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Taking cuttings from Dracaenas

My dragon tree has got lots of shoots off the main trunk and the leaves are getting a bit crowded. Can I cut off one of these shoots and create a new plant? If so, do I cut it off where it has split from the main trunk and repot the woody stem and the leaves growing off the top, or do I cut the green leaves off?


Is this a Dracaena draco, a Dracaena marginata or a Yucca?

If it is a Dracaena draco it is unlikely you will be successful in removing a stem and replanting it. Although it can be done, it is best done in summer.
Air layering is the preferred method where stems are encouraged to produce adventitious roots before removal.

If your plant is a Dracaena marginata or Yucca elephantipes you will have more success. Cut the shoot from the base as close to the stem and as cleanly as possible. If the stem becomes bruised, this could lead to disease entering the plant and the stem rotting.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, plants will have already developed adventitious roots off the side. Take care not to damage them.

Plant the stem cutting into a well-drained mix such as seedraising mix or a 50/50 mix of potting mix and fine gravel or pumice. Water the mix before putting your cutting into the mix. Remove leaves from around the bottom of the stem cutting. At this time of year you should not need to reduce the amount of foliage on the plant by cutting it back. Plant the stem directly into the potting mix and water.

To help the cutting root, you can use a rooting hormone powder or gel such as Clonex, although this is not essential; rooting will take a bit longer. Place the cutting away from direct sunlight on a sheltered deck, patio or windowsill. Keep the potting mix moist but not wet.

You can create a mini greenhouse by covering the cutting with a plastic bag and tying around the base with a rubber band or similar to prevent moisture loss. Place three to five holes in the plastic bag for ventilation. Remove the bag after four to six weeks. At this time of year it is not essential to cover the cutting with a plastic bag as temperatures are cooler and less moisture is lost.

Spring and summer are the best times to take cuttings. Cuttings will always take longer to root in winter than in spring or summer, so be patient.

In approximately 2-3 months you should start seeing roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH


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Last updated: June 27, 2005