenerating roots, and healthy foliage. The damaged crown should not be used to propagate.
Overall I believe that additional light is the key in this case, additional light should provide support to help the plant stabilize itself and re-establish a root system necessary for appropriate uptake of water, and nutrients. Hopefully this helps, good luck!
DaisyBear on January 21, 2019:
I have found the questions and answers on this to be so helpful! So I'm hoping maybe I can save my mass cane plant with four stalks. I got it about 2 months ago and I think the soil was not right, so it remained overly wet after watering for 2 weeks. The leaves started to turn yellow on every stalk. I repotted it in soil with better drainage but after a week of being in its new soil, it looks worse than before. My one hope was that the new little leaves on each crown looked healthy but now even those have dry tips. I'm so worried about overwatering! But maybe I'm underwatering? Here are the other conditions I worry about: it is winter and bit drafty and dry in my home. And we don't get a ton of light this time of year. Can I save this plant? Should I cut off the saddest looking crowns and try to propagate those?
Litisha Ussery on December 03, 2018:
My plant is completely dead (all the leaves are brown and crunchy), is there anyway I can bring it back to life??
Ruben on October 08, 2018:
I bought a corn plant a couple months ago and my new leaves are very narrow compared to the width of the older leaves. They also seemed to be a little shriveled. The older leaves are dying and have brown tips.
Marcia Lee on September 13, 2018:
I have a dracaena that I bought a couple of years ago and kept in a pot outdoors. (I live in so Cal.) It did fine but when I finally planted in the ground with a drip watering system it started to thrive! the leaves were wider and more plentiful, the stalk I cut off that was too long produced 3 more stalks very full and healthy and it has been growing and thickening beautifully for a year. I just looked at it and there is a very dark black coloration around the base (at stem) of the leaves. It looks like tar. there are hard little residual shelves at the base of each. the leaves on the entire plant are all beautiful, full, thick but at place where the leaf grows out of the stalk toward the newest leaves of the plant, two of the stalks have very dark black rings sound the leaves.
C Simoens on September 08, 2018:
I have what I believe to be a dracaena but it looks like it is growing out of a bulb.This is an older plant, and has had several canes, that have died off. I’m now left with this large bulbous leathery bulb with a few short roots at the bottom and one cane left that has new growth at the top. A) Is this a dracaena? I have scoured the internet and can not locate a photo of this huge bulb with a cane growing from it. B) How do I repot this? Does the bulb go under the soil or does it sit shallow in soil, with the upper part exposed? Wish there was a photo option to show!
Jade on September 08, 2018:
What are the tips on replanting the corn plant?
bernadine Salmon on June 10, 2018:
My cane plant was put outside and brown shot is on some of the leaves, and also have some in the middle. What can I do the plant is very new about 6, months of old
thoughthole (author) from Utah on March 30, 2018:
Nancy, you can definitely cut back the stalk in your very mature Corn Plant, it is very likely that it will sprout new crowns, possibly multiples. The new growth will likely be much more healthy than what is existing.
I would avoid repotting, for a plant as well established as what you are describing that will likely do more harm than good.
Doing some regular maintenance will be if best benefit. Check that no roots are protruding outside of the grow pot, cut them back if any are found. Add soil, this will add nutrients, and help balance the soil media in the case things have gotten out of whack overtime, it will also help distribute moisture more evenly.
Nancy on March 27, 2018:
I have a corn plant that I have had since 1996. It is now extremely tall. Probably at least 7ft. It only has leaves on the top half of it which makes it rather spindly looking. The trunk is getting ragged, I too often am pulling the pieces of "bark" off. Also, some of the leaves are turning brown along the edges. If I cut it down to an average height, will it sprout new leaves there? Or will it die? I'd like to keep it & make it healthy. Should I re-pot with new soil? And what type? Thank-you!
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 27, 2018:
Justin, keep the remaining leaves clean & dry. Avoid placing the plant in areas of high humidity, or moisture. Clean & dry is the key to battling this issue.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 27, 2018:
Helen, most soils used for potting Draceana are loose to avoid water retention, your plant likely has enough water at this point for at least a week unless it is in an environment with extreme heat, or excessive airflow. If judging the moisture of the plant is very difficult due to soil I recommend placing your plant in a liner, water the plant until there is just a bit of water in the plastic liner, you will then have a visual of the plants water usage as the water from the liner is wicked up, once the liner is completely dry consider watering again.
