How to Cut a Dracaena Plant

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Lucky bamboo dracaena requires cutting and shaping for its ornate appearance.
Lucky bamboo dracaena requires cutting and shaping for its ornate appearance. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Prized as houseplants, dracaena plant varieties survive for years as an indoor potted plant. Varieties include dragon trees and lucky bamboo, which isn't a true bamboo. Some varieties of dracaena reach 15 feet tall if allowed to grow freely, overgrowing the home and becoming unmanageable as an indoor plant. The lower portion of the stalks tends to become bare as the plant grows, so foliage is only produced near the top. Cutting back the dracaena manages the height of the tree and forces a new flush of foliage growth on the bare stem.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
  • Shears

Cut back the stems of multitrunked dracaena varieties individually. Cut the stems back by up to two-thirds their length with a pruning saw. New foliage grows in after pruning. Cutting the stems to different heights provides foliage at levels of the plant.

Trim back single-stemmed dracaena to the desired height, removing up to two-thirds its length. Cutting off the entire foliage crown at the top of the stem won't damage or negatively impact the plant's health, as new foliage grows in at the cut top of the remaining stem.

Prune adequately-size dracaena to maintain the appearance of the plant. Cut out dead, damaged and yellowed leaves where they emerge from the stem, using shears.

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.

Tips & Warnings

  • Multistemmed dracaena are pliable when the stems are young, allowing you to weave them into different designs. Dracaena braunii, the lucky bamboo plant, is commonly grown in this way.

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