Few weeks ago (probably 2-3), I was re-potting some of my plants. One of the patients was Song of India. The other two plants had severe root bounding. After re-potting them successfully, I started working on the Song of India. I tried the slow and tedious approach. It would take some time to explain how the plant got into that serious situation, but it will extend the question if needed (I will post it if anyone is curious). I had to re-pot as the previous pot was ugly, and I got this as an Indoor plant.

In a nutshell, the roots broke off or came off, I don't know. But the plant has absolutely no roots(at the time of re-potting). Like, 9/10 roots came/broke off, including the main root. Now the plant is dying, obviously. It has lost almost all of its leaves.

enter image description here

enter image description here

The right stem lost most of its leaves. I am thinking of cutting the right stem completely to make new buds appear if this plant survives. But I'm not sure if this is a correct decision.

Or should I cut off both the stems? But then there will be no leaf for photosynthesis. Or should I clip the leaf? If yes, how much? and on all leaves?

What should I do? It's Winter here. Not too cold, but it will get too cold in coming months. Living in New Delhi.

1 Answer 1


If it has no roots at all, then it cannot support any topgrowth, which is why its all dying back. At this stage, without roots, photosynthesis for the leaves is not something that's necessary in any way, the critical thing is to get the cane to generate new roots. Remove the top growth completely, leaving just the woody 'cane' like parts of the plant, cutting at an angle to allow any possible rain to run off - with luck, it may generate new roots for itself - or it may not, but that's where you want the cane to divert its attention, rather than hanging onto topgrowth which cannot possibly survive.

If it puts out new roots, you will know, because it will start producing green shoots, most likely from the original cane somewhere (usually off to one side near the top), or from below the soil level. In the meantime, don't let the potting medium completely dry out, but water sparingly to try to prevent the cane from rotting. It may be more successful if you can keep the plant warm, at not less than 60 deg F.

  • What I don't understand is the weird behaviour of the plant. I will explain, bear with me.
    – 4-K
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:45
  • So, do you see the very tiny leaf, curled? That hasn't grown a bit. Not a bit, The stem has put new growth, but the tiny leaf hasn't growth at all. i don't understand what caused that.
    – 4-K
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:47
  • If the stem grew a little, but the tiny leaf didn't, that still fits - loss of roots immediately impacted the soft green growth, but the stem was already programmed to grow a little, so it did. Cut it down - not down to the soil, but enough to remove all the growth so you've just got straight stem/s or canes.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:49
  • 1
    It doesn'tmatter how healthy the roots were if they were no longer attached to the plant by the time you repotted - if there were one or two roots, even baby ones, that's probably what's supporting the growth on one of the stems.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 13:53
  • 1
    4K, I'd leave this guy alone for a while. It looks to me that it is very dry and/or having trouble getting enough water if it indeed has a compromised root system. You won't see any growth for a while until a root system has been established. Then the top growth will start up with a vengeance. When transplanting, root breakage and loss is totally normal. I can't imagine you ripping any plant out of the soil. Keep moist, don't let this guy dry out so much but also don't soak when watering, just get the root system moist. Warmth. Light! This plant is STRESSED and I wouldn't add any more.
    – stormy
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 19:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.