As for the yellow leaves, if the plant had gone overly dry at any point in the past weeks or month it will show signs of that slowly, so it is likely that you are now seeing results of past damage since these plants are slow to react.
Be calm and patient, as you stabilize environment and allow the plant time to adjust things should begin to normalize.
Justin on February 27, 2018:
Please if yone has some advice for me. I bought my first Dracaena 2 weeks ago, It has a 2ft stock and a 3ft stock. First the leaves started getting white patches all over them, which I was told was fungus and to cut them off. Then the remainder leaves turned darker and wilted alot. I can see some very green new sprouts coming out of both stocks which look very healthy. Does anyone have any advice on what i should do?
Helen Wright. on February 26, 2018:
I was given a huge Dracaena last week and the soil feels really dry so I watered it and the water ran straight through, so I soaked it in water and now the leaves are yellow and dropping off.
It still feels dry.
It was sat outside in the cold for a day.
Appreciate any help?
muknfutch on February 23, 2018:
let your water sit overnite then give it water....your plant will thank you
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 19, 2018:
Marissa, losing the smallest stalk is not uncommon. The short stalk is rooted very shallow in the pot, and the roots are often sparse. I would recommend removing that small stalk and focus your effort on those remaining.
There would be no harm in attempting to grow the little leaf sprig that has been left, you may want to move it to a pot that matches its size and root depth for better possible results.
Marissa on February 19, 2018:
My plant isn’t doing so well. The smallest of the three stalks is likely dead - the leafs are almost totally Brown. Should I remove it and toss it?
Also when I was trying to revive it, I pulled off one of the little green stalks. Now its like a root with leafs. Can I replant it?
Jarin on January 09, 2018:
I bought a Dracaena Fragrans 6 months ago. It has a soil mix that is used for orchids. It always seems dry to me, even immediately following watering. When I do water, it takes very little and immediately drains out. So far I have been watering very, very slowly so that it will absorb as much as possible before draining, and I am doing this about every 2-3 weeks. However, after I water, several leaf tips will yellow. The plant otherwise looks healthy and green, but I worry that I am not watering correctly. How often and how much should I be watering this plant that is in an orchid mix soil? By the way, lighting is low to medium. Also, some leaf tips are brown and dry.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on January 06, 2018:
Andrew, you can trim the leaf tip back at anytime. Trimming the brown tip away will not affect the plant as far as adjusting to its new environment.
Andrew Derck on January 05, 2018:
I just bought a corn plant, the end of the one leaf is brown I bought it that way, when is the right time to prune it?
Jane Cook on December 25, 2017:
I have a mass corn and I have had it for 40 years. I had to tramsplant it to a new pot and now the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Help what can I do to save it?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on November 26, 2017:
Aphids could be a possibility, however it is most likely that Mealy bug is the culprit based on your description. Wipe away any visible whiteness with a light solution of plain dish soap & water. Check the crowns (new growth in the top center) of the plant for clustered colonies, if infested cut the new growth out, and dowse remaining foliage with soap & water solution.
diana roman on November 26, 2017:
my mass cane plant (on the lanai) has what looks like aphids to me (white under the leaves) - what causes it and how do we get rid of them?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on November 20, 2017:
Lori, Draceana are safe for the cats to be around. I have noticed that cats tend to like batting the foliage with their claws on occasion, which can lead to shredded leaves on a Draceana, so there is one thing to look out for for the safety of the plant in relation to cats.
Lori Gilbert on November 20, 2017:
Are Cane Plants - Dracaena Massangeana - safe to have in the house with cats?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on November 09, 2017:
Andrew, flourescent & broad spectrum light bulbs are good choices for typical indoor lighting that can provide what a plant needs to perform photosynthesis.
Incandescent light bulbs are not a good source of light for plants.
Andrew on November 08, 2017:
Can you define "beneficial artificial lighting". In other words, will the plant survive in a room with just a standard incandescent light bulb as its light source?
vskelsey @yahoo.com on August 31, 2017:
What type of fertilizer do I use on the wassange cane plant
Sharon on July 19, 2017:
I had been spraying my Mass Kane on a daily basis due to humidity. I now know why the tips are brown, thanks to this site of info. Cheers to the person that answered my question.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on July 16, 2017:
If your plant is truly getting burned by the sun it is being exposed to too much extreme light, & heat. There is no way to get it used to this, of he plant needs to be moved to a more suitable location in which it will not be damaged.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on July 16, 2017:
Mutron3 you can definitely try revitalizing the stalk you found. Most commonly if a Draceana stalk is wrinkled damage has been at work from the inside out for quite a while, it is not common for them to recover well after they are that symptomatic, sometimes areas of the stalk internally are still viable and the may try to sprout anew, but will likely not be restored to a full healthy stalk again.
