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I bought this plant from Ikea about 1 year ago. Everything was fine until I decided to move it to a larger pot. I used soil for vegetables and I don't think the she likes it... the leafs started getting yellow (sorry, they don't show on the picture) and in the last week it lost 6-7 leafs.

I don't know what plant it is and what soil it needs. Can someone help? If you could suggest some soil from Amazon, that would be great.

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  • possible duplicate of What is wrong with this plant? – kevinsky Jun 3 '14 at 9:57
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    @kevinsky Are you sure the diagnosis of low light is the same for this plant as well? The leaves here look a lot perkier than the one in the other question. – Niall C. Jun 5 '14 at 17:18
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    @NiallC. perhaps not, I will say that the light levels in the picture look low to me. Leaf drop can be triggered by repotting and/or low light. – kevinsky Jun 7 '14 at 16:54
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I agree with @Bamboo's answer, I have this plant as well, and yours looks very healthy. This is a good size of a pot for this plant's size. When you water, water deeply and empty the drainage tray of water. Allow the soil to dry out before you water again. Get used to the heft of the pot when it is full and when it is dry, or stick your finger a good 2" into the soil. If it is dry, water it well so that water is coming out into your plastic dishes. Then allow to dry out again...I water, more or less, once a week. Less so during the winter.

With what are you fertilizing? I use good ole Osmocote, an extended release fertilizer, twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall using half of the amount. During the winter they get even less light and you don't want to promote lots of growth without enough light. This could set them up for insect infestations and disease.

Was your 'vegetable soil' meant for potted plants? Was it sterilized for use in pots? If so, the soil is fine. When a plant is transplanted it goes through some stress and that is why it dropped leaves and perhaps looks a little droopy. When I had a covered porch and predictable weather...I'd take all my indoor plants and put them out on the porch making sure that no sun touched the plants. They got lots more light and were able to store more FOOD that the plant makes for itself and stores in its roots. They come back in for the fall and winter looking lush...brand new. Once a year I repot all my indoor plants. Next time you get soil look for soil with Mychorrizae and bacteria to add beneficial micro- organisms to live in your sterilized potting soil. Try not to get soil with fertilizer included. You want to be able to make the decisions of what nutrients and when to fertilize or add nutrients your plant needs.

Did your soil come with fertilizer? If so, do not fertilize it again until fall or whenever the instructions on the bag advises. I've gotten to the point where I don't fertilize until the plant is beginning to show signs of nutrient deficiencies. I think I'm able to know just by looking at a plant (or perhaps it whispers in my ear...) when and what it is needing. But this is based on decades of observing and working with plants.

Your plant is healthy and perhaps needing water soon. Be careful of anthropomorphic thoughts that your plant is a human or animal. They are so very different than us it would be better to imagine an alien from another world! Call IT Mork? Grin.

And one more thing, check to see if all of the stem is out of the soil! If you've got any soil on that stem the moisture on that stem will allow bacteria in the soil to start decomposing the stem, killing your plant. The roots should be the only part of this plant under the soil...same goes for most plants.

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This plant is Dracaena marginata. See an answer to the same question here. It needs a soil that drains better than vegetable soil which is most likely heavy on the peat moss.

Also check for spider mites on the under sides of the leaves. They look like little grains of salt.

Edit:vegetable soil can mean pretty much anything from one supplier to another. Here is a sample listing for one product

  • Contains a rich blend of compost, peat moss, humus and sand

My experience as an interior landscaper is that most plants die from over watering and the marginata, with it's thick fleshy roots, benefits from a drier soil.

  • Why do you say 'vegetable soil' won't work? I agree on the peat moss but soil for vegetables to me means 'fertilizer' has been added...what does this mean to you? – stormy Jun 11 '14 at 0:06
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I dunno what vegetable soil is, I'm in the UK and we don't have such a thing, so as it's Kevinsky who has said it isn't quite the right thing, I'd take his word for it.

However, looking at your plant, it seems perfectly healthy - if the yellowing leaves were mostly at the bottom, and you pulled them off, that's perfectly normal - these plants do drop their lower leaves over time, as they get taller.

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