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For Dracaena Marginata propagation, you can use the air, water, or cutting method to encourage the cuttings from a parent plant to grow new roots. When cutting, it’s possible to remove all of the canes from your parent plant; it’ll replace them with new nodes.
Dracaena Marginata is a rare and exotic houseplant that can be hard to find in stores. However, if you have one Dracaena, you can always propagate it to make more shrubs from a parent plant. Propagating Dracaenas is easy, too, and anyone can do it.
How To Propagate A Dracaena Marginata
So, let’s walk through the propagation process together. I’ll tell you the perfect time to propagate your Dracaena, help you find supplies, and guide you through three different ways you can grow new Dragon trees from cuttings.
There are three different methods to propagate a Dracaena Marginata. You can encourage your cuttings to root in air, water, or soil. These methods are usually successful as long as you do them correctly.
Rooting a Dracaena cutting in water is one of the easiest ways to get fast results.
However, since you won’t be using soil at first, the roots of your baby plant may be weaker than when using other methods.
Still, most roots will gain strength after potting them, but you’ll have to wait a bit longer using this method before you see new leaf growth on your cutting.
To propagate a Dracaena Marginata cutting in water:
- Take a cutting. Using sharp sterilized shears or a knife, cut one of the small canes off your parent plant as close to the trunk as possible.
- Trim your cutting. If the canes are short and bushy, prune off some of the leaves farthest from the top to make room for roots. If the cutting is longer than the desired height, cut off some of the stems until you’re happy with the size.
- Find a container. When propagating in water, using a clean, clear container with a narrow mouth is ideal so that you can keep the cutting upright. I use a repurposed jar, but you can use a water bottle, drinking glass, vase, beaker, or anything else that you may have lying around.
- Prepare your propagation station. Place your cutting in your container and fill it with water until about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of the cutting’s cane is submerged. If any of the leaves touch the water, trim them off now.
- Place the cutting and parent plant in a bright, warm spot. To help your parent and cutting recover, put them somewhere warm with plenty of indirect light. If the windows are too cold, set up a grow light and space heater for your Dracaenas in the warmest spot in your home.
- Be patient. Change out the water every week as your cutting grows to keep plenty of oxygen in the water. Before long, you’ll see new roots on your cuttings, but be sure to wait until they’re at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) long before potting them in soil. This should take about six weeks.
- Pot the new Dracaenas. Be sure to put them in a well-draining pot or container with loose soil. Avoid packing down the dirt so the roots can quickly spread out.
Air layering is a way to root your cutting before you cut it away from the parent plant. Air layering takes some technical know-how, but the plants produced from this technique usually have the highest success rate and most substantial roots.
If you’re unfamiliar with air layering, let me give you a quick run-down.
To use this method, peel the bark off of a section of your plant, coat the exposed area in rooting hormone, then attach a bag of damp peat moss around the stem to cover the exposed area.
The plant will then form new roots into the bag of moss, allowing you to cut away a new, fully rooted plant. It’s pretty amazing!
Here’s how to air layer your Dracaena Marginata:
- Choose the area you want to cut. For air layering, you need to choose one of the canes of your Dracaena to cut. The cane should be at least 3 inches (7 cm) long and healthy.
- Score the cane. Find a 1-inch (2.5 cm) section on the cane you want to cut those leaves at least 1 inch on the parent plant and 1 inch on the baby plant. Use a sterilized knife to cut the bark off of this section, removing the brown bark and green underlayer around the cane.
- Scrape off the cambium. There’s a slippery layer of cambium underneath a dracaena’s bark preventing the cane from growing roots. Scrape this layer off to expose the less-slippery wood underneath, which usually requires scraping off ⅓ of the exposed area where you just removed the bark.
- Add some rooting hormone. Dust some rooting hormone around the wound you just made, being sure to cover all 360º around the cane.
- Wet your moss and wrap it on. Rehydrate your peat moss until it’s damp but not dripping. Then, stick a couple of handfuls on a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap it around the wound on your dracaena cane.
- Secure the plastic wrap. To secure the plastic wrap, you can tape it together, add another layer of plastic wrap on top of it, or use some string to tie the ends around the dracaena cane.
- Cut off the new plant. After about six weeks, roots should have formed. Once they do, remove the wrap and cut the new plant off of the parent plant just below the new roots.
- Pot the new plant. Keep the soil loose and dry for the first two weeks, then start watering it just as you water your parent plant.
For a video example, watch this detailed walkthrough from Levabuhay:
Cutting the top off your Dracaena plant and repotting it directly in the soil is the easiest way to propagate it. In this method, trim off one or all of the canes sprouting from the top of the plant and plant each cutting in a new pot.
