Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sad plant

A few weeks ago we were given a lovely house plant by some friends. One of those frondy palm-like ones, with soft rather than prickly leaves. They said they had one themselves, and it was almost impossible to kill. Good news, I thought. House plants and I don't have a good relationship, unfortunately. Either I over-water them, or I forget about them entirely.

There were no instructions with this plant, or even a label telling us what it was called, but our friends assured us it liked shade, so we put it on a ledge by the stairs, which looked like the perfect place. It got some natural light from a high-up window, but no direct sunlight. We were careful not to over-water it, but since we went past it several times each day, it was difficult to forget about it.

For the first couple of weeks, it appeared to thrive.

Then we noticed the odd leaf yellowing and falling off. I didn't worry too much. After all, it's technically autumn... although I had a feeling this kind of plant should be evergreen. But it started to happen more often, and then we noticed healthy-looking green leaves falling off too.

Yesterday one of the stems seemed a bit fragile, almost bent over. And this morning, when I got up, I saw this:

Or, on closer inspection, this:

The larger stem still looks all right, although several of the leaves had fallen. But the smaller one looks distinctly sorry for itself.

With no idea what kind of plant it is, I don't know what we've been doing wrong. But it suddenly occurred to me that this plant is very like one which was left behind by the previous owners when we bought the house. It looked almost dead, but we set it outside the downstairs kitchen, in a mostly shady area, and it now looks alive and well.

So I picked up our sad-looking house plant, and moved it downstairs and outside. I hope it will recover. If any plant experts happen to be reading this, and know what it's called and/or what we should do with it, please let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, I think we'll concentrate on outdoor plants, which mostly seem to be doing well.


Beth said...

Hi sue,
this plant looks to be from the dracaena (sp)family meaning dragon tree.
I had 2 in my sitting room window bay and they thrived.It was between 20-24 deg celsius and had a lot of late afternoon sun.They grew to nearly 6 feet and were watered every 3 or 4 days when the soil seemed dry.
We lost them when they had to go into the conservatory due to space issues.It was just too much strong sun-they do like alot of light,just not too much strength.
HTH :-)

Sue said...

Thanks, Beth... I'm pretty sure that's right. I've found photos online of dracaena and they look just like this plant. So far it's doing all right outside; I think we must have over-watered it inside, or perhaps it didn't have enough light.