Can you grow dracaena from cuttings? Here’s what we know

Dracaena is an interesting plant with many unique varieties. It can be either a tree or a shrub, and comes in several different shades of green, and even a few shades of red. This easy-to-care-for tropical plant is a big hit for both indoor and outdoor gardens. If you already have one, you might even be itching for a second, or even third dracaena. Of course you can get an entirely separate dracaena plant, but you can also propagate your own dracaena at home. Not sure how to get started? We’ll help you out with this step-by-step guide!

Why and when should you propagate dracaena?

The why is easy to answer: Because it’s a great way to get more dracaena! Propagation works by cloning the parent plant, often, but not always, through a cutting. The cutting grows into a second, separate plant that is genetically identical to the parent plant. This means you have a second plant of the same type, to plant, give away, or propagate further as you wish.

Your dracaena should be a mature plant when you begin to propagate it, but you can propagate it during any season. It’s easiest to propagate them during spring and summer, when new growth is naturally occurring. However, if your dracaena is an indoor plant, or you live somewhere with hot temperatures year round, you can propagate your dracaena in fall or winter with few issues. Your cutting will just take longer to root.

A small dracaena on a window sill

Taking a cutting

There are two different ways you can take your cutting, but there’s something to keep in mind for both methods. You’ll need to use a sharp, clean knife or garden scissors. Dull blades require more pressure to cut, making them both more likely to slip and cause injury and more likely to crush the dracaena’s stem instead of cutting cleanly through.

The first method is to fully behead your dracaena. Yes, this can seem a little drastic, but the parent dracaena will grow back from the stem, as long as you continue to care for it. Make the cut below the leaves that have already grown, and include a couple growth nodes. These are the small bumps on the sides of the stem, from which new leaves and roots grow. Nodes at the top will grow into leaves, while nodes at the bottom will grow roots. Getting a few of these in your cutting will encourage it to keep growing.

The second method can be used to propagate your dracaena after using the first method. This method uses stem cuttings. Once the top of the plant has been removed, you can cut additional sections of the stem. These cuttings can vary in length, but should be at least 8 inches long, with at least two growth nodes for best results. Be sure to leave at least 8 inches and two growth nodes on the original plant so it can continue to grow.

Rooting the cutting

You can root your cuttings in either water or soil. Rooting in water is fairly quick, and, since water is clear, it’s easy to keep an eye on your progress. However, the transition from water to potting soil can be difficult for some plants, leading to a slightly lower success rate. On the other hand, rooting in soil can take a little longer and is harder to track, but has a slightly higher success rate, since the cutting won’t need to be transplanted for some time.

Rooting hormone can help speed things up, but isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re using rooting hormone, brush it on gently before setting your cutting in the growing medium. For water rooting, use clean, cool water. Set your cutting near a window where it will get plenty of light and stay warm. If you’re propagating your dracaena in winter, you may need to use a grow light. Cuttings rooted in water can be moved to soil when the roots are several inches long.

A small cutting of dracaena growing roots in a glass of water

Caring for the new dracaena

Dracaena plants prefer consistent moisture and warm temperatures. Although they need consistent moisture, they can be sensitive to overwatering, so plant them in well-draining soil. Keep your cutting in a sunny window, but, once it begins to sprout leaves, move the cutting out of direct light. Direct light can burn or fade the leaves. Once the dracaena has reached maturity, you can begin fertilizing it in spring and summer.

Using this simple guide, you can easily double or even triple the amount of dracaenas you have in your garden. In just a matter of weeks, your dracaena cuttings should be rooted and growing. Remember to leave plenty of the parent plant behind so it can continue growing. Let it grow back fully, then you can propagate it again. As long as you have a mature plant, some water or soil, a sunny window, and some patience, there’s no limit to the number of dracaenas you can have.

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