Knowing how to propagate a corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) allows you to enjoy more of this beautiful evergreen perennial or even gift it to friends and loved ones. If you aren't sure how to save a corn plant from root rot, as long as you still have some healthy leaves, you can propagate the plant and grow a new corn plant. Corn plant reproduction is fairly easy and is done by stem cutting. Corn plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 10 to 12.
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Take a Cutting
The ideal time to propagate your corn plant is in the spring and summer when you cut it back. Before you get started, make sure you disinfect your shears by wiping them with a household disinfectant, such as Lysol. This prevents the spread of disease to the parent plant and ensures that the cutting is healthy.
While it is important to rid the corn plant of a dead stalk if necessary, be sure to select a strong, healthy stem to root. Strip all but about four leaves from the cutting and trim the cane at an angle, leaving about 4 inches of stem below the leaves.
Corn Plant Reproduction
Select a pot with good drainage holes for your cutting. Fill it with a sterile, well-draining medium, such as perlite, pumice or sand. Avoid commercial potting soil at this stage. Moisten the planting media.
Once you have prepared the pot and removed the cutting from the parent plant and trimmed it to the recommended length, you need to root the cutting. While not necessarily required, dipping the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone can help it root faster. Put the stem into the prepared pot.
Position the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. Water the plant each day to keep it moist. After about two months, start checking to see if the cutting has rooted. You can do this by gently tugging on the stem. If it slides out of the potting media easily, roots have not formed, but if it has rooted, you will encounter resistance as you pull.
Transplant the Corn Plant
Once you confirm that the cutting has rooted, you can repot the corn plant. Prepare a container with commercial potting soil. Remove the corn plant from the planting media and plant it in the new container. Water the corn plant after planting and continue to water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist. If the leaves develop brown tips, this is a sign of low humidity. Mist the plant regularly to correct this concern. You can cut back on irrigation during the winter months.
Position the plant in a location with medium to bright indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves. Corn plants can tolerate lower light conditions, but if you notice that the plant has narrow leaves, it likely needs more sun.
The ideal temperature for your corn plant is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid drafty windows, air conditioning vents or other locations where temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.