How To Prune Dragon Tree

Although they are normally cut back to around 6 feet when planted as potted plants, dragon trees can reach 20 feet or more when grown outdoors in the proper conditions. Every stem that is cut back will produce two new stems, resulting in a structure that is heavily branched and covered in the species’ variegated, grass-like foliage.

When a plant needs to be shortened, mature growth can be cut off at any time, but it is better to do so in the summer when the plant is actively growing. In order to promote branching, the University of Georgia Extension advises routine gentle pruning or pinching back of the new growth shoots at the tips of the lead stems. You can remove dead foliage at any time of the year.

With sharp, sterile pruning scissors, trim the stem to the appropriate height. Instead of cutting at an angle, which will expose a bigger portion of the inside of the stem and expose the plant to a higher risk of infection, cut the stem straight across. To get rid of any dried-out or dead leaves, rake your fingers across the leaf top. According to Kansas State University Research and Extension, if any yellow, discolored leaves continue, cut them off at the base using pruning shears, and new ones will sprout in their place.

When should a Dragon plant be pruned?

When dracaena plants are pruned, they grow into full, healthy plants with two or more new branches, each with their own cluster of leaves. Pruning dracaenas is not at all challenging. Here are some useful dracaena pruning suggestions.

In the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing, is the perfect time to prune dracaena plants. Avoid cutting dracaenas in the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

To ensure smooth, even cuts, make sure your cutting blade is sharp. Rough cuts look bad and promote infection. To check if your pruners or knife are pathogen-free, dip them into a solution of bleach and water.

To lessen the chance of infection, cut the canes at an angle. Take out any weakened growth, brown leaves, or broken canes.

How is a dragon tree shaped?

Broadleaf evergreen shrub Dracaena marginata, often known as the Madagascar dragon tree, has many trunks and resembles a tiny tree. If planted in a container, it can reach a height of 6 feet, and if planted in the ground, it can reach a height of 20 feet. In zones 10 through 11 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plant hardiness map, the dragon tree flourishes. Long, slender stems are covered in sword-shaped green leaves that can grow up to 3 feet long. The only way to design the tree is to measure the height of the stems and promote branching by trimming because each stalk is capped by a single tuft of leaves. The shrub should be pruned ideally in the spring while it is actively growing.

To make the cut, choose a place on the stem of the dragon tree. Depending on whether you want a low-growing set of branches or only want to remove a little portion of the top of the shrub, you can cut the stem anywhere between 10 inches and 5 feet above the ground.

Use a pair of clean, razor-sharp pruning shears to cut the stem across at the desired height. Cut at a slight slant to prevent water from collecting on the cut surface. A place on the stem just beneath where you made the cut will sprout one to three fresh shoots. If you are pruning to make the plant shorter, keep in mind to account for the height of the new branching growth.

Allow the section of plant you cut to dry for a day or two before planting the cutting 3 to 4 inches deep in the soil at the parent dragon tree’s base to begin a new plant. Alternately, start a Madagascar dragon tree by planting the cutting somewhere else.

What part of the dragon tree do I cut?


Different stems branch out from a core stem on dragon trees. You can remove any of these branches to get top cuts. A mature stem branch that is healthy and not exhibiting any symptoms of disease or unhappiness is what you want to choose (yellow leaves near the top of the stem, brown leaves or dots on the leaves). Your chances of successfully propagating a portion of the plant that exhibits symptoms of sickness will be harmed if you do so.


The scary aspect is this! You need to cut off the stem section now that you’ve found it! A piece of the stem with around 5-8 leaves on it is what you want to take off. With too many leaves, the cutting will require a lot of energy to stay alive, increasing the likelihood of problems. This will ensure the cutting is mature enough to produce roots.

To prevent contaminating the plant with dirt or an infection, make the cut with clean scissors, shears, or a knife. Make a clean, diagonal cut through your plant using your instruments. This expands the cutting’s surface area, which will promote root growth.


Since you’ll be storing your cutting in water for a few weeks, you should take care to remove a few of the lower leaves that might fall into the water. It is advisable to cut them off immediately because they will rot if they are submerged in water for an extended period of time. Skip this step if your cutting just has a few leaves and check that the water level isn’t too high.


The next step is to put your slice into a glass that has been filled with fresh, temperate water. Make sure the water isn’t too hot or too cold because doing so will shock or burn the cutting, which frequently results in it wilting and dying. To ensure that the levels of chlorine and fluoride are lower than in water directly from the tap, it is recommended to use filtered water.

When compared to other houseplants, dragon trees aren’t usually as sensitive to this, but using filtered water or rainwater will help stop the yellowing of the foliage.


Put your glass in the direct but bright sunlight. Strong light can harm your cutting and jeopardize the viability of your propagation.


By changing the water every couple of days, you can keep it from stagnating and free of microorganisms that could damage your cutting. You want to avoid stagnant water since it will start to smell fairly awful.


The propagation process can become a little monotonous at this point. Nothing more has to be done save changing the water and waiting for roots to emerge from the bottom of your cutting. It’s completely common for this process to take several weeks or months, so don’t be concerned!

You ought should start noticing fresh growth from your mother plant about this time. The stem where you made the cut will produce a new bud, and normal growth should immediately resume.


It’s time to pot your Dragon Tree cutting into new soil once the roots have grown nicely and are several centimeters long. To aid in drainage and aeration as well as to ensure that your plant receives all the necessary nutrients, you should always use a high-quality potting mix. Place your cutting gingerly into the mixture, being careful to protect the tender freshly created roots, and continue normal maintenance.

How do I get my dragon tree to branch out more?