It might seem counterintuitive to remove all of the canes from your parent plant, leaving no leaves on it. But within a few weeks, your parent plant will sprout new canes and leaves. Often, it grows more than it had before you cut it.
To propagate Dracaena Marginata cuttings in soil:
- Cut off one of the canes on your parent plant as close to the larger trunk-like cane as possible.
- Snip off most of the leaves from your cutting, leaving only those that shoot upwards.
- Dry out the cuttings, allowing them to sit out for at least an hour before potting them.
- Prepare a pot for your cutting, filling it with some loose, well-draining succulent soil or potting soil with some perlite mixed in.
- Stick the ends of your cuttings into the soil and top off the pot, ensuring the leaves aren’t touching the dirt.
- Water your cuttings thoroughly, then place them in a warm, bright spot.
For a helpful video guide on how to plant cuttings into the soil, check out this walkthrough from Khang Starr on YouTube:
Here’s what you need for propagating a Dracaena Marginata:
- A parent plant with two or more canes (branches)
- Clean, sharp sterilized shears or a knife
- Potting soil
- One or more small pots
- A clear glass container (for water propagation only)
- Rooting hormone, peat moss, and plastic wrap (for air layering only)
Using a clean sterilized cutting utensil is crucial anytime you take cuttings of a plant, because you’re making a wound in the plant when you slice into it.
If your shears or knife are dirty, you risk passing a bacterial or fungal infection to your parent and baby Dracaena, which will kill both plants.
Be sure to clean snippers with soap and water, vinegar, or alcohol, and rinse them well before making the first cut.
In addition, for air layering, you’ll need some special tools. Not everyone has rooting hormone on hand, but I highly recommend getting some now if you want to keep propagating your houseplants.
I use this Bonide BND25 Rooting Powder for all of my air and soil propagation, and it’s a real gamechanger. It speeds up root formation in trees, shrubs, flowers, and other cuttings, making the propagation process faster and easier.
There are tons of reasons to propagate your plants, and in some cases, propagation is the only way to save a dying Dracaena. In others, it’s a way to add more Dracaenas to your home or make new plans to give to your friends.
You might need to propagate a Dracaena Marginata if it’s starting to die or has gotten too large. Or, you might want to multiply how many plants you have or give one away as a gift.
Propagating when your plant is sick or dying is the best measure when you want to save your plant.
Often, if a plant gets a bacterial or fungal infection or if it has pests, propagating can help you divide the parts of the plant that are still healthy from the infected or infested spots.
Dracaena Marginata plants can also get very big if you keep them alive for a long time, and over the years, they can reach heights of 6 feet (1.9 m) unless you prune them back.
When you prune your Dracaena, you take cuttings, and these snippets make the perfect baby plants to propagate in air, water, or soil.
You can quickly increase your plant collection from these cuttings. In general, expect to harvest three or more new shrubs from one parent Dracaena.
Sometimes, that can be way too many for one person, which is why these plants make the perfect gifts to share with family and friends.
When you propagate any plant, it has to be mature enough to withstand being cut into. In addition, waiting to take cuttings until spring or summer is best for plants like Dracaena that go dormant in the winter.
You can propagate any Dracaena Marginata with more than one cane on the top of the plant. Taking cuttings from your Dracaena in the warmer months helps keep it healthy and increases the baby plant’s chances to develop new roots quickly.
First of all, an immature plant is not a suitable candidate for propagation. If your Dracaena is young and doesn’t have a robust root system yet, it may not recover from propagation. For the best results, wait until your Dracaena Marginata has at least three canes.
Secondly, Dracaena Marginata are slow-growing plants, and in the wintertime, they slow down their growth even more. Propagating your plants when hibernating for the winter is an option, but it will take longer for your dracaena to recover.
Although time is the most common reason not to propagate in the winter, infection is another reason. And taking cuttings of your parent plant to propagate it creates “wounds” on the plant, which need to heal before the dracaena can sprout new growth.
In the winter, it’ll take longer for your plant to heal from the cuts, leaving an open sore much more prone to fungal and bacterial infections.
For this reason, most people wait until spring or summer to propagate their plants, when they’ll grow much faster and have a higher chance of surviving.
Dracaena Marginata plants are simple to propagate, and there are several methods you can use to expand your plant collection with just one parent plant.
Still, you’ll need a parent with enough canes to cut off, and ideally, you should wait until the weather is warm to encourage growth. Once you have your materials, you can root your dracaena in water, air, or soil to produce more stunning dracaenas to keep or share.