Propagating Dracaena | 3 Ways To Propagate Your Dracaena Plant

Dracaena houseplants are some of the easiest plants to grow indoors while being gorgeous. 

You can also propagate them if they are not getting enough light and have become a little stretched out, or if you simply want more plants.

Not sure how to go about propagating Dracaena plants, or which method is best for your plant? Let’s take a look at what you should know.

A Note On Toxicity

It’s worth remembering that any plants belonging to the Dracaena genus are toxic to cats and dogs, and should also be kept away from children.

This goes for any sort of cutting taken from a Dracaena plant, not just the entire plant itself, so it’s worth being careful where you propagate your plants. 

Ingesting the plant can cause hypersalivation, bloody vomiting, and weight loss, and in cats, pupils will dilate.

If you suspect your pet has eaten part of your Dracaena plant, take them to the vet to be safe.

How To Propagate Dracaena Plants Through Air Layering

This may be a technique you’re not familiar with, as it’s not as popular as stem cuttings and can be a little fiddly, but it’s worth trying, as this one has a great success rate.

The reason why it is more successful is that you don’t separate the cutting from the main plant until it has formed roots, becoming a new plant in its own right.

This means it doesn’t have such an adjustment period when you plant it into its pot, giving it a head start.

You’ll need some plastic wrap, some damp sphagnum moss, maybe a toothpick or two, and some twine to secure the wrap if you need to.

Take a look at the stem, and choose a healthy part just above a node. Cut into the stem, making a wound about half an inch wide.

If the wound tries to stay closed, prop it open with a couple of toothpicks.

If you have some rooting hormone, you can dust some of this onto the wound, but it’s not an absolute requirement, it will, however, speed up the waiting game.

Wrap sphagnum moss around the wound, and close the lot with some plastic wrap, making sure to leave a little gap, so air can still circulate.

Now it’s time to wait. Exactly how long it will take for your cutting to form roots depends on the growing conditions, the age of your plant and the season you’re propagating in. 

But it will be pretty easy to spot roots through the wrap. Once they form, cut away the wrap, remove any toothpicks, cut the stem about an inch below the roots, and pop your new plant into fresh soil straight away.

As for the original plant, it will soon produce new growth near the cut you’ve made.

How To Propagate Dracaena Through Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are also a good option, and you can make more than one or two plants through this method, depending on how large your plant is. 

It’s worth mentioning that this method is often used by plant nurseries, as it creates many plants and doesn’t require a lot of effort.

Take a look at the top of your plant and identify the nodes, and grab some sharp and clean secateurs.

You want to make sure that each cutting has at least one or two nodes, is about 20cm long, and is healthy growth.

Try not to cut the original plant back more than a third, and this will help the plant recover faster.

Put your new cuttings straight into a jar of water, making sure no leaves touch the water itself, or, plant them up into damp, well-draining soil.

Move them somewhere bright and warm, but away from direct sunlight.

How To Propagate A Dracaena Plant Through Top Cuttings

If you want to keep things simple, and your Dracaena plant’s main stem is getting too tall for the space it’s growing in, take a top cutting.

You may be a bit apprehensive about beheading your plant, but it is one of the simplest ways to propagate your plant, and it will promote more growth on the original plant.

The nodes immediately below where you behead the plant will start producing new growth, and where there was one stem, there will probably be two.

Make sure that the cutting has at least one node, which will look like an ‘eye’ on the stem, otherwise, no new growth will emerge.

You can either put the cutting straight into a jar of water or bury it in a suitable, damp, well-draining compost.

Make sure you keep the cutting somewhere bright and warm, but away from any direct sunshine.

This is pretty much an exercise in patience, as Dracaena plants are notoriously slow when it comes to rooting. As long as the cutting looks healthy, there is hope, so keep care consistent. 

If you’re growing your new prop in water, replace the water every few days to keep things fresh.

When you see roots emerge, allow them to get about 5cm long, and then transfer them into compost, allowing the new plants to adjust for a couple of weeks before applying any plant food. 

How To Ensure Success (As Much As Possible) When Propagating Dracaena Plants

While propagating Dracaena plants is a simple process, there are some things you can do to increase the chances of success, developing as many new plants as possible. 