If you feel like experimenting it's worth a try.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on July 16, 2017:
Nancy there are a number of things that can create white residue on interior plant leaves, one of the more common causes on draceana has been flaking mineral deposit residue that has likely collected in the leaves when it was in the nursery, or flaking leaf shine, neither of these issues are too serious. Mealy bug can look powdery, but is not typically visible right on the foliage, it will be more prominent in the new growth crowns, and at the base if the leaves. Powdery mildew is also a possibility, but not a common issue to Draceana.
Any of the issues above can be immediately treated by wiping down the leaves with a solution of warm water with a tiny amount of standard dish soap, do not use dish soap with antibacterials, moisturizers, or other fancy additives.
Mutron3 on July 12, 2017:
someone tossed out a mass cane stalk, the roots are in good condition the stalk about 2' high slightly wrinkled but solid underneath and no foliage, can I bring it back to life??
nancy on July 11, 2017:
what is heppening to my mass cane plant when it has some sort of white powdery stuff on the leaves
Margo on June 22, 2017:
My plant has gotten sunburns, how do I get it used to more light?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on June 17, 2017:
Gloria, it sounds like you are experiencing one if the more common issues encountered with older Draceana. It can be a bit confusing when an otherwise long term healthy plant begins to produce blemished foliage.
Look for exposed roots that may have grown outside of the bottom of the pot, and cut them off.
Soluble salt/mineral build up may also be the culprit. Cleaning out liners, and adding soil can help to restore soil balance.
You can remove the blemished crown. Draceana will often sprout multiple new heads where 1 has been removed.
Gloria Jean Graham on June 17, 2017:
My corn plant is 15 years old and I noticed that the brand new sprout growth is brown, after all these years! It's never done this before!!
Sharon on May 21, 2017:
Thank you for the information.
Teresa Estrada on April 02, 2017:
Are these plants poisonous to dogs?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on March 01, 2017:
If the smaller cane appears to be well rooted then there is a possibility that it could sprout a crown at some point. How long this process can take is very dependant on the environment, and the condition of the plant, I really have no detailed answer for how long it would take.
Very often the smallest cane in a potted Draceana group will die off because it has the most shallow, and least established root system. If this small cane no longer has a stable root structure it has no chance of sprouting, and should ultimately be removed from the pot. If the roots have died the cane will likely be, or become very easy to move around, you may even notice the bark to be loose, as if detached from the solid interior material, also visible shriveling of the cane may be present.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 25, 2017:
If the leaves were completely brown the plant more likely became overly dry at some point before being watered. It is common for us humans to over correct with too much water following a dry spell, which can really get things out of whack. If the soil seems to be excessively moist at this time, and the pot is able to drain, try to dump out any excess water from the liner. Avoid watering until the soil moisture has decreased.
The leaves that have been removed will not grow back. The canes, if the root structure is still in good health, will continue to produce new leaves from the crown, or the top center of the leaf clusters. From your description it sounds like this is what is happening, that is a good sign that the root system is in good health and the canes are working toward recovery.
Your focus, as previously mentioned, should be toward bringing the soil moisture back into balance, not too much not too little. The plant will work to correct the foliage loss and bring itself into balance in that respect. Do continue to remove any other dead leaves as they may appear. Remember that Canes have a delayed reaction time, so damage you are seeing today likely onset weeks ago.
Ruby adams on February 25, 2017:
I think i overwatered my corn or cane plant the leaves turn extemely brown i pulled the brown leaves off and there are still some green leaves on it it shows sign of new growth will the leave i pulled off grow back what can i do to make it healthy
thoughthole (author) from Utah on January 16, 2017:
The issue you are describing sounds familiar, this type of blotchy spotting is believed to be caused by a build up of soluble salts and minerals in the soil. It is most common in older more established Canes. Adding soil can help to balance the PH in the soil, try to find a cactus soil or something similar that does not contain added fertilizer. If your cane is in a well draining pot I would also recommend watering it through allowing all water to drain off, set it in a tub or the like. This can help to clear out some of the mineral build up, as if rinsing the soil.
Check liners for mineral build up, replace or wash liners out.
