Corn plant or Dracaena fragrans is a famous tropical evergreen tree as well as an indoor plant.
Capable of attaining great heights, measuring over 15-50 feet in open farms, you can also grow it indoors in a container where it would hardly reach a height of 4 to 6 feet.
Their appearance-wise and growing conditions resemble that of the palm trees, and due to this, a corn plant is also famous as false palms.
Due to identical requirements as other houseplants, growing a corn plant is an easy affair. However, your plant may, at times, may encounter specific issues.
Out of all, the most significant is of the plant dying.
It can happen due to various reasons and depending upon them; you can employ specific fixes to revive the dying corn plant. In this article, I’m going to elaborate on all this. So, let’s start.
Why is my corn plant dying?
There are multiple reasons behind the deteriorating condition of your corn plant.
These include watering issues, humidity, temperature fluctuations, common infections due to fungus, bacteria, pests, etc. Besides, other causes may also play their part, as discussed below.
The leaves of corn plants are naturally green, and any changes in their color or condition signify something going wrong with the plant.
For example, if the leaves turn yellow or brown with tips becoming crisp and falling off, water deficiency is your primary culprit.
To confirm, you can poke in the soil with your finger and examine the soil. If it’s too dry and flaky, there is a severe water shortage there, causing the above.
However, if the soil is too moist, it can also cause the above conditions of the leaves. Being a houseplant, if the plant sits in water for prolonged periods or is under deficiency, you should act immediately.
Plus, remember that the pot you are using must have holes in the bottom to allow excess water to flow out.
Look for fungal infections.
The soil in which your corn plant is growing may house dormant microorganisms or lethal fungus that would activate upon receiving favorable conditions like oxygen, moisture, nutrients, etc.
Every fungal infection starts from the root section and slowly spreads to the remaining parts of the plant. In terms of symptoms, they include dark spots that turn yellow and make the leaves dry up and die.
The situation worsens when there is water logging in the soil due to a flawed drainage system. To rectify this, you can add coarse sand to the soil to absorb excess water and improve the water draining ability of the soil.
If the soil is acceptable in the first place, recall that corn plants usually attract insects present in the atmosphere, which can threaten their survival if not deterred.
The most common of all are spider mites, relatives of spiders, ticks, and scorpions. They are usually found in dry atmospheric conditions and thereby breed on the plants to satisfy their water, nutrition, etc.
These spider mites set up delicate webs around the green foliage and young stems.
As time passes, these webs cover the entire plant and cut off the supply of oxygen and other essentials to the leaves. Due to this, the plant wilts and dies.
Is the lighting too much?
For corn plants to survive and thrive, you need to keep them distanced from direct sunlight. Whether you’re growing it outdoors or indoors, reserve a shady place for the plant where it could welcome bright and indirect sunlight.
Doing so will also prevent its leaves from burning. Besides light, the humidity around the plant is likewise essential.
If the humidity isn’t satisfactory, the leaves will begin losing water and dry up. It’s good to keep the plant over moist pebbles kept in a tray to raise the humidity levels in the atmosphere.
Is the soil non-acidic?
To grow a corn plant, you need soil with a pH of at least 6.1 and not more than 6.5. If the pH is outside this range, i.e., the soil is excessively acidic or alkaline, the plant wouldn’t survive. If required, you add fertilizers to raise the acidity level of the soil.
Are you using fertilizer?
Although there is no harm in using fertilizers with corn plants, you should opt for a proper and industrial-grade fertilizer that encompasses all the essential nutrients in appropriate amounts.
It is because even if you are using fertilizer if it’s of poor quality, it’ll do more harm than good. For example, the plant will produce adverse effects.
The corn plant is a popular tropical evergreen plant. Due to this, it ought to survive and thrive in hot and humid conditions. Therefore, if the temperature around the corn plant is too cold or unfavorable, the plant may die.
Hence, dracaena fragrans or corn plants can die out due to the above reasons.
How to Save a Dying Corn Plant?
To save a dying corn plant, here are some valuable tips.
- If the plant is dying due to water issues, you should change your watering schedule. Plus, it would help if you replaced the current pot with sufficient drainage, a peat-based soil mix, etc. You should also water the plant only when the soil appears dry to the naked eyes. In winters, use slightly warm water instead of regular water to preserve the plant from cold shock.
- If the leaves have brown spots all over their surface, sunburn is an apparent reason behind it. It’s advisable to shift the plant from its current position to another position where there is no direct sunlight. Or you can filter the sunlight through the curtain or a UV filtering window film.
- Are the corners of the leaves turning brown? If yes, either there are water issues or lighting issues. If it’s the former case, ensure that you’re watering enough, and the soil can retain the required water.
- When growing indoors, certain household devices can absorb moisture from the air and make it dry. This dry air is harmful to the corn plant, and the symptoms are more or less the same as in water issues. To reciprocate this, remove such devices from around the plant and maintain at least 40-50% humidity in the air.
- If you are using fertilizers, use an organic one and during only the growing season of the corn plant from April to October. Using any fertilizer during winters is of no use to the plant.
These steps will save your dying corn plant and assist in its revival.
How do you revive a dying corn plant?
To revive a dying corn plant, follow the below steps.
- First, examine the lighting around the plant. If it’s too shady, change its position. Further, if direct sunlight is falling over the plant, you need to change the position.
- Next, check the moistness in the soil. If the soil has low moistness, immediately add some water to it and let it seep deep in. Don’t forget to check if the plant is dying due to sitting in water. If that’s the case, remove that water or shift the plant to another pot.
- While you’re shifting the pot, check the plant roots for any fungal disease or damage. If the roots are in bad shape, nothing will work. Therefore, cut the affected portions of the plant and clean the remaining roots before repotting.
- If the leaves are either yellowing or browning, you should cut those leaves so the plant can focus on the remaining leaves for growth.
- Or you can also propagate the plant to grow a fresh plant from the one that is dying. For propagating, take out any healthy portion from the plant and replant it into the soil. Following this, you need to take care of the plant-like before.
In most cases, the above fixes will work, and you can revive your dying corn plant.
Will my corn plant come back?
Yes, if your corn plant isn’t much damaged. The leaves are not entirely brown or yellow, the stem is still rigid, the root system is fine, and every other thing seems partially good, the corn plant can come back.
One of the best ways to recover a dying corn plant is through pruning or propagating.
These processes involve reproducing another plant from the cuttings obtained from the old plant. However, you will have to respond promptly to save your plant from further damage.
Corn plants form ideal houseplants as well as garden plants. Besides being easy to grow & maintain, corn plants are also popular as natural air purifiers.
However, due to a variety of reasons, your plant may suffer badly and ultimately die out.
The good news is that you can still revive the plant through some simple steps or fixes discussed above. These include checking the lighting, moisture, humidity, temperature, etc.