I have a dying plant. need advice saving it.

(Question)

Hello,

I have on my desk at the office a plant , left behind by a former colleague, a plant that seems to die. I’d like to save it, but unfortunately I have no idea what plant it is or what is wrong with her. Plant’s name is Lucy. :)
I attached a picture, perhaps you’ll be able to identify what plant Lucy is.
If you can also give me an idea how to take care of it, that would be great.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

The plant in question appears to be a type of Dracaena sp. It appears as if this plant originally began as a cutting from a much larger plant and it has been left to grow  in water for quite some time. Without soil and fertilizer this plant will eventually die.

Your first step in saving this plant would be to begin with tip and root cane cuttings. This topic has previously been researched by Toronto Master Gardeners. The following information from Grafting a dracaena lists the steps required for this process:

There are a number of ways to propagate dracaenas. Dracaenas can be propagated by root cane cuttings, tip cuttings,  and grafting. By far the easiest meth0d of propagating this plant is by tip cuttings. Below is some very in depth information, from http://homeguides.sfgate.com/dracaena-marginata-plant-propagation-31531.htm.

Tip Cuttings: This method of propagation utilizes the growing tip of the plant. The growing tip that is utilized can either be from a main shoot or a side shoot. When taking a tip cutting it is important to make sure that the tip cutting is not too long or too old. The most actively growing part of the stem is the growing tip, as a result the tip cuttings should be no more than  four to six inches long. This length should include at least 2-3 nodes (point on the stem where one or more leaves are attached). Remove all but a few leaves at the top and dip the lower two inches in rooting powder which is readily available from your local garden center. Stick the cutting two inches deep in a pot of sterile potting mix or seed-starting medium.  Tip cuttings need a moist environment as moisture stress may  result in wilting. Enclose the pot in a plastic bag or cover it with a clear plastic soda bottle with the bottom cut out and keep it out of direct sunlight. Cuttings can be repotted once roots have formed. This type of propagation is best done during Spring to Autumn when the plant is actively growing. The plant base from which the tip cutting was removed will also begin to sprout new growth.  Leave at least six inches of the cane in the pot when you remove the top part of the original plant for tip cuttings. Continue to keep the soil moist, and in a few weeks, a pair of new shoots form to take the place of the old top growth. Fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer every two weeks after the new shoots appear.

Root Cane Cuttings: Dracaena’s foliage  grows on top of  long, bare stems called canes. The canes can be cut into pieces about two inches long. Each cane should posses one node ( part of the plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge). You may get faster results and stronger roots if you roll each cane piece in rooting hormone. Lay the pieces horizontally on a tray of sterile potting mix or seed-starting medium and push them down so that about half of the cutting is above the soil. Enclose the tray in a plastic bag to keep the humidity high and place it out of direct sunlight. The plants are ready for repotting once new shoots and roots begin to form.”

Once your cuttings have properly rooted the following archived posts list the proper care and light requirement for your Dracaena. Dracaena Care

Good Luck with caring for “Lucy”