new Dracaena tops, long-term growth habit
Almost 20 yrs ago, my gramma gave me a Dracaena marginata 'tricolor' tree that had 1 top on it. After a few years, it got so tall that it was very wobbly, then started leaning and unless it was propped against something, it would hit the ground. While summering outside about 8 years ago, leaned against deck railing, it sprouted a new top and that made it look like a "Y." Then about 5 years ago, the trunk got snapped (but still together) below the tops. I taped it back in place with some clear box tape that was handy, although I wasn't sure it would live. Well, the wound healed, and the whole tree even strengthened so that it would stand up on its' own. Soon after being taped, 2 new tops sprouted from below the wound. (Yes, I've removed the tape.) Then a couple years ago, one of the original tops got broken completely off and 2 smaller tops sprouted at the break point. This summer it's been outside again and must really like the spot it's in because the tops have gotten so lush (and slowed way down on lost bottom leaves) that all of the branches are arching and the philo that I've tangled all around the trunks over the last decade is holding the trunks from leaning farther. It looks really cool, looks like maybe Dr. Seuss drew it. Last week I noticed a new top sprouting in the middle of one of the branches, the branch that is leaning the most.
Is this normal growth or would my plant likely not have as many tops if it had not had such a hard-knock life? Call me crazy, but this old tree seems more vibrant and healthy than it was almost 20 years ago.
It seems like the lack of wind inside causes them to be less strong than if they were full-time outside plants. Or do they lean/arch in their native habitat as well? If they would normally be less leaning, what can be done besides periodically rotate these plants keep the trunks stronger while inside?
I have another Dracaena marginata that I bought 8-9 years ago as a $1 annual "spike." It has had times where it didn't get turned as often as it should, but it has gotten more strong and straight this summer, and a few weeks ago, 2 new tops started coming from the roots. Way cool! Is this how this one usually grows new tops, or is it also likely to make new tops from the main trunk? Is the 'tricolor' likely to make new tops from its' roots also?
It seems like injury and severe top heaviness/lean are the factors which encourage a new top. Is that a primary factor, or is it a combination of factors? I was wondering if anyone has done any type of wiring/espalier type techniques to hold a trunk in a severe bend, or even loop, to see if one trunk might make a multitude of simultaneous new tops?
Would love to see your pics of your Dracs and hear the stories behind them and their tops.