Exposed roots protruding out the bottom of a pot are another thing to keep an eye out for. This can also cause some puzzling effects on foliage. Inspect drain holes on the bottom of your plants pot. If there are protruding roots cut them back. If there is an excessive amount of exposed roots repotting should be considered.
Hopefully this can help prevent any further damage from showing up. Good Luck!
thoughthole (author) from Utah on January 16, 2017:
Glad that information is of good use.
If the damage to your cane is a cut, or gash the plant will likely heal itself. Continue to give it consistent care keeping it stable so the plant can focus it's efforts on repairing the wound. If it is a very deep cut at some point you may have to remove dead material that may develop as a result. For now allow the plant to do what it needs to.
Kim on January 16, 2017:
I have had my mass cane for a few years and it has done well until recently. The leaves have developed a discoloration that I have not seen before. On some of the leaves, there are blotches of lighter green with yellow around the edges almost like fabric gets when you accidentally spill bleach on it. Do you have any idea what could be causing this? It is occurring at varies heights on the leaf heads.
specifiedtree123 on January 11, 2017:
First,thanks for the info I was able to get plenty of info on the plant and how to take care of mine.Also my son,Josh has cut part of the tree when he was messing around with the tree what should I do?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on January 01, 2017:
Kate, the Ivy should be no issue for the Mass Cane. Issues to watch out for would be more on the part of the Ivy. Indoor Ivy is prone to contracting Spider Mite, especially if placed in a hot dry area (near a heat vent, hot window, or even an often open door/window). Mass Canes are not typically hot spots for Spider Mite, but can contract from the Ivy if conditions were to allow.
Watering adjustments will be needed as the roots of the Ivy will be much more shallow than those of the Canes, which will create a need for more frequent moderated waterering than would be needed if the cane was potted alone.
Kate on January 01, 2017:
Thank you for this helpful info! I am wondering... I purchased a few mass cane planters that have ivy at the base. Are these two plants ok together or will the ivy effect the cane plants?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on December 26, 2016:
Patti, for any plant that has been under undue stress the key is to bring it back into balance by keeping it in a controlled environment with conditions as close to ideal as possible. In your case I would be most concerned about moisture level in the soil, and any possible cold damage that may have occurred. Allow the soil to dry thouroughly to touch before watering again. Cold damage, if it has occurred is not reversible, but does not always affect a plant entirely. Cold damage on the body of the plant will likely show up with leaf discoloration, often a dark purplish color, just remove the affected leaves. If the roots have been damaged by cold whole areas of the plant, or even whole stalks will likely shrivel up, also remove the affected pieces or stalks as they die off.
Fertilizer should be used sparingly with Draceana as they are slower to process water and nutrient. Also many are potted with potting media that contains quite a bit of time realease fertilizer. When fertilizer is needed I like Dr. Q's plant tonic for most of my indoor plants, it is a light growth stimulant that assists in both root, and foliage production. Add fertilizer at a time of year that sunlight hours and temperatures, are increasing. Fertilizer should be added with water when the soil is moderately moist, not very dry or very wet.
I would not recommend using fertilizer on the plant that you inquired about until it has been stabilized, fertilizer may only add stress at this point for that one. Good luck with the rehabilitation!
Patti on December 26, 2016:
I didn't see anywhere about fertilizing the plant? Also any recommendations for bringing back a not-to-good-looking plant? My daughter-in-law put the plant out during the rain here in Lakeside, CA, and it gets very cold at night, and she forgot about it after the rain? I pulled off some brown dead leaves, and I saw that I probably should have used pruning shears? Help and thanks.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on September 16, 2016:
I usually use packaged potting soil for cactus, for repotting a Draceana. Regular potting soil tends to have too much organic material, and or added fertilizer for Draceana. Lava rock can be hard to come by in my area, it may be more accessible in other places, it too would likely be a good choice.
Allen on September 16, 2016:
I want to replant in bigger lot. What soil do I. Use?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on September 12, 2016:
Good question, I am actually not sure about those blooms. My observation of them would lead me to say that they are more in the direction of a flower only in an interior setting, I have not left one on a plant long enough to see if they turn ultimately produce something to seed.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on September 12, 2016:
If it is the lowest leaves on the cane turning yellow/brown the plant may just be letting go of some old growth for some new. If the leaves in question are higher in the stalk there may be some root damage that has occurred, more likely from a period of dryness based on your description. Keep in mind that Draceana are slow to react, evidence of an issue showing up now may have occurred many several weeks ago.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on September 12, 2016:
It is likely that your plant is adjusting to the conditions in its new home. Most homes have lower light, airflow, and heat than what would be in a nursery. I recommended allowing your plant some time to adjust and being very mindful of moderating your watering (not too wet, not too dry).
