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Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Posted by edbyrnes Zone5 MI (edwardbyrnes@comcast.net) on
Thu, Aug 1, 13 at 16:00

Bought a Song of India (Dracena) a few months back. It has two stems (the third in the picture is a support) with leaves at the top. It had been trimmed for shipping.

Each leafy top has new growth growing near the top, one at a 45 degree angle one at 90 degrees. Can I cut the stems into three pieces, stick them in the soil and expect them all to grow? If not, tell me what I can do with them to make the whole thing a better looking plant.

The best,
~Ed


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

What is your idea of a better looking plant? A lot of things could be done with this but whatever is done should make it look more like you want. I'm not happy with its' current state either. I don't like anything staked unless it's a vine, but that's just MHO.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Yes, you can, but it is a long process and patience is required. I cut mine up into four sections and repotted all parts into one new pot. I put it in a filtered sun/shade location outside. The portion with the leaves rooted the fastest, as expected, because it has leaves to perform photosynthesis and provide energy. The other portions rooted, too, but it was about 3 months here in Jacksonville, Florida before I saw the growth buds swell at the top of the cane sections. I see you are in Michigan, so do this as soon as possible so you can take advantage of the remaining growing season. If you don't have much growing season left where you live, I would wait until next April/May to do this. Do not water the cuttings after you have repotted them. Without roots, they will only rot. It may be hard to do, but just... don't. Wait and wait and wait for that sign of new growth before you give them any water.

Be careful of two things: 1) when you cut the cane, remember which way is up. Do not get them turned around and plant a section upside down. 2) dracena are sensitive to fluoride - it is toxic to the plant. Do not water with household water. Rain water is best. I never watered my dracena at all after planting the cuttings - early on, I protected them from rainfall and now all of the watering comes from rainfall.

Good luck and post a picture after you have done the deed!

Carol in Jacksonville

Here is a link that might be useful: Dracena and fluoride


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Thanks PurpleInOpp and Carol,
I cut the Song of India into pieces, dipped the pieces in rooting powder, poked a hole for each in the same pot and I have protected it from the rain. I have about 2.5 months of outdoor growing left, so I will just wait and see what happens. Thanks very much for your response.

Let me know if I should clip more of the leaves.

The best,
~Ed


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Very, very nice. I think it looks perfect! I would keep it in a shady or filtered sun location outside for as long as you can until you have the threat of freeze/frost. If it gets a little light rainfall, it will probably be ok as you have the mother plant in there to absorb most of the moisture. Good job!

Carol


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Thanks Carol,

We'll see how it does. It may start to look good in three to five years.

The best,
~Ed


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

I agree, and glad you came back. That looks fantastic!

Carol's advice is excellent, I didn't offer any because people so often ask a question and are never seen again, just making sure you really did want to chat. If you play with it again in the future, or with another Drac, it's not necessary to trim off parts of any leaves, unless they were brown at the tip and you thought it ugly.

When you start to see new tops on the stumps, I'd love to see a pic. I cut the top of this one off around 3 months ago, it's making 3 new tops.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Oh, Purple, I so agree with the frustration when you take time to answer someone's question and poof! It's like they were never here.

I love your plant - it looks exactly like it should and your photo is a great picture of the new growth that can come off of one rooted cane - three new shoots! Yay! What did you do with the old top? Root in another pot? Gift it? Just curious since it doesn't seem to be "around", LOL.

Carol


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

The top went into this pot, I thought the original occupant looked a bit lonely. There's a rock in there helping keep it in our yard, not blowing down the street. The sun hits it for a short time in the morning, then again late in the afternoon. The Pothos in the giant weed tree is in the shade except early in the morning for a bit.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Cool! Your plants (and your grass!) look great! I positively killed my first lemon-lime by forcing fluoridated water on it, urging it to grow, grow, grow! I just couldn't understand what happened until someone enlightened me.

Carol


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

You guys have a lot of valuable information. May I provide my pic and you tell me what's wrong?


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Hello! This is my first gardenweb post! I live in Toronto, Canada and bought my Song of India abotu 1 and a half years ago. It was about twice as tall as in the picture before some of the top leaves started to brown and drop, while the bottom leaves looked perfectly fine. I think I was overwatering it or it was getting too much sun or something, so I re-potted it, put it further away from my window for a while, and later on I took the plunge and chopped off the top part (i generally don't like cutting my plants although I know it's necessary), completely stopped watering it and basically left it on its own, for I think close to 3 months. To my surprise the remaining leaves neither grew nor dried up, basically dormant. And then a few weeks ago I finally saw some indication of new growth, and slowly started to water it again. As you can see here this new growth is doing quite well. I love this plant and I think it's gorgeous looking. Well, that's my story for now. I also own a myrtle topiary, ponytail palm, a bunch of jades that I propogated with leaves, and a very tall and singular avocado plant I grew from a seed. Hope to hear more about the Song if India here! Cheers.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Hello Knifey,
Thank you for posting. I am not the expert but maybe you did overwater your Song of India. I cut mine in pieces last August 2013 and didn't water for 3 months. The picture on the left is from when I first cut it up and stuck the pieces in the soil. The picture on the right is 5.5 months later, you can see growth on both spikes of the original plant and on both the pieces that were pressed into the dirt. Can't wait for spring and summer so it can really grow! I water it now about every 15 days.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Ed and Knifey, both look/sound great! When you can, try to catch/use rain water. It really makes a diff to Dracs.

Ed, this summer a repot would probably be helpful.


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Hello Purpleinopp! I could melt snow! It will be a few weeks for rain, I have a five gallon bucket that I fill with tap water and let sit for two weeks. Then I use that water.

The best,
~Ed


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RE: Dracena Song of India: pruning propagation

Heythere! If you're into melting snow, your plant should love that.

The advice about letting water sit comes from a time when most tap water was chlorinated with a volatile (can evaporate) type, and was indeed good advice for that situation. That's not common these days (volatile forms of tap water chlorination,) so letting water sit does not remove the chlorination, as well as other non volatile substances like fluoride and lime. Letting tap come to room temp is good, but sitting any longer will not help accomplish anything positive in the way of purification (but in fact would provide the opposite as moisture is lost to evaporation.)

Distilled water and condensate from dehumidifier or A/C are also sources of water w/o added chemicals.


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