How to Prune a Bare, Leggy, Dracaena

I have a pair of d.fragrans (I think) and both of them have very thin and delicate stems/leaf stalks? How can I propagate and get thicker more stable stems??

Hi Shanamarie,

The problem of thin stems on a dracaena fragrans plant usually, but not always, occurs when there is not enough light. The only thing to do at this point to rejuvenate your plant (and I know it is really hard to do)  is to cut off the top 2/3rds of the stem. The bottom section that remains in the pot will send out new shoots and become bushier and stronger. Don’t forget, the plant will need less water since it is so much smaller now.

Next cut the top off the stalk that you removed from the plant; that would be the part with all the leaves and about 6″-8″ of stem. Always make your cuts on the diagonal to provide a greater area for root development. Remove  1/3 of the leaves. At this point you can root this section in water, wait until roots develop, and then plant it back in the original pot. Alternatively,  once the roots develop, you can plant it in a  new, small pot of loose, light soil and start a new plant. The soil should not contain any fertilizer. Water well and keep the soil barely moist as the plant develops roots. The water should not have chlorine or fluorine in it. Dracaenas do not like chemicals in the water. The option to rooting that top section in water is to plant the cutting directly back into a pot of soil.  Dip the cut end in a small amount of rooting hormone and plant it back in the original pot or in a new small pot of its own.

The remaining bare stem  can be cut into 6″-8″ sections and rooted in either of the methods mentioned above. Do contact me (askjudy@houseplant411.com) if any of this is unclear or if you have any other plant questions.