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I.D. needed on houseplant

Harold Olivier orchids at acadiacom.net
Tue Sep 5 23:59:20 EST 2000

"Norman Frank" <ngfrank at bellsouth.net> wrote:

>     I was in Home Depot and bought a plant hoping my  wife could identify
>it, but she thinks it is a "corn plant' and it doesn't exactly match the
>picture. They had a whole table of them, and it only costs $15, so I imagine
>its pretty common.
>     The plant stands about 3-4 feet high and is in a 10 inch pot. The main
>feature is the trio of naked trunks each about 1-2 inches in diameter. These
>look like small sapling trunks, but they don't have any leaves on them with
>the exception of a single "tuft" of vegetation sticking out the side near
>the top (which does sort of resemble the leaves of a corn plant). The tops
>of the trunks seem to be cut off and covered with black paint or tar.
>     The info-sheet included is nonspecific, and calls it  a FOLIAGE,
>requiring rather standard care. Any help would be appreciated.
>Norman Frank   nfrank at bellsouth.net

I think you have a dracena, probably some form of the species Dracena
fragrans. Take a look at these pictures and see if you agree.

Culture is easy - low to moderate light, moist (not continuously wet)
soil, moderate amounts of a balanced fertilizer. I had a very large
old D.fragrans (solid green leaves) that was left behind in the
'atrium' by the people who sold us our house. One year it bloomed and
filled the house with a delightful fragrance. The flowers had so much
nectar they dripped lots onto the leaves, where most of it crystalized
into perfect (and delicious) cubes.

I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but the difference
between the two plants is the first has a wide stripe of a different
green on the center of each leaf. Also, the leaves can get very much
longer than shown. By the time mine was pushing hard against the
atrium roof some of its leaves were longer than I am tall. These
plants must be huge outdoors in the tropics.

Foliage plant growers treat other dracenas the same way, so if the
stems and leaves of your plants are very narrow you may have a
different species, such as D.marginata, or perhaps one of the hybrids,
although those are not usually called Corn Plant because their leaves
don't resemble those of corn plants.

You mentioned that you had a picture you could post. It isn't
permitted in this group, but pictures are welcome in the group
alt.binaries.picures.gardens. Or you could post it on one of the Web
sites set up for that purpose, such as Photopoint.

Best wishes.

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