House Plants/Cane yucca help
Hello. I have a lovely and large cane yucca plant. I repotted it after almost 2 years, from a 12 inch plastic pot to a 14 inch ceramic pot. It was severely root bound. After i repotted it, it took off! Within 2 weeks it had 6 new leaves coming in, and steadily producing more. The repot was a few months ago. Lately, over the last month nearly, I have had to remove several leaves. They're turning yellow down the center and then the whole leaf will turn brown. I've read that under watering causes this, and overwatering causes brown tips with a yellow halo, then I read overwatering causes yellow leaves, although I don't believe the leaves would dry out if it was being overwatered. I water it every 7-10 days. I don't soak it down. I use about a quart to 2 quarts depending on how dry it feels. It's potted in cactus l, palm, and citrus soil. The same type I've had it in since I got it. Also, I put a 1 inch sand cap on top, to avoid fungus gnats. Not an infestation i want to deal with ever again! Although the yucca wasnt affected. Also, the plant sits about 2 feet from my huge east facing bay window. What could be causing the leaves to do this? It's driving me crazy! I tend to fuss over my plant collection, I have over 60 plants and this is the only one giving me trouble!
Yucca canes can withstand drought quite well, but their roots will rot if the soil is not allowed to dry out sufficiently between waterings. It is very easy to inadvertently over-water a repotted plant because the added soil retains water for longer than before the repotting. In addition, repotting is often not done correctly. That said, it is unlikely that your Yucca is showing symptoms of over-watering after only a month. The leaf discoloration you are seeing is probably just a result of some root hairs that were damaged in the process of repotting.
If your Yucca is allowed to dry out properly, you are not likely the have a fungus gnat problem. The sand you applied is not necessary and can actually create a problem because you added so much. At most, there should be no more than a thin layer that barely covers the surface. However, before you add any sand, you must remove any soil that you added on top of the original rootball when you repotted. This soil on the surface serves no useful purpose and it does keep the soil in the root zone from drying out soon enough.
Once you have removed the extraneous soil and all but a thin layer of sand, allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry in between waterings. Add just enough water so that the soil reaches that same level of dryness again after a week. It will take some experimentation with water volume for you to determine just how much is the right amount to add each week. The important thing is that soil dries out sufficiently every week or so.
Trying to interpret leaf discoloration is difficult if not impossible. This discoloration is generic with several possible causes and sometimes no cause other than natural aging. Close to an east window will provide adequate light as long as the window is completely uncovered throughout the daylight hours and there are no trees or other obstructions outside blocking the light. Yuccas do best in maximum light.
I have written detailed articles on repotting, indoor plant pests and on Yucca care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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