I've had this plant for many years, but now the stalk/stem/cane is
dying...actually dead already, I think. How can I save the 6-7 plants
growing from the main cane before I lose the entire plant?
I'm quite good with plants and I have had houseplants for many, many
years, but I don;t know how to save this one. I mean I know it is too
late for the main cane.
Dracaena cuttings do take root quite readily. I would use about half
the live shoots, leaving the rest to possibly restore the parent plant.
Prepare a rooting mix of half coarse sand and half peat moss; there
should be NO added nutrients. Place this in a small plastic flower pot;
I used plastic because moisture would not evaporate through the sides.
Get the mix in the pot moist but not soggy. Use stick or rod to poke a
hole in the mix larger in diameter than the stem of a shoot.
Obtain a commercial rooting hormone. I prefer powder, but a solution
form is available. What follows is based on using powder.
Remove a live shoot. Remove leaves from around the base of the shoot to
expose about 1-2 inches (2.5-5.0 cm) of bare stem. Holding the end of
the stem under water, slice a small piece away. Keep the cut end of the
stem under water for a slow count of 10. Remove the shoot from the
water and immediately dust the bare stem with the rooting hormone powder
up to the lowest remaining leaf. Pot the shoot, pressing the rooting
mix firmly around the shoot. Water the pot. Invert a large jar over
the shoot to form a miniature greenhouse.
Wait about 2-3 months to check for roots. Check by removing the jar and
holding the pot upside-down and tapping lightly to loosen the rooting
mix and shoot. You should see roots exposed around the edges of the
rooting mix. If there are no roots yet but the shoot still appears
alive, carefully return the shoot and rooting mix to the pot and restore
the jar. Wait another month.
Do the above for about half the shoots, one at a time but all on the
same day. That way, your wait should be the same for all.
Just today, I discarded a parent Dracaena and used its pot for a rooted
cutting. Instead of a side shoot, the cutting was taken from the top of
the plant, which had grown too tall.
Instead of a jar, I used a plastic liter (litre) softdrink bottle; I
pried the hard plastic bottom off and cut the top off. This made an
unbreakable dome that fit just inside the flower pot. I placed the
cutting in the same north-facing greenhouse window (in my breakfast
room) where the parent plant remained until today. Every so often, I
checked the rooting mix to make sure it was not getting dry; when it did
get dry, I added only a little water. A soggy mix would make the
curring rot. Now that the cutting is potted, its mix contains nutrients.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
> I've had this plant for many years, but now the stalk/stem/cane is
> dying...actually dead already, I think. How can I save the 6-7 plants
> growing from the main cane before I lose the entire plant?
> years, but I don;t know how to save this one. I mean I know it is too
> late for the main cane.
Plant the removed tops of the dracaena plant to grow a new plant. Plant
the tops in well-drained but moistened potting soil. The cutting
produces its own roots quickly, allowing you to save the foliage removed
from the old plant. Cutting the stems to different heights provides
foliage at levels of the plant.
D. marginata roots easily from root tip cuttings. It takes about three
weeks for a cutting to sprout roots, and rooting hormone isnt generally
necessary. Refresh potting soil annually with fresh soil to replace any
that has compacted. Allow the plants to dry between waterings, but not
completely. These are more susceptible to root rot, so be very careful
never to allow them to sit in water.
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