How to Prune a Tall Dracaena Warnekii

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Hi, Judy,

I actually have two of these plants; one is touching the ceiling. Can you tell me what kind of plant it is? Can it be cut off at the top? Also, the tips of the lower leaves turn brown with the entire leaf eventually turning brown and dropping off. Is this normal?

Thanks for your help!


Hi Kim,

Your plant is called a Dracaena Warnekii. You can certainly cut off part of the tall stem that is touching the ceiling.  I recommend cutting off at least the top 25%-35%.  The plant will send out new growth directly below where you prune the stem. If you don’t cut off enough of the stem, when the new growth develops, the plant will look strangely out of proportion. You can cut the stem you remove into 8″-10″ sections. Remove the bottom 1/3 of the leaves from each section. Use the cuttings to start new plants (in very small pots to begin with) or plant the cuttings directly back into the original pot to make the plant look bushier. Read all about propagation using stem cuttings in the Glossary of the website.

A Dracaena warnekii is a stalk plant and it is natural for the lower leaves to drop off. If leaves throughout the plant are getting brown tips it could be due to too much plant food, using water that has passed through a softener, or using water that has a lot of chemicals like chlorine and fluorine in it. If your household water contains a lot of chemicals, allow it to sit out overnight before using it.

You can read all my care tips for a Dracaena warnekii in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.