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Question
My mother has a Corn Plant that she thinks may have died.  We live in Michigan and the weather here has been very cold.  The pilot went out on the furnace causing the house to extremely cold and resulting in possibly killing the plant. Is there any way to revive it? We've had this plant for 25 years and hate to see it go.

Thanks

Answer
Hi Autumn,

If it wasn't actually 32F inside for more than a couple of hours, the plant may very well still be alive.  If it just happened, you need to wait a week or so before doing any cutting on it.  Check the soil; make sure it's moist, but not wet.  If it's dry down past your first finger joint, water it.  Examine the trunk, and rub it with your finger to see if the bark is still tight to the stalk - or is loose and sloughing/slipping off.  If it's still tight, nick it with your thumbnail or a small knife and look for green, live tissue.  It could easily be that the leaves died, but the plant is really still alive, but dormant.  Depending how long it remained cold, the plant could come back from the roots underground, or died back halfway, etc.  If it was only a short period, you may merely have to top it a foot or two - pruning back to live wood will stimulate the plant to sprout from the sides.  Depending on how robust the plant was to begin with, it might start sprouting new growth below the killed section without waiting to be pruned.
I feel safe in saying that you must be taking good care of it, else it wouldn't be 25 yrs old.  
Thanks,
Susan

Horticulture

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Susan Tabor

Expertise

Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.

Experience

35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Publications
Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Education/Credentials
Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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