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This plant is very tall and thin (measures about half a meter in height). The trunk/stem has layers of previous leaves and is light brown. Leaves are very thin and light green but this is possibly due to new growth or unhealthy plant. Can anyone identify this plant or name it? Thank you

This is the plant (link).

Is it a young dracena marginata?

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  • Use the edit link underneath your post if you want to update it with extra information. Thanks and welcome to the site – Niall C. Dec 2 '20 at 19:04
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This plant is an elderly Dracaena Marginata cultivar. In higher light the white edges to the leaves will become more prominent.

This plant is quite old because it is potted up hydroponically in baked clay pellets which are sold as Leca or Hydroton. You can see the indicator for the water level in the lower left part of the pot.

I maintained hundreds of these hydroponic plants which are no longer sold in the interior landscape trade because soil based plants are cheaper to grow.

I gather that the success rate of changing a plant to hydroponics was not high enough but the ones that were sold are very tough.

The main problems with hydroponics plants done this way is:

  • it's easy for the top of the float to detach from the buried part. Then the buried part gets filled with clay pellets and you can't tell when it needs water.
  • over time the level of soluble salts can build up in the water as it never gets changed and this weakens the plant
  • not really possible to re pot them unless you have more clay pellets and a tolerance for the stinky water in the reservoir

Care recommendations for this plant are:

  • move to bright indirect light. This plant has been in low light for some time given the lack of leaves
  • watch for spider mites which will be indicated by yellowing and dropping leaves
  • Keep the red stick in the plastic float at half full or less
  • if you are feeling bold drain the entire contents of the pot, which could easily be stinky, and refill with fresh water
  • apply fertilizer at one quarter or one eighth the recommended strength once and see if new growth starts after a month or two
  • if you can get new growth consider cutting back the stems one at a time as this plant responds well to this
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  • Thank you very much! Such a thorough answer and very helpful – bethan Rynkiewicz Dec 3 '20 at 20:10

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