Asked on Mar 8, 2013

I don't know what kind of plant this is. I found it left outside after some neighbors moved away, so brought it home.

LouiseFrankie LaneyLaura


It's in a junk sort of room that's awaiting a re-do and is just a few feet from a window on the north side of the house. I don't go into the room often so tend to forget the plant. It doesn't seem to be thriving like it should. Any ideas what it is and what to do to make it happier?
10 answers
  • Kimberly Barney
    on Mar 8, 2013

    It is a tropical plant. It is commonly known as a corn plant in my area. The soil looks pretty dry so it could probably benefit from a self-watering system either by changing the pot to a self-watering pot or using a bottle system (i.e. water bottle with holes drilled in it, wine bottle with a terra cotta or plastic insert, etc.). You should be able to find some ideas on here or Pinterest or simply Google self-watering. It is a tropical plant so if the North side windows get a cool breeze or not alot sunshine, the plant would do better in a sunny warm spot. I hope this helps.

  • Gail Salminen
    on Mar 8, 2013

    @Louise It appears to be a yucca tree. @Douglas Hunt may be able to verify - some of the leaves look stiff while others appear limp, but could be due to deydration. I have had a number of them, they don't like too much water but do like regular watering. . They look really good out on the patio in the summer and a sunny window when indoors. Here is a link to the care -

  • Linda @ Mixed Kreations
    on Mar 8, 2013

    I believe it is the tropical houseplant known as the corn plant tree, as mentioned above by Kimberly Barney. I have one that looks like this that still had the tag on it.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 8, 2013

    It does look like a spineless yucca. It probably wants much more light than it is getting in a north window. Good drainage is crucial.

    • Carole
      on Nov 28, 2013

      @Douglas Hunt I had one of these Yucca plants in my lounge in the UK. When it started to look very sorry for itself I threw it out! Oh silly me! If I had cut it back it would have re-sprouted and thrived. Kicking myself after when I realised as these plants are not cheap to buy. Maybe it needs re-potting as the potting mix does not last forever?? It can become water impermeable if the plant has not been watered regularly and the potting mix has been allowed to dry out too much over time??

  • Louise
    on Mar 8, 2013

    Thanks, everyone. I'll move it today to the other side of the house so it can get more sun. Should I put some fertilizer on it, and if so, what? Just regular houseplant food?

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 9, 2013

    Louise, I would wait until it looks a little happier before fertilizing. Then look for a good slow-release fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 3-1-2.

  • Laura
    on Nov 27, 2013


  • Frankie Laney
    on Nov 28, 2013

    If it were mine, I would re-pot and add in a little cactus mix soil making sure it has good drainage. As @Douglas Hunt mentioned, wait until it shows signs of survival before fertilizing with slow-release fertilizer.

  • Louise
    on Nov 29, 2013

    I posted this back in March. It lived on my deck all summer and is a happy plant now. It's back in the house until spring. I hope it will get enough sun until then.

  • Louise
    on Mar 22, 2015

    Back to my plant. I need to add soil to the pot and straighten the plant up. It's leaning way to one side. One of my cats occasionally used it as a scratching post this past winter but I don't think it's forever harmed. When I add soil, I assume it would be better to mix it with the old soil? And should I just use potting soil or what?

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