How to prune these giants?

George108(5)November 18, 2005

I have two plants, one I know is Dracaena fragrans and the other, I'm guessing, is Dracaena marginata. These plants are over 17 years old. They were part of a small bowl of plants given as a gift on the birth of our daughter in 1986. As you can see, both are now really large. I got away with pruning the fragrans down to the woody part a few years ago and it is now brushing the ceiling again. The marginata (?) has never been pruned and is now higher than the windows and corkscrewing around trying to look out. Can I get away with pruning the fragrans again? Lower than before? Can I prune the marginata(?)without killing it? If pruning is possible for either plant, how and when should I do it? Thanks!

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I have just cut off and stuck back in the soil and they root :-) Don't know when would be the 'right' time; here in So. California, I can do it anytime.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 3:14PM
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George, see my posting on the fragrans; there are benefits to putting it outdoors in filtered sun for awhile. I think this might also be a prime candidate for air layering too if you want to get fancy. Don't think you could hurt it at any rate if you leave some trunk to resprout if the air layering or potting the top doesn't work.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2005 at 5:57PM
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lauriebee(7 MD)

If you have not done it yet, just wack it off. Pick a hight you want it to grow back from and make a clean cut. I have a bunch of these in my yard that I wanted gone and my husband just cut them off at the ground and each stem now has three coming up from the stump. I will either have to round-up them or dig up the root to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 1:42AM
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I know from your site how to prune my dracena Marginata but what is the best implement to use as I dont want to spoil my 1 and half year old plant which is about 4ft tall now and I love it..

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 9:00PM
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The stem on my Marginata was about 1/2" (1.2cm)when I cut it off. I used a sharp pair of garden lopping shears. I suppose it might be good advice to clean the blades with bleach or hydrogen peroxide (and dry them) if they were used to remove dead or diseased outdoor plants recently. It does take a certain amount of courage to reduce a prized plant to a lonely stalk, but if my experience was any indicator, after a week or so you'll see the new growth budding out near the top. Two and a half years after trimming my Marginata (and Fragrans--for the second time), both are happy and healthy. I didn't try rooting the old plant tops, but it's worth a try--perhaps using rooting powder.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 10:34PM
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I've had a couple of marginata branches bend over from some kind of rot or something. Cut the tops off and put in water and they grow lovely roots. I've had three tops that I finally put in soil, but they just sit there. Look fine, but haven't grown in probably a year.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:15PM
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