Barbara on September 12, 2016:
Hello, I hope you can help me. I've had my mass cane for about two years and suddenly in that last week or so its leaves have turned yellow and then within days they go brown. I've been cutting those leaves but more keep turning yellow. The leaves that are still green are looking wilted now.
Nothings changed in watering or its position in my living room. The only thing that has changed has been the weather...which was a little cold (60s) for a few days, but has warmed up again.
I don't see any bugs, the roots don't appear to be rotten, and the stem feels strong.
Marie on August 23, 2016:
Is the mass cane plant harmful to dogs???
Lemonlou on July 13, 2016:
My corn plant is 97 years old. Are the little balls that form on the flowers fedrtile for starting new plants
Farah on July 08, 2016:
I bought my plant last week! I put water once as i feel the soil is dry from top! But today i saw tips of my plants are brown I have placed the plant in my loung away frm window! Ac is on all the day as i live in saudia!its very hot outside! Wat is the reason over watering or low light??? Wat should i do plzzz help!
thoughthole (author) from Utah on June 26, 2016:
Allena, this sounds a little tricky. If I am understanding correctly what you have described it sounds like the new healthy growth is attached to a partially the necrotic cane. You can cut back the dead portion of the cane to the point where the new growth has emerged. Since canes can be very thick it may require a hack saw, along with some coordination, and probably a couple pair of hands to keep the stalk secure while avoiding damaging the healthy stuff in the process. It may be to the plants benefit to get rid of that dead piece so long as the healthy portion is not damaged in the process (dead plant material can often harbor pests, and does zap energy). If cut back to living material you may want to cover that wound with wax to prevent bacteria, and other nasties from attacking the remaining plant.
Hopefully this helps, good luck!
Allena on June 25, 2016:
Hello, I have a mass cane that is about 5 years old now. It had two stalks and one rotted and fell right out a couple years ago, the remaining stalk was sickly for a while and the leaves all fell off. However a brand new one sprouted out of where the first stalk rotted off. My question is, that stalk where the leaves all fell off never regrew anything and now it is just a big brown dried out stick next to my healthy new stalk. Is there a way to trim or remove that dead stalk? I gave it a bit of a wiggle and it appears to be connected to the root ball still.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on June 25, 2016:
Erika, I will do my best.
If the look of dying is primarily in the area of foliage (brown leaf tips, spotty leaves, yellowing leaves) continue watering, and using maintenance tips as detailed in this article.
If the look of dying is in the form of wrinkly stalks, root rot, or 100% dead brown foliage this plant may be a lost cause.
Erika on June 21, 2016:
I was given a mass cane that looks to be dying but I am not sure I want to save it, help please.?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on May 17, 2016:
Tyler, if the mid sized stalk has become unstable from being moved the roots will likely regenerate over time. I would recommend packing the soil around that cane to add support.
The blemishes that you describe on the leaves could be from inconsistent watering, however this issue is also commonly seen on consistently tended Dracaena. It is believed, and in my experience appears to be supported by evidence overtime, that the cause is a build up of soluble salts and minerals from the water, this can be a more or less likely cause depending on how mineral rich the water is in your area. If you suspect the mineral build up may be the cause, (I would guess it's highly likely based on your description) adding soil and using filtered water can sometimes help to diminish the mineral concentration, otherwise the mentioned blemishes, while unsightly, are normal.
Tyler88 on May 17, 2016:
My Mass Cane has three stalks; the mid-sized stalk seems to be disconnected from the root ball. If I do not have it tied up with the other stalks it falls right over. I recently moved and this happened in the moving process. Will this stalk recover and reroot itself?
Also, many of the leaves have cracks and brown spots/lines through them. Is this from inconsistent watering?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on May 02, 2016:
Cara, to my knowledge Draceana are not poisonous to dogs.
Cara on May 02, 2016:
Are these plants poisonous to dogs?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on April 09, 2016:
Melani, it's worth a try. I must admit I am no expert at re rooting, or plant splicing, but I know Draceana canes are rooted Limbs to start. You may want to look up more info on rooting cuttings, but my guess would be that direct into the water may lead to rot, so moist but not saturated media like moss with some root stimulater might be a a better way to trigger healthy root growth. Good Luck!
thoughthole (author) from Utah on April 09, 2016:
Mary, since you mentioned that you have recently transplanted, it makes me lean toward your issue being caused by root structure that has not yet developed. Root damage is however, a possibility, and would be most likely the cause if the foliage begins to show signs of damage.
