Why Is My Mass Cane Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Dracaena Massangeana

The mass cane plant is a lovely addition to any home or office space. A symbol of luck and prosperity, which cleans your air of toxins, and will grow up to 6 feet tall, if you’ve invested in this plant, you’re likely loving it. And if it’s dying, you’re probably pretty worried. 

Known by its Latin name, Dracaena massangeana, and the nickname corn plant, this beauty is actually really easy to care for, but that also makes it easy to over care for, which is usually the cause of impending death. 

A Mass Cane Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office 

The mass cane plant at its best is a conversation piece, it’s a showstopper, it becomes a member of your family. By purifying the air of formaldehyde and other chemicals, it can literally improve your health on many levels.  

A Mass Cane Plant Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office 

While the mass can plant adds a tropical flare to any room you decide to put it in, but you don’t necessarily have to have tropical decor to include this foliage in your environment. 

The corn plant is low maintenance and brings a pop of bright green and yellow variegated leaves into your color scheme. 

If you’ve already got one, and you’re noticing signs of decline, you’re probably devastated. 

But rest assured, you have many options for rescue. 

Signs of a Dying Mass Cane Plant 

First, let’s be sure that you actually are seeing signs of a dying mass cane plant and not tricking yourself into needless worry. 

You could simply be dealing with an issue like too little light, which will be reflected in it growing less vigorously than it normally would. In this case, all you have to do is place your corn plant in better lighting. 

More serious signs of a dying mass cane plant include: 

  • Leaves drooping 
  • Leaves yellowing and browning 
  • Leaves falling off in abundance 
  • Really wet soil and root rot 
  • Overgrown stalks 
  • Tilting, leaning, or crooked stalks 
  • Wrinkly stalks 
  • Rotten stalks or mushy canes 
  • Mealy bugs or fungus gnats 

Common Causes of a Dying Mass Cane Plant 

What could be causing these symptoms? 

Common Causes of a Dying Mass Cane Plant 

As mentioned, it could be something as simple as not enough light, but it could also be something that requires greater intervention. 

Common causes of a dying mass cane plant include: 

  • Overwatering 
  • Underwatering 
  • Pests 
  • Not enough light 
  • Too much light 
  • Nutrient deficiency (this is rare) 

Fortunately, unless the plant has fully died, in which case you would see the entire plant shriveled and leaning over with shriveled roots, this plant can be brought back to thriving status. 

Watering Needs of a Mass Cane Plant 

A common mistake people make with house plants is overwatering or underwatering. They put themselves on a schedule where they water all their plants at the same time. Take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant. 

The mass cane plant does not demand a lot of water. In fact, the most common cause of a dying mass cane plant is overwatering. 

Are You Underwatering Your mass cane Plant? 

On the off chance that you have not watered your mass cane plant enough, you will notice signs like wilting leaves and discoloration in browns and faded yellows. 

Unfortunately, the signs for overwatering or similar to those for underwatering. The best way to verify that the plant has been underwatered is to check your soil. 

To check the soil of your mass cane plant, stick your fingers into the plant soil. You should feel light, airy, slightly moist soil. Within 2 inches of the surface you should feel more moisture. If your soil is hard-packed and tight, it has likely dried out. 

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Mass Cane Plant 

If your soil has become hard packed, you probably need to repot the plant in fresh soil. Remove the root ball and the plant from the pot, discard the hard-packed, useless soil and replace it with the fresh, light and airy soil. Fully soak the plant and its soil and allow it to drain. 

If, however, you simply noticed that the soil seems dry, but it has maintained its light and airy consistency, get yourself onto a better watering schedule. It is a good idea to check the soil once a week to see if it’s losing moisture. Some corn plants only need water every two or three weeks. 

Are You Overwatering Your Mass Cane Plant? 

Much more commonly, you may find that you’re overwatering the plant. 

Are You Overwatering Your Mass Cane Plant?

If this is the case, you will notice the soil is drenched, your roots may look rotten, and your leaves will be turning brown, yellow, or both and wilting. You may also find pests, which are commonly attracted to soaked soil. 

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Mass Cane Plant 

If your plant has only been lightly overwatered, and you haven’t attracted pests, you can simply place your pot in more direct light and allow it to dry out a bit. 

If it is heavily overwatered and suffering from root rot, you will need to repot your plant in fresh soil, as described above. 

In either case, be sure you get onto a regular watering schedule, and check the soil regularly. 

Soil Needs of a Mass Cane Plant 

This simple plant only requires loose potting soil with good drainage. Look for your basic potting soil for indoor plants.  

Soil Drainage Needs for a Mass Cane Plant 

You can add peat moss to encourage better drainage as the mass cane plant dislikes sitting in wet soil.  

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Mass Cane Plant 

If you’re noticing that your plant is not draining, you may need to repot it in fresh soil and add peat moss. Also, be sure to add a saucer under the bottom of the pot and keep the plant in a bright enough area that it has the opportunity to dry itself out. 

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for a Mass Cane Plant

Lighting Needs of a Mass Cane Plant 

The mass cane plant loves bright light – but not too much. Most indoor lighting conditions are perfectly fine. Aim for medium to indirect sunlight. 

Resolving Lighting Issues for a Mass Cane Plant 

If you have had your mass cane plant in direct light, you will notice the leaves are starting to burn. Move it further away from the light. 

If you have had your mass cane plant in a darker location in your home, you will notice it does not grow as vigorously. Move it closer to the window but not into the direct light. 

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with a Mass Cane Plant 

The most common pests to affect the mass cane plant are mealy bugs and fungus gnats that are typically attracted to your plant when it has been overwatered. 

You can resolve the issue by repotting your plant in fresh soil.  

If you have pests, but not an overwatering problem, you can also spray your plant with an insecticidal soap, cover the soil with a towel or with plastic, and give pests time to die off. 

You can also hedge your bets and do both. 

Fake Mass Cane Plants Are an Additional Consideration 

Perhaps you’re frustrated with the entire process of trying to get the conditions right for a mass cane plant to thrive and you just want to go fake. There is nothing wrong with this solution. The artificial plant market right now is thriving with plants, including the mass cane plant, that look just like the real thing. 

I’ve got an entire piece dedicated to the wonders of investing in artificial plants. Check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky. 

What is your experience then with the mass cane plant? Have you brought one back to life? What tips and tricks do you have? Leave them in the comment section below. 

1 thought on “Why Is My Mass Cane Plant Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Dracaena Massangeana”

  1. I have a mass cane plant. It is approximately 4 feet tall. It has two big stalks. One has no leaves and looks like it is dried out at top. The other is bigger around and has leaves at the top.
    I would like to maybe cut it in half and replant. Is this possible and what is best way to do this?


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