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Massangeana Cane

Question:

Hello we have a Massangeana cane (spelling?) it was moved to our porch as we noticed bottom was leaking. After being outside for a good 2 weeks we had the first frost. Well the plant now looks droopy and leaves are a dark brown green very thin looking. Is this savable? The Mai stem in center seems sturdy still. We have had this for many, many years. Should I trim back all the leaves perhaps? Thank you

Answer:

Your spelling is perfect! Dracaena Massangeana canes are also commonly called Corn Plants.

Your Corn Plant, like most indoor houseplants, is tropical in origin and generally requires temperatures above 50 degrees. Cold temperatures near or below freezing for even brief periods will damage tender foliage. More extended exposure to cold temperatures will damage the roots and likely kill the plant. The roots are insulated somewhat by the pot and the soil.

In your case, I suggest that you trim off all leaves that have been damaged (discolored) by the cold as they will not recover and they look unattractive. If any stems are left leafless, then prune those back about half way, as well.

Assuming the roots are still okay, then the Corn Plant will gradually put out healthy new growth over the next few months and there will be no further damage. Be patient as this will take a while. Keep the plant warm and provide lots of very bright indirect light. It will use less water during recovery, so be careful to allow the top quarter of the soil to dry between waterings. Fertilizer and repotting will aggravate the problem, so avoid both.

For the future, put a saucer under all your indoor plants and if you have reason to move your plants outside, monitor night time temperatures very carefully to avoid cold damage.