Take Several Cuttings

One of the easiest ways to boost your chances of success when propagating any plant is to simply take more cuttings than you plan on growing as established plants.

This is the same approach you would take with seed propagation, as it’s always worth keeping in mind that not all of your propagation attempts will be successful unless you are very lucky.

Taking a couple more than how many you have in mind is a good idea as it means there are a few more plants to fall back on if one or a couple don’t make it through the process.

It also means that, if you are lucky enough to grow quite a few plants than you need, you can give some away as gifts, or swap them with someone else for a plant you want.

Keep Conditions Stable

Try to keep the growing conditions as stable as possible while your cuttings are rooting. 

This means keeping your cuttings in the same place while they are busy forming roots and trying to adapt before they go into shock at being removed from the rest of the plant

Avoid anything that will cause extremes in temperature, light, and moisture. Avoid drafts, sources of heat, and direct sunlight until the cuttings have rooted. 

Keep the care consistent, watering enough to keep the soil damp but not soaking, or swapping out the water every few days if you are rooting the cuttings in water.

Keep temperatures between 60°F and 80°F (or 15°C to 26°C), and if you can increase humidity slightly, this will help.

Only Propagate Your Plant During The Growing Season

When you take cuttings makes a huge difference in terms of how well they do. Always aim to propagate your plants during the growing season. 

For Dracaena plants, this is spring and summer, stretching into fall, though they will slow down as fall goes on, going dormant in winter.

Cuttings taken during the growing season will always root faster than those taken outside the plant’s active growth season, and you may find that a significant number of cuttings don’t root during winter when temperatures and light levels are lower.

There is some argument to suggest that because your cuttings are kept indoors, dormancy is not an issue, but without grow lights, the plant’s growth will still be slower.

Choose Healthy Growth

Another thing that makes a huge difference to plant propagation is choosing the healthiest growth possible. 

Avoid any diseased, discolored, bashed, or generally unhappy-looking stems, as this tissue is all the plant has to make a new plant from, and if it’s damaged, if the cutting roots at all, it won’t be that healthy.

Avoid Over-Propagating Your Plants

Another thing to keep in mind is how often you take cuttings from your plants. You can overdo it, and taking too much material from a single plant at once can cause it to go into shock, so keep this in mind!

While the cuttings will still be fine, your original plant may become damaged, and that’s something you want to avoid if you can help it.

Problems To Watch Out For When Growing Dracaena Plants

Brown Leaf Tips On Dracaena Plants

Dracaena plants are sensitive to chemical buildup and fertilizer salts present in the soil, which can cause brown leaf tips.

This can accumulate through using tap water to water your Dracaena plants, or it can be the salts left in the soil when you’ve been feeding your plants.

Use distilled water to flush the soil of anything that might be causing the leaf tips to crisp up.

Brown leaf tips can also happen when watering practices aren’t right, so be consistent when it comes to watering your plants.

Brown Spots On The Leaves

If your Dracaena plant has got brown spots on the leaves, this could mean a couple of things. If your plant is in a draft, cold temperatures are getting the better of your plant, causing parts of the leaves to dry out.

It can also mean that you’re overdoing it with the fertilizer, or the salts are building up in the soil, in which case you need to flush the soil with distilled water.

If your plant is in the path of direct sunlight, your Dracaena may be suffering from sunburn.

Yellowing Or Brown Leaves

One or two yellow or brown leaves are just your plant disposing of old growth. But if you’re seeing more than that, and several leaves are going yellow or brown at the same time, this can be a signal that the watering regime is wrong.

Either your plant is completely dry, or it is too wet, and you need to check the soil to see which problem you have.


Scale, mealybugs, and spider mites are the pests you should keep an eye out for, though you may see other pests crop up on your plant occasionally.

Treat the first sign of infestation with a good horticultural soap.

Final Thoughts

Dracaena plants are easy to propagate, and if you can make sure that the conditions are right, and you propagate during the growing season, you’ll soon have more Dracaena plants than you know what to do with!

Always use sharp tools when it comes to propagation, as this leaves a clean cut, which helps prevent disease.

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