Identify This Plant and Can I Save It?

Hi,
This plant came on a long journey with my family, and was in bad shape when it was left with my grandmother. I recently moved into a new apartment and took responsibility for the plant, but I have no idea what it is or how to care for it. Here are some pictures of this thing when it was healthier, and pictures of it now.

Hi,

The picture is quite small, but it looks like there were several different plants in that pot originally.

This is a dracaena compacta, the only one that seems to have survived. Here’s what it looks like when it is doing well.

Short leathery clumps of shiney green leaves on Dracaena compacta

Dracaena Compacta

The Dracaena Compacta is a slow growing member of the Dracaena family. The closest relative of the Compacta is the Dracaena janet craig, but the Compacta is quite different in appearance. The Dracaena Compacta should have a thick green stem and several clumps of short dark green leaves 2″-4″ in length.

Dracaena compacta plants are considered by some to be slightly poisonous, especially to dogs and cats. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants

Here are some care tips:

A Dracaena compacta plant grows best in medium light. In low light area they grow very slowly or not at all, tend to lose bottom leaves, and are easily over-watered. Rotate dracaenas weekly so that they don’t grow toward the light, become one sided, and lose their beautiful shape.

Like other indoor houseplants, a Dracaena compacta uses less water in low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. than in brighter light. Keep the plant on the dry side to prevent root rot and Leaf Spot DiseaseWhen a plant gets Leaf Spot Disease, the attacking fungus or bacteria leaves small brown spots trimmed in yellow where it is feeding on the leaves. These spots may vary in shape, color, and size.  As with all other fungal and bacterial diseases, better air circulation, well-drained soil, dry leaves, and less water help control Leaf Spot Disease on plants. Never mist a plant if Leaf Spot Disease is suspected. You can use a commercial fungicide to treat Leaf Spot Disease or the homemade remedy of putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected. Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants.. Allow the top ¾ of the soil to dry out before watering. In low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. this could be two weeks or more. Compacta plants do better when watered on a regular schedule. Like other indoor houseplants, a Dracaena compacta uses less water in low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. than in brighter light. Keep the plant on the dry side to prevent root rot and Leaf Spot DiseaseWhen a plant gets Leaf Spot Disease, the attacking fungus or bacteria leaves small brown spots trimmed in yellow where it is feeding on the leaves. These spots may vary in shape, color, and size.  As with all other fungal and bacterial diseases, better air circulation, well-drained soil, dry leaves, and less water help control Leaf Spot Disease on plants. Never mist a plant if Leaf Spot Disease is suspected. You can use a commercial fungicide to treat Leaf Spot Disease or the homemade remedy of putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda and a teaspoon or two of mineral oil in a spray bottle of water. Shake the solution well and then spray all areas of the plant that are infected. Keep infected plants away from your other houseplants.. Allow the top ¾ of the soil to dry out before watering. In low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron. this could be two weeks or more. Compacta plants do better when watered on a regular schedule. Dark brown tips usually indicate the following: too much chlorine or fluoride in the water, water is too salty (never use water that has passed through a softener), or too much plant food. Muddy brown leaf tips on new growth means the plant needs more water.

Slow growing plants like the dracaena compacta, require very little fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.  . Feed only twice a year, once in the spring and once in the summer, and be sure to dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended stength.

You can read all my care tips for this plant in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/how-to-grow-a-dracaena-compacta-plant-care-guide