Help! What do I do with this tree?

mmason8183February 11, 2013

I have had this tree (not sure what its called) for probably around 10 years. It is now so tall that it cannot stand up on its own (hence my husband holding it). If I were to cut it down to a reasonable height would it sprout new growth? I'd hate to kill it. Any suggestions?

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auron22(6b OH)

It is definetly a dracaena, but i can't tell you more specifically than that. I would do some research/googling starting with that. The care can vary depending on which dracaena it is. I believe if you prune it, it will grow another crown, perhaps more. I would chop it 6 inches or less below the recurve (or his hand) and try to train the new crowns to lean slightly in all directions to maintain balance. Just a suggestion, i am not experienced with dracaena of any kind (other than lucky bamboo...but it's very easy to care for), i would still do a little research.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:19PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Move it outdoors as soon as night lows are above 55". Cut it back as hard as you want in mid-late June. Do a full repot at the same time you cut it back.

If you want more plants, start air layers now. They should be well-rooted by the time you do the summer work.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Dracaenas are a very easy plant but do flop when they get tall in low light. You can prune it very low and that usually produces a bushier plant, especially if you have it in stronger light. What you prune off it will strike readily if you want more plants.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:07PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi "Mason," welcome to Gardenweb!

Dracaena marginata. Great job keeping it growing for so long! Looks like it's leaning toward the light. Rotating regularly can help prevent that.

If inside all of the time, there's no wind to cause resistance, which would force it to become stronger to hold itself up. Not sure it would be possible to strengthen these particular trunks so I would probably prune this plant also, as suggested. How far down to do that would be a matter of personal preference. I would go as low as necessary so I thought it would not be floppy.

When you cut a trunk, one or more new tops should grow from it, usually near the cut, but sometimes lower, occasionally from the original crown, which it looks like yours has done once already, just because it felt like it. That's cool because you'll still have that little one at the bottom to look at if you decide to prune the tall trunks.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the great advice!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:02AM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

I see there is a stick jutting out by your husbands hand. I'd cut it at that height. Just to keep it tall. Also rotating the plant will help it not lean so much as others have mentioned. But wherever you cut it is up to you:) Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Glad to try to help, Mason.

Grrr, certainly worth a try. Once the foliage top is removed, trunks probably won't lean. If so, cut a little more off.

I was also thinking about this last night and thought it might be cool to cut the trunks at different heights to likely get tops at different heights. Once growing again, that would probably look more full from top to bottom, where cutting all at any same height would likely result in a big fat blob of new tops at about the same height. Either are a fine style for a pot of Dracs, choice would be based on preference.

I noticed that stake too and forgot to suggest removing it when you prune so if left taller, the trunks need to get to work at supporting themselves again. When you think about it, hopefully several times per week, grab the trunks and gently waggle them, like they would do outside in the wind. If they have cause to become stronger, they will.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:51PM
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purpleinopp, I like the idea of cutting them at different heights, definitely going to try that!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:17PM
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