How do they grow Dracaena spikes sold as annuals?

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)October 12, 2011

When I bought this plant about 7 years ago, it was just foliage sticking out of the dirt with no sign of a main stem yet. The sign just said "spikes $1" and I wasn't even sure it was a Dracaena until it started to grow tree-like.

How do the growers make a bunch of rooted tips with no trunk like that?

The top of the tree is above the top of the pic, these are new tops coming from the base of the main trunk.

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apt323

thats a good question i have a plant that some gave me that looks similar to this and it is just growing the leaves out of the pot but no trunk? How long did it take to make that trunk?

Sorry i couldnt help

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 1:03PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The original trunk that you can't see the top of is 7-8 yrs old. The new sprouts in the pic showed up a few months ago.

No need to apologize. Post a pic of your plant if you want to. I'd love to see it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 2:26PM
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apt323

This is a plant that was given to us when the wife was walking around the house. The neighbor was not wattering it and was very hot outside. two of the pots the trunk had already dried up and the other had a little life in it but didnt make it. Soon after some water it started putting out leaves out of the dirt all three then started putting out green. The picture shows the one with the most leaves. Unfortunately the leaves are starting to look a little wimpy we had a couple of hard windy long rains that drenched the pots and i didnt notice till this morning that the soil was soaked. Set it in the sun today letting them drain and dry out. I dont know what they are but i think they are in the same family as the one you have pictured. The usually have a darker green leaves and are more firm :-)


    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:43PM
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goblugal(7)

Common Dracaena indivia (cordyline) aka "Spikes" are from from seed.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the input. This plant is D. marginata. Are these propagated from seeds also? I have 2 that have never flowered.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 9:07AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

apt, your plant looks like a spider plant or something coming from a bulb. I got distracted googling for pics of Dracaena flowers and totally forgot to say... Can't really tell how big it is from the pics. At first I thought the leaves were 1-2.5 feet long, but after looking again maybe they're only a few inches. If you put your pics (and another one with some well-known object for scale) on name-that-plant forum, you'll get more responses.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 11:36AM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

Dracaena are just ridiculously easy plants to root. You lop the top off of an existing spike, strip the lower leaves and stick it into a pot of rooting medium.

The spike that you cut the top off of will sprout it's own baby spike, and keep on growing.

It sounds like they just cut off a very short cutting to root in the pot that you bought.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:03AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the reply. I know about cuttings but it seems like a lot of time and effort and expense (greenhouse space) to have thousands available every spring for $1 each. Probably not the same price now, but that was the going rate for a long time.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:39PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

I think the price of plants are (or at least should be) based on how easy they are to root.

At the quantities that commercial growers need, little plastic pots and potting soil cost very little.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:56AM
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yiorges-z5il

Comercial growing of the plant involves:
Lightly cover seed soil temp for germination 60-85F taking 30-60 days to germinate
GROWING ON temp 50 nights & 70 Days taking 28 weeks after germination to be market ready SO >>>>> pricing plant much more complicate than sugested above since need heated (during the winter months)lighted greenhouse lots of TAXES & labor

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:59PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

I'm sure it is much more expensive in the north to keep plants warm enough to grow through the winter.

However, here in the deep south, the commercial growers seem to be getting by just fine with nothing more than an inexpensive hoop house with a clear plastic liner.

Then again, for us, tulips are annuals, since it doesn't get cold enough for them to set blooms for the next year. You can't have everything.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks for the inputs! Interesting stuff to ponder...

Anyone can speculate about different scenarios, imagine some huge farm somewhere very warm, where there's a grove of Dracaenas, just growing tips to propagate. And when I bought this plant in OH, gas was only about $1.50 per gallon, so it's imaginable that a truckload of them could have come from somewhere... I was just wondering if anyone knew for sure. These may take root easily, but seems to take a lot longer than coleus, for example, which are usually much more expensive unless it's a 6-pack of little wizard seedlings, although 1 frost is enough to kill a coleus where a Dracaena could survive that.

You can't have everything. So true! I miss lilacs!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 9:23AM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

When I lived in southern Florida, there were a ton of commercial nurseries taking advantage of the frost free winter months to grow plants without needing so much as a hoop house. I imagine that with the rising cost of fuel since then, their profit margins have indeed been cut into.

Dracaena do root easily, but they don't grow extremely fast, especially if you keep them indoors in low light. I move mine outside and place them under a tree where they get morning sun and shade after that in the warmer months and they grow much more quickly.

Try to find the 'lemon lime' cultivar. It's extremely attractive.

I always get zone envy over peonies.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 4:29PM
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