Owners of dracaenas are aware that these attractive plants, which come in a range of sizes and shapes as well as being adaptable and low maintenance, make a wonderful addition to a collection of indoor plants. However, a lot of people are unaware that you may alter a Dracaena’s growth to alter its shape.

Planting many Dracaenas in the same pot or encouraging the canes to branch are the greatest strategies to make your plant look bigger and bushier. Pruning the cane will cause the plant to generate new stems at the node just beneath where you cut it, which will stimulate branching.

While some Dracaenas may spontaneously branch out, others require assistance to do anything other than grow straight up. The species of Dracaena will determine this, but there will also be variations between different specimens. However, the techniques outlined below can be used to shape the majority of dracaena species.

How can a dragon tree be made bushier?

Dragon trees can swiftly beyond their control due to their rapid growth. They can grow up to 10 feet tall if unpruned, which is too tall for an indoor plant. You can maintain your dracaena marginata’s beauty and ensure that it is the right size for your house by regularly trimming it back.

Makes the plant fuller and bushier

Similar to the fabled Hydra serpent, which sprouted two new heads anytime one was removed, dragon trees do the same. Even if you completely remove the head of your dragon tree, fresh sprouts will emerge from the wound. Pruning fosters new growth at the cutting site and makes the plant more voluminous overall. This prevents the formation of long, sparse leaves.

Manages the height of the plant

By pruning it, you can significantly reduce the height of your dragon tree without endangering it. Snipping those canes will help keep the size of your plant exactly where you want it if it is growing too big for your indoor space.

Snipped canes can propagate your dragon tree

What is superior to a single dragon tree? The obvious answer is two or three dragon trees. Use the cane pieces that are pruned off to help your plant grow more. The stem’s rooting end, which was the downward-pointing end before you snipped it, needs just to be placed in water or wet soil for it to develop roots and sprout another lovely sprout.

How can a dragon tree be made thicker?

The plant is not getting enough light if its weak stems are bending toward the light and its leaves are unusually narrow. Rachel Bernier, source

I have a dracaena that is quite green and has lovely leaves, but as you can see in the photo, the stems are so floppy that it can hardly support itself. What can I use it for? Can I remove the top and plant it again?

Your dracaena, also known as a red-edged dracaena or a Madagascar dragon tree, is obviously in need of more light, and this has been happening for a while. It has, in essence, etiolated. That is why it is so long and reaches out into the distant window. Additionally, the leaves are smaller and the stems are thinner than they should be (less able to support the plant erect).

Yes, you could really chop off and root the top as you propose. It’s known as a stem cutting. Simply trim the stem off 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) below the bottom leaves, then bury it in a pot of moist potting soil. To hasten the process, you could apply rooting hormone to the wounded surface. Even so, dracaenas take a while to root, so don’t worry if it takes a while before you notice any new growth.

An alternative would be to completely remove the plant around its base; this will cause it to grow new stems (again, very slowly). Alternately, if you want several dracaenas, do both: allow the old plant to regrowth from the base and root the top to make one new plant.

If you want to keep your dracaena in the same spot in the future, give it a quarter turn on a regular basis—possibly each time you water it—always in the same direction. That will at least prevent it from bending in the direction of the light source.

Alternately, rotate it with another plant every two weeks, giving it two weeks each month near a window with sunlight before returning it to its customary gloomy location for the final two weeks. When foliage plants receive at least two weeks of bright light each month, their performance is astounding.

Another option would be to plant something there that will do better in low light, such as a dieffenbachia, Chinese evergreen, pothos, philodendron, or perhaps another dracaena. It turns out that your dracaena (Dracaena marginata), which requires significantly more light than the other regularly produced dracaenas, would be better suited to that gloomy region than any other species (D. fragrans, D. deremensis, D. sanderiana, etc.).

Last but not least, to really make your Dracaena marginata happy, relocate it permanently to a location close to a big window that gets plenty of good light, including at least two or three hours of sunlight each day. The best care for a dracaena will result in longer stems, wider and more abundant leaves, and an overall appearance of good health. You should nevertheless give it a quarter turn two or three times per month to maintain it as upright as possible.

The Madagascar dragon tree’s trunks can be twisted, crossed, or braided together while being careful not to damage any of the stems. Stop weaving the stems three to four inches below the lowest leaves, working your way up from the bottom.

Place a plant tie at the top of the weaving and wrap it around the stems. Knot the tie’s ends together loosely enough to prevent cutting into the stems’ bark, yet securely enough to hold the stems in place.

The Madagascar dragon tree should be placed in direct, bright light. To encourage even growth, rotate the plant’s container by a quarter turn every four to seven days.

When the tie starts to feel tight but before it cuts into the tissues of the weaving stems, cut it off with a knife or pair of scissors. If necessary, weave the stems’ new growth together using the same technique as before. Put a fresh plant tie at the top of the weaving and bind the stems together.

Can a dragon tree grow after being cut?

The Dracaena marginata, often known as a dragon tree or a Madagascar dragon tree, is a wonderful indoor plant that is also quite simple to maintain. But how challenging is it to spread?

To multiply a Dracaena marginata (dragon tree), cut a length of stem that is at least 20 cm (8 inches) long. Note which end goes downward. Put the cutting in some water or damp soil.

When the plant is actively developing, which is most likely in the spring or early summer, is the finest time to take a cutting. If you have rooting hormone, use it to hasten the growth of your roots. Utilize cutters or knives that have just been sterilized with rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar. Keep the soil moist, or, if you’re hydroponically propagating, replace the water at least once every week. It is possible to propagate stems with no leaves as well as “tops” or rosettes. Rosettes have a higher likelihood of surviving. Keep the cuttings away from direct sunlight and in the brightest light you can.