At the start of the year I rescued a dracaena lemon lime that had been put out with the rubbish. It had grown very tall with a spiky mass of vibrant leaves displaying signs of underwatering. It was too tall, so I cut it up to reduce the height and try and propagate some new plants.
Sadly the bottom and stem cuttings failed and I didn’t have any joy with the top until I moved it into water, where it quickly put out new roots.
With my experiment a semi-success, I decided to try the same with my dracaena marginata using water propagation. I’ve been putting off doing it as I’ve had this plant for so long (I think it’s at least 12 years old) and didn’t want to kill it, but it was just too tall and spindly.
My dracaena had one central trunk with three very long, very thin stems branching from it, each about 2′ tall. Dracaenas do not naturally branch, so they need a little help to keep their shape. Ideally, I would like to reduce the overall height as well as making it more bushy.
There are three points on a dracaena that can produce new growth; the base, the tops and the stems.
Dracaena marginata propagation – top cuttings
Top cuttings are the most drastic way to propagate dracaena marginata but are the only way to reduce the height of one that has grown too tall and leggy.
Each top cutting should produce roots and be able to grow into a new plant and is simple, but a little scary to do.
Simply cut the top off of each stem, leaving a few inches of stem on each (depending on how tall you want the new plant to be). Make sure you use a sharp, clean pair of secateurs or knife to make the cut.
Roots will form quickly using water propagation. Change the water every 5 – 7 days and keep in a warm spot in indirect sunlight. When roots have formed pot the cuttings up in a well-draining potting mix.
Dracaena marginata propagation – stem cuttings
In theory, where each of the stems are cut, new growth will sprout. Once you have removed the top of the stems take the rest of the stem back closer to the trunk, where you want new growth to start. I may have taken this back a little too much – we will see!
The stems themselves can also be propagated. Cut them into pieces 7-8″ (18-20 cm) long and put them in water. Make sure you remember which is the bottom to ensure it is in the water the right way up! Keep them in a warm spot and change the water every 5 – 7 days. Pot up once roots have formed.
I will update this post as and when (if!) the cuttings start producing roots and new growth. I am pretty confident that the tops will do well and am optimistic about the stem cuttings. I will pot multiple cuttings up in one large pot to give a nice bushy plant.
Progress update – 3 months later
The dracena cuttings have all done pretty well in putting out new growth and roots. I lost a couple of the stem cuttings but the mother plant, top cuttings and the majority of the stem cuttings all did well.
The top cuttings grew roots first and I potted them up about 6 weeks after I took the cuttings. I kept these in our bedroom, which has a south facing window so they had lots of warmth and light.
The mother plant has slowly but steadily been throwing out new growth (this has been kept in its original home in the lounge, also in a south facing window).
Below are a couple of pictures I took of the stem cuttings while I was potting them up. They all have a good amount of roots and the new leaves are starting to come through. Due to the time of year, and the fact they were in a colder room (I kept these in the sunroom, which is heated but gets cold at night) they took a little while to root, but overall I am really pleased with how everything did.