Draceana canes are prone to leaning over as you have described, because they are a limb cutting, which leaves them often lacking in a strong root foundation. Common maintenance for this issue is to stabilize your pot from tipping, and gently work the stalk back to upright. Pack the lava rock, or soil around the base of of the cane to keep it in place.
Melani on April 09, 2016:
My plant is almost 15' tall, however I've accidentally bent the top 6". Can I get it to re-root? I've placed it in water, will that help?
Mary on April 08, 2016:
I have this plant and it is beginning to get very tall. I transplanted it to a bigger container but it is leaning over way too much. It is in rocks instead of soil. The root has some orange showing up. Is my plant beginning to die? I know it was over watered for a time and I hope we didn't kill it.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on March 31, 2016:
Helen, it is not uncommon for a Draceana to bloom. It may seem odd after having had the plant for so long, but it is normal. There are a variety of things that can trigger blooms, most often with Houseplants something in its environment may have changed, even in a subtle way, like the amount of hours of light it is receiving each day, temperature, or even exposure to bloom pheremones from other plants can cause the plant to attempt reproduction. This is a natural process.
Helen on March 31, 2016:
I have a mass cane plant that is about 12 years old. It has a tall stalk and a smaller one. For the first time ever, it is flowering. The flowers have a very sweet fragrance. Is this common? Why is it blooming after almost 12 years?
robert on March 01, 2016:
I live in an apartment and my two corn plants love it in here. I use a simple 6 lamp bathroom fixture for all my plants with daylight cheap cfl bulbs they love it. Have phothos, corn plants, parlor palms rubber trees and spiderplants. yes it is a jungle but disabled folks need love and plants too.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on February 24, 2016:
Rae, I think that your Draceana has a bloom. Mass Cane blooms look a little like a cluster of spiked balls on the end of a small stem. It is best to cut these off. Mass Cane blooms take a great deal of energy from the plant, and in domestic settings serve little purpose. Mass Cane blooms are also quite messy, producing sticky drippy sap. As far as I know they are not poisonous. You may get a bit of the sticky sap on you when pruning the bloom, just wash up after.
Rae on February 24, 2016:
my plant has sprouted a stem with spikes on them. I have never seen this on this type of plant. Should I cut it off and/or is this poisonous?
nc on July 28, 2015:
Thanks..after your comment, I took a closer look and found v small bugs like brown/black specks moving on the stalk. Are these spider mites?
thoughthole (author) from Utah on July 28, 2015:
NC, from your description it almost sounds as if your plant may have Mealy bug. Mealy bug usually lives at the base of Draceana leaves, and on the new growth at the crown of the plant, the new growth will begin to emerge dried and brown due to the Mealies feeding, and living on the new growth. Mealy bug appear almost like white lint on plants. They will multiply and become more apparent, and can spread to surrounding plants. If this sounds like what you are experiencing you may want to read through the hub, "White Lint on Houseplants you may have Mealy Bug". That hub details Mealy Bug infestation and how to treat an infected houseplant.
nc on July 27, 2015:
I see white spots at the leaf base of my massangaena. The full grown leaves also have a few white spots on them. What could be the cause? I usually water the plant once in two days- i am in singapore and the top inch of soil dries up in two days. Also noticed some base leaves turning dark brown and yellow.
thoughthole (author) from Utah on June 28, 2015:
Lynn, brown leaf tips are very common on Mass Cane, and other Draceana varieties. If the tipping is mild it is standard maintenance to trim the tip of the leaf back past the browning, mimicking the natural shape of the leaf. If the tipping is moderate to severe there may be an issue of over or inconsistent watering at play, in this case it is best to remove the entire leaf, and evaluate watering technique. When removing an entire Mass Cane leaf it is best to split the leaf from the tip all the way back to the stalk, this helps make the leaf simpler to remove at the base.
Lynn on June 28, 2015:
What do you do about the brown tips on the mass cane plant?Do I cut the whole leaf off or just or not?
Korneliya Yonkova from Cork, Ireland on March 27, 2015:
Thank you very much for this awesome hub and detailed information. I like this plant and it's good that it is tolerant to lighting conditions. I have not much light in our current house so I should thing about buying the plant :)