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My cut Dracaena (houseplant) has become very tall, and now one of the "branches" has flowered. What is the typical way a Dracaena is maintained as a household specimen plant as it outgrows the configuration as seen in the example below?

My Dracaena is currently about 6 feet tall total (1.6 meters). The main trunk meristems were cut between 3 and 4 feet (0.9 - 1.2 meters). So as it continues to grow, do you typically top off the secondary side shoots (producing more side shoots?) or do you cut them off completely (promoting new sideshoots) or can you cut the main trunk (below the original offshoots) to start afresh?

What about the stem that has already flowered? (see the second example picture below) Is that branch's growth terminated by the flower? What do I do there?

What are my options in keeping this plant going long term?


(example photos below, not my actual plant)

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These plants can be very long lived and rejuvenate readily. Check here for more information on how it was grown before you acquired it.

I have successfully propagated and kept these plants at size by any one of these:

  • cutting the stems where they are still green and propagating them in water or even just sticking them in a soil less mix.
  • cutting all the side shoots off the main brown woody stem. The main stem will produce new buds and, eventually, leaves. Keep the plant in strong diffuse sunlight and reduce watering until new growth appears if you do this.
  • you could cut the main woody trunk back but this has the most stored energy and will bud out new growth readily
  • the stems that flower will continue to grow after the flower has died back. You can cut or twist the flower off at any time and the stem will resume growth out of a bud from the top

Keep in mind that all the above methods require a viable main stem. Mass canes have the unfortunate habit of dying from over watering from the roots up. You can verify that your plant is healthy by holding the trunk in your hand. If the bark is firm you are good to go. If the bark has separated from the trunk then your only option is to cut the stems at the top where they are still green and pot them or root them.

Edit:Linda L asks if cutting the thick woody stem back works. I have done this. All you need is a sharp pruning saw. Cut one of the stems back at a time and wait until it buds out before doing the next. There is no need to seal the end with wax as indoor humidity is much lower. But....this should only be done with a well established plant that has a good root system. It can take three to six weeks to bud out.

  • Have you tried the cuting the hole stem trick to get it to regrow new shoots? I have one I would like to try it on but i'm afraid to. – LindaL Jan 10 '14 at